In this entry, we will explore the overlap in how the MOD open-source modular system complements the modern musician and enhances their ability for self-expression and to develop a signature sound while helping to avoid the trap of boredom.
Regardless of your chosen means of musical expression, discovering and nurturing your ability to connect with your musical practice and developing agility of imagination is a fundamental creative ability. Being aware of the spontaneous moments of synchronicity- those “aha moments” and learning how to recreate them is a master skill in the sphere of music-making. Each instrument and technical platform has its own set of steps that unlock to reveal the next. Some are obvious and others only emerge after discovering what came first. Like anything in life, remembering that seemingly insurmountable obstacles are overcome inch by inch. It is key to stay engaged and committed despite the challenges. If you reflect after completing something significant you will most likely realize it was not quite as impossible as you thought and your mental attitude was the force of resistance most of the time. Sometimes the gateway in overcoming the internal resistance is reframing the mindset to the experimental and playful. Imagine the sensation of a freshly unboxed new device and the thrills of discovering what it can do within those initial moments of use. Usually, this moment reflects a state where imagination and curiosity are triggered and a useful mind state to turn back to.
The MOD Devices platform was developed by a group of creative minds who loved the directness of guitar pedals and the one-of-a-kind sounds a pedalboard can yield. Embracing another more collective response to creative expression, the developers could see the vast potential an open-sourced programming platform could bring to the audio device scene. Developing the right hardware and user interface system to house what would become the MOD platform was a partnership of musical and technically imagination, with the impulse to create a holistically generative situation. A system that improves and grows over time. With the release of the MOD Duo X and MOD Dwarf, the user community finally has the processing and hardware interfaces to facilitate a universe of unique ideas at their fingertips.
Bringing extemporary actions along with more structured and recognizable works from a recorded catalog and having an environment that allows for an easy interplay between processing new sound and working with old, the MOD system has become an intuitive way of operating. What would otherwise have been a chain of devices in the studio, can now travel in a little black box for tweaking and creating anywhere. With a hefty amount of processing power, the devices can be programmed not just as a serial pedalboard, but as a whole processing and generative environment where sounds can feed and loop back into themselves, accessing impossible tonalities and techniques usually reserved for larger luxury priced processors.
This may sound complex and in principle it is, but the beauty of the approach is that each connective step is visible and easily comprehended within the user interface. With this digital patching, it is possible to switch between as many pedalboard instances as you wish with the touch of a button, or even assign them to a step sequencer to create extremely modern and sculpture shifts automatically.
With the latest OS update, the MOD environment unlocks features the user community has been discussing and encouraging, for not only the latest devices but also the original MOD Duo, giving it new energy and usability. These include deeper customization, file management for IR, midi, and audio samples, and deeper hardware control. Later this year the company will share several game-changing advancements for the devices, keeping with the spirit of the open-source developer-based ethos. This attitude is carried over into offering access to the open-source Beta plugins in the MOD plug-in store. While still in development, these are excellent tools waiting to be tested and handled with care.
Investing time to become familiar with the operations at your disposal is an easy way to stay inspired and connected with your system. Here are a few tips to consider when approaching the MOD system and some useful ideas.
- Creating separate environments for Live and Studio usage can help keep things easy to manage.
- Remember to keep things direct for the stage and not too complicated when things get stressful.
- Assign CV modulation onto various parameters to add movement and unexpected action and add automation to your kit.
- Don’t be afraid to explore tempo and time signature settings within the Mod environment. Delays and sequencers operate in new ways when shifted on the grid.
- Be creative with combining amp’s and more guitar-based effects into your pedalboards even if you aren’t processing guitars. It’s a technique used to bring extra presence and heft to most sounds.
- Feedback loops and gating are gateways into awesomely rich and exciting tones, especially when used with tape delays.
- Parallel processing a single sound through a variety of filters and effects is a brilliant way to shape the dynamics of a sound without losing its original character.
- Explore having two mono signals being processed from one device in parallel.
- Remember that the BETA plug-ins are also available for discovery but be aware that they may be unstable in some instances and best used in the studio and not stage.
- Make sure to check the MOD user group for plug-in inspiration and share your creations. There is a lot to learn and it’s free to access with the slick of a mouse.
Here is an excellent pedalboard I found in the user group that inspired me to dig deeper into the CV world possible with the Mod platform. Shout out to Saki Ciselas for the great approach!