[review] Mooer Audio MDS1 Black Secret - Distortion (by Bieke)

Mooer Audio is a relative newcomer to the world of effects, a Chinese manufacturer striving to bring stellar sounding budget pedals. Mooer unleashed a whole new range of exciting compact pedals: the Micro Series. Take for instance, the Black Secret. At first glance, there is nothing too secret about this pedal. It’s obviously based on one of that epic distortion pedal, the ProCo Rat.

The folks at Mooer decided to put two Rats in one pedal, the Vintage Rat and Turbo Rat.

Mooer Audio MDS1 Black SecretLooks and Controls

Pedal finished stunning in black, tasteful packaging and all, even a concise one page instruction sheet.

Feels solid, metal housing and metal jacks, looks dandy, it has the familiar RAT controls, two small pots to control level and filter and a full size pot to control distortion, a 9V DC adapter plug (no batteries), a small toggle to switch between Vintage and Turbo modes, red status LED and the familiar footswitch, which is true bypass.


The RAT is made to rock, it is often labeled as sounding a bit too boxy, pretty muddy and quite harsh at the same time. The RAT also sounds raw and aggressive, it is destined to cut through the mix. The Vintage RAT is the mellower one, still, not really subtle, it goes from medium to high gain, and the Turbo RAT gets you in the ultra high gain territory, so Mooer really offers the whole spectrum of the RAT distortions in one tiny pedal.

It sounds amazing, they nailed the both the Vintage and Turbo sound. The pedal uses the same LM308 chip as the original and it uses diode clipping in turbo mode. Hardly any feedback and mind you, as with most modern day distortions, this pedal can get very loud, unity is at about 9 o’clock.

The best thing about the Rat is the Filter control. Turn it to the right to roll off brittle high-end frequencies. Turn the Filter to the left to add presence and a trebly brightness that will cut through anything. Sort of like a blend of treble/bass booster with a hint of parametric EQ. If you have the distortion set fairly low, a low filter setting will give you that typical harsh RAT sound, whereas a high filter setting will give a smoother sounding distortion.


I could not find anything wrong with it, well, just a small thing, it's hard to see the marker settings on the small pots. No fluorescent markers like the Rat2.

What I really do like about the Black Secret is that it has a wide range of RAT distortion sounds.

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