MOD's latest effects pedal makes advanced sounds more accessible

The Dwarf promises music-making flexibility at a low price.

MOD Devices might just make powerful effects pedals available to a much wider range of musicians. It's running a crowdfunding campaign for the Dwarf, a pedal that promises the kind of flexibility you'd expect from a much more expensive device. It's really more of a platform than an old-school stomp box. You can load open source plugins (including demanding ones like pitch shifting), synths, virtual instruments and MIDI utilities, and its high power lets it closely model more demanding analog circuits and polyphonic synths. Crucially, you don't need to connect to a laptop to take advantage of it. You can store up to 750 pedals or plugins and create patches using just the on-device controls.

It also serves as a USB audio interface whether or not you intend to apply effects, and there's bidirectional MIDI you can assign specifically or to an aggregator. You can assign "everything" to controllers on the device, too.

Part of the allure is the price. If MOD meets its funding target and all goes well, you'll pay $277 ($369 if you miss the early pricing). That's less than half the price of MOD's Duo and yet-to-ship Duo X, and puts it more within range of gear like Digitech's or Zoom's higher-end hardware than extremely capable gear like the Empress Effects ZOIA. Beta tester versions are expected to ship in October, while everyone else will have to wait until December. The company is no doubt counting on plugin purchases to help bolster its bottom line, but the relatively affordable starting price could be welcome news if you're a would-be Tom Morello hoping to spice up your performances with some pedal wizardry.