MOD Insolvency and Reboot

Hi @SrMouraSilva Paulo!

Are you aware of the Unofficial MOD discord channel?


The forum will be hosted by @gianfranco privately soon. For the wiki that’s possible also. Both don’t contain undisclosed tech or content, so this is not infringing any insolvency regulation. Backups are also not needed, I think the data is pretty safe while the current hosting is not.


Hello Fellow Travellers,

First thing to say is:

If you only do
what you always do
You’ll only get
What you always got

so it’s time to do something different.

I bought into this Project and was furious when it became obvious that the Project was out of control, even more so when the “Commercial people” started playing games like shipping units promised to the original stakeholders to Distributors instead. In business integrity is everything, sadly you fell at the first hurdle.

So whats the real problem here?
Pretty simple

  1. an Open Source project can move mountains as there are many talented and bored programmers out there willing to donate their time, and perhaps some of their employer’s time, to the cause of polishing the software - a never ending process.

  2. But the Hardware site of the project immediately requires hard business skills. It’s about budgets, cash flows, planning, reworking, logistics, sourcing etc. i.e. a specialist business requiring dedicated tangible assets focused entirely on a series of achievable deliverables. That’s why hardware is ‘hard’ and software is ‘soft’

  3. the problem was made worse by trying to please all the people all the time.

The following quote is attributed to the poet John Lydgate
and later adapted by President Lincoln :

“You can please some of the people all of the time,
you can please all of the people some of the time,
but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

So what happened is typical of an under-resourced project run by real enthusiasts - nothing wrong with that in principal unless promises that can’t he upheld are made at the beginning.
And then the goal posts are moved by Covid, economics, reality …

What’s your best hope of rescuing the current situation?

I would recommend you seek a hardware partner, even a Product Development Partner.
The one that comes to mind is Steinberger / Yamaha in Germany. Steinberger have the right mindset to do things properly and get things right. Yamaha are always looking for innovation and quick ways to ‘stay modern’ and ‘engage with their community’. Another possibility might be Line6 which looks a bit dated these days.

If that seems to be a sell out “too big” to bear then go to a well funded boutique pedal company. The deal would need to keep the Open Source alive because thats where the sounds are created and the innovation is. What you have to sell here is Product that has been researched and developed to the point of knowing it would be a credible Product. Thats exactly what Companies are looking for. So don’t sell the sausage, sell the sizzle!!!

Its better that this great product survives rather than pride gets in the way and it becomes just another crowd funded damp squib.

Be bold, be brave, think a lot bigger!!!

All the best


There is one more thing that concerns me quite a lot (besides the plugin store is not working) - who will repair my modx unit when it gets broken? Hopefully it works well at this moment but shit happens.


Line 6 is owned by yamaha these days I think


Yeap. Line 6 = Yamaha since 2013


Any chance to at least keep the Plugin Store online for us to download all the plugins for a few more days? :frowning:


No, the insolvency company has control over all assets of the company. We are lucky that the forum and wiki are still online.


one practical question regarding the remaining backers: i think i saw an image of the already (or almost?) finished special enclosures. They belong to the insolvency estate, right? Is there any chance to get my personal enclosure - for sentimental reasons?


Not sure Werner, but I think yes.


I took a risk and crowd funded a potentially great product. You f**led us when you went to retail before honouring your initial backers. You knew it was a cynical last ditch attempt to stave off inevitable insolvency. You’ve paraded a lot of ‘community’ rhetoric when you should have been more hard nosed business focused. There is a reason Roland/Boss has been around so long. They are a business first and philosophical dreamers a very very distant second. Grow up. Be honest about when in your bones you knew everything was going to shit. It was when you went to retail before you fulfilled the backers’ units. You should have folded then. I know the risk I took and can write off the investment without bitterness. You on the other have a lot more to absorb about the brutal nature of real business. Go and look after your family and get a safer job. Abandon changing the ‘business model’. It won’t work. Leave business to the hard nosed profit machine. It might be more exploitative but it puts products in the hands of consumers. You need to understand this before you dip your toe back in this water.


Are you sure? Your writing suggests otherwise.


So I now got my brand new Dwarf from Thomann and it came with 1.11.4


Independent of the current situation I am happy to finally have a Dwarf in my hands and be able to start playing and tinkering!

And what a nice package it is! The hardware really looks solid (never hand one in my hand previously) and also the case is really nice for moving it around. Great product!

Let’s rock a bit… :wink:


Essentially, anything we buy is obsolete almost immediately, not just MOD devices.

