The MOD Duo Ecosystem


    Introduction

    This week sees an exciting new addition to the hardware device support with Gen code export. MOD Devices, makers of the ultra-flexible Duo effects pedal, have collaborated with us to create a way to export code from a gen~ object as effects for their robust hardware system.
    So… what is the MOD Duo?
    On the surface, the MOD Duo is pretty easy to describe: It’s a pedal-like device that has a couple of switches, a couple of knobs, a couple of screens and some I/O. But the reality of this device is that it is the hub for the design and execution of an amazing effects layout - including effects that you can build yourself with using the gen~ object.
    The whole thing begins in a surprising place: the web browser on your computer. Bring up a browser and point it toward the pedal (which has a built-in server) and you get an amazing user interface. This is old school guitar-style patching; you can select virtual effect pedals, wire them together in a variety of ways and design presets with your favorite settings. Right off the bat, it seems magical.
    But things get even better when you fire up Max and start producing your own code using Gen and the MOD Duo Package (available from the Package Manager - see our companion article). There is a default pedal implementation that is provided to your device which conforms to most of the functional standards of the rest of the MOD Devices’ tools.
    All of this is live and nearly real-time, so you get a chance to check out the results of your labors as you patch and create presets. In additional, you can save the results onto the pedal; once you disengage the browser from the pedal, you are flying on a standalone hardware-only system. And, given the beefy processor and huge chunk of memory found in the Duo, you can implement completely improbable processing chains. For example, my looper obsession got the best of me one day, and I was able to patch together a custom-waveshaper and 8-looper extravaganza - and I was still using only about 20% of the processor and 25% of the memory!
    What is even more interesting is the amount of control you can apply to these virtual pedalboards. The MOD Duo includes USB hosting functions, meaning that you can plug in a control surface directly into the pedal and use it to control the devices. Once the connection is made, there is a “MIDI Learn” system that helps you quickly assign both switches and continuous controllers to any parameter - including parameters for your Gen-based effects.
    Rolling Your Own...
    In order to get the gen~ object’s code export working, you need to work with the MOD Duo Package. Using the MOD Duo package’s Launch patch gives you access to a background ‘watcher’ patch that connects Max to your MOD Duo and interacts with the device compiler hosted by MOD Devices’ cloud-based support system. You’ll need to come up to speed with working with the gen~ object (standard Max patches won’t work…), but this is one of the cleanest hardware/software integrations available for music systems.

    Conclusion

    The MOD Duo is a battle-ready piece of gear with an incredible amount of power that puts you in a position to create amazing, idiosyncratic performance effects. Their beautiful built-in effects patching/routing system means that you don’t have to build everything into your Gen patch; you can focus on the piece you want to create while taking advantage of the other great effects that other users have produced.
    Check it out at the MOD Devices website take a look at the companion article on the MOD Duo content package for more details: http://moddevices.com
    Enjoy!

    • Aug 03 2017 | 6:14 am
      This is something I'm very interested in as I've been debating whether to drop a serious amount of cash on esoteric guitar pedals or roll my own. A couple of things concern me though: 1. Being a newbie (currently only using M4L) what sort of learning curve would I be dealing with in terms of Gen? 2. My main interest is in looping, granular effects and freeze type effects. How do I gauge how processor intensive these are likely to be and whether I can realise a particular design effectively in this environment without actually plunking down the $? I'd be really interested to see comparisons of processor usage of some known designs in the ModDuo environment versus a desktop/laptop CPU. Might be enough to sell me (and others) on this!
    • Aug 03 2017 | 7:02 am
      Stew your best bet is to search the forum for existing gen patches which already do what you want. Then you'd only have to learn how to prepare them for the Mod which should be easier than learning gen from scratch.
    • Aug 03 2017 | 7:17 am
      Oh Wow!
      Ps: ¿ we must forget rpi3 ?
    • Aug 03 2017 | 7:32 am
      Thanks JHINDSIGHT, I'll look into that. Looks like the Mod is quite a bit more powerful than the Hoxton Owl right? And with more connection options too - my SoftStep 2 would be great with the Mod. Itching to go there but it's a very spendy option to get past the missus, particularly with the exchange rate to Aus$.
    • Aug 03 2017 | 8:20 am
      Been looking around and just found this

