Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983
MOD audio still thrives around the Internet
MOD files you can download and listen to right now, if you have WinAMP or a separate MOD player:By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2001, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2001, The Syracuse Newspapers
The Internet is keeping MOD music alive. If you've never heard a MOD file, now's the time to listen to the "other" digital music format.
Warning: You might get hooked. That's what happened to me the first time I heard a MOD audio file back in 1986. I've been a big fan ever since.
MODs are music "modules" assembled and edited from many tracks of digital audio. MODs are always multitrack recordings -- with dozens of tracks sometimes -- and this is why MOD-creation programs are called "trackers."
Unlike MP3s, which are usually nothing more than songs "ripped" (copied) from audio CDs, MODs are nearly always home-grown. And most MOD composers are in their teens or early 20s, so MOD audio compositions tend to reflect the world of young people.
A lot of MODs sound trendy, in other words. And that, of course, means a lot of them sound like last year's trends or last decade's trends. If you can get past this singular problem with MODs, you can have a lot of fun listening to them.
Another great reason to turn yourself on to MODs: Because MODs are created digitally, there's nothing to keep a MOD composer from reaching 'way down into the lowest bass notes for special effects (or just for a whole lot of shakin' goin' on).
If your computer has a really good sound system built in or if you can hook up your high-quality stereo system to your computer's "Line Out" connections -- run a stereo cable from there to your receiver's "Tuner" input, maybe -- you can drive the neighbors nuts with the rumbling bass from some of the MODs you can download off the Internet.
Finding MODs is easy. A great Web site that lets you search for MODs is the MOD Bot at http://www.modbot.com. It's a MOD-lover's dream. Be sure you also browse one of the largest collections of MODs worldwide, http://www.modarchive.com.
You also need a good MOD player, of course. The best players for both Windows and the Macintosh are free. My choice of a Windows MOD player is ModPlug. You can get it through this link: http://www.maz-sound.com/archives/mpp145.zip. (That's the actual file, not just a Web site. You can go to the Web site run by ModPlug's creator here: http://www.jps.net/olivierl.)
But Windows users who already have WinAmp can use WinAmp to play MODs, too. WinAMP doesn't do as well as ModPlug does, but it's fine if you just want to hear what MODs are all about.
I haven't listened to MODs on a Macintosh in years, so I can't recommend a Mac player. If you have a Mac, searvch for Mac MOD player (those three words, without quotes) on Google.
I have many favorites among the MODs I've collected in the 15 years or so. I'm putting three of my top choices on my Web site so you'll be able to hear samples of good MOD files right away. The link is at the top of this article.