Say hello to the MOD Dwarf

Happy 2020 dear members of the MOD community!!!

This is going to be a very exciting year for MOD Devices. Many things are happening both on stage and backstage and you will all profit a lot from them all. Our team is growing and we entered the year at full throttle.

I am writing this post to tell you about the MOD Dwarf, our latest project announcement, which I had already hinted in my previous update.

The Dwarf shares many similarities with the MOD Duo, but it bears several improvements

  • We are bringing the Dwarf to life via a Kickstarter campaign, planned to go live in late February 2020.

  • The Dwarf is a floor unit, aimed at guitarists and bassists, but of course, capable of being used by a myriad of other instruments (It’s a MOD device that we’re talking about, after all :wink: )

  • It has two adjustable audio inputs and outputs plus headphones, full MIDI connectivity, Control Chain, USB Host, and USB Device.

As the other MOD processors, it supports the MOD platform from the graphical editor for the creation of virtual pedalboards to the Plugin Shop and the Pedalboard feed.

And the similarities stop here :wink:

The Dwarf is the result of almost 10 years of collected experience of embedding a computer inside a pedal-like enclosure, being the last five years a context of mass production with a diverse population of users. It carries the joy of many hits and the painful lessons of our mistakes, representing a step up in many different aspects of product design that range from usability to manufacturing.

Here are some of the results from such improvements:

It is small
And it has a horizontal form factor, easier to fit on your pedal train. The connections are all in the back face, enabling maximum compaction of your board.

It is smart to control
The controller offers a combination of knobs, pushbuttons and footswitches that allows great workflows for configuration and adjustment. Monitoring is made via a graphical display plus multiple RGB LEDs.

It is powerful
With a 64bit Quad-core ARM CPU, there is enough processing power to run the most demanding plugins and the most complex virtual pedalboard.

It is cheaper
When hitting the stores, the Dwarf is planned to retail at 299€. There is probably nothing in the musical gear market today that offers so much “bang for buck”.

My main objective with this post is to involve you, the members of our community, in the process of making the Dwarf a reality. The idea for such a device is not new in the company and since late 2018 we have been steadily developing the concept and the basic architecture.

There is a landing for the MOD Dwarf and it will be updated regularly during the next months: https://www.moddevices.com/moddwarf

Subscribe to the Dwarf mailing list to keep up with the most up-to-date information about the campaign. Share it with your friends and fellow musicians. Let’s make people hear and talk about it.

We are now entering “pre-campaign mode” and your involvement is of great value for us. We are very interested in hearing what you have to say in order to pull off the best product we can. As MOD users, you all surely have great insights that emerged from the experience with our existing products.

Such a step up immediately raises the question: what about the Duo and the plans for its hardware update?

I’ll update this matter in this other forum thread: CPU upgrade?
The update of the Duo is a separate topic and I want to keep the discussion about it separated from the Dwarf.

This is the start of a very exciting process and I welcome you all on board.

Let’s once again step onto the future!

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Hello, @gianfranco Congratulations on the new project. Hugs from here in Brazil.

I have been following your development in this area for a long time. Part of liking the innovations proposed by the MOD team giving a new direction to the music market, part of the effort related to the open source community and part of me having a related open source project that uses mod-host.

I would like to share some ideas, both from a developer perspective and from someone who plays as a hobby.

1. I have a Zoom G3 and a Zoom MS50g, I find it very interesting how to configure the audio plugins by the equipment. It’s very quick to go through the effects of the patch and change the value of some parameter, even with a single knob on Zoom G1on. By the dwarf design, there are three knobs and three knobs, so you can do something really cool to scroll through the effects and change their parameters.

2. Some audio plugins processor equipments allow configurations beyond a single effect-chain in series (one plugin connects to several others). And they can manages the plugin connections without opening an editor on their computer / tablet / phone.
I understand that the level of control of the effects chain that you make available is total, but somehow I hoped you could easily at least change the order of the plugins. Remember that the target audience is people who leave the equipment on the floor and often need to make quick adjustments to a rehearsal (ensaio) and other environments that you can’t get a tablet or even a cell phone to adjust something.