The best example i can give is my 2018 KIA NIRO that i bought new because i wanted an affordable vehicle with the latest safety features AND Android Auto. FFW to 2021 and guess what, Android Auto is no longer supported. I spent $35k on a car that i now need to squint at maps on my phone again with in 2022. I bet that cheap Android head unit i put in my previous car is still running Android Auto. One more time.

Technology changes, VERY FAST.
I’m assuming that my Positive Grid gear will also go the same way as MOD soon. They keep making new products because once they’re sold, that’s it. There’s no more money in them for the manufacturer, so sorry but support ends. Remember DigiTech anyone? All my RPs are still working fine. No stinking networks, maybe a defunct Yahoo Group! Welcome to cRapitalism. Roland seems to know this well and stays away from SW for the most part, except for Zen now. I’m sure that’s also temporary. They just wanted a piece of the subscription business too. There ya go, maybe MOD needs a subscription model for plugins?

That said, I do love my MOD Dwarf’s design and features, as long as they keep working, I’m happy. Wish it had a few more synths tho and used VSTs It would be nice if it had some future life, but why kid myself? Nothing else with updatable code in it does.

If the PiMOD path works, that might be the future. I like that concept, open source SW, paid & free plugins, seems like a good landscape.

Fully encapsulated corporate SW? Yuk.
Some of us are learning the hard way, from our wallets.

Finally, I’ve been following this thread, but I see little about Thoman, who seem like the obvious buyer for MOD Inc/GmbH.

Also, what about a temporary plugin tax to refund the undelivered unit buyers? They could decide to buy a Thoman unit if they want or not.

Finally, finally… What about starting a Go Fund Me page to purchase the assets for eventual open sourcing the IP? Anyone interested could pitch in and it could be refunded if not met. Plausible?

Just brain farting… One guy’s opinion… Peace, Music People!


Not sure how much my opinion counts here as I never bought any Mod products, although I checked and I signed up for this forum three years ago. My goal was (is) to have a pedal that I can develop and operate some form of custom DSP code in a solid pedal. To date, I’ve tried:

  • Line6 Tonecore - support evaporated the moment I bought it (you had to install Eclipse with a very specific JDK, and the sample code was limited to a 2-band EQ)
  • Bela - I got some Faust code running on it, was pretty difficult to get the cross-compilation setup working, but I did. Ultimately it is not a pedal, but more likely the basis of a self contained unit to make custom “instrument” or whatever. A bit noisy, which is OK for an “instrument”, probably not for a pedal.
  • Elk Blackboard - again, not a pedal, and again, I purchased it right at the point that the company flipped it to open source to focus on other things. I generally watch the support forum to gauge whether or not something has active support - and that one didn’t, really. I managed to sell it though, so didn’t completely lose out.
  • An old Macbook Pro running Ubuntu Studio with a Behringer UMC404 plugged in on USB - could never get XRUNs to completely go away with reasonable buffer/latency settings. You know what will make me stop using something faster than noise? Glitches from XRUNs. Just XRUN in the other direction.
  • A Raspberry Pi going into the same UMC404, just running Raspbian, running Hydrogen Drum machine and Sooperlooper for starters (I recompiled at least SooperLooper and was customizing its interface to work on a 7" LCD when I gave up due to glitches again). Something about USB sharing an interrupt with Ethernet? Anyway I can’t turn Ethernet off, practically speaking, as that’s how I was accessing it. Used a USB MIDI footpedal and it actually worked. Just not well enough.
  • The Spin FV-1. In this case I made quite a bit of headway, and am still working on “SpinCAD Designer”, a Java program I based on Andrew Kilpatrick’s open-source FV-1 simulator “ElmGen”. I had a forum I ran for several years and had people donate via Paypal if they wanted. It would have been OK but around 2016 I got hacked, which destroyed a bunch of the history of the forum, and compelled me to spend something like $400/year to keep that from happening again. Ah, this is just a hobby, one where I’m supposed to be having fun? I did make money from that but it was because I developed a reputation and got hired for a handful of consulting gigs before I decided I didn’t really need the headache for the small amount of money I was making off it.
  • Experimental Noize FXCore - successor to the FV-1, I just have the dev board and have messed with it a bit. I was considering adapting SpinCAD for it but that looks like a TON of work that nobody’s likely to pay me for. I already approached the vendor, they were not interested.
  • ESP32 on a smart-speaker dev board - based on Faust’s port to the Lyra-T board, I actually hacked in OSC support as well, which was great! I could put all the controls on an OSC panel on my tablet. Unfortunately, the thing ran out of code space before I could even get something as complicated as a feedback delay and flanger and low pass filter implemented. Also, the board I had was very noisy and went GRRRKKKTTKT whenever it got something over Wi-Fi. Not usable.
  • Hoxton Owl - I just got in a Eurorack module used, for a good price. I see that most of their stuff is discontinued, but they have a “MKII” version of their guitar pedal. I may get one of those if I have fun with the Euro module. This device is cool (theoretically) because you can program it in Faust (which I may try) or using Max/Gen. I’m now studying Max, so this may be my path forward in life. However the Hoxton Owl has NO UI to speak of (a flashing LED to tell you which of 40 patches you have selected is laughable).

