Not only does the Mooer Micro Preamp Live pull together all the pedals in the Micro Preamp series, it also has something impressive to offer. With the small, inexpensive preamps of the series Mooer has been delivering the sound of big role models in the micro-pedal case for a couple of years, and all very successfully. The preamp live in this test is virtually the flagship of the series, which caused quite a stir at this year’s NAMM show.
As already mentioned, the Preamp Live includes all the micro preamp series pedals and much more, for example a tone capture function or 30 cab simulations that can be extended with your own IRs. Further, more detailed settings can also be made using software. The device, as the name suggests, is aimed primarily at the live musician.
Safely packaged, the preamp live pedal is delivered in a box, and the delivery includes a 12-volt power supply and a detailed German-language manual. It weighs in at 1219 grams and makes a super-rugged impression at first glance. The white lacquered metal housing has dimensions of 230 x 130 x 46 mm and is extremely compact.
At the bottom, four rubber feet make for a non-slip stand, and since they were glued on, they can also be easily removed and replaced with Velcro, for example.
The new flagship of Mooer’s ever-expanding micro-preamp series is simply called LIVE.
It measures 230 x 130 x 46 mm and comes in a white lacquered metal case.
The manufacturer has shipped all the pedals of the previously released micro-preamp series plus other features in the compact board.
All connections are located on the front side, with all jacks are screwed from the outside to the housing. These include input and output jacks and an effect loop-in with send and return. An XLR jack and ground-lift switch, which eliminates any humming, also provides the output signal. If you want to record the preamp live pedal in a MIDI composite, this is not a problem either, as the MIDI In and Out jacks provide appropriate connections. A headphone output must not be missing, this requires a mini-jack. Missing only the connection for the supplied power supply, which is also found here.
On the front of the pedal all connections have gathered neatly next to each other.
The control surface makes a very clear and tidy impression and is divided into three areas. In the front, first section are the channel controller, consisting of six screened endless pots with handy, black buttons and one LED ring to control the position of the controller. They can be used to specify volume, bass, mid, treble and gain.
The sixth regulator on the far right also has a switching function and controls the booster, which can be switched pre and post. This is exciting, because depending on the positioning completely different sounds come about. In pre-mode, the boost is positioned in front of the preamp, in post-mode behind the master control, which causes the entire signal to be raised in volume. Two small red LEDs indicate which fashion you are currently in.
Mooer also has two noise gates integrated, which can also be activated and adjusted with the boost control. To do this, the latter must be kept pressed down so that the pre-noise gate, which is located in the signal path behind the input socket and before the preamp circuit, can be adjusted. To get to the Post-Noise-Gate, you have to press the Boost-control once, you can control the gate, which is behind the preamp-model.
The user interface is highlighted in black except for the four foot switches.
In the row behind is the master section, consisting of three pots, which are slightly smaller and are provided with small, white graduated lines for better control of the regulator position. On the extreme left is the master knob for adjusting the overall volume, a presence knob similar to that found on guitar amplifiers that control the master presence.
The effect grinding path also has its own potentiometer, which determines the dry / wet proportion. But the Einschleifweg can do more, because he offers the choice between two modes. In mode A (serial), the FX path works as it is known from conventional amplifiers. An external effect device can thus be assigned to the different preamp channels.
Loop-in Mode A – Serial
In Mode B, the digital preamp section of the pedal is bypassed and replaced with the analogue preamp section of the connected amp. For example, you can use the digital preamps of the pedal in channels 1, 2, and 3, and the amplifier’s analog preamp on channel four. Connects quite classically with the four-cable method, as you can see in the picture.
The jack and the XLR jack can also be optionally equipped with a frequency-corrected Cab-Sim signal, which can be switched on and off individually with two small toggle switches. Still missing are the four metal footswitches in the back row that can do more than just select presets.
The pedal has a total of 12 channels, which are divided into three banks (A / B / C) with four channels each and are selected by footswitch. If you want to change to another bank, two footswitches must be pressed simultaneously. In practice this looks like this:
- Bank A: Switch 1-2
- Bank B: Switch 2-3
- Bank C: Switch 3-4
To visually check which bank you are in, the LED rings in the front row are red (bank A), green (bank B) or yellow (bank C).
I have to admit that at first I was a bit skeptical about pushing two switches with my foot at the same time, but in practice that was not a problem. Of course, all changes can also be saved by pressing the active footswitch for more than one second.
