New Open Source Modular Synthesizer Platform, 3dPdModular, Based On Raspberry Pi

Developer Alexandros Drymonitis has launched a crowdfunding project to fund production of 3dPdModular, a new modular synthesizer platform based on Pure Data and the Raspberry Pi computer.

3dPdModular is an open-source modular synthesizer system that runs on a single Raspberry Pi computer (3 or 4), programmed in the Pure Data environment.

It includes standard modular synthesizer features – including oscillators, filters, envelopes, etc. – but also introduces features not found on traditional modular synthesizers, including:

  • saving patches to your phone via a mobile app;
  • cloning modules;
  • cross-fading between patches; and
  • generic modules that can be programmed by the user.

These new features are possible because of 3dPdModular’s unique digital approach.

Patch cables look like traditional modular cables, but when you connect an output to an input, information about the actual connection passes to the system, accompanied by metadata concerning various characteristics of the connecting output.

Here’s an example of the system’s integration with mobile devices:

Here’s an example of using PD to create a custom module:

3dPdModular uses ‘banana’ style patch cables, to avoid confusion with standard Eurorack CV/Gate cables and connections.

Interoperability is possible with Euro systems is possible, though, using MIDI, CV and Gate signals, as demonstrated in the following example:

Pricing and Availability

Production of the 3dPdModular system is being funded via a crowdfunding project. The system is available to project backers starting at 650.00 Euro.

6 thoughts on “New Open Source Modular Synthesizer Platform, 3dPdModular, Based On Raspberry Pi

  1. To be honest, I get it and I don’t… partly because of the other RasPi/Pd options out there, including things listed in related posts.
    I use the Blokas Pisound HAT in diverse ways, some of which have many of the advantages of modularity from a software perspective. Integrating that as a module in some kind of Eurorack system probably makes a lot of sense, with enough I/O. That’s one module which can do a lot… and would probably cost 200€ or some such.
    Or you could have a semimodular system which is fully integrated, like the Organelle.

    What I don’t get is why they would sell several modules, with features which overlap with many modules from different manufacturers. I mean, isn’t the point of modular to mix and match modules? I can get something quirky like the Teenage Engineering modular, though I don’t find that to be a compelling value proposition. In this case, I’m just puzzled as to the combination of systems. I have a hard time thinking of this as “the best of both worlds”.

    So, this isn’t the typical “yeah but you can do the same thing with this one other device” reaction. It’s much more about “what’s the story, here?”. There are bits and pieces here and there, but I don’t hear a cohesive narrative. Or a clear need from the community.

  2. @montrealgia, this is a new modular system. The point of mixing and matching various modules (from different manufacturers) makes sense in the Eurorack world. But you can’t really mix and match modules for other systems, like the Buchla, since it uses its own format.
    3dPdModular is a modular system with its own format. The point of having different modules is to be able to make various different combinations. It is different than the Organelle or the Pi running Pd in general in the sense that the user doesn’t need to program it, since it is plug and play, whereas the Organelle needs to be programmed by the user.
    3dPdModular modules are generally less expensive than most Eurorack modules you can find in the market, so that’s one aspect that can be considered by a potential buyer. Module cloning and patch saving are a few more features that are unique to modular hardware systems.
    3dPdModular combines the tangibility of a dedicated hardware interface (with textual or other descriptions on the module’s panel for what each component does), as opposed to the generic nature of a MIDI controller, with the flexibility of software, into one plug-and-play package.

  3. probably would have been a good idea to do a quick google search on what 3DPD means before committing to that name.

    1. Since it is programmed in Pd, and Pd is visual programming, it’s like a three dimensional Pd, hence the name. Now, only because some people who prefer anime characters over real women have coined the term 3dpd is not a real reason for me not to use this acronym.

      1. I understand why you chose the name. I’m just saying I would have tried to come up with something else after seeing what 3DPD returns for top ranking search results. Maybe the unintended association with weebs works in your favor.

        Looks like you have an interesting bit of kit here and I wish you success in your venture. I look forward to seeing where it goes. I would have liked to contribute to the funding but due to pandemic unemployment the purse strings are extra tight.

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