Thinking of buying a MOD

Hi, hope this is the right place for this question. I’ve been considering a Mod for some time and your recent improvements in the models area have caught my eye. They’re not sold locally in Canada so I better get something second hand. If I were to get a new one, the 500 Euros turn into 750 CAD, which gets added 13% tax in my province, so it becomes a $850+ acquisition. However, there’s a guy here in city selling his Duo X for less than that, so it’s a better alternative. He’s super nice and even offered me to take it home for a test drive.

The problem is that, reading the forum, I’m aware of the current state of affairs with Mod as a company and also the Mod Duo X as a product. I don’t want to get into something that may get discontinued soon or that will not have further development. I asked the guy why he’s selling and he told me about health issues and other personal matters, but he was also very honest and straightforward and told me about how long it may take for me to take full advantage of it. There’s a lot of fiddling, trial and error until I have something workable.

I then wanted to ask the forum a few things, sorry if these are newbie questions but that’s something I need to clear before I make that investment.

First, is there a benefit to the Duo X that overweights the Dwarf, even if it’s not being developed anymore? The seller plays guitar but said he’s chosen the Duo X because it has more power and more controls and he used it as desktop.

Second, does it work independent of the computer for playing live? All demo videos I see have a computer connected and controls changing in real-time on the screen, but the seller told me you can just take the Mod with you and play live. Not sure if that’s true. (I kinda trust the guy, but better check)

Third, and I say this with no bad feelings at all, I once tested a number of open source plugins and they were not bad, but not to be compared with others I own. My reason for picking a hardware unit is to walk away from using laptops live, but I see that Mod employs a full open source system and that all (or most) plugins are also open source. My question here is to the quality of those and what kind of support I can expect from plugin makers.

Last, I see that the company went through a rough patch in recent years and what worries me is that the company will go down and I’ll be left with a piece of gear of no value and support. I’d appreciate an honest assessment of the current funding situation and what can be expected in the near future.

I should add that I already tried a PiSound (actually, the seller also has one) and while I do appreciate the value of a community-based project, it stung me that some things were too much of a work in progress and that development went in small installments. I want and need a robust piece of hardware that is supported by a company and doesn’t take all of my time fiddling with it, because I have to play several gigs now over the summer and don’t have the time to tinker. With the PiSound it’s more like a summer project than a real product. Will Mod be the answer to what I need?

Sorry for many questions, and thanks for your patience.


As someone who’s owned a Dwarf for just over 24 hours I can safely say that it’s a lot of fun and has some incredible potential.

Not sure about the first point to be honest, I know that the Dwarf is the strategic direction of the company so is likely where most of the focus will be but it sounds like the Duo X will be supported for the foreseeable. Would double check on that though.

For your second point you could absolutely us this live.

The GUI you access on an external device is where you’re gonna need to create and edit pedalboards, it’s required if you want to make changes any of the signal routing etc. Once you’ve built your pedalboard and tested it at home/rehersal you can assign key paramaters to the physical dials/buttons on the device which you can use to make changes on the fly when away from your computer etc.

Unlike devices like the GT1000core or HX Stomp etc you can’t build and edit the structure of your pedalboards on the unit (yet) so you need to make sure you’re prepped.

For the third point there are some pretty awesome plugins, I’ve only scratched the surface so far. Unlike a closed ecosystem though the quality and implementations do vary drastically. You’ll often need to tweak levels quite a bit as you swap out modules etc. There are also a pretty intimidating number of modules to choose from, some are going to be better than others. What you do get is a pretty amazing range of stuff that you’d never get on another unit allowing you to create some really unique sounds.

The new AIDA-X/NAM profiles open another door to some pretty amazing tones. The JCM800 paid AIDA-X plugin sounds incedible from the Trial and the paid reverbs are easily some of the best I’ve ever heard. I’m excited at the prospect of potentially capturing some of my current analog pedals and scaling back a huge chunk of my pedalboard.

Realistically you’re gonna need to do some tweaking, if you’re not going to want to spend time getting to grips with the nuances of different fx then tbh you might be better off with something like a HX Stomp or similar. If you want something that is going to give you access to some pretty out there options and allow you to craft some really unique sounds then the Dwarf seems like a great choice.


I love my Dwarf. It does everything I need.

You don’t need to be connected to the GUI to use it.

I use the dwarf by itself all the time.

