[review] Mooer Audio MDS3 Cruncher - Distortion (by LordRiffenstein)

LordRiffenstein, all-around tone freak and purveyor of great tone.


Mooer is a Chinese company making a wide-range of product from musical instruments to audio equipment. They have a bunch of products that are inspired by existing stuff, we are looking at their Micro Series of pedals. Several of these pedals are based on well-known pedals but now available in small packages and in some cases with Mooer's own little twist.


As some of the other Mooer pedals, this one is also based on a well-known 'box'. Most of the Micro series pedals share the same control set: 1 big dial and 2 smaller controls. The big dial on the Cruncher sets the gain, the 2 small dials are for volume and tone. The pedal is true bypass and has a 9v DC input. It's straightforward, less is more, right?

Mooer Audio MDS3 CruncherThe pedal in use

I did own the original version of this pedal at some point and had mixed feelings about it. I never got it to sound exactly right. The weirdest thing is that I loved it at home but did not like it in a band situation. I could be in for a disappointment if this is a straight up copy.

From the original, I remembered that it sounded really good with a LP so I plugged in mine and started jamming. As with the other drive pedals in the series, the level control behaves a bit different, don't be afraid to turn it up! This pedal is supposed to give you a classic, big crunch sound. With the gain at noon, it has some serious punch!! I had the tone control just above noon and this rocked hard. It's hard to believe how such a big sound can come from such a small package. I dialed up some different tones and unless I went for extreme settings, I couldn't find a bad one! So as a final test, I plugged in my tele. I dialed the tone back a couple of notches and the sound was really happening.

Obviously, the real test for me would be in a band situation and I took the Cruncher with me to rehearsal. And I'm very happy to report that the Cruncher sounded really well. I'm not sure if this is a copy of one of the newer versions, or if it just isn't a straight up copy but the Cruncher sounded better than the original I had. The low end was tight and it just rocked, put a TS in front and there's your big lead tone!!

The Mooer Cruncher packs some serious punch in a small package. It's one of those pedals that you should buy to throw in your gigbag because someday, it might save your ass at a gig. I had a lot of fun testing it and surprisingly, liked it better than the original I once owned.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Also check out Effects Database's social media accounts: