If you are a pedal fan like myself, you will know by now what there are 4 universal full-range pedal makers - i.e. have a pedal for every occasion, we are of course talking of Boss, Electro-Harmonix, MXR and TC Electronic. And while the latter two have a number of mini pedals out, those are very far from being representative of all the pedals available in regular or medium-sized enclosures. In fact the only company that really has a mini pedal for every purpose is Mooer with its Micro Series.
My first introduction to Mooer was via their exceptional Blues Mood pedal - which is their version of the Keeley-modded Boss BD-2 Blues Driver. You essentially get all of that lovely bluesy goodness with the addition of a ’fat’ toggle mode which ramps up the body and saturation to give you lovely full and rich crunch tones. This pedal is one of the longest serving in my pedal chain, and is highly unlikely to be unseated - I mostly use it in fat mode with Gain dial around 1 or 2 o’clock.
Since then I have acquired 3 more Mooer’s - the ProCo Rat-alike Black Secret, the OCD-alike Hustle Drive, and the optical Tremolo - Trelicopter - so beloved of Dan and Mick of That Pedal Show. Most of the Mooer pedals are their versions of larger-sized classics, although Mooer also has a number of totally unique pedals of its own.
Of the following list, the E-Lady (formerly Elec-Lady) is high on my wishlist, alongside Micro Drummer, Mod Factory, Pure Octave, Rumble Drive and Soul Shiver. Most of these pedals have also featured / been named in one or more of my previous blogs posts - they include Black Secret, Blues Mood, E-Lady, EchoVerb, Green Mile, Hustle Drive, Mod Factory, Pure Octave, ReEcho, ShimVerb, Soul Shiver and Trelicopter.
Mooer sometimes gets unwarranted bad press - sure, not every single one of their pedals are amazing, but for their size and price, there is mostly nothing else that comes close. Tone City do some decent low cost ones, but I find the quality etc. of the Mooers is generally superior. There are areas where others do better mini pedals - certain drives, fuzzes, compressors, boosts etc. but overall Mooer is really solid - and every single one on the following list is a worthy addition to your pedal collection - whether you are aiming to use it as a space saver, backup / alternative or principal pedal. As with everything, there are noticeable differences in the Mooer voicings - you may prefer the originals to the miniatures, but often I find the miniatures to be an improvement - e.g. easier to dial in, easier to handle, and often with additional voicing/s options.
For this post I am leaving out the relatively recent Mooer Micro Pre-Amps, which I will likely tackle in a later post, this is largely just a roundup of Mooer pedals I have mentioned in previous articles, and for all of those nay-sayers who dismiss mini pedals out of hand. I will do a few follow-up posts after this one highlighting areas where mini pedals are particularly strong, and which of those are my favourites.
These are all the same size, and all have relatively low current draw, although because of their digital nature, many of these are better served by isolated power-supply rather than relying on a OneSpot daisy-chain as I have frequently found out.
Pedals listed alphabetically:
This is one of two mini ProCo Rat clones I have - alongside the BYOC Lil' Mouse. The Black Secret has an advantage over the Lil' Mouse with dual mode toggle switch - Vintage and Turbo - the latter deals with the somewhat moderate output power the original Rat was known for - and gives you more volume and even more distortion. I currently use a regular-size Dr Scientist Frazz Dazzler as my sort of extreme Rat-alike with bells on.
This is my first and most loved Mooer pedal, and unlikely to be unseated from my pedal chain. It miniaturizes the Keeley-Modded Boss BD-2 Blues Driver pedal, and sounds really awesome with a huge range of tone and saturation. I use it for a lovely richly saturated crunch which sounds slightly compressed but full of character and attack. This is a really smart versatile drive pedal which will take you from mild overdrive to really quite heavy crunchy rock.
Formerly the Elec-Lady, this is Mooer's version of EHX's legendary Electric Mistress - with Filter toggle feature intact. As featured on my 9 Flangers article - this does not go quite as lush as the original, but it goes plenty close enough. If you need a classy flanger and you're tight for space - look no further! I am likely to add this to my collection soon enough, even though it could never truly replace my Chase Bliss Spectre or A/DA alternative.
This featured on my recent Dual Delay + Reverb pedals overview - as much as to have a mini pedal equivalent to be able to create ambient washes in a single pedal. This is a really smart small pedal, although I am unlikely to find any use for it myself.
Mooer's Tube-Screamer -alike gives you added versatility with its Hot | Warm voicing toggle. At the time I was considering mini Tube-Screamers, I kind of decided I preferred the sound of the OneControl Persian Green Screamer, while my current Tube-Screamer of choice is the Foxpedal 'The City' which has an additional boost footswitch and a broader range of tone shaping options within a regular-sized enclosure. The Green Mile though is a solid 'Screamer' and certainly still worth considering.
I'm a huge fan of the OCD pedal which is a mainstay of my pedal chain. I acquired the Hustle Drive as a mini backup / alternative to the OCD, and Mooer gets you plenty close enough again with pretty much exactly the same dials, and including High Peak and Low Peak voicing toggle.