The key is digging to find the sound that works for you. If you are a traditional electric guitarist you might try to emulate how your analog board is set up and get frustrated that the tone isn’t what you want. But if you test the placement of your overdrives, for example, you will find something that sounds crazy good.

You have to dig, test, and experiment but if you put work into it for a couple months you’ll get a lot out of it. It’s not a plug and play pedal even though there are some decent preset boards.

Also it’s tons of fun trying new pedals as they release.

Hope that helps a bit.


The Duo X (aka MDX) has significantly more processing power which allows for using dozens of plugins per pedalboard, or multiple instances of a plugin that would overwhelm the Dwarf. For some users, a desired configuration of (for example) a quality amp, an IR cabinet, convolution reverb, a stereo widener, and a few effects will be too much for the Dwarf, so you’ll have to start making trade-offs. With the new AIDA / NAM plugins, you’re even more limited out of the gate since those take up a big chunk of what the Dwarf can handle. I don’t want to give the impression that you can’t make some complex and nice pedalboards on the Dwarf - I even used to run guitar + vocal + MIDI synth on the same boards with the less-powered Duo.

You can use the unit for performing without a computer connected. The computer is typically used during creation / exploration phases for adjusting parameters, saving presets, and mapping plugin controls to the device switches and knobs. Many users will have snapshots (aka presets or scenes) within the pedalboard and mapped to controls so they can change between song or sonic parts easily. If you’re a guitar player getting the Duo X, you’ll very likely want a MIDI foot controller to go with it so you can have the stomp experience for altering the device state. I believe the MDX was marketing more to the EDM crowd, and as such, I think it much more common to have a computer available and connected as part of the normal performance gear.

It’s a fair assessment. My hot take on it is that if your musical genre is often associated with amps and cabinets (like rock, metal, blues), historically those users have been the least impressed with the available selection. Users in this realm have certain expectations about tone, breakup levels, and response to touch and have reported difficulties achieving the desired results without significant experimentation and/or non-obvious workarounds. Recently some new options have become available, most of which are paid options, but the results are generally accepted as much better. There’s also a lot of excitement around the AIDA and NAM models for potential sound quality but as I mentioned earlier running these on the Dwarf means you are limited in what other effects you can squeeze in.

At least a few of the plugin makers are active here in the forums. The author of the LP3 looper is very responsive to questions and feature requests, and the LP3 itself is a standout plugin that will let your device operate like a top of the market looper.

I have no knowledge about the financial state of the company. I believe that post-reboot they needed to hit several months worth of sales projections and close a round of fundraising to remain solvent (for the short term). They just had to lay off two employees, which is concerning. It seems they are making a big bet on being a player in the “neural modeling” space.

be left with a piece of gear of no value and support

“No value” is subjective, but I understand your point. It should be the case the people could use their devices well beyond any Mod Audio demise, just like with any other piece of audio equipment. Given the complexity of the internals, yeah, there’s probably more risk of hardware failure in the long run. If you’re going the modeler route, I don’t know if you can fully avoid it. I’ve been leaning more into my Headrush Pedalboard lately, manufactured by a large established company, and even those are started to be considered out-of-stock in some places. I don’t like the idea of having all my performance sounds and tricks locked into one device either, so I think about it too. Or like that one time my Duo locked up right before my first gig and I didn’t have a backup ready…

An interesting thing happened when the company was first starting its insolvency. The community quickly rallied around building up collections of all the plugins and working to understand how to potentially setup and maintain third party repositories for the plugins and software releases. There’s a good chance that a similar effort would take place and a volunteer community would be able to put something together for sharing plugins and maintenance knowledge.

As others have said, these devices are not nearly as plug-and-play as other options. The web interface doesn’t make it easy to quickly demo different plugins to see what you might like, rather you’re faced with a lot of tedious mouse movements to connect and disconnect cables each time. Due to the open source nature of the plugins, there isn’t consistency with respect to how levels are handled, expected input ranges, etc. Some of us use the technique of adding level meters to the ins/outs (more mouse work!) to have some clarify, followed by adding additional gain controls in between many of the plugins to compensate.


Check if that DuoX is a production unit (if not you may want to go for a Dwarf instead).


Hi everyone,

Wow! Thanks a lot for your thoughtful and thorough answers. I really mean it!

Yes @dreamer, it’s a production unit dated 2020. I checked that first of all, actually. The seller too told me to avoid those. He seemed to be pretty knowledgeable about the system. He’s quite nice too and offered for me to pick it up today and spend a week with it, so I’ll be using it from this weekend. I can post my findings if anyone’s interested.

