Tombe, on november 29, 2012 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 59.99
Purchased from: Project Music
Ease of Use: Mooer are a company based somewhere in the Far East who have been causing a bit of a stir recently, mostly for their line of Micro Series pedals, of which this is one of. Although they may be the most unimaginative designs possible and have names that are such an obvious rip-off it's hilarious (a 90 Orange phaser, Eleclady flanger or Green Mile overdrive, anyone?) they are priced just the right side of cheap for you to know they must be putting a bit of effort into them - a 10 Ebay special this is not. You're generally looking at about 2/3 of the price of the equivalent Boss/Electro-Harmonix pedal.
Obviously the first thing that strikes you is the size of this pedal. The picture doesn't do it justice - it's tiny. For a pedal to be completely dwarfed not only by an Electro-Harmonix Nano pedal but also a harmonica that had somehow fallen onto my pedalboard, it must be like the Tardis inside. Power is mains-only, because obviously a battery won't fit inside it, and comes from a standard 9v Boss-style power supply. I'm running mine along with all my other pedals from a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power and daisy chain and it's perfectly happy.
So, what is it? Well, it's basically an Electro-Harmonix POG variant, somewhere between the standard one and the Micro POG. It's polyphonic(ish) and can add 1 or 2 octaves of pitch-shifting in either direction. Three very small pots adjust the balance of the octave down, dry and octave up signal and there's an 11-way Mode rotary pot. This offers 11 different combinations of the four pitch-shifted voices, meaning every blend of one or two octaves down or up you could possibly need is attainable. In an ingenious twist, two modes feature the first and second octaves up or down as the octave down and up sounds, meaning you can blend the two. A prominent octave up with a bit of 2-octave shimmer dialed in on top? No problems.
I've always argued that a stompbox should be easy to use. Whilst something like a Line 6 M13 may take some getting used to, you should be able to get the measure of a stompbox after a couple of minutes of playing. The Pure Octave very much does that. The only problem I can see is that the three level pots aren't particularly easy to read in dim lights, and my trusty white chinagraph pencil is about to be used to enhance their visibility... // 9
Sound: Obviously if you could churn out a pedal like this at a price where you can sell it for 60 quid then Electro-Harmonix wouldn't be charging so much for the POG. It does have its flaws, but I'll get to that. First off, if you've never tried an effect like this, it's hard to describe how much fun it is. Whacking everything on full (two octaves up and down), drenching it in reverb and hitting a huge major Chord sounds like God's personal church organ, and it's impossible to resist the temptation to stomp on a Big Muff and rip the riff from Blue Orchid. Used in conjunction with a looper or EBow it's possible to build up huge, organ-like pads behind your sound.
The octave up and down voices are perfectly useable and sound exactly as you'd expect them to. Tracking is good and it is polyphonic, although for some reason with minor chords it starts to sound very dissonant. But for major or power chords and single-note lines it's hard to find fault. Two octaves down is a bit odd because the speakers in most amps aren't rated such to properly project such a low-frequency sound, and two octaves up sounds as artificial as a robotic Paris Hilton. The attack of your notes is obviously also shifted up two octaves, which sounds odd to say the least. But when it's blended in to the octave up sound, it's shimmer and sparkle heaven.
Personally I'd also like the effect to be more prominent - even with the two octave levels dimed, the dry signal is still the most prominent. But, once again, for 60 this is a fantastic-sounding pedal. If you play more leftfield post-rock, ambient or Pink Floydy styles it's great for massive-sounding atmospheres, and adding octave up and down to single-note fuzzy riffs is brilliant fun. What more do you want from a pedal? I'm using it with a Mexican Telecaster and Ibanez Artcore into a Vox AD50 through a million other pedals. // 7
Reliability & Durability: I haven't had this pedal for very long, but it seems solidly built. As I've said before, the chassis is tiny but also a quite substantial lump of metal, leaving you wondering how the bloody hell they found room for the circuitry in there. The footswitch is satisfyingly clunky and it has a blue LED that's so bright it's visible from space. I have 100 boutique distortion pedals that feel less well-built than this. Say what you want about Chinese manufacturing, but this has been made properly in a purpose-built facility, rather than badly, in a shed, by someone called Dave. // 8
Overall Impression: This pedal's only real rival is the one I've mentioned a few times, the Electro-Harmonix POG. The POG has more control with individual sliders for each octave voice, presets and so forth, but is very expensive and also the size of the deck of an aircraft carrier. The Mooer Pure Octave is neither of these things. There may be countless Chinese pedal makers with not a single original idea between them flooding the market at the moment, but you get the impression that Mooer are doing something right.
Yes, it has its flaws, but it's so damn cheap. And I don't mean that in a 'it's a Behringer pedal, of course it's cheap' sense, I mean it in that it genuinely represents good value for money. I probably wouldn't bother with most of Mooer's range because it's such a shameless rip-off of another pedal which you can buy a proper version of for slightly more outlay, but this really is in a class of its own. This is probably the best-value bit of cheap gear I have ever bought - certainly much more than my electric mandolin, which cost 170 and essentially rolled off the production lines as a spares-or-repair job. If you want harmonising instead of straight octave voices, they cater for that too with the Pitch Box. Again, this costs half what a Boss equivalent would set you back, and I can't believe the Boss one is twice as good.
There's only one thing that bothers me about this pedal, though. I thought there was something up with it when I first saw a picture of it, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what. When it arrived in the post at work today and I had a quick look at it, I still had my doubts. Only when I plugged it in and switched it on, and it was bathed in the light of that blue LED, did I realise what's wrong. It's brown.