Expression pedal update

The current supplier for the mechanical parts is the same one which we use for our other products. The difference is that it is a folded aluminium sheet enclosure where our other devices are diecast aluminium. This means that the parts are built by different people in a different factory and they have not been able to produce a sample of sufficient quality yet. I rejected the 3rd sample before they shipped it because I could see from the images they sent that they were not up to scratch. So we are still waiting for the 3rd sample.

I understand the frustration seeing other products progress while the expression pedal stays stagnant but I can tell you they are mutually exclusive. The Dwarf is not delaying the Expression Pedal and neither are the overdrive plugins. The only reason why the expression pedal is delayed currently is because the manufacturers are improving their tooling to make it properly.

I mentioned in one of the earlier updates that this project only landed on my desk at the beginning of the year. All of the design work was finished well before the Duo X production units and the Dwarf. It is taking longer because it is far more mechanically complex. That’s the crux of it. So it needs more iterations of the enclosure parts compared to the Dwarf or Duo X.

The good news is that compared to the Dwarf and Duo X, on the electronic and software side, it is much simpler, so once we get the enclosure right, it won’t be long before we can start producing them

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Hi @GMaq

It is very sad to read your message and even sadder to acknowledge the fact that you’re among our earliest supporters.

As @acunha has already mentioned, we have our customers in 1st place of priority but, with all the difficulties we’ve been going through, even the highest priorities are not always properly fulfilled leading to such broken expectations.

Regarding Rated Blue in the artist’s page, that’s a screw-up I can’t believe I let slip. It was passed on the marketing team but no action was actually taken and I did not keep track of it, so I guess you can personally blame me for that.

Lesson learned. Instead of lamenting I’ll make the effort to avoid similar screw-ups in the future.

I can’t thank enough for the support you gave us since the beginning, as a backer, as a Linux Audio enthusiast and as an artist. Also, I reassure you that even with such difficulties, we are not throwing the towel and we continue to pursue our goals.

I hope we improve to the point that your frustration can be mitigated by better outcomes from our side.

My dearest wishes

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MOD does many things right and people love your products – it certainly seems like it! That might be the reason why the issues at hand (communication, expression pedal, file upload,…) starkly contrast the positive developments. My DUO is working well as is but still I would like to see the company and ecosystem flourish further.

The Dwarf is not delaying the Expression Pedal and neither are the overdrive plugins.

Oh, the selection of overdrive plugins is outright fantastic… I meant to the many volume pedals (tiny gain, MOD gain, … ).

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The reason for the many gain plugins is just that they are easy to do development-wise.
In comparison, synths are much harder, so there tends to be less of them.

Most of the stuff we have right now are open-source plugins ported to the platform, so most are from developers’ own free time and personal interest.
That got us a good first initial batch of plugins, but understandably means most are on the simple side, and lack a bit on the attention to detail. In turn, almost everything is in the store for free as well.

Slowly we are putting resources into professional plugins ourselves. paying attention to stuff like zipper-noise and nice presentation and UX.
We also had the issue of plugin developers being limited by basic parameter support for plugins, which is not a thing anymore with the upcoming v1.10, so hopefully we can see more complex plugins going forward. (at least I really think so, lots of work on the software side so the MOD platform is no longer a limitation)

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Makes sense.

Others will certainly disagree, but for me as a hobbyist polishing is of lesser importance. But to capture the differences in your user base, it would probably make sense to conduct a survey and find out what SW features the participants would prioritize. Doing so would also emphasize that you are “listening to the people” and give you reasons to post stuff on your marketing channels on FB, IG, … just saying.

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Polish is certainly valuable and one of the things I love about MOD in general. Having said that, I also agree that more regular and proactive polling of the community (particularly) on the software side of development would help. At the moment it feels a little closer to the cathedral end of the spectrum than the bazaar end - as far as I know, hardly anyone outside a small core team is contributing, except for perhaps a few professional third-party plugin developers. (Please do correct me if I’m wrong.)

This relates to previous discussions such as Is MOD building products or a platform? and Reverse crowdfunding section for new plugins. I still believe that the MOD community is a fantastic but an underutilised resource which if fully harnessed could help propel both the MOD platform and company to new heights. Setting up the right economic incentives for developers to contribute could be a complete game-changer.

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I have my questions if this is related to MOD, or LV2 in specific.
We already have seen a few developers doing plugins in LV2 just because of MOD, because that is the format we use. The LV2 format allows many cool things, but it is hard to grasp for people not yet used to its concepts.

One of our goals at the moment, where discussion already started, is better tooling for plugin developers.
Because of us having to move quickly (for the small team we are) a few things like the mod-sdk project are not in a good shape right now.

