Mooer Audio has been very active in the past couple of years, releasing a large number of pedals that have a certain “je ne sais quoi” appeal. Mooer does not disguise the fact that they are cloning existing pedals, but they do strive to be a little different. Take for instance the Micro Series, a whole range of micro effect pedals in 1590A style casing. Well, the least you could say is that Mooer Audio managed to miniaturize quite a few of the classic vintage and modern day effects. The Hustle Drive may not sound like a familiar name, but upon first glance it is clearly a clone of the popular Fulltone OCD.
Yup, it sports the same controls as the OCD, little micro controls for Volume and Tone and a standard size Drive control, and a small 2-way toggle to switch between HP/LP modes.
There's also a True Bypass switch, red status LED and standard Boss 9V adapter plug.
It seems solid and well made, nicely engineered, durable white finish, stylish lettering & packaging, instruction sheet. It's all good. The only thing that bothered me is that it is difficult to spot the setting of the micro controls, these are tiny black knobs with black markers. Not really an issue.
You'd expect it to sound just like an OCD, hmmm it doesn't. Yet Mooer also claims that the Hustle Drive will give you that ultra wide dynamic range and extraordinary open tube-like overdrive sound. Similar to the OCD, the Hustle Drive has two modes; the HP or high peak mode, boosts up the bottom-end and when increasing distortion, you'll also get more volume and more mids (sounds like a Marshall amp) The LP or low peak mode leaves the original sound of your guitar and amp intact, almost no coloration (sounds like a Fender amp) and in LP mode, the Hustle Drive can also be used as a clean boost.
Looks good on paper, but in practice, I couldn't get a decent clean boost sound out of it in LP mode, also I was not really able to find a convincing sparkling Fender Blackface sound setting, in fact the LP mode was rather muffled and dull sounding. I did stumble upon a couple of useful settings, that were a bit reminiscent of an overdriven Fender tweed amp.
The HP mode sounded better, it was very easy to get a marshally sound and is much more pleasing distortion, it delivers, it cuts, holds low end well and adds just the right amount of treble. Yup, Mooer got that sorted.
All in all, the Hustle Drive does not have all the qualities of the Fulltone OCD, the latter being a really dynamic pedal, responsive to picking attack and capable of producing a distorted sound with rich harmonic overtones.
The Hustle Drive is still a nice dirtbox though. Maybe not as versatile as the original OCD, but you can get a good crunchy distortion out of it. Higher gain sounds are very nice as well, as a clean boost it does not work so well, it lacks clean headroom. It's not all that dynamic nor does it have the refined voicing of the OCD, but it does deliver plenty of useful sounds that will make you rock out. Also, the Hustle Drive stacks well with fuzzes and boosters. So if you're thinking of adding an OCD to your dirt arsenal, but don't have much room to spare: Mooer Audio Hustle Drive!
- More info: Mooer Audio MDS2 Hustle Drive - Distortion