The wonderfully mysterious analog LYRA-8 synthesizer world now has an unofficial digital cousin – and it’s free-or-pay-what-you-can for Pure Data (and cross-platform AU and VST).

Instruments from the imagination of Vlad Kreimer and Soma Laboratory aren’t like anything else. They’re experimental – and the creators are quick to promise, professional.

In this case, what you get is a digital reimagining of the same voice architecture, structure, and function, more than a clone. If the LYRA is an expression of its own oddball post-Soviet analog electronics, then LIRA-8 by Mike Moreno inherits the edgy digital grunge of Pd.

That is, this is unapologetically Pd in sound and appearance, which somehow perfectly fits the original. This isn’t a reproduction so much as it is a vision of what the LYRA would have been had it always started out as a Pd thing.

It’s free as in muck around with it. (There’s no discernible license file but the full patch is there.)

Thanks to the open source project Camomile, this also works as VST3, VST, AU, LV2 formats as appropriate on macOS, Windows, and Linux. That project will benefit eventually from updates to libpd, as well.

You can also trigger sensors with MIDI notes (or clicks or keys) and all parameters are available.

The full project – including a change to donate:

And on GitHub:

(plus don’t forget plug-in install instructions, including how to convince macOS Catalina to let you run your own software)

My experience has been that these kinds of projects, if anything, hook people into hardware sales. (And at the moment, I know there are plenty of musicians facing really tough times who can’t afford to buy stuff.)

But as it’s its own beast – in its terrific physical form and analog circuitry – see also the original (as this recreation is unofficial and unaffiliated):

And here’s how it sounds:

I do still covet the hardware, but this Pd recreation is fantastically fun to play around with meanwhile. And being Pd, you can take it apart and get some inspiration for your own patches.

Oh yeah, various people have been trying ideas like this in VCV Rack, too – most recently… (actually great how hardware is inspiring software, which inspires people to get into hardware…)