Good to hear that it actually works without the computer, that was the goal. I mostly play gospel music @unbracketed, so yeah, it’s always a mix of rock, blues, soul, etc. I play guitar but as of late a lot of bass, since bass players are hard to find in my area for some reason. I’ve been subbing for our departed bass player who’s now in the hands of God, and a full time replacement has yet to come. I do 3 churches in my city and vicinity, for a minimum of 6 and at times 10 services a week, plus the occasional party gig for weddings, débuts and even Bar Mitzvahs (I have no religious barriers, God is always God.) A solution that I can take in my backpack and goes into the main PA is what I want. A looper is also something we can use and this unit already has the LP3 plugin. So it’s good to know the author is part of the forum.

I see. I’m not complaining here, but my educated guess would be that a commercial company would do some curation and adjustments to make them fit their product. Hope I’m not offending anyone by saying this.

I guess the make it or break it for me will be exactly that, how much work I’ll need to put into every patch. The HX would be the next logical option. Or a Headrush. A former bandmate used the Eleven rack and I really liked the sound.

Thanks again everyone and I’ll keep you posted.


If I can offer some advice, in the beginning I was trying to use the presets that came with the MOD, to learn what it can do and cut some corners. It all went very bad. Distortion all over the place and no consistency with anything. I’m not a guitar player so my process is different than yours, but here’s the step-by-step that helped me get going:

  1. Start with blank pedalboard
  2. Adjust hardware in and out levels (you have to do it in the unit, can’t be changed from a computer)
  3. Add each plugin and see if the level gets a boost or cut.
  4. Add gain plugins each time there’s a need to tweak those levels between plugins

At this point you’ll have something workable.

Good luck.


Yeah thats a good point, I think that applies to pretty much all modellers and multi fx units.

I was incredibly underwhelmed by the Boss GT1000 until I started from a blank slate, 1 in 5 would sound ok but the rest sounded horrible. I guess there are so many variables such as pickup configurations, instrument output and speaker/headphones/amp choices that it couldn’t ever really sound good for everyone without tweaking.

What I will say though is that the Dwarf ones are some of the best I’ve come across for demonstrating some of what’s possible rather than just giving cheesy imitations of famous guitar tones.

I’m a bassist who’s only recently got into pedals so I don’t know all the nuances of a fuzz face vs a tone bender etc. Still I popped together a simple guitar rig in a few mins with a downloaded Hiwatt amp profile I downloaded from the forums, an IR and some other pedal fx. Sounded just as good as anything I’d done on the GT1000 or the STL Tones Amp hub. Thats without really dialling it in with additional eq etc.

Very impressive little box :raised_hands:


Thanks @miss_demeanor, that’s how I’ve got a workable patch.

As a quick update on this, I decided to thank the guy and return the unit. I can the see the potential, the flexibility, the room for development, but as a working musician. I need something solid and reliable for everyday use. From what I read here the Duo X is having all sorts of issues and I can’t be left to the will of the winds when it comes to my rig. I considered a Dwarf since it seems to be faring better overall but there are other things that turned me off badly, especially taking so much time to build a single patch. Some plugins are very noisy and therefore unusable. Then there’s also the administrative aspect of the company, but I won’t elaborate here.

I ordered a Helix preamp and will go with it.

@mrdinsdale, when you play distortion in whatever form, most multi-effects will deliver something quickly. Now when you play mostly clean and slightly crunchy, then 95% of multi-effects fail real bad. Models are poor, dynamics are nowhere to be seen, sound is shallow and hollow. The Helix is quite good but not a dream come true either. But for me it will do and I need something I can rely on.

Thanks all for your insights and God bless.


Makes sense, shame but I’d still recommend keeping an eye out for the Dwarf 2nd hand to try. It’s a lot of fun to play with and the AIDA-X models I’ve tried have been exceptional. Best of luck!!!


I would have said the opposite. Delay and reverbs are normally better in multieffects, while reproducing the saturation of a valve amp, a fuzz or a driver is harder because if the inherently non linearity of the filter.

Working with cleans (which means ambient effects) is usually a matter of CPU power and memory, because the signal at every given time depends on the previous values. OTOH distortion is a matter of “taste” and tweaking on the infinite internal parameters of the model.

And then there came the deep learning with its voodoo


My feeling is that @ira said no to MOD as a whole, isn’t that so?

