There are some pointers and suggestions I want to give for when you receive you MOD Duo. It’s a unique item and may not be obvious to how to get started and start having fun with it. I also want you to get the full benefit of the unit so I will walk you through updating the firmware and plugins to their most recent versions in addition to setting up the hardware.
- Hardware Setup
- Hardware Layout
- Plug In
- Accessing the Settings Menu
- Setting the Input
- Setting the Output
- Accessing the Pedalboards from the Duo
- Firmware Update
- Plugin Updates
- Clear the Pedalboard
- “Update All” in the Plugin Store
- Hardware Setup
Probably the most confusing part of getting set up with the DUO is to set up the inputs. I’m starting with this because you may want to plug in and start playing around with your Duo even without plugging into a computer. After all, it’s one of the most important features of the Duo, to be able to use it on stage without a computer. In order to do enjoy the pre-made pedalboards available in the Duo, you need to set you input levels. Then make sure the output levels are set and you will be on your way.
Let’s get familiar with the unit. Like a traditional guitar pedal, it has inputs on the right and outputs on the left. The screens will tell you what is assigned to the knob and footswitch located under each screen. You will “click” (quick press) on the knobs to select the functions you want to access with it. There is also a headphone output on the left.
I assume that most people will be plugging in their guitar into the Duo but the instructions works with any type of electronic instrument including microphones. Plug your instrument into the input side. I think most guitarists plug into Input 1. When you start working with the browser user interface, inputs and outputs can be routed however you like. For now let’s just plug into the Input 1. Beside the input jack there is an LED indicator that will change colors from Green to Yellow to Red to Flashing Red as the signal being fed gets higher. Flashing Red means you are clipping the Analog to Digital converters and you will hear dreadful digital clipping. I’ve found that being in the green and yellow is a good level as it gives enough headroom if I happen to play harder but still give a healthy signal to where I can play softer. Honestly, just being in the green is okay since modern converters are very well made. Try to avoid Red and definitely stay away from Flashing Red LEDs.
Access the Settings Menu by pressing and holding down the left knob. To get out of the Setting Menu just press and hold the knob again. In the Settings Menu, scroll down the menu by turning the knob and highlight “Volume and Gains” and click on it. This is where you will adjust the inputs and outputs.
Click on Input 1 and there you will find the “Stage” and “Fine Adjust” options. The “Stage” will set the general level by selecting Low, Medium, or High sensitivities. The inputs are designed to accept a wide range of input signals from low level guitar and microphones to line level. Play your guitar hard and see where you land on the input LEDs. If you never hit the Yellow LED then increase to the “Stage” that will get you into the general range. If it’s just a little high or low for your instrument and playing, you will make the adjustment with the fine adjustment.
Once you have your input set, lets check on the outputs. They are probably set to a good level to start but lets just make sure they are set ok. The outputs only attenuate, bring levels down. I have mine set to 0dB, no attenuation. However, you may need to set them a little lower if you find that it’s overloading whatever you are plugging the Duo into. I have mine plugged into a mixer or audio interface and the levels work perfectly. This control does not adjust the levels which the LEDs are indicating. The Output LEDs show the levels you are feeding the Digital to Audio converters. When creating your pedalboards, I highly suggest having a master volume at the end of your signal chain and assign it to a knob for fast volume control. (More about this in a future post)
Now that you have your levels set, or at least know how to set them, you can have fun with the pedalboards which the folks at MOD Devices have created and installed. To access these, go to “Banks” in the Settings Menu. There are several Banks created to organize the Pedalboards into categories. (More on Banks in another post) You can also access all the Pedalboards by selecting “All.” Click on pedalboards which sound interesting in have fun! Press and Hold down the left knob to get back to the main screen where you can see the parameters which have been assigned to the knobs and footswitches. If there are more than one parameter assigned to the knob, you can access them by clicking on the knob.
2. Firmware Update
If you are like me, the most attractive part of the Duo is to create my own pedalboards and want to dig into this as fast as possible. It’s important to set your inputs and outputs, but also update the firmware and make sure the most up-to-date version is installed. It’s a simple process but important because the folks at MOD Devices are always making improvements and adding new features.
Plug the Duo into your computer using a USB cable. Make sure your computer is connected to the internet. Open a browser window (I use Chrome but it should work with most browsers) and enter the web address modduo.local and you will be connected to the user interface. There is no software to download because all the processing is happening in the Duo. What you see is just a graphic interface in the form of a web page.
If there is an update you will see a message on the bottom right of your screen. You can also hover over the icon in the bottom right and a bubble will show the status. A check mark symbol means you are up-to-date. I can’t remember what the symbol is if it’s not… just not a check mark.
Click on the download button and let it do it’s thing. You will get a message saying that any unsaved work will be lost, so save any pedalboard you are working on before updating. Update will take a few minutes depending on how much it has to do. Once the unit has restarted and you are back at the main screen, you are done.
3. Plugin Update
All those things that look like guitar pedals are plugins which are created by developers. Sometimes the developers will have updates to their plugins and it’s a good idea to make sure you are up to date on the plugins before setting off on the fun.
Before starting the update, clear the pedalboard work surface of all plugins. If there are any plugins in use, the update will skip it and all your plugins will not be updated. You can remove plugins by clicking the trashcan icon on the top-right of the plugin or click on “New Pedalboard” found on the top bar of the window and delete the gain plugin. With a clear board, you can update all the plugins at one time.
Plugin Updates are accessible from the Plugin Store. Click on the shopping bag icon in the bottom left section of the user interface. If you hover your arrow over it, you will get a message that it’s the Plugin Store. Once in the store, click on “Update All” located on the top right of the window and it will… well… update all the plugins. If you want to update plugins individually, you can scroll down the list, click on the plugin that needs to be update and click update on it’s info screen.
Now your units is all set. Levels are set and all the software is updated. Next, I suggest getting familiar with the User Interface, which I go over in the next post.