Quick Review - Mooer Preamp X2 Pedal

April 1, 2022
Filed Under: News Update


Over at Fluid Solo HQ we love to play with anything guitar-modeling related. The Mooer Preamp Model X2 is worth a look due to a unique ability - the ability to play captures similar to the Kemper. Yes, for $169. Mooer supports capturing drive pedals, amps, cabinets, and full captures of up to all 3 with their free GE Labs iOS app. The app also works perfectly on an M1 Mac. By the way, the Mooer GE Labs app is very cool even if you never used the capturing technology. It includes a complete suite of amps, cabinets, and effects, and all of this can be used for free. You only pay to open up custom presets. If you don't mind creating custom patches on the fly, you may never need to pay for the app, although we encourage you to pay a few bucks and support app development.

To capture an amp and cab rig, you will need a 2x2 audio interface (2 ins and 2 outs), a microphone, some cables, and maybe some earplugs. It's a loud process.

The Mooer Preamp X2 cannot create captures, but functions as a playback mechanism for captures - either your creations or downloaded from Mooer's website. There are hundreds of captures available for free, but quality varies and the experience of finding captures and presets on the Mooer site is quite bad. Yes, we're biased.

Apart from captures, the Mooer Preamp X2 also comes with a full suite of amp tones, 14 presets in all with 28 different amp tones modeling the greatest-hits of guitar amps - Fenders, Marshalls, Mesa, Friedmans, Vox, etc. The 14 presets each have an A & B channel, so you can easily switch between 2 tones with your toes.

The Mooer Preamp X2 includes a USB-C port that you use to connect the device to your PC or Mac for preset editing, IR loading, and Capture loading. Sadly, the USB-C connection will not power the pedal, so you will also need to plug in the included power cable.

I tested the profile capture capability using my beloved Mesa Boogie F-50 combo's drive channel (middle position if you know the amp). I didn't spend tons of time using the built-in tools to refine the capture, but it turned out pretty great, although the overall volume level was lower than what I would have expected. You can adjust volume and other parameters while you're creating the capture, so on a second pass I bet I'd get an even more faithful capture. The pedal plays the capture as good to my ears as the iPad app. Nice.

Highs and Lows


Highs:

  • Can load hundreds of free profiles from Mooer's website, and commercially produced profiles are available from Choptones.
  • The built-in amp tones are pretty good. While not as textured or harmonically complex as a Helix or Fractal amp model, they're not bad at all considering the low price of this device. An added bonus is that the out-of-box IRs are quite good, particularly the 4x12 cabinet. It's as good as anything I tried in its place. We tried the pedal into Headphones via a mixer, and into a power amp and into a 1x12 Marshall guitar cab. Both gave good tones, especially considering the low price of the pedal. Notably, the guitar cab tone was noticeably harder to tame using the simple EQ.
  • The pedal construction is sturdy (enough) metal
  • The package includes both a power cable and USB-C cable.

Lows:

  • Cabinets and IRs are global in the signal chain. You can't have a 1x12 cab IR on channel A and a 4x12 cab IR on channel B. This also makes it so you can't have a full signal chain capture and an amp model capture on the same preset, as the Cab IR will be applied incorrectly to the full signal chain capture.
  • Signal chain is either a capture into an optional cab/IR, or a cab and IR. There's no additional EQ other than amp controls. There's also no effects such as reverb which would have been very handy.
  • Only 3 Cab/IR slots. Cmon, it's 2022! 
  • The pedal could use better features such as a physical IR on/off switch. You can turn off the IRs using just the pedal itself but it is not self-explanatory and requires the manual.
  • Tuner would be nice!

Is it recommended?

If you're interested in this pedal and you own an iPad or M1 Mac and an audio interface, you're in luck. Get the free GE Labs app and play around with it. Capture an amp, download some captures, get a feel for how Mooer does things. If you like the tones, the pedal will sound much the same. In theory the pedal will sound exactly the same as the app. This is as good as it gets to a demo of the pedal experience. That will give you confidence in deciding whether the pedal is right for you.

Click here to see the Amazon listing for this unique pedal.

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