While the user interface provides basic switching and control options, you can access a variety of parameters from your computer or smartphone. Mooer provides PC / Mac software for download from the manufacturer’s website, which allows for programming the pedal and which I will discuss in more detail later. A mobile app makes operation via smartphone or tablet possible. Minimum requirement is iPhone 5 and iOS 9.0 or for Android devices Android 4.4. Also on the app I will go into even closer. Installing the software on my Macbook with the latest operating system was very easy and, once started, very clear at first glance. It can basically be divided into three areas, Preamp, Cab and Tone Capture.
In the preamp window you can choose from 23 amps and 50 presets, 12 more can be added. Since many amps have several channels, these are also stored, which ensures the high number of preset.
The choices are:
- Diezel Hagen
- Marshall JCM 900
- Bruno Underground 30
- Fender Blues Deluxe Combo
- Friedman BE 100
- EVH 5150III
- Mesa Boogie Mark III
- Two Rock Coral
- Engl E650 Blackmore Signature Model
- Mesa Boogie JP-2c John Petrucci Signature Model
- Mesa Boogie Lonestar
- VOX AC30 Combo
- Dr. Z Maz 38
- Engl Fireball 100
- PRS Archon 50
- Peavey JSX
- Chef Powerzone
- Randall Satan
- Toneking Falcon
- VHT Pit Bull
- Two-Rock Cardiff
- Friedman Smallbox 50
- Diezel VH4
A pretty impressive list that covers a wide range of different amp sounds!
The controls on the pedal are shown in the software as a slider and as soon as one of them is adjusted, the change takes place on the pedal also. So you can program the preamp live completely with the software, without pressing a single knob or switch on the device.
Also the midi assignments, which are not adjustable on the pedal, can be made here, as well as changing the effect way from serial to parallel.
In the cab window, if necessary, the tubes of the virtual power amplifier, 30 different box types are available to choose from and also the microphone used and its position can be determined. You can also load your own impulse responses, which are in WAV format and should have a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz and a resolution of 24 bits. And they can not be longer than 512 ms.
It gets exciting in the Tone Capture window, because Mooer offers the possibility of another EQ stage, based on the feedback sampling method. This is how the sound of an amplifier or preamp pedal can be simulated and stored. Each channel has its own tone capture EQ, which can also be exported or imported into another preamp live pedal.
Software Tone Capture
The connection looks like this:
Tone capture connection
To create a sound capture, you need the four footswitches labeled Source, Target, Capture, and Active. The manual shows step by step very detailed how the procedure is carried out, which I will save myself now. If you want to know exactly, you can also open the enclosed operating instructions on the manufacturer’s website.
Even the control via iPhone app is extremely uncomplicated. Since the preamp live pedal is equipped with a wireless module, it can be paired with my smartphone and operated. All the control possibilities offered by the program on the computer can also be found here, with the exception of the tone capture option.
As far as the operation of the pedal and the software are concerned, I can only report good things, because it is really extremely user-friendly and completely logical. Internally, the pedal works with a sampling rate of 88.2 kHz, a resolution of 24 bits and has a signal-to-noise ratio of 103 dB.
The pedal made in China is strikingly high quality and leaves a very positive impression.
Conclusion (4.5 / 5)
Mooer is always good for a surprise and delivers a compelling tool with Preamp Live, and not just for the live musician! Because of the wide range of different Amptypen and the ability to use a software and an app for smartphones to swap speakers, microphones and even power tubes, it also makes for the studio musician very interesting. If you want to capture the basic sound of his real amp, that’s also possible because Mooer provides the option with the Tone Capture option. Thanks to the many additional options such as two boosters and noisegates positioned at different points in the signal path, the sound can also be easily adapted to personal needs. The workmanship of the pedal made in China is of high quality and should survive even the hard stage life. The price performance ratio is very good.
- Impeccable workmanship
- Very good sound at the amp
- Good sound of the speaker simulation
- Tone-capture option
- Intuitive and extensive software operation
The Mooer Micro Preamp Live turns out to be a convincing live and studio tool with many editing options.
Mooer Micro Preamp Live TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
- Manufacturer: Mooer
- Designation: Micro Preamp Live
- Type: Multi-preamp modeller
- Country of manufacture: China
- Inputs: Input jack
- Outputs: Output jack, Output XLR
- Controls: Bass, Middle, Treble, Volume, Gain, Master, Presence, FX Level
- Switch: CAB Sim On / Off for both outputs
- MIDI: In / Out DIN 5 Pin
- Special features: Mac / PC software, wireless editing with iPhone / Android
- Dimensions: 230 x 130 x 46 mm
- Weight: 1219 grams
- Retail price: 399,00 Euro (October 2018)