This post is for all users, regardless of one’s opinion. Fell free to comment but, if at all possible, please present solid counterpoints to what’s stated here.
Firstly, please allow the librarian/data scientist in me speak for a while.
Line6 is owned by Yamaha since 2013. The parent company employs about 20K people plus around 6-7K temporary workers annually. It’s annual revenue from all divisions (including medical and automotive) tops 3.5B USD.
Yamaha started as a piano company in 1887, but switched to propellers and engines due to having its factories confiscated by the Japanese government during both World Wars. But, if you look at their logo, it’s 3 tuning forks. In its core, it’s a music company. However, in spite of brilliant and unique music instruments developed over the years (think of the DX7 and the revolution it brought about), for whatever reason they were not very good with marketing, which likely stems from the Japanese ethos, whereby advertising and marketing should not replace the quality of what you produce and sell. They have placed more effort into creating great instruments than in marketing them.
As a result, they’ve produced some incredibly powerful pieces of gear without ever reaping the money they could, because their competitors were more “established” in the market. The VR guitar amps immediately come to mind: they were immensely better than the Roland Jazz Chorus, but never really “caught on”. (Mind you, the JC120 is not even real stereo: when you use the chorus, it comes out of one speaker only. The VR4000 instead was full stereo all the time.) To this day I use the MagicStomp and the DG Stomp boxes, both from the early 2000s and still incredibly powerful.
Now, here’s the data scientist speaking: the MagicStomps sold for 300 USD in 2002, which corrected for inflation means about 470 USD. Almost the price of the Dwarf.
(Whereas the sound of the MagicStomp – to my ears – has the most delicious, foamy, creamy, luscious chorus and delay ever created, the last firmware update was more than 10 years ago. They tend to get very hot and LCD displays always fail after a number of years. Capacitors leak over time. And most of us have one or two spare units at home in case one fails.)
The Line6 Helix line is a great breed of effects processors. They have had an update in early April 2021, then a bugfix two weeks later, and had a new update in February.
Now, the Helix is a more mature and developed product, no question about it. It’s ready for prime time. It’s solid and dependable. However, it is not what a Line6 product was pre-2013. It is essentially Yamaha knowledge and DSP research into the Line6 brand. Remember the PodXT? And some of the Line6 amps? They were not even close in sound quality to what Helix is today. And that comes form a company with a 3.5B USD revenue muscle. What they can do in terms of resource allocation, personnel, and development – two of Line6 founders were former Oberheim employees – is far beyond what MOD can do.
MOD is a different product, has a different vision, and offers possibilities that others do not – such as adding your own effect to it. That doesn’t translate to “it’s up to the community.” While I agree that the choice of LV2 may be a problem in the long run, consider the following:
a. VST hosts used from the 2000s have ALL gone out of the market, and some of them were deadly expensive – the Receptor could cost about 3500 USD, or about 4650USD in today’s money;
b. Modeling amps can easlily cost 2000 USD and you still have to acquire models/images for your system, other than capturing them yourself from real gear;
c. Every single system has some constraint as to how many effects you can use, what sequence they can be placed in, etc. MOD is limited too, regarding memory and CPU usage.
So, to avoid writing yet another encyclopedia, comparing Line6 to MOD is an exercise in futility. One can have a bitter disappointment with MOD, but there is no cultivated misconception anywhere. It is a paid product that hosts LV2 plugins. It’s not advertised as anything different. There are indeed 300+ plugins available, but when I used the Fractal there were 1000 and only 4 to my liking. You read right, only 4!
MOD employees participate in the forum and indeed most likely have a monstrous to-do list in front of them. They acknowledge the ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’ all the time and profusely apologise for their shortcomings. They understand what the pressing needs are, but also need to tend to other areas, such as the OS and fulfilling orders.
Please notice that I am NOT defending Mod and am not an employee, but I know one or two things about running a business under a cash crunch. Trust me, it’s hell. And the bloody NXP microcontrollers are still 200% more expensive than before the pandemic, with a 8-month wait list.
Therefore, I hope whoever finds another product that is more suitable than the MOD follow that path and be happy. I may find myself in the future in a position that I will give up my Mod and do the same (though I hope not). But while we’re here, let’s keep a positive outlook and do whatever we can to make the environment better.
I am no programmer and understand absolutely ZERO about modelling an effect. Zero. But with my limited knowledge, I am trying to build a delay with 8 stages like the Yamaha UD Stomp with Max and, if I’m successful, I’ll sure share it with the MOD community. It’s all I can do, not much more.
All the best to everyone here.