Updated: Feb 26
Mooer GE250, another amp modeller and multi-effects added to Mooer's ever-growing arsenal.
Known for their mini pedals and for recently dabbling into the multi-effects and amp modelling arena, Mooer Audio has recently launched the GE300. It is aimed at the same spot occupied by Line 6 Helix, Headrush, Fractal Audio FX8/AX8 and many others.
Now as a follow up, a slightly smaller and more affordable device in the GE250.
Squeezed into the Mooer line-up right between the GE200 and GE300.
This new shiny piece of gear is once again proof of the unstoppable trend to replace physical amplifiers and effects pedals with modellers and software.
Why would you want it ?
There’s a few scenarios where a floor amp modeller and multi-effects is handy:
· As your only source for guitar tone. It is not as portable as compact models such as the Mooer GE200 or the Line 6 HX Stomp. It is still small enough to fit a gig bag and might as well be your ultimate guitar tone device, and it is cheaper than the Mooer GE300;
· As your Home Recording Studio USB interface if you don’t have one. You could record your guitar without the need for a separate interface. If all you do is practice your guitar and occasionally record it in your DAW, this could be it;
· As your effects box in your pedalboard, in addition to other pedals. The GE250 does support the 4-cable method, so it can be combined with the amplifiers you already love;
· Playing live. It has a mode to disable the cabinet simulation in case you want to send one of its outputs directly to a stage amp while performing. The other output can be sent to the PA system with the cab simulation on.
On the USB front, It will output two channels to your DAW, allowing you to either record the output in stereo if you’re using stereo effects, or dual mono with dry and processed versions of the signal.
Similar to the relatives GE200 and GE300, you can go to the system menu of the unit and disable the effects in one or both outputs. That way you can use it as a DI Box to capture a dry guitar signal alongside the processed one.
The stand out features are really the tone capture block and the extended I/O selection that includes XLR outputs and support for the 4-cable method.
I would say that these stand out in the comparison with the smaller and cheaper GE200. It might be a good reason to keep your wallet away from the GE300 and get this one instead.
Look And Feel + User Interface
The Mooer GE250 is a bit bigger than the GE200. As it seems to be the norm with Mooer products, it seems very robust and well finished.
It delivers 5 footswitches which are pre-assigned to preset bank switch, tuner and looper. It also contains direct small switches for every effect in the signal chain, knobs for adjusting volume and parameters, and a very usable small expression pedal.
The thing with the small switches though is that it's virtually impossible to hit them with your feet while playing. They're meant for adjustments between songs or something similar.
One interesting thing in this model is that the switch between banks of presets is up and down rather than left and right.
The LCD is closer to the GE200 than it is to the GE300; there is some colour there but the overall layout and look and feel is quite similar to the GE200.
The Mooer GE250 Studio app once again extends the functionality to a PC or Mac via USB connection.
I'm not a fan of doing edits on a small LCD screen, so again ground up patch creation is easier via the Studio app, and further tweaking is probably OK if done directly on the unit while playing.
By the way, increased wow factor here: major improvement on how the studio app looks and feels compared with previous ones!
On the I/O front it has an advantage over the GE200. The effects send and return allows insertion of your own effects in the chain or the use of your own amps via the 4-cable method.
It can also connect to professional PA and monitors via XLR, send or receive MIDI commands, or take a second expression pedal.
Compared with the GE300, it does not have the MIDI return connection, and its send and return channels are both single channel.
Effects and Presets
Loaded with a plethora of presets, this unit has tones for all tastes: rock, funk, world music, acoustic, you name it.
The list includes classic amps such as Marshall JCM800 and Fender Twin Reverb. Also included are the iconic Ibanez Tubescreamer and a plethora of other effects.
To understand the full list we recommend you go and download the PDF version of their manual. The onscreen names are just too short and sometimes might not entirely give away what the effect or amplifier are.
The presets don’t have the concept of snapshots or scenes. However, they can be tweaked on the fly by using the provided individual effects buttons explained before.
Again, this is not something you can do with your feet while playing, so do prepare your presets in advance and in the order you need them.
As the preset switching is quite fast, albeit not gap free. You can make multiple copies of the presets you need and then save each one with different settings and different effects on and off so you can switch between them as if they were snapshots.
Tone capture is similar to the GE300, but only the amplifier mode is offered here. The GE 300 had three flavours: guitar, amplifier + stomp box, and IR. At the time of writing this is what was being offered, but it is possible that this will change with future firmware upgrades.
In any case I would say that the vast majority of players will use this to emulate the tones from their favourite amps. Hence the downgrade from GE300 doesn't really feel like it will be a major issue.
These are the features that standout on the Mooer GE250:
· Remarkable look and feel and finishing;
· Expression pedal built in, usable and robust;
· Reliable foot-switches;
· Ability to load new amp models and IRs;
· Tone Capture;
· Support for external stomp-boxes and 4-cable method even on a relatively small unit;
· Good overall sound and usability.
There is room for improvement in these areas:
· Snapshots or scenes, it seems that none of the Mooer products have this;
· Support for FRFR speakers via AES/EBU digital links;
· More signal options when connected to a DAW.
While the addition of this model was certainly welcome, it is getting increasingly difficult to tell Mooer products apart.
I imagine that their next step is to improve firmware and add more amps and effects, rather than overcrowding their line-up with further model options.