SONAR+D 2015: Startup Grand Finale and Creative Possibilities for The MOD

Imagine controlling your pedals just by looking at them, or interacting with videos through your instrument.

On Thursday we took our place as one of ten finalists in the Grand Finale of the Sónar+D Startup Competition by Ricoh (June 18-20, Barcelona ). We didn’t come away with the grand prize, but so far we have met inspiring inventors, musicians and entrepreneurs and the visitors are keeping our booth busy over in the Startup Corner.

Sónar+D is an evolution of the professional and new media areas at Barcelona’s infamous Sónar Music Festival, now developed into an international conference focused on “making the relationship between creativity, technology, mobility, innovation and business more visible and accessible.”

The MOD is a cross-section of all areas: an audio-processing optimised computer, inspired by traditional pedalboards; with external controllers and universal inputs prepared to receive any instrument (guitars, basses, keyboards, MIDI instruments, voice, etc.); plus access to an ever-growing open-source sound library.

Originally conceived as a professional piece of hardware to enable musicians to take plugins on stage with or without a computer, its diverse range of functional and connectivity options, LV2 open plugin standard, and vast community of audio plug-in developers have shown it’s far more than ‘just’ a stompbox - just imagine its limitless sound processor possibilities!

After nods of approval from the Creators Project and VICE Motherboard, we’ve been exploring the MOD‘s cross-disciplinary potential with: signal processing and multimedia students at the the University of Limerick; media and arts programming students at HKU - University of Arts Utrecht; the creative audience at Experimenta 2014; and making magic with French creative collective, ANAHATA.

“We collaborate with artists, engineers and creative practitioners in projects that need tools to enhance creative and artistic endeavors [and] better convey a specific subject or message. The MOD is one of these tools! We are currently creating a startup in Grenoble that will develop new applications for the MOD and we have plans for some really interesting uses for it … The [control chain] peripherals [already have] our local musician/engineer Aurélien Conil wildly imagining all sorts of controllers.” Says Mauricio Dwek of ANAHATA.

One plugin idea being floated for the collaboration is “VideoMOD”, a tool that would allow users to interact with video signals through the MIDI ports - perfect for artistic installations and VJ-ing.

ANAHATA also wants to connect a brain-computer interface to the MOD, alongside applications currently being developed for the EMOTIV INSIGHT EEG headset as an an art installation interface.

A masterpiece of engineering and production, the MOD is configured using user-friendly drag-and-drop software only required during set-up. State-of-the-art processors ensure effects occur with unnoticeable latency, and circuits and components were designed exclusively to process sound in real time.

(Test the interface here).

Since the possibilities with the MOD are endless, MOD Social allows musicians to share, find and try others’ pedalboards, plus record and share a sample of their own setups.

The MOD uses the LV2 open standard, chosen because it was developed using open-source software, is established, has numerous high-quality available effects, and above all, due to the vast community of LV2 audio plug-in developers.

Our latest device in development, MOD Duo, was successfully funded on Kickstarter in October 2014 and the company will produce an extra batch of 100 additional units that can still be pre-ordered here.

If you are attending Sonar+D, you can find MOD Devices in the Start-up Corner with Harry Van Haaren of Open AV. We’ll be sharing our vision for the MOD ecosystem and a few of its many possibilities!

The winner will be announced at 19:00 this evening , so follow us on Facebook and Twitter for live updates.

For all media enquiries, please contact [email protected]

Originally founded in Sao Paulo, Brazil, MOD Devices is now based at the notorious Berlin coworking space, betahaus, amongst the lab. They believe that audio software should process any type of effect, regardless of the company or person who developed them. They envisage a near future in which the tones, sounds and style of every musician are not restricted and limited to a few brands, but enhanced and limited only by their creativity in combining infinite resources.

For more on plugin development and hardware specifications, see here.

Sónar+D is a meeting point with an interdisciplinary approach. It targets professionals within the creative, technological and cultural industries to pursue their interaction. The conference facilitates the exchange of knowledge, debate, exhibiting talent, and generating business opportunities.“

OpenAV is a software company that develops software for artists. We design performance experience. We are musician-coders, innovating music technology. We have been coding audio FX for a few years, embracing open-source technology and releasing all OpenAV software with open-source licenses.

ANAHATA is a French association that designs, produces and connects research-creations emanating from the convergence of the Arts, Sciences and Societies. ANAHATA’s research-creations are polymorphic in nature: the media are chosen in order to fit the purpose of the artists and other agents participating in the artwork. The production process consists in several exchanges between disciplines and their craftsmen so that traditional knowledge can meet cutting edge technology in a level playground.

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