This is essentially a sample reducing / bitcrusher type pedal with 3 modes - Synth | Guitar | Bass - which gives you really quite musical lo-fi sounds for colouring your tone. Mike Hermans gives an excellent demonstration of the pedal's full capabilities in the above video review. Not sure I'm rushing out to buy this one, but it certainly performs exceptionally well against the defined criteria for such a pedal.
A really handy drum machine in a really smart format - featuring tap-tempo button, Tone | Volume | Speed and 11 styles each with 11 sub-modes - Pop (PP) | Rock (RC) | Metal (MT) | Blues (BL) | R&B (RB) | Jazz (JZ) | Funk (FK) | Latin (LT) | Reggae (RG) | Punk (PK) | Metronome / Tempo (TP) - for 121 different beats to accompany your playing. Nothing comes close at this size. If you are seriously considering drum machines, there is also the smart new DigiTech Sdrum - which is significantly larger, but significantly more clever too.
Certainly not all the modes are classic here, but to have 11 different modulations in such a small format is simply incredible, no one else comes close at anywhere near this size - you need to hit a much larger workstation pedal (e.g. Keeley Mod Station) to come anywhere close to what's on tap here. The 11 modes are Chorus (CH) | Flanger (FL) | Phaser (PH) | Envelope Phaser (EPH) } Tremolo (TR) | Stutter (ST) | Vibrato (VB) | Univibe (UV) | Auto Wah (AW) | Touch Wah (TW) | Ring Modulation / Envelope Ring (ER). The fact that most of these modulations are usable enough makes this a great workaday pedal - just be aware that a few of these sound a touch squiffy, but the majority are still good!
A sort of EHX Pitchfork in a much smaller enclosure - this allows you to pitch up and down in key tonal steps from minus to + 24 semi-tones (+/- 2 octaves). You also have a 3-mode option toggle - Harmony | Pitch Shift | Detune. This is a really versatile pedal and great if you don't have space for a Pitchfork - yet another great demo from Mike Hermans in above video.
I covered this one in my recent 9 Octave Pedals article - essentially a Boss Super Octave OC-3 -alike in a more compact enclosure, minus the 3 modes, but with additional octave options. A really handy pedal, which may though be somewhat outpaced now by the TC Electronic Sub 'n' Up mini. Yet the beauty of the Mooers is that everything you need is right there on the surface via just a few dials - so some will prefer the Mooer way and some TCE's TonePrint route. For its size though the Pure Octave has an amazing range - with up to two octaves up and down simultaneously.
A simple and elegant 3 mode digital delay - with Analog | RealEcho | TapeEcho tones. No tap control, but controls via Level | Feedback | Time dials. There are other mini delay pedals which may offer more high-fidelity tones like the TCE Flashback Mini or F-Pedals Echobandit to name a couple. But for price and features, the ReEcho is right up there.
This is Mooer's Dumble Overdrive Special -alike - delivering velvety smooth overdrive with just a hint of fuzz on the edges. My go-to pedals for that sound currently are the Mad Professor Simble and Wampler Euphoria - which is the one active in my chain right now. I had long considered the OneControl Golden Acorn Overdrive Special - which is still on my wishlist, but keeps being bumped by other more pressing / desirable choices. The Rumble Drive does not offer quite the versatility of the Euphoria, nor is it quite as dynamic as the Simble, but with its 4 dials - Volume | Voice | Tone | Gain - you can get pretty darn close. Still undecided whether to get the Golden Acorn or the Rumble Drive eventually, but it's far from a pressing matter right now.
One of the pros mini reverbs of choice - well this or the TCE HOF. The advantage with the ShimVerb is that you get 3 modes straight out the top - Room | Spring | Shimmer - obviously not quite Strymon standard, but plenty usable still. If you just need a flavour of Reverb and have limited space at the end of your board, then this is a really good choice for dialling in some usable Reverb textures; apart from the mode toggle, there are just 3 dial controls - Level | Colour (Tone) | Decay.
This is sort of Mooer's version of a Uni-Vibe - with mode toggle allowing you to switch between Chorus | Vibrato | Rotary. Then 3 dials - Volume | Intense | Speed to sculpt the tone. A really powerful small pedal with lots of versatility and variety. This one is definitely on my list to get. Will be a reasonable smaller format alternative / backup to Chase Bliss Warped Vinyl.
Last here but far from least is the 4th of my Mooer pedals - the elegant Trelicopter Optical Tremolo which does a whole lot with just 3 dials. Loved by Dan and Mick of That Pedal Show, the Bias ranges from smooth sinewave to stuttery square wave sounds - which you can further refine with Depth and Speed settings. This pedal sounds lush and is so easy and quick to dial in - probably the number one Mooer pedal in professional use - you will see this on plenty of pro boards - particularly smaller snappier ones.
Like I said at the start, and how I still feel at the end of this overview - there are most definitely 4 or 5 here that I would look to add to my collection - the E-Lady, Micro Drummer, Mod Factory, Pitch Box and Soul Shiver probably foremost - but all listed are pretty great as mentioned, and I've probably overlooked a couple too - I sort of deliberately left out the discontinued Mooergan. Generally, I don't think you can go wrong with Mooer - you know what you're getting - some of these are truly great, others merely great for their size - probably a few other Mooers that are merely just OK. But you get good attention to quality throughout, these pedals seem well built and built to last. Of course I will know more in 10 or so years time!