|Recent additions to Mooer Audio’s product lineup include (top to bottom) the Preamp Live digital preamp modeler, the Tube Engine 20 all-tube 20-watt power amp, and the GC112 closed-back speaker cabinet.|
Investment in domestic and international talent
sets effects and amp manufacturer apart in global marketplace
A pioneer of micro-sized guitar effects pedals, Shenzhen, China-based Mooer Audio was founded in 2010 on the product design principles of “Small, Smart, Original.” Roughly 80 models in its Micro Series cover the full spectrum of Stompbox effect types. The Series’ big attraction is “small”: saving the player precious pedalboard real estate while making a minimal dent in their bank balance. Though the line was an immediate hit, competitors quickly began copying its designs, driving prices down and eroding sales. Company management regrouped, taking a break from releasing new products between 2014 and 2015 to concentrate on strategic R&D. Starting in 2017, Mooer has been rewarded with a dramatic increase in sales.
“Mooer won’t release a product that does not have any form of innovation or ‘something new’ that hasn’t been done before,” says Product Specialist Paul Scott—whom everyone knows as “Scotty.” It achieves this goal through a combination of responding to customer feedback and investing heavily in an in-house R&D team comprising “young engineers and designers with new and exciting ideas,” all led and mentored by experienced industry professionals.
Being based in China gives Mooer easy access to many suppliers, factories, and services as well as the latest cutting-edge techniques for manufacturing at sensible prices. Its mostly Chinese workforce is in tune with China’s rapidly growing consumer culture in the domestic market. However, now selling its wares in 54 countries, Mooer operates through a traditional network of local distributors worldwide to benefit from their understanding of their respective markets. It also hired foreign experts that bring fresh perspectives and “uncommon practices for Chinese companies” to stand out from local competitors and “change consumers’ perceptions of what to expect from a Chinese brand.” For example, since early 2016 Mooer has employed professionals from the U.K. and the U.S. to facilitate expansion of customer outreach within Western markets, maintain good relations with artists, influencers, and designers, and generally enhance the company’s brand image and consumer awareness.
Another company hallmark is its relentless effort to find new ways to keep manufacturing costs low without compromising on sound, build quality, and product durability. Mooer collaborates with hardware tech companies from America, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, etc. to get the best available DSP chips and electronic components at affordable prices. It then passes these savings on to its distributors and dealers, says Scotty, “so we can all make profit, and so end-users can get the tools they need for creating music and sounds at a very affordable price.”
The success of these strategies is reflected in a slew of new products introduced in 2018. Each of Mooer’s 20 innovative Micro Preamp models, for example, contains a sonically accurate digital re-creation of the preamp section of a real tube amplifier whose tone, dynamics, and response were analyzed and captured with a new proprietary technique.
Popularity of the Micro Preamp and Mooer’s Radar IR Loader led to the mid-2018 release of the Preamp Live, a new series flagship designed to be the ultimate digital preamp modeler for use in a live setting. Intuitive control features access a wide array of different amp tones from a selection of 50 models available within the supporting software and mobile apps. Preamp Live’s Tone Capture feature enables the player to sample his own amplifier’s preamp section and create new digital models to use at gigs and share with friends.
Following 2014’s successful Little Monster five-watt tube amp head series, last year Mooer augmented the line with two new models. The Baby Bomb 30 is a micro-sized 30-watt solid state power amplifier ideal for complementing Micro Preamps to drive the user’s favorite guitar speaker cabinet. It’s also found its way into the gig bags of many touring musicians as a backup amp or as an affordable way to expand their backline rig. The Mooer Hornet is a compact 15-watt guitar amplifier with everything a beginner needs to get started, or to use at home for practice.
Responding to the growing use of IR and convolution algorithms by guitarists who use DI guitar rigs in live and/or recording applications, in 2017 Mooer debuted its Radar speaker cabinet simulator and IR loader in a tiny micro pedal format. Other recent Mooer product introductions include its Truck Series combined effects pedals, GE Series multi-effects processors, Tube Engine 20 all-tube 20-watt power amp, and GC112 portable closed-back speaker cabinet housing a 12" Celestion V30.
For 2019, Mooer plans to unveil more breakthroughs in digital amp modeling including a new flagship addition to its GE series and the new Shadow Series guitar amplifiers, both of which are based on the company’s newly developed digital amp technology. Additional complimentary support and upgrades for previously released products will be available to customers via software downloads and firmware updates.
On an operational level, Mooer’s recently assembled software engineering team will develop new software apps for computer and mobile devices to add functionality and convenient support for its digital products. Its recently released Preamp Live is a good example of a product offering complimentary software that expands the device’s capabilities. Meanwhile, Mooer’s R&D team is making inroads into new areas of digital signal processing such as vocal effects, audio sampling, and synthesis. Always with an eye on innovation, says Scotty, “We will continue to improve our hardware technology, optimize our current tech, and create new products for a wider range of musicians.”