Let’s just review my particular foibles in all of this.
a) I hate writing DSP algorithms in code. That’s why I spent 3+ years writing SpinCAD. The amount of time you save when it comes time to put things together allows you to be “artistic” IMO. To make an analogy to painting, suppose that your paintbrush weighed 20 pounds. Would that change what you did with it? Writing DSP code directly, in most cases, is like having a 20 pound paintbrush.
b) I don’t care about pedalboards. I have a Headrush MX-5. Already it is too complicated. What I really would like is a modeler like that where most of it is completed and at a competitive level of functionality, but I can add my own blocks if I want to. MOD seemed like it wasn’t quite up to that, leveraging older open source plugins etc.
c) User interface is important. The old pedals on the floor approach has its benefits, after all. Everything is right there. Yes there are things we can’t do like remap the wiring in half a second. This is not a revelation, but you can tell that as it’s become possible to shove more and more and more guitar processing into a box, how exactly does one deal with it? I hate having to use the PC to tweak things. I had an HX Effects for awhile and went through some issues of it being noisy when connected to the PC, USB isolators, finally I gave up and sold it. Some people can deal with complexity at that level (like memorizing what is actually in 100 different patches), but I can’t. Going back to my earliest modeler purchase which was a Johnson J-Station, I finally settled on “Patch 42” as the one I liked the most. When I got a TC G-Major, it was patch 02. And then I would just sort of fiddle with that. But I never did anything like use setlists, because this all requires you to either plan things out way in advance, and/or memorize what all those sounds are. I don’t even perform live, I’m just recording weird things in the basement.

I don’t know what the answer is, and I feel for your predicament. Even though it wasn’t my company, I did way in the past design a cool piece of gear that was an utter failure in the marketplace. “But wait”, you say, “Alex Lifeson used one on tour for two years!” Yes he did. a) He didn’t pay for any of them b) John Entwistle did buy 5 of them c) It wasn’t enough. 3 years I spent working on that (too long, for sure), crammed every idea I had into it (bad idea), did some things that the market leader (the ADA MP-1) didn’t do, but not enough people cared.

When I was doing consulting on FV-1 based products, I discovered something that surprised me at first. That is, guitar players are generally REALLY conservative as regards creating sounds. The only way they can tell whether they like something is whether it was used on some seminal recording made at least 30 years ago. The real freedom came when I was working with a Eurorack vendor. They took some of the craziest stuff I could come up with and wanted more. So that is something to consider as well. The number of guitar players who want to develop a complex virtual pedalboard that they can’t easily interact with is going to be pretty small. That said, I don’t see vast success in Eurorack for programmable devices either. There are a few - the Daisy, aforementioned Hoxton Owl, a few FV-1 based things.

I do wish you all the best. Creativity and commerce do not always align.



And it’s beer-proof. I can vouch for that, having had the experience on stage the other week!


Hi gentlemen

I made a post focusing on the fundraise that has a deadline for tomorrow.

1 Like

Regarding open source: Nonlinear C15 also runs with open source and they have no problems with their ~finances. Technically they could even double the number of votes when they also realized the audio with open source. Before only MIDI - with 14 bit!!! must have!!! - was represented by open source.
What should be bad about it - at the former Mod Devices - only the financiers seem to know.

1 Like

I don’t see how you can really compare these products. The C15 is an order of magnitude more expensive and the software stack is not something that can easily be repurposed. They also don’t seem to integrate any upstream projects (like plugins) the way MOD does.

Interesting device though, but even more niche than MOD in many regards.


It’s also hard to compare the situation of the companies. Nonlinear Labs is owned by Stephan Schmitt, the original founder of Native Instruments.