MOD is at a crossroads - and needs your input

Er … it is running Linux. And you can already run the entire OS from a usb drive on any amd64 computer →

There was already a survey at the start of this topic, with 543 responses, that has now been completed → MOD Reboot - Community Survey #1

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Sorry dreamer you were right - completely forgot, think I just got lost in the thread a bit. And yes I completed it.


I know, but what I meant was a user-friendly (and/or business viable if you will) version that can be hosted inside a DAW, etc.

Frankly, though I do agree with @Austin73 that it’s probably game over, which sucks cause I think that the existence of MOD/Dwarf as a viable product would be good for consumers in general.

Rewriting the entire MOD stack to run as a plugin would take years of development time (if even deemed feasible). This doesn’t make any sense at this stage and I can’t imagine any investor thinking that would be a good focus of efforts.

@dreamer That’s fair. I’m not a dev, so that’s why I started by asking how feasible this is. Guess the last paragraph of my previous post still stands then. What about opening this version inside of a Linux machine, and routing it into a DAW track (disregarding the business viability of this admittedly, not a very user-friendly solution, I’m just wondering for myself)?

If MOD as a company is no more, given that it was largely open source, and what it produced could be repurposed by the users (as evidenced by this version that can be run on the USB stick) I wonder if it could make Linux more viable for music production. I know this is not an impossible use case for Linux, there are people out there making music with the OS, but as with everything Linux, the experience is not seamless.

I don’t have enough time in my day to divide it between using and troubleshooting my machine, so I never thought about daily driving Linux, but I’ve been itching to install one on my secondary machine for the longest time. If I could install some popular distro like Pop! Os, open something resembling MOD inside it and route it to a track in my DAW, that could be really cool. Perhaps cool enough to merit some time investment into learning new OS and troubleshooting the setup.

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Hi everyone

I have posted the survey results and our follow-up in this new topic:


I share your sentiment overall, as a user/consumer. However there are examples of products following this path (Peloton being one of them) that did find mass adoption. So although this bothers some users, it has been proven to be a viable business model.

This. The difficult part is finding out how many users are really willing to pay and how much revenue they can generate monthly. Ideally, in my opinion, we don’t want to depend so heavily on hardware sales. That would be the business model I think is more likely to survive and allow us to have time to grow.

Just let me make clear (again) that I too, as a user, hate paywalls, and I hate subscriptions. But I also rather have a product in a viable business model that pays the bills than not having a product at all.

One example I’ll give you about this (as a consumer) is a tennis store near where I live called Tennis Express. They have a few subscriptions that gives access to special deals, discounts and a few other perks. As a consumer, I honestly have no interest in paying them a monthly fee. However, I realized that if I don’t, then Amazon will eat their dinner. So I chose to pay them (it’s like $100/year) because I can, and because I want the physical store to exist so I have a place to walk around and see/try/shop tennis equipment. It’s a deliberate choice.

I really hope you don’t feel that way. This is not about squeezing maximum juice from our user base. It’s about finding a viable business model. I’d love to say that just selling hardware works. Without mass adoption, I don’t think it will. How can we work together and keep the company afloat until mass adoption finds us? Your sentiment here is important because if in the end that’s how everybody feels, then we have ultimately failed.

I think that would no longer be a problem because the company should be structured in such a way that recurring revenue pays the bills of the team responsible for software updates, cloud, content, etc. Producing more units, R&D and etc. would have to be financed some other way.

I think another business model that is starting to get traction is paying a recurring fee to get access to a bundle of professional plugins rather than buying perpetual licenses. This is exactly what Apple is doing with some level of success. Software, in general, is moving away from the perpetual license model and there are good reasons for it.

This isn’t a perfect solution though. There are a bunch of new problems with this idea. We could be in a situation where a user have to pay a fee or else they can’t do a gig which uses a pedalboard that has a plugin that is part of a paid bundle. That would be terrible. But maybe there’s a way, I’m not sure.

All in all, thanks for all the inputs and ideas.


I work in the fitness industry so this really caught my eye. Peloton has really suffered since the pandemic has loosened up, but they aren’t exactly broke either. However the thing to remember if using them as an example is that their users are paying for content: new videos come out on a regular basis, and access to the back catalog of video workouts.

