I use a Fender Strat with Dimarzio intruder pickups at bridge and neck. I mostly play metal or NWOBM, and I primarily look for two types of sound: John Petrucci in "scenes from a memory" for the heavier stuff, and John Norum in "The final countdown" for the lighter stuff. So far I have used an ancient Pod XT, from which miraculously I can extract those sounds in a convincing manner.
Now to the Mooer Prime P1:
- it has a decent variety of effects and, most importantly, cabinet simulations.
- it has a good SNR for both the price and the form factor, so you will be able to crank the gain up without too much hiss.
- once you have it set up it is rather handy for practicing on the go.
- good build quality for the price
- With enough practice you can get some decent high-gain sound out of it. More on that later.
- It CAN be paired to any laptop for bluetooth audio streaming while at the same time being controlled with the mobile app from a phone. Therefore you can even practice along a track running in your daw.
- It works regularly while charging which means the battery life can be indefinitely extended with one or more USB battery packs. Also when the lithium battery eventually degrades you can always strap an external battery pack to it with a piece of tape, so you can keep using it.
- It can be used as a USB audio interface with integrated effects for recording. It does not come with Asio drivers but it will work with Asio4All drivers. The fact that the effects come from the device itself and not from the DAW means that you don't have to worry about latency.
- The app is functional, in fact it is rather responsive, but always having to use the phone, especially when you are trying all booster-amp-cab combination to get the distortion you like is a drag. Also having a desktop app would be a lot better.
- I have the impression that there actually is a very limited amount of distorsion models because, with a given cabinet selected, no matter what OD+AMP I choose, the sound features at high gain tend to sound a lot alike, with maybe a couple of exceptions. Not a bad sound per se, just a somewhat limited choice.
- You can stream audio to it via USB from a PC, and you can also record the output, but there seems to be no option for recording clean sound to the PC (direct input) while at the same time hearing the effect sound in the headphones (20 year old Pox XT does this). So in short you can't really "reamp" your clean track in your DAW.
- Install the control app on a tablet, because the phone app is a little too small and will take the joy of practicing away
- You can add extra boost (and extra gain) in the settings -> input gain to drive your stompbox even hotter.
- I find that the best high-gain sounds can be made by using the input gain + compressor as a booster, the high-gain stompboxes for all the gain, and then a clean amp for EQ. For the "John Norum" sound I boost as much as possible with input-gain + compressor and then use the D-Drive pedal at full gain into a "65 US TW" amp and a "Slow 412" cab and a bit of analog chorus.
- Unless you need to use a specific modulation pedal, always ad a miniscule amount of "analog chorus" after the cab, just enough to add body to the sound but not enough to actually notice that you have a chorus on.
- Use the global equalizer under settings to cut off some high frequencies, this EQ can work on top of the AMP eq for some nice fine tuning
All in all I think it does a good job as a practice tool and even for recording because as I mentioned before the SNR is surprisingly high (low hiss). For the price I would recommend this, but a long experimentation is necessary to create good sounds, because the "default" ones are garbage.