Review: The MOOG MF Drive – Cool Vintage Character and Voice

The MOOG MF Drive is a pedal with its own vibe and personality. It is definitely plug and play but if you take the time and bond with this pedal the variations of tone are limitless. MOOG describe the MF Drive as an “overdrive “pedal. While defining distortions, fuzzes, boosts and overdrive pedals can be pretty subjective I think MOOG nailed the description on this pedal. That being said you can dial in a range of great fuzz and distortion tones with this great tone tool.

Let’s start with the overall look and construction. The look is classic MOOG with the expected black and silver knobs and throwback appearance. The enclosure is rugged cast aluminum, the thing is built like a tank. It is nice to have a stompbox you don’t have to be afraid to stomp on.

The controls are fairly self-explanatory. GAIN, OUTPUT, TONE AND FILTER . There are also two switches controlling DRIVE and PEAK. The switches are more than cool. The drive switch controls the amount of gain in the down position the GAIN knob range is from +6.8dB to +48dB. In the up position the gain range is from +16dB to +57dB. This allows for extended control over gain-staging the input of the MF Drive.

With the GAIN rolled back, the DRIVE in the up position, OUTPUT and tone at 2 o’clock and PEAK in the down position I was able to get some very cool vintage tube tones out of my solid state Marshall VS100. As I rolled the FILTER control between 11 – 2 o’clock it almost worked like a speaker simulator giving me some cool character and voice out of my amp. The tone was very old school rock and blues conjuring up the likes of Willie Johnson and Link Ray. I found myself playing in this mode for hours manipulating the TONE and FILTER controls to emulate an endless rage of tone.

With the same settings but switching the DRIVE to the DOWN position and cranking the GAIN to 5 o’clock I found a very usable Billy Gibbons La Grange tone. To confirm this unearthing of one of the holy grails of tone I put on La Grange and tweaked it a bit and I have to say it is freaking spot on.

This pedal becomes even more fun when you start playing with the PEAK and FILTER. FILTER interacts heavily with the Tone knob and FILTER PEAK switch. With PEAK off, the FILTER can be used to reduce top end and add heft to an amplifier. With PEAK engaged, the FILTER can be used to add low, mid, or high frequency boost to your instrument. This is extremely useful when dialing in cocked wah tones ala Frank Zappa, Mick Ronson or Eric Clapton. The FILTER control can also be control via an expression pedal giving you the dirtiest funkiest wah pedal you have ever used.

Trying to find any downside in this pedal is difficult. The price point is half of what you would pay for a comparable boutique pedal with its street price being set at $139. My only rub is I want an amp with this tone stack built into it. If MOOG Music built a 25 watt single 12 inch speaker tube amp with this Ladder Filter, it would be game over.