Hard patching, meet soft patching: it’s Eurorack modular, but with a Raspberry Pi and Pure Data inside each module – which means you can mod and make your own modules, too.

This is real hardware – but now that embedded hardware is what a computer was just a few years ago, each module is also a little computer, which means it can run Pure Data. The 3dPd module system is now seeking crowdfunding, with preorders on the hardware. The ingredients:

It’s actual Eurorack hardware. There’s a line of modules, and it’s the usual stuff – oscillators, mixing, filters, effects, control, utility.

There are unique modules like Communicate, which supports MIDI, OSC, and raw serial (the last one for Arduino, etc.).

And this clever sequencer:

Accessories. The project also includes custom cases, and stackable (finally!) patch cords.

A Pd sound engine. The whole system runs on a single Pd patch on a single Raspberry Pi, with software made in the free and open source Pure Data visual dataflow environment on Linux.

Interface. There’s also a Teensy microcontroller to interface with the hardware, and that’s running on Pd.

You don’t have to code. You can just look at 3dPdModular as another range of interesting Euro modules, and ignore the fact that it’s effectively hackable.

But you can make your own modules. There are “generic” modules you can program yourself in Pd and Arduino. (Need to find more on this.)

Mobile app with patches. Since there is software inside, you can store patches – and there’s configuration via mobile app.

Wait – record scratch, go back. Because this is actually software inside, the system itself can do things a conventional Eurorack system can’t (but software can). So you get the hands-on control, but software based patch management and morphing. Features, according to the creator:

  • Enabling/disabling patching so you can change your patch without interrupting the sound, until your new patch is ready, then cross-fade into the new patch
  • Cloning a (set of) module(s) software to create polyphony or other effects without needing to physically acquire a module multiple times
  • Multiplying a signal without the need of additional modules, buffered inputs, etc.
  • Saving your patch to your phone via our mobile app with the push of a button
  • Physical inlets “know” whether incoming CV signals come through a VCA module or not, so their corresponding potentiometers can act either as DC offset or a VCA, never letting you run out of VCAs!

The whole project is the work of Alexandros Drymonitis.

“Early bird” packs with a set of modules and extras will run you 600EUR. BYO Raspberry Pi, but one Raspi is actually all you need as brains. It’s a clever concept – and I expect more of this kind of readily accessible synthesizer in the future.

This should be open, but I don’t yet see anything beyond a placeholder GitHub archive. As it’s a new project, I’ll keep an eye on that. (At least it promises GPLv3 so – who knows, maybe we’ll see a whole ecosystem of Arduino- and Teensy- and Pd-powered modular soon!)

Crowd funding:

https://gogetfunding.com/3dpdmodular/

Project site:

https://3dpdmodular.cc/