That actually may be useful as a business model if you can produce the content cheaply enough and the content provides enough value. Of cource that’s a huge challenge, even for Peloton. For MOD the “content” that springs to mind is maybe pedalboards. Pay a fee and get access to the premium pedalboards with new ones coming out every week or so. Basically “get a new sound as a service.” Maybe though it will be too expensive to get someone sufficiently capable in sound design to do this. Or maybe there won’t be enough interest to get sufficient uptake. It will be extra challenging because a preset for a ambient post-rock guitarist will be “unuseable” to a metal band. Can you create enough value in the content that both would subscribe and feel like it’s worth it?

If you can get the value and price right though, there are fitness companies sending people hardware for free as long as they stay subscribed long enough. But I think it’s just a lot easier said than done.
And JFTR I hate subscription models too. :slight_smile:


To some extent, it would be much easier if we did business the old way by creating a device that has 100% of its feature defined before the unit reaches the shelves. With no online capabilities. Just play what you got.

That wasn’t our choice, though we wanted to test what if a device could connect to the cloud and do X? Now, what if it could do Y? And down that rabbit hole, it brought us to this predicament which feels like fitting a square object into a 20-point star hole.


I like the idea of paid updates. You get new features and you pay for them. That will help pay for the continuous improvements made by developers well after the device is purchased.

You could also change the store to a subscription based points for purchasing model. I’ve seen this before with a company called Poliigon who make 3D texture assets. You pay a monthly subscription which gives you a certain number of points per month that you can use to purchase assets. If you end the subscription, you still keep the assets you purchased with the points up until that point.

Audible operates in a similar way. You pay a subscription and you get one free book of your choice per month. When you end the subscription you still have those books you got.

With these models, there’s no break in usability if you don’t pay. You just don’t get something new.


This seems palatable, and preferable to an access model.


yes; i like it too!

it has the side benefit of incentivizing engaged ongoing usage of the device, since each update encourages you to reassess your dedication to the device itself, as well as to the particular benefits of its current (new) state.


It’s a reasonable reaction but I’ll offer that in my experience in the Headrush world, users will often purchase additional IR or rig (pedalboard) packs on top of their multi-hundred dollar device. The devices are platforms intended to give you a nice starting point. For some users the base model might be all they ever need and more. But most people who consider themselves more than hobbyist musicians tend to be opinionated and want have some appearance of uniqueness or personal style. They are willing to spend amounts that are a small percentage of the base price to customize their devices, much in the same way people will opt for various options in their car purchase.

From my own experience, I’ve purchased a handful of add-ons for my Pedalboard. I purchased some blues pedalboards that give a nice range of sounds out-of-the-box. I purchased a set of pedalboards to emulate the sound of a favorite artist and I found the default presets to be very recognizable and work without any fiddling for a range of songs. I’ve purchased a few IRs and other pedalboards that I liked the sound of in demos. I’m pretty sure I would have paid for similar offerings in the MOD world if the quality was decent. I’m one of the users who understands and loves the power under the hood, but as a working dad, kids coach, etc, I don’t have the time or motivation to figure out dialing in target tones as much as the geek in me would love to. So I’m pretty firmly in the “let me throw my money at the curated solutions” camp.


Got to admit this isn’t for me really. I own a Helix and ALL updates have been free and give more fx and features. Sure there are paid presets and IR’s that people love but most of us don’t buy them, well not enough to keep a hardware company afloat.

And surely the whole point of the MOD system is to be flexible beyond anything hardware out there. Not to be a HELIX or GT1000.

I have already paid for the dwarf, then paid import duty, then new power supply, di box , isolator I don’t think I want to be paying €50 euros for an update and a couple of blues presets. Or subscribe to ongoing content. Its good pedal but it’s just not that high on my agenda to keep throwing money at.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way and I’m sorry that I can’t help much more.

I do worry that even with 1600 enclosures waiting to go it’s just delaying the end. Pelton like teams etc had a huge subscription / sales due to Covid far above and beyond what was expected enabling them to growth and become stable. Mod on the other hand was battered by problems due to covid. The fan base, fanatical as it is not as strong.


Hello @unbracketed Brian,

so you didn’t have time inventing preferable presets and buying presets for a specific genre or sounding like (insert your favorite hero here) was the way to go for you.

