Platform for sharing patch Ideas with block diagrams?


Is there a software or web platform to share patches similar to the diagrams in Allen Strange book?
(Electronic Music: Systems, Techniques, and Controls)

Simple building blocks to visualize ideas and concepts…?

How do you share your ideas/patches so others can adapt it to there systems?

example from the book:


Omnigraffle is perfect for this type of diagram.


Patch Storage, no?

Looks like a lot of VCV patches are on there already.

Is that’s the sort of thing you mean?


It could be a really nice thing to have as a discourse plugin – here’s a similar one:


I would like to keep it independent. Basic components like VCO, VCA, AD, AR, LFO etc…so the concept of the patch can be adapted to different brands of modules.

make noise using some diagrams to explain a patch in this tutorial:


Yes, i used that in the past, but it’s not “pre-defined”, does that make sense?
A framework specific for synthesis concepts.


Not really. We are talking about boxes and triangles and arrows with labels, all things that Omnigraffle handles quite easily.


It sounds like maybe @pelang wants a standardized toolset of “this triangle means VCA”, etc.

Choosing a design language for these things would be interesting! also non-trivial.


thanks alanza, you saved me… that’s exactly what i meant
plus a simple editor to drag & drop and connect those symbols.



Just use the same design language that Allen Strange & Make Noise use. You could even save the parts in an Omnigraffle stencil for re-use.

Patchbook looks nice too.


Thanks, patchbook looks nice but is module specific.

That’s what i use so far with pencil and paper… i was a longtime max/msp user…so i guess my brain is trained to understand complex signal flows with block diagrams. For example, Magneto has a nice block diagram…or in the past on outboard gear was always the block diagram printed on the top cover of the device.
I just was about to buy the new Chase Bliss Audio Dark World guitar padel…but after some reflection on GAS, i decided to build something similar with my modular. So the first step is to understand how this specific effect works and then adapt it to my set of modules. Isn’t this the power of modular synthesis?
I guess this would make a nice patch sheet.



You can use any text you want. They’re just strings. No limitations to any specific set of modules.


A Sketch plugin could also be created based on the same design language. But no matter which ‘platform’ is chosen (Omnigraffle, Illustrator, etc.) the library would still have to be created. And that takes work.

I think this is part of the appeal of visual programming using things like Max or the Nord Modular Editor, etc. The patch itself is a shareable diagram of sorts.

This can get complicated in the hardware realm because there is no true universal block diagram system that would work for all patching paradigms. Serge is different from Buchla which is different from Eurorack even though there may be some overlap in modular techniques and signal flows.


One nice thing about Omnigraffle for block diagrams is that you can move blocks around and the arrows will automatically adjust, thanks to the “magnets” that attach lines and boxes. Other vector drawing tools will require you to readjust arrows manually, which can be quite time consuming in a complex diagram.

Eh, a VCA is a VCA. Electricity is electricity. Don’t think there’s much mileage in overthinking this.


nice! i had similar idea a while ago that was supposed to be offline-capable web application without any backend, but gave up after trying to come up with markup that would be very readable without parsing it (ideally just markdown file with determined structure) and expressive at the same time. i guess i could still do that with simple backend to get json from patchbook and take it from there, hmm…


I’m familiar with Omnigraffle and I understand the reasons why you suggested it.

It’s easier to not overthink something if you don’t have to think of other systems. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m thinking of Serge, for example, when the function of a function block can change depending on how it’s patched.


Right, but it’s possible others aren’t!

Diagram it the way you patched it.


Thank you. That makes a lot of sense. I just reviewed the pdf of the Rich Gold book (for Serge Modular) and yup, just as you say. Time to put the kettle on and make some tea… and wake up.

I will compare it to the cloth bound copy of the Allen Strange book once I get back home to San Francisco after the smoke clears. Hello from Big Sur, by the way. So close, but so far!


Oh hey! If you feel like dropping by Watsonville to say hi on your way back north, feel free drop me a PM!