Released as part of Mooer’s ongoing gear release spree, the Hornet 15i is peak minimalist amp design, offering a generous suite of features with hardly any controls at all.
When we say “hardly any”, we mean it: the Mooer Hornet 15i Intelligent Amp has only one – yes, one – onboard control.
To break that down further, that one front-facing control knob is the only physical parameter on the amp, which still manages to gives users access to 52 amp models, 49 effects and much more.
“Much more” includes an 80-second looper that can sync with a drum machine, which in turn offers 40 beat varieties and 10 metronomes to play along with, as well as a tuner and USB-C port for audio recording and playback.
As you probably already know, that lone wolf dial isn’t responsible for all the above, and looks to be merely a master output volume. The rest of the action takes place inside Mooer’s iAMP app, which connects to the Hornet 15i via Bluetooth.
It’s here that the various amps and parameters can be selected and sculpted, with each model arriving from Mooer’s MNRS technology. A range of reverbs, delays, modulations can also be accessed, with Mooer promising both “classic and experimental effects”.
There’s no definitive list of what amps and effects are specifically available, but our eagle eyes definitely spy the words “Marshall” and “Plexi” in the demo vid, so it's safe to assume some well-known units will make the cut.
Oh, and thanks to the Bluetooth, the Hornet 15i can also be linked to a wireless footswitch control, which can help switch between presets and effects.
Other notable specs include its 15-watt output and 6.5” speaker, which Mooer says is enough to take the control-less Hornet 15i for small gigs. Sure, we imagine it would do the job if needed, but this looks particularly like it would excel as a smart practice amp.
As for just how far it would excel remains to be seen. Technology in the music world is the future, after all, but there’s just something timeless about the tangibility of cranking up the gain – or tweaking an EQ – on a guitar amp and getting hands on with the controls.
Granted, you can still do that here in spirit, but only after you’ve connected your phone, opened up iAMP, and loaded up your model and effects.
Having said all that, the aim of the game for Mooer’s Hornet 15i is quantity and minimalism, both of which are present in spades here. 52 amps and 49 effects certainly is nothing to turn a nose up at – more can be obtained on the Mooer Cloud – and that drum machine would be a very handy practice companion.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen an approach like this, either. Positive Grid’s one-knob, 5-watt Spark Go – something Mooer imitated with its Hornet 05i – is wholly dictated by the Spark app, and offers the options of 33 amp models and 43 effects.
Price-wise, a handful of early retail listings place the Hornet 15i around the $165 mark – not bad, considering the spec sheet.
More info can be found on Mooer's website.
Mooer certainly is on a hot streak at the moment, which has seen it take on some of the biggest gear brands around.
First, it set its sights on taking on the Positive Grid Spark with its very own SD30i smart practice amp, then sought to make waves in the looper pedal market with the Micro Looper II – a unit that could dethrone the TC Electronic Ditto as the go-to mini-looper.