I feel like it was nearly five years ago that I first saw Mod Devices Mod Duo (€649.00) at a NAMM show. It seemed like a great idea at the time: a hardware pedal that could host plug-ins. I had just begun exploring the unique sounds I could get using plug-ins on the computer in Ableton Live. These were sounds unavailable in stomp boxes at the time, but since then, more and more boutique pedal manufacturers have released the kind of granular, filtering, and ambient effects that were until now only available in the computer. Still, the Mod Duo offers both freedom from a laptop on stage, and a plethora of pedal style and plug-in style effects in a small footprint. Its open source nature also bodes well for modern sounds not yet available from stomps. What do you think?
Guitars and distortion go together like hip-hop and hoodies. All the guitar-oriented software modelers offer astoundingly accurate emulations of classic and modern amp and pedal distortion.
Izotope’s Trash 2 ($249) can be configured to produce warm, tube-like drive too, but that is not what it is about. From its inception, Trash has literally pushed the envelope of all things distortion, and, as they say in advertising, much, much more.
One advantage of performing with guitar through a laptop is the ability to use plug-ins, in addition to pedals. As many amazing and out there pedals as there are, there are still some sounds you just can’t get from hardware. Too, there is the level of control—static and evolving—over parameters, available with plug-ins, but not yet with pedals.
Here is a list of seven plug-ins (okay, a couple are suites, but seven sounds sexy) I have used over the years in recording and performance. They range from vintage emulations to spectral and granular effects, and best of all, they are all FREE!