As a lover of all things RAT pedal related, I decided to turn my search towards the cheaper end of the spectrum.
Overview & Cost: $31.99 on Amazon.com!
Very rarely do I dip my toes into the super cheap world of Amazon pedals. It’s not that I don’t like them, as I have historically used a ton of them on my pedal boards. But really, I feel that they are so hit and miss from pedal to pedal that it is hard to give a thorough review. However, as a huge fan of the RAT pedal, I’ve decided to go deep into the weeds and review and compare almost every RAT variant I can find. And with the Wampler Ratsbane already filed at UG, and the ProCo RAT2 already established, why not try an ultra cheap option? The Mosky Black Rat sets out to be a straight up RAT clone, with the standard distortion, filter, and volume controls we all know and love. Interestingly enough, the Black Rat also has a toggle in the top corner to go between a “turbo” and “vintage” mode. The vintage mode is based on your standard RAT, while the turbo is much like the boosted, fuzzier Turbo RAT that has been incredibly popular as well. Some other cool features include the offset input/output, which helps fit it on pedalboards, and the pedal casing actually feels pretty sturdy!
Review & Opinion:
I think it is pretty clear that this pedal doesn’t actually sound all that similar to my Pro Co RAT2 and Wampler Ratsbane. In just a few moments of comparing them, it is so much muddier and bassier than those two. It also feels like part of that is that it has less of a mid scoop compared to the other traditional Rats. It’s actually not a bad sound in a lot of these positions, it can be thick and there is some rich distortion tones. But if absolutely doesn’t cut through the mix the way the others do and sounds are much less flexible, as in you can’t sculpt them super well with the controls on the pedal. It doesn’t inherently sound bad, but I really don’t think that this is that close to an actual RAT pedal. I can confidently say I’d rather take a $50 Boss DS-1 to use as my RAT alternative on stage or in the studio than take this pedal. It’s thick, wooly, muddy bass heavy, but it doesn’t transform your sound into this huge wall of sound that the RAT does, and I think the different really is those high end frequencies. It’s certainly a fine distortion pedal if you can’t afford another, but I’m want to emphasize that it is not really a RAT to my ears at all. So don’t buy it for that reason and that reason alone. I honestly don’t hear much a difference between the turbo mode and the vintage mood except that the turbo mood is volume boosted. No matter how I cranked this pedal, I could not get it to do that edge of fuzz sound that RATs are famous for, even on the turbo mode. Now, having it boosted was still quite useful as it helped improve on the vintage tone, which was sort of low output in my opinion. But again, this won’t be a Turbo RAT, and it won’t get really fuzzy.
Conclusion & Final Score: 4 out of 10
I know these Mosky pedals are really loved by a lot of budget minded musicians, but this just doesn’t do it for me. Especially when it’s not like it is a cheap copy of a super expensive pedal. It’s not a Klon or Timmy, the ProCo RAT2 is $70, the Boss DS-1 is $40-50 used, probably way less even. I just feel like this is the one legendary pedal you don’t need an Amazon copy of. The Mosky Black Rat is by no means useless, but it is underwhelming no matter what the price point is on it. It’s a great option for people who need bass heavy, rhythm oriented distortion pedal on a budget. RAT pedals can do that too, but they typically do so much more too. This one can’t really do anything more. And to be fair, I could have just gotten a dud, that is always a concern with these affordable pedals. One sounds amazing, the next sounds hollow. Overall I can’t say I’d recommend you buy it to replace a RAT on a travel board or gigging board, but I think it is worth the $30 to use as a different kind of distortion for when you’re creating a layer of sound lower in the mix. It doesn’t seem poorly built and the casing feels far sturdier than the plastic Amazon pedals of my high school years. It’s worth a shot if you have $30 to burn, but if each pedal purchase needs to go a long way for you, save up for the Boss DS-1 or RAT2.