[review] Mooer Audio Mod Factory (by Bieke)

Mooer Audio

There is no way around it. Mooer pedals have earned their spot in the mainstream market with an abundant line of affordable  mini pedals. It is a well known fact that a lot of Mooer pedals are clones of classic circuits. The usual suspects such as Ibanez, Electro Harmonix, Boss, MXR, Digitech, Fulltone,  all have been given the Mooer treatment. Mooer offers a cost friendly alternative and makes gigworthy pedals, well worth checking out, even for the more demanding players. 

At the Musikmesse earlier this year, I was gazing at an impressive wall of Mooer pedals and I spotted a couple of new ones as well.  An astonishing variety of pedals, there is not a single effect imaginable or Mooer has something to offer. So I tried a bunch of Mooer pedals and here is a review.

The Mod Factory is one of the newer Mooers, also one that is an original design, The Mod Factory uses a 32 bit high performance DSP chip and offers a combo of no less than eleven different effects such as chorus, flanger, phaser, envelope phaser, tremolo, stutter, vibrato, univibe, auto wah, touch wah and envelope ring modulator.

Mooer Audio Mod FactoryThe Looks

A fresh green pedal with a center dial to select one of the eleven different effect modes, if you look up close, you’ll spot an abbreviation of the selected effect, and a reference table is printed on the side which explains the CTRL functions and different effect modes.

There are 3 mini pots for Depth, CTRL 1 and CTRL 2.  Depending on which effect is used, CTRL 1 can be Speed or Sensitivity whereas CTRL 2 acts as either a Tone or Level. Status LED, true bypass switch, 9V Boss style adapter plug.

I sometimes wasn’t too certain which effect I selected and had to hear it first to be sure it was the one I wanted. Also, the small controls to dial in the effect do not have clear markers, so it is hard to tell what settings are dialed in. Hmmm, as you can imagine, it takes some tweaking for each effect and markers would be a great help to dial in the effect settings.

Of course, the big advantage of the Mod Factory is that - due to its size- it is a pedalboard friendly pedal, even though these little pedals are not Velcro friendly, there is a rubber pad with a cutout for a label, you either have to apply velcro over the label or remove the rubber pad, or you can apply narrow strips of Velcro on the rubber pad, and attempt to fix it on your pedalboard. Not really a big issue, it just can become a bit problematic depending on your pedalboard layout.

Sounds a bit too good to be true really, 11 different effects in such a small package, the dial to select the effect mode is a bit woolly, would have preferred it if it was a bit stiffer with a better stepwise feel.

The sounds

Now the sounds, I am inclined to say that it does not excel at anything, but at least every effect has a relatively useful setting, or sometimes even more than one, but it needs tweaking and it will not always deliver the tone you really need. As such, the ability to tweak the pedal is pretty limiting. Most of the modulating effects are really sterile, producing cold and digital sounds. The chorus is the warmest sounding of the lot, a bit reminiscent of the shallow and deep chorus tones on the Whammy. The flanger, phaser and univibe are not that versatile, the phaser and flanger both sound extremely swooshy no matter what setting is dialed in, the univibe lacks that warbly tone and sounds pretty much the same as the phaser, the vibrato is just okay. Really not much variety between phaser and univibe modes. Univibe and vibrato are very limited.

But the envelope filter, autowah, stutter, tremolo and even the quirky ringmod effect are all relatively useful, mind you the envelope filter still has a bit of phasing going, and the autowah seems to have a bit of tremolo going, the stutter is a hard tremolo, sounds very convincing, wheres the tremolo itself is more a softer sine wave tremolo, the ringmod is not a real ring modulating effect, more a whiny, thin sounding lofi buzz sound, nice to have but just does not seem to be of much use really, more a gimmick.

The Mod Factory has a serious volume drop as well, so there are plenty of things not to like about this pedal, still, I got one on my board at the moment because I needed a tremolo and touch wah, but could not justify having 2 dedicated pedals that I only would be using sparingly.

The Verdict

11 in 1 pedal, about half of the effects are decent, the rest are just OK, not a swiss army knife pedal, and not always as versatile as it may seem (especially the modulation  effects, particularly the phaser, flanger and univibe modes are pretty much useless). Next please.

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