digital innovation with an analog look
save your setups on a mobile app
endless sound capabilities
A novel modular synthesizer comes to life!
3dPdModular sets a new approach to modular synthesis. It is an open-source plug-and-play modular synthesizer system running on a single Raspberry Pi computer (3 or 4), programmed in the Pure Data environment (although no programming skills are required)! It includes all standard modular synthesizer features, like oscillators, filters, envelopes, etc. but offers a range of unique features like saving patches to your phone via our mobile app, cloning modules, cross-fading between patches, generic modules that can be programmed by the user, and many more!
An alternative to the existing modular systems:
3dPdModular offers an alternative to existing modular systems, like the very popular Eurorack, due to its special nature and its low cost. Being an integrated digital system, it treats signals in a completely different way. The special features mentioned above are possible only because of this digital nature of 3dPdModular. Even though the patch cables look like they pass audio or analog CV signals, they function in completely differently. What happens when you connect an output to an input is information about the actual connection pass to the system, accompanied by metadata concerning various characteristics of the connecting output. This way various processes can be automated leaving less technical and more creative work to the user.
Since the whole system runs on a single Raspberry Pi and every module doesn't need to have its own dedicated ADC/DAC and computer, the cost of the 3dPdModular modules is much lower than that of Eurorack digital modules. Another advantage of having only one computer for the whole system is the resolution of the audio. Many Eurorack digital modules use micro-controllers both for saving space and reducing cost. These micro-controllers though can usually give up to 10 or 12 bits of resolution. 3dPdModular has 24 bits resolution, with a crystal clear sound that doesn't "sound digital"!
We have created six different rewards for this campaign, which can be grouped in three groups of two. The first group is a 3U, 84HP set of modules, with one case. The second group is a 6U, 164HP set of modules, with two cases The third group is a 9U, 248 or 252HP set of modules, with three cases. All rewards include a Power Supply Unit embedded into one case. They also all have the MAIN module, which is the heart of the 3dPdModular system.
The first reward (Early Bird pack 1) has two oscillators, one VCA/Mixer (Voltage Controlled Amplifier), a Delay, a Sample and Hold, and a Generic module (can be programmed by the user, see below in Module highlights).
The second reward (Early Bird pack 2) has the same modules with the first, but instead of the Generic module it has a Filter.
The third reward (Early Bird pack 3) has three oscillators, a Random Voltage Generator, a Function Generator (AHDSR envelopes), a Clock Divider, a MIDI/OSC/Serial Communication Module (see COMMUNICATE in Module highlights below), a Shift Register, a Generic module, and the Clone module (see in Module highlights below).
The fourth reward (Early Bird pack 4) has the same modules but instead of the Generic module it has a dual VCA and a Delay.
The fifth reward (Early Bird pack 5) provides the greatest flexibility to users willing to program their own modules since it has all four Generic modules. It also has four oscillators, a Random Voltage Generator, a Slew Limiter, a Shift Register, a Clock Divider, a VCA/Mixer, a dual VCA, a Filter, a Delay, the Communicate module, and the Clone module.
The sixth reward (Early Bird pack 6) has four oscillators, a VCA/Mixer, a dual VCA, a VCA Matrix, a Random Voltage Generator, a Function Generator (AHDSR envelopes), a Step Sequencer, the Clone module, the Communicate module, a Slew Limiter, a Filter, a Sample and Hold, and a Clock Divider, and a Delay.
We also have a 5€ "Thank you!" reward and a 25€ T-shirt reward!
Among our favorite modules are:
- SEQUENCE, an 8-track step sequencer with up to 64 steps and three different types per track (CV, trigger, or ADSR). Its control interface is simple and intuitive balancing between flexibility and ease of use. You can also save your sequences and recall them whenever you want.
- ENVELOPES, a four-channel AHDSR envelope generator with separate settings per channel, manual or CV triggering, as well as End-Of-Stage output. Like the SEQUENCE, you can save as many envelopes as you like and recall them any time.
- CLONE, which clones other modules up to 8 times! It is capable of cloning single modules or sets of inter-connected modules (e.g. an oscillator connected to a VCA). It provides a very intuitive and powerful interface for creating polyphony without needing to acquire the equipment that is being cloned multiple times!
- COMMUNICATE, a module enabling communication with other hardware in four different ways, MIDI 5-Pin Din, MIDI USB, OSC (via Ethernet), and raw serial (e.g. an external Arduino). MIDI messages can be either clock or note so you can either sync your modular to your DAW (or other hardware), or connect a MIDI keyboard and use it to play melodies! OSC enables communication with other applications (e.g. control the synth from your phone OSC app). Finally, raw serial enables you to connect external micro-controllers like the popular Arduino and use various sensors to control your synth!
- the GENERIC series of four different modules that include a template of the system interface so you can program your own modules! We will also release a series of Pd patches that can be loaded to the Generic module series, so you can use them even if you don't know how to patch in Pd!
The interface throughout the whole system is simple and intuitive, helping you jump to creating amazing sounds right away! Color-coded banana terminals are used for connecting the various modules. Almost all aspects of all modules can be CV controlled, and all CV inputs have corresponding potentiometers for manual control, which also function as VCAs or DC offset for incoming CV signals, depending on the type of the signal, never letting you run out of VCAs!
The system is designed in the Eurorack dimensions format, but it does not follow the voltage format of Eurorack, and that is because of its digital nature, being completely different than that of Eurorack. It can be interoperable with Eurorack via the stereo input/output of the MAIN module (the output is DC coupled so CV signals can be sent out from 3dPdModular), via the COMMUNICATE module's MIDI clock signals (both send and receive), or through the (currently in prototype stage) GATE2EURO module, which sends trigger and gate signals through mini jack connectors.
These dimensions were chosen because of size (it is easy to travel even with a 9U synth, especially with our cases which are separate and can be stowed in many different ways) and the fact that there are lots of tutorials and available equipment (rails, nuts, threaded strips, etc.) for building your own Eurorack case. With these dimensions, 3dPdModular modules can happily co-exist with Eurorack modules in the same case, as long as they don't mix in your setup but keep their own physical space (e.g. one 3U row for Eurorack and one 3U row for 3dPdModular, or half a 3U row - 42 HP - for Eurorack and the rest for 3dPdModular).
Here's a video demonstrating how the 3dPdModular system can control a Eurorack system in the three ways mentioned above.
The mobile app:
We have created a mobile app with which you can save your patches, a unique feature in the modular synthesizer world! Check the demo video.
More on this recipe: https://3dpdmodular.cc/synth-recipe-1-modulating-c...
More on this recipe: https://3dpdmodular.cc/synth-recipe-2-using-oscill...
More on this recipe: https://3dpdmodular.cc/synth-recipe-3-random-vs-st...
Check our website to find more info on each module and the whole system.
How it all started:
I started developing 3dPdModular as a personal project a few years back. While many friends kept on telling me to start a production on it I felt it was something too personal that people wouldn't be interested in, plus there was quite some programming by the user (me) involved back then. While developing it further for a live gig, I realized it had reached a point where it was plug-and-play, easy to use, and likely appealing to a greater audience. That's when it struck me I should do a crowdfunding campaign to bring this project to life!
How the funds will be utilized:
The funds of this campaign will help me provide this synthesizer at low cost, since it will enable me to buy the necessary electronic parts in bulk (hence at a low price). The following equipment must be bought in bulk in order for this project to become viable:
- Audio interface (provided by Blokas https://blokas.io/)
- Potentiometers (Alps pots, RK09L1140A66)
- Cases (these are constructed in Greece and need to be ordered in bulk)
- Stands (also constructed in Greece and need to be ordered in bulk)
- Panels (if in bulk, laser cutting and silk screening will cost less)
- All electronic parts (switches, LEDs, displays, banana plugs and sockes, etc.)
Other than that there are a few more things that are costly at the beginning and need to be purchased one-off. Namely, these are:
- Matrices for the modules panels silk screen
- Matrix for the synth cases
- Matrices for the synth stands
- Customs for various imported parts (mainly circuit boards)