Guys, we are looking forward to the future. What different genres of pedalboards do you want mod devices come with? What sounds did you expect to come with that weren’t there in the first place? How many different presets per genre would you expect to be in a preset pack and what would you pay for?

I once had a Line6 HD500 and I paid ca. 75€ for 3 packs… in times of Helix I assume preset packs might be free but the hardware is even more expensive.
They had dreated the financial sweet spot between creating presets (and what they paid their creators for) and what users wanted to give them for.
But this is what @gianfranco already asked for in the survey.

Greetings and God bless, Marius


This is perfectly ok as long as you are satisfied with what the Dwarf brings out of the box.
Paying once means getting what’s available with/in the Dwarf at this point in time.

Regarding free updates forever: this might still work as long as there are enough people paying for updates and stuff, so there might be some hope for that, but I would not count on that in the current situation.

Most people just hate subscriptions, but for a company this makes income and hence funding for development a bit more planable.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind either paying for updates as they come (or even crowd-fund certain features) or a subscriptions as long as I get to keep using whatever I had at the time I might decide to stop the subscription (with the option to restart it whenever I want to get new/additional stuff).

I would guess that a big chunk of users fall into this category. And that is what would be again possible right after the current funding round closes and (assuming the goal is reached) the new company gets access to everything again and can re-open the store, pedalboard site and downloads.

I’m actually quite happy with the Dwarf - missing a lot of things I need but most things do. I have managed to squeeze what I can out of it and added it to the arsenal.

I quite like the look on friends faces when I play synth and drums on it and loop stuff, whilst playing guitar!

I bought it for shiroverb and the midi stuff which I very happy with.

My concerns are that of a more human thing. Just don’t want Mod to reboot and then end up going the same way. It’s too much to ask everyone involved in my mind. But I do genuinely hope it does succeed.


Maybe for the subscription could work some kind of patreon thing where you can vote what do you want that month/week/etc? maybe thematically? something that adds to the experience, not cutting corners and selling them again? I mean, I don’t know how viable would be develop or porting a plugin monthly (and free for the subscriptors, ofc), but I think that wouldn’t be detrimental for the non subscriptors

edit: thematically, I mean, pedalboard of x artist because the band released something recently or its been x years since a famous release, designed by x artist, whatever


@unbracketed Sure, I’m a Helix user. I have a bunch of premium IRs but I didn’t pay Line6 for them, and I can use them with other modelers, or inside my DAW.

As for the premium presets, they are largely the reason why so many people still make semi-regular videos about devices that are almost a decade old (Helix/Kemper) because that drives the preset sales. So Line6/Kemper enjoys a ton of free marketing that users selling the presets generate. Now, Line6 has a marketplace for those and I guess MOD could have too but I’m not sure how much revenue that would really generate for such a niche device. It will probably have to be a part of a larger monetization strategy.

Quick disclaimer - presets are extremely overrated. Multi FX boxes may seem self-contained but they aren’t. There’s the rest of your rig to consider (your guitar, your interface/monitors, your ability to gain stage into the output) which can make good presets sound bad or at least different than intended.

@jetztgradnet @Austin73 and others - I realize that MOD is kinda in a tight spot. I also know that it’s much easier to deconstruct than to construct and I hate when people do that without offering alternatives, but I feel like this needs to be stated:

No one else (that matters) in the hardware space does paid updates. No one. Even if we disregard the competition that doesn’t force users to pay for anything other than the device (in order of relevance Helix, FM3, Zoia, Poly Digit/Beebo, any number of multi-fx units by Boss/Nux/Hotone/Valeton, etc., etc.) and go straight to Akai which sells additional content for their MPC devices, you’ll find that they also do free updates (the most recent ones including for example - amp sims, gained them a bunch of community goodwill).

So I guess the question is simple, is your device so superior to the above-mentioned ones that you can get away with being pretty much the only hardware company charging for the software updates?

Totally agree with the paid updates . I think the idea is not in the best interest of the product. People will quickly move away to something newer, better and cheaper or keep with what they have already and not dip into the MOD realm.

For something that costs over £400 or even 500 to the unlucky ones that haven’t received their ‘gift’ it’s a bit cheeky to expect we relentlessly dip in to support.

Sorry just my thoughts. I’m stepping away from the thread as I feel my negativity dragging both me and the room down.