The world of effects pedals is saturated with so much good, bad, expensive, cheap and otherwise indifferent gear that it’s tough to know where to go for the right bit of kit. One maxim that you would do well to stand by in order to make sense of the confusion is that you get what you pay for, and most of the time this useful yardstick holds true. An exception to this rule has come our way recently, however, in the form of these excellent Chinese-made pedals courtesy of the curiously-named Mooer brand. We can say without reservation that they punch above their weight, delivering more tone options per pound sterling than most FX units we’ve seen in some time.
The BEM Box, a mid-sized unit plus expression pedal, is one of those simple-looking gizmos that provides far more options beneath the bonnet than you’d expect on first whipping it out of its box, and in this case we’d advise you to read the manual before plugging in and experimenting – yes, we know this is heresy to any red-blooded bassist, ourselves included. However, a quick scan of the available options will save you much faffing about and wondering what the LED readout is actually trying to tell you.
The BEM Box offers fine-tunable options on overdrive, compression, wah, delay and reverb, plus combinations of all or some of those effects. You can save your own edited sounds or switch quickly through the bank of presets using the patch-forward and patch-backward switches. A drum program with tempo and independent controls allows you to jam along, and for a change the drums don’t sound like five-dollar Casiotone clones recorded underwater: this option would enable you to create a full-band sound in a bass-plus-guitar duo, for example. We love this thing, with the one caveat that its construction doesn’t look massively solid: we dread to think what would happen if some intoxicated stage invader wearing knee-high Dr Martens decided to take a flying leap onto it. Then again, for a mere £100 this is to be expected, so make sure you place the BEM Box out of harm’s way. The brain beneath the silver exterior is too sophisticated to be exposed to drunk people (can you tell we speak from bitter experience here?).
At under £60, Mooer’s fantastic little Sweeper envelope filter is one of the coolest bits of kit we’ve seen at the BGM command bunker in a while. The size of that chunk of Cheddar you snarfed down on Christmas Day, the Sweeper does its job amazingly well. The filter options include a satisfyingly wide frequency range for the price, a useful clean/fuzz switch and a sensitivity control, all of which combine to provide an overall feel of quality beyond its price point.
It’s built like a very little tank, too. Step on that, drunk stage-invader, and it will (probably) survive intact. Its weeny dimensions may cause it to get lost among the pile of cables and power supplies in your gig bag, though. Yes, we’re serious. Keep an eye on it.
MOOER BEM BOX BASS MULTI-EFFECTS PROCESSOR PRICE | £99.99
MADE IN | China
EFFECTS | 55 including overdrive, reverb, delay, compression, limiter, wah; also features drum program
CONTROLS | Module select, value, play/ stop drums/patch backward, bypass/patch forward, expression pedal
DIMENSIONS | 152mm (D) x 144mm (W) x 63mm (H)
WEIGHT | 380g without batteries
POWER SUPPLY | 9V adapter or 4 x AA batteries
MOOER SWEEPER BASS FILTER PEDAL PRICE | £59.99
MADE IN | China
EFFECTS | Envelope fi lter
CONTROLS | Clean/fuzz mode, range, resonance, intensity, bypass
DIMENSIONS | 93.5mm (D) x 42mm (W) x 52mm (H)
WEIGHT | 160g
POWER SUPPLY | 9V adapter
BUILD QUALITY | 7/10
SOUND QUALITY | 9/10
VALUE | 9/10
BUILD QUALITY | 9/10
SOUND QUALITY| 8/10
VALUE | 9/10