      Tutorial: How to create Max/MSP gen~ based plugins for the MOD Duo

    • Aug 03 2017 | 9:59 am
      Is is possible to access MIDI notes and/or other MIDI commands like pitch bend and after touch? Would I be able to use is as a hardware synthesizer running my own gen patch?
    • Aug 03 2017 | 10:25 pm
      @stew -- I loaded up the gen~ dattorro reverb example on the MOD Duo. I modified this example to be stereo and reached 80% CPU on the Duo with 4x Stereo Dattorro Reverbs in one instance. The equivalent patcher on a 2012 MBP sees me at 20% CPU usage in Max. Worth noting the Dattorro is really heavy on CPU and won't be as heavy as glitch, granular type effects on the DUO
    • Aug 03 2017 | 10:56 pm
      @TOM HALL gen~ dattorro reverb 80% CPU !! for €649.00 maybe I keep choosing the most powerfull Nuc or Mini... (and a fanless aluminum case MOD)
    • Aug 04 2017 | 12:00 am
      @ARABRAB Looks like you missed a few details --- to clarify, that's FOUR custom stereo Dattorro Reverbs in one patch on the MOD Duo running at once (a pretty far fetched user case scenario for the sake of stretching the CPU).
      This is the equivalent of 8x the version you can find in the gen~ examples folder inside Max. Personally I've run upwards of 7 separate gen~ patches, with a sequencer & signal generator all within the DUO and not seen more than 30%
      Also the price of the MOD Duo is actually €549.00 for Max users ;)
    • Aug 04 2017 | 12:21 am
      @TOM HALL I don't know the gen~ dattorro reverb example but I'll see if I can fire it up this weekend on my laptop for comparison. I appreciate that though, it's very helpful to get an idea of how it compares to a MBP.
      I was confused by your last comment though " Worth noting the Dattorro is really heavy and won't be as heavy as glitch, granular type effects "?
      So ... Dattorro is really heavy but glitch/granular will be even heavier? Or, Dattorro is really heavy but glitch/granular won't be as heavy?
      Thanks!
    • Aug 04 2017 | 12:34 am
      Or, Dattorro is really heavy but glitch/granular won't be as heavy?
      Correct.
    • Aug 04 2017 | 12:38 am
      @Tom, awesome .. thanks again!
    • Aug 19 2017 | 7:00 pm
      Exactly how much RAM does it actually have? And is it only compatible with gen~ and not basic Max/MSP?
    • Aug 20 2017 | 12:49 am
      I'd be really interested to see comparisons of processor usage of some known designs in the ModDuo environment versus a desktop/laptop CPU.
      http://wiki.moddevices.com/wiki/MOD_Duo#Processors
    • Aug 20 2017 | 2:14 am
      @Roman thanks. I had seen that. Just not sure how an A20 Dual Core ARM A7 compares to the crappy i7-4500 in my old Dell ;-)
    • Aug 20 2017 | 4:49 pm
      expr tanh (A20/1000^2, $i7) *4500 no good?
    • Aug 20 2017 | 11:29 pm
      @Roman .. ha ha, not much help for me unfortunately. How does one use this?
    • Aug 29 2017 | 6:02 pm
      mine shipped today!
    • Aug 29 2017 | 9:12 pm
      I bought this based on this article and a video of a guitarist running it through its paces and with the hope/promise that I'd be able to create my own effects. I've tried it out for a few days and am quite impressed with the built-in effects.
      But, as a Max newbie, I didn't realize that gen~ was so much more complicated than regular Max or M4L. The learning curve for someone new to programming appears significant, especially for a pedal marketed to musicians, few of whom have any programming experience or interest.
      MOD Devices is hoping to build a developer community to create effects for it, but that could be a ways off. So, as much as I like it, I may return it because it is quite expensive. And the reality is that I'll probably never be able to create effects for it without delving much deeper into programming than I care to.
    • Aug 30 2017 | 12:07 am
      @DAVE I replied to you on Facebook last week. If you get in touch with our support department we can get you on the road to learning Gen~. There is quite a lot of resources.
      Additionally, you can checkout the tutorial videos by MOD Devices (and us) on programming in Max for the MOD Duo. But even without programming a thing, there are a lot of Gen~ examples included in Max by default, these can all be used with the MOD Duo with very little changes.
    • Aug 30 2017 | 1:11 am
      Tom, I still have a few weeks before I have to return it and still get a refund. So I'll contact support and take a gander down the Gen~ road ahead. I have looked at several tutorial videos, and they've pretty much gone over my head.
      Hopefully, support can also help me upload the Gen~ patch examples to the MOD. I was able to do it somehow (not sure what I did) for the simple vibrato patch. But since then it keeps asking what folder to send it to when I click on the upload code instead of just uploading it to the device
    • Aug 30 2017 | 2:27 am
      I imagine the other challenge in creating effects for this pedal is that you must be well versed in digital signal processing. I started reading Electronic Music and Sound Design Volume 1 about a half-year ago, but lost interest. Perhaps I'll give it another shot.
    • Aug 30 2017 | 4:13 am
      @Dave please let us know how you get on. I've got a little Max experience but not a lot ... and no experience with Gen at all, so will be interested to see if there's enough there to persuade you to keep the MOD.
    • Aug 31 2017 | 3:01 am
      @Stew, I was about ready to give up, as I emailed C74 support, as Tom suggested, but received no response. But I just did some googling and found this book, Multimedia Programming Using Max/MSP and TouchDesigner by Patrik Lechner, which looks like it might do the trick, especially since it has a chapter on Gen~.
      You can read it for free on Google Books. This link takes you right to the chapter on Gen~: https://books.google.com/books?id=5IqbBQAAQBAJ&pg=PT304&lpg=PT304&dq=max+%22gen~%22+programming&source=bl&ots=9053N5bl-5&sig=qXqPgm7ppX6zQpgFopk29f57E0g&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjI2t3VtYDWAhUN-GMKHQTcDT4Q6AEIXzAJ#v=onepage&q&f=false
      If I find I like it and am making progress, I'll buy the Kindle version on Amazon for $18.49: https://www.amazon.com/Multimedia-Programming-Using-Max-TouchDesigner-ebook/dp/B00Q8QKGMW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1504148327&sr=1-1&keywords=9781849699723
    • Aug 31 2017 | 3:44 am
      @Dave keep us posted. That books looks like a good resource for Gen newbies.
    • Sep 01 2017 | 7:57 pm
      @Jan. I don't have Mod Duo yet, but from looking at their website - Midi note messages are not supported. Pitch bend is supported in v1.4. CC messages are supported. There have been numerous feature requests for Midi note support.
      You could use something like this https://www.bome.com/products/bomebox on the front end to translate Midi note/velocity to a couple of CC's.
      Tom Z.