One of the things in v1.10 is the “log” extension of LV2, so a print-like statement can send a message from the plugin side all the way to the browser. This will make debugging of plugins on the platform a LOT easier, no more just guessing what is going on :sweat_smile:

With better dev tools, hopefully more will come and be happy on the platform.

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Sounds great!

@gianfranco , @falkTX
Call me naive, but if you guys already have a lot of (meaning ‘too much’) soft&hardware work on your plate, then why start with the development of even more new things (duoX, dwarf)?
(Dont answer that question, i know the answer, i’m also in soft/hardware development :slight_smile: )
But just for arguments sake : why not finish what you started and then move on to the next thing…

I totally understand @GMaq’s frustration : my mod is a first-batch baby-blue sn 20160218-1-01-001-0006 box, so i’m in the same boat as GMaq …
However, since i already came this far i think i’m just going to keep bugging you until i get my gift-wrapped packed-with-extra-goodies (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) shiny expression pedal

Grts
Thijs

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My situation is worse, I am also an initial supporter, but as I do not have technical knowledge to be able to call myself a beta tester, I prefer to wait for safer units. In fact, I still haven’t received my footswitch unit, because before it seemed that the development of the expression pedal would end and then I could receive them together. Please contact me to send me the footswitch.

I’m really sorry that you still didn’t receive the footswitch. I believe that you were already contacted in order to proceed with the subject so you can get yours. (If you were not yet contacted, you will be soon)

Yes, i recived the first e-mail, when they askme if i whent to recive the footswitch, but i said no. Howeaver in the moment i prefer to recived now. Whith whom i have to talk to get it?

Is there any update on the expression pedal?

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indeed : update time !
@James anything you can share ?

Yes you’re right, I meant to update you guys last week but I ran out of time.

After repeated failed prototypes from the current supplier, we opted to cut ties with them but they requested that they could make one more attempt and that they would absorb the tooling costs. They recently showed me some pictures where they were able to get the bend radius correct. This was the main problem with the previous samples. So they are working to finish this sample now to send to us for the last chance.

I’m of course sceptical that this round will have all the problems fixed so I am actively pursuing a new supplier

We have been introduced to another supplier in Latvia who are far more professional and have experience making parts for music hardware. From what I have seen they seem very capable of making really nice quality parts. Also having the production in Europe makes things easier since we can quickly visit the factory if needed and there will be less delays with shipment.

So basically we will first see if the current supplier can pull through with their final attempt. If not, I will be happy to move to a new supplier and I’m confident the onboarding process won’t be too difficult

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Thanks for the update @James,

So am i correct to say that the mechanical issues are the last hurdle you need to take? Changing supplier is not something you do overnight, what will the impact be on the delivery timeline ?

Also …
Is the electrical and software side of things 100% ready to go ?
Do you already have all the electronics in house ? in the quantities needed to supply all backers with a pedal ? what quantities are you talking about, and will you be doing final assembly in house, or will it be done externally ? If you do it externally, do you already have a trusted supplier? or will you also have to go trough a prototyping process with this supplier ?

Soooo many questions

i’ll go back to waiting and dreaming about what compensation goodies will be in the box …

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What I also would like to see is kind of a rough timeline.
When do you plan to have this sorted out, maybe give us an estimate for the best and the worst case.
Also a commitment from your side, until when we can expect further updates would be nice.
It feels so tiresome to wait for weeks to get any news and in the end someone needs to stand
up and bother you again… Just 5 sentences on the first of every month would be enough, even if nothing happened. Please help us to rekindle our enthusiasm for this project and show us that you really care.

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Hi @Thijs_van_severen, indeed the mechanical parts are the bottleneck in the expression pedal project.

Regarding the electrical parts, these have been ready for a bit and all we have to do is give the green light to our manufacturer to start the PCBA.

The production of the electronic parts will be handled by our trusted manufacturing partner, who has already been doing the PCBA for the MOD Duo, DuoX and Dwarf.

On the software side of things, I would say the firmware is about 90% ready. The prototype I have here is already fully functional, including the device self-test used during manufacturing. We might still do some aesthetical tweaks to make the display graphics look neat, but nothing that can’t be managed in a day’s work.

Also for those who have been following our Github, we have been adding features to the ControlChain protocol over the past few months (Footswitch update 0.4.0 coming soon :eyes:) which will all be available on the expression pedal as well.

In short, as soon as we have a supplier that can provide us with proper mechanical samples, we can kick off production, and handle the last software bits in parallel.

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Thanks Jan, that all sounds promising - exciting that we’re finally nearing the end of this long wait!

Oooh cool, so what will 0.4.0 bring?

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CC related updates listed on Control Chain Releases - MOD Wiki

coloured lists and momentary toggle (something new in 1.10 in general) plus “feedback” and tap-tempo. (feedback is simply saying we can change plugin value while assigned to CC)

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