Anyway @ira, good luck with your search.


Let me clarify myself here, @Zavorra. I should have mentioned not multi-effect units, but PREAMPS. That’s what I’m talking about, preamp units with built-in effects, like the Digitech GSP series. Pat Metheny used one for many years, it was only replaced I think when he got a Kemper, which he still uses. His rationale for the Digfitech and Kemper in his own words is that they’re self contained units for effects and models (in the Kemper case.)

You’re right when you say

I totally agree with that. My old ME-50 was super good, very “manual” and easy to use. The problem was going straight into PA. I bought DI boxes and eventually a guy once sold me these used DIs made by someone in Brazil. They were fantastic and had a super clean 20dB boost. Still, without a preamp it was still a flaky setup. I bought a nice preamp, but that bloated my rig to the point I had to drive all the time (I’d rather bike in the Summer or use transit.)

My thought of a MOD was that it would be a preamp, modeler, and ME. With balanced outputs, that seemed a good shot at a single, portable, do-it-all unit. If it worked well, that would be a win-win situation. But I see it won’t work for me. Not sure the Dwarf is so prone to fail, but the X seems like a ticking bomb. I play out a lot and need something solid.

Hope this explains my rationale.

Thanks for your insights and advice, @mrdinsdale. I appreciate your time and writing. But I think Mod, as a whole, simply won’t do it for me. This is a very personal thing and hope it doesn’t offend you, since you seem to be very happy with your Mod. But the first thing I tested was AIDA, and found the clean models to be very, very poor. Even the Veja Roamer sounded better than any models I tried. I thought maybe I could model a good amp or preamp, but I don’t have the gear nor do I have the inclination for fiddling with programming and such. The seller of this Duo X has a hand-made tube amp at home that is sweeter than honey with added sugar, and also looks fantastic, the most beautiful amp I’ve ever seen. Really. But until I could mic it and do the training thing, I’d need gear, cables, knowledge and time that I just don’t have.

The other aspect, which I’ll not dwell into here, has to do with the company as a whole. I won’t express what I think because it doesn’t help anyone here.

Correct, @miss_demeanor. And thank for the wishes.

To everyone here, may God’s peace be with you and guide your steps.

My sincere wishes,


Na that’s fair enough! Tbh my focus is the opposite as I already have an analog preamp that is perfect for me, the Dwarf is mostly to let me slim down the number of drives and add some modulation and time based stuff.

Just to clarify I was meaning more to check back in a couple of years once the AIDA-X stuff has matured and hopefully MODs position is a little more solid.


My pleasure, @ira.

I have a feeling I understand the other aspects related to the “company as a whole” and agree that voicing it out here does no good. Enough to say that I also decided to part ways with my Mod and that was the catalyst.

Good luck in your pursuits.


my two cents as a long-time user of MOD devices with piezo-based pickups on reed instruments…

with the Duo, i generally used a Headway preamp, then effects in the Duo, followed by an external reverb; there just wasn’t enough CPU power to do it all in the device.

now, with the Duo X or the Dwarf, i’m doing everything in the MOD device. there’s enough CPU power to run my up-front EQ and other input massaging, plus effects, plus reverb, and output leveling. the choice between the two devices just depends on the pedalboard complexity and the requirements for on-board parameter control, dependant on the requirements of a given show.

i routinely perform with my MOD devices, and have had nothing but good comments from venue sound techs. i’ve also never had an on-stage MOD “meltdown”.

for me, there have been a few keys to that success:

  1. effective gain-staging, always with a keen ear to S/N ratio.

  2. extensive testing of my rig before any show, especially if there has been any pedalboard or MOD OS change… power up/down multiple times with no USB connection, and including all peripherals (MIDI, Control Chain, D.I., etc). include checking all pedalboard functions, controlling them as i will in performance. include in this testing some re-loads of the pedalboard from the device, to make sure that works and that it comes up in the state i expect it to.

  3. lots of time in the record/evaluate/tweak cycle! :rofl:

…hope that helps!..


Hi @plutek,

Thanks for taking the time to write and share your tips. I’ve however walked away from getting a Mod device (MDX or Dwarf) for a number of reasons, but the shortest version is that I can’t afford “extensive testing” of anything on a regular basis. I need to set something up and be ready to play anytime. Sometimes I get last minute requests, so between getting out of my day job and being ready to play there’s hardly one hour.

Wishing you all the best and the peace of God,