3. Despite full control of the effects chain, it is very costly / boring to be testing various plugins, swapping one plugin, disconnecting and plugging into the effect chain. Switching the hardware plugin in my opinion would be very important. I understand that there are several types of plugins, some with multiple outputs, others without input, but for the most obvious cases it could have some automatic adjustment. The same goes for mod-ui. But if it works and I can buy one, I want to make a pull request :slight_smile:

4. Please remember to put a shortcut to general volume control by a knob. Preferably a general control of the equipment, not the patch. Another shortcut to changing the patch is cool, but the general one is more useful live. This is very important and for me, despite something simple, it is a big differential of the equipment: it is something that I look at when I want to differentiate an input equipment for a more professional.

5. You could make a way to change patches or a patch preset by pressing two footswitches at the same time. An example of equipment that has this functionality is Zoom G3.

A tip: You could teach in the manual how to add guitar pedals in the middle of the pedalboard with the equipment’s send / return loop, using:

guitar out -> mod dwarf input 1 -> mod dwarf out 1-> in guitar pedal -> out pedal guitar -> mod dwarf input 2 -> mod dwarf output 2 -> amp in

Other tip: Advertise the possibilities of connecting two instruments simultaneously: For example, in the same patch, one guitar and one bass. Because one stereo input = two mono inputs.

If you need more details of my suggestions, if you prefer you can contact us directly by the box and I can answer in Portuguese.

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I can’t find it on kickstarter. Have you got it up yet?

Thanks!

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So what’s the difference to the Mod Duo exactly? From that copy it reads “better, smaller and cheaper”?

I love the ARM platform because it’s so expansive and programmable.

Not yet @Dave_Parker

We will kickoff the campaign in late February

It is a big evolution from the Duo in many aspects and they boil down to “better, smaller and cheaper”.

We managed to make it more compact, powerful and cheaper.

In terms of usability the Dwarf is much smarter. We collected a lot of feedback from Duo users and designed a new controller that will enable a much usable, even from a total standalone conception.

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Same amount of plug ins, ie: I can keep my presets, etc.?
Compatible to what I’ve put into the Mod Duo? I can keep my pedal board sets???

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Is there any more info on the Dwarf other than what’s in this thread and currently on the landing page?

I gather that it has an extra stomp, an extra knob, faster CPU, is smaller, has all the same inputs / outputs, so apparently the only “regression” from the Duo is that it has one screen instead of two. Is that right? I assume that there will be some software improvements so that the single screen doesn’t significantly reduce usability.

There is more info coming. As we have many open questions still, there is a lot to be decided and we will update you guys as we advance.

What I can assure beforehand is that the controlling will be much better and not only we’re adding more actuators, but we’re also thinking on ways to improve workflow and make easier the usage without a computer.

The new CPU is not only more powerful, but it also is better supported in Linux, making it easier to bring features like Audio-over-USB which is something lots of people have been requesting.

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yes. pedalboards are interchangeable.

there is still some details to decide though in regards to parameter addressing.

that said, you’ll surely be able to use your original pedalboards, but in the worst case you’ll need to re-address the controls.

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That’s so exciting!

:wink:

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Yep, was already waiting for that.

Can’t post an image, why?

OK, earned a batch “rtfm”. There is no mentioning of not being allowed to post any images. What have I missed?

OK, sorry, found it. Trust level.

So, how about that:

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That is a GREAT idea !!!

…to continue your comparison, the Dwarf loses DIN MIDI. i’ve got a DIY MIDI controller that i use a lot which has only DIN MIDI… oh well.

still, there are a lot of great things about the Dwarf, and i’d be happy to add it to my rig!

It does not @plutek

For sizing reasons, we swapped DIN to Mini-TRS jacks. If you go to the Dwarf’s landing page there is a nice render of the back panel showing the two mini jacks between the ControlChain and the Audio Input jacks.

MIDI has issued a standard wiring for this implementation and we’re sticking to it.

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About the Audio-over-USB, will it make possible to use the dwarf as a “VST” effect in a DAW ? (allowing u to record a raw instrument output and let u enable/disable/change the Mod Dwart effect on it).

thanks a lot @gianfranco… great to know!
sorry i missed that!

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