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Reviews Palmer

Palmer Automat Review

Distautowah On the occasion of our recently published Palmer Mutterstolz distortion pedal review, your favorite website decided to revisit some of the German brand's Root Effects, and here we review Automat, an analog distortion/auto-wah that saw the light of day in February 2012. read more…

Palmer Kaputt Review

Kaputt With our recent review of the Mutterstolz tube distortion in mind, the Audiofanzine editorial board decided to review some of the other models from Palmer's Root Effects collection. We've already posted our review of Automat, and here we'll focus on Kaputt. read more…

Palmer Mutterstolz Review

Make Your Mamma Proud Back in the day when fluorescent colors were in fashion, amps resembled fridges, all the songs on the radio had a guitar solo after the second chorus, and the Berlin Wall was still standing (Bingo!, the '80s), German brand Palmer made a name for itself among guitar players with products such as the very popular PI-03 speaker simulator in rack format with a gray and austere front panel. read more…

User reviews on Palmer products

AUTOMAT autowah + distortion produces diverse array of sounds (Automat)

By MGR/Brian Johnston, 22/05/2018
If you like autowah pedals, you’re going to like the Automat… it also has Distortion! Palmer’s Automat produces sounds that can be very subtle and snappy, and as clean as you want them, or very heavy and almost growling. The YouTube video below explores some of the possible settings of the Automat, while trying to demonstrate sounds different from other YouTube videos on this product (other videos tend to apply the Automat in more of a funky-wah style, whereas this video considered Automat’s use with heavier riffs and some higher-gain or rock settings):

It’s difficult to demonstrate the sounds of the Automat beyond the video, since there are so many possibilities of tone based on how much Drive or Gain you use, if you’re using a Low Pass, Band Pass (flat) or High Pass filter, etc. In some instances I could mix in just enough of the wah effect to be barely perceivable (a slight fattening of the tone), whereas in other settings, particularly with a lot of ‘Wet’ and the Drive knob set around 11 o’clock you get some very obvious honking and deep wahs that almost seem too much (but not really!). Something else nice about this pedal is that it is quiet, even when you fully crank the Gain knob.

Most autowah type pedal effects usually are just that. The Palmer Automat included a Gain which really adds to its use. Moreover, along with all the other functions you are able to craft and develop a host of possible sounds and tones, making it a very diverse pedal. The Tone knob has an exceptional range of low to high and works very well with the filter knob (Low Pass, Band Pass and High Pass). The Low pass offers more of a low-end or bass response, which is actually quite effective when playing high-gain or rock (lots of ‘push’ in the tone). The High Pass is the opposite, offering more treble and a cleaner result, whereas the Band Pass is more flat in response. Because each of these offer very unique responses to the other settings (the Drive and Q knobs in particular), the Tone comes in handy to balance things out.

The Mix knob is different from the Wet/Dry knob. The Wet/Dry determines how much of the effect is mixed with your guitar signal with 9 o’clock giving a nice hint and flavor whereas once you reach 12 noon you’re getting a lot of the effect in with the dry guitar sound. The Mix knob, on the other hand, determines the mix between the distortion (gain) and the autowah. I left the Mix up full in the video to emphasize the qualities of various settings.

There’s nothing difficult about turning a knob, but there is so much that can be tweaked on the Automat. This may be an annoyance to some players who simply want to plug-and-play, but there may be times when you want a bit of thickness added to your tone all the way to some nice growling and long-winded wahs. And certainly preferences among players will vary, from those who play funk to those who play hard rock and metal. The Automat can fit into any of those genres, and as a result it necessitates a wide array of tweaking possibilities. Certainly you will need to balance the Tone knob with the filter type (Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass), whereas you may want a higher sounding wah or one that is deeper and more throaty. The Wet knob is very sensitive, in that just a fraction of an inch (a millimeter or two) can make the effect mix a touch too low or maybe too high – although that could alter from one song or composition to the next and depending on your taste. Nonetheless, if you like experimenting with sounds and don’t mind investing some time turning knobs to discover some inspiring sounds, then the Automat has a lot to offer and will be right up your alley.

Palmer’s Automat is a well-constructed pedal. It has an all-steel housing, as do most pedals, but Palmer also included an extended back edge or guard (not sure how else to describe it, but do refer to the photo). This added framing will offer some additional protection of the cables and power chord. Likewise, the in/out cables and the power cable does plug into the back of the unit, which keeps one’s foot from stomping on them and which design also saves on some pedal board real estate since you can place pedals closer together. With the Automat you do not have to use a separate power source (9v and 12mA power consumption), but can opt for using a standard 9v battery (with an easy-to-open compartment located on the bottom, which location may not be ideal for those who affix their pedals with more permanency).

The Automat also has a metal footswitch (to control on and off) and all metal knobs. The knobs have a very solid yet smooth feel when turned. Palmer pedals are highly affordable, but the quality of construction certainly suggests German engineering and made with pride.

Three Amps with Clean, Crunch & Heavy + 3 Mic Settings (Pocket Amp mk2)

By MGR/Brian Johnston, 27/08/2018
It may be small, but Palmer’s Pocket Amp MK 2 produces some very decent tones, as demonstrated in the YouTube demo below:

With dynamics of a tube amp (although it may not be 100% authentic), the MK 2 produces some rich harmonics and note detail, but what first jumps out is the quality of the dirt or distortion, particularly with the Modern British and USA models (both of which provide tones from clean to hard-rock and metal). I’m jumping a bit ahead, and so be aware that there are three amp models besides the two just mentioned, the third being a Vintage (Tweed-style) amp. If you’re looking for a clean amp simulator, this one definitely is of good quality and accepts dirt pedals rather well (the others like dirt pedals if you don’t go too crazy on the MK 2’s Gain). I don’t find this version of the Vintage Tweed as jangly or trebly as an actual Tweed, which is good to my ears (apologies to Tweed lovers), but it is bright and clear without sounding harsh. On that note, I found the Treble pot to sound a bit harsh once you push it around 3-o’clock or more (although I rarely found need to get the treble up that high).
The sound of each amp can vary considerably, depending on all the possible settings (which is true of any amp). There’s a Gain knob, which really packs a nice grainy punch to any of the amps, but with each amp you can select a Mode: Clean, Crunch and Heavy. Not only that, you can produce a tighter clearer sound with the Classic Mic, or get more mid-range and treble with the Centre Mic, or perhaps something less harsh and with more mids with the Off Axis Mic. The demo video goes into each of these aspects. Also, the MK 2 does have a Ground Lift if you happen to notice some hissing or noise when working with grounded pedals.

The MK 2 is very affordable at about $129 USD, and that price gives you three amplifiers (and three channels each) with three different mic setups that can be run to a clean amp, a PA/Mixer or your computer. It can be used as a distortion box, as an amp simulator or a DI box when bypassed. As well, Palmer’s Pocket Amp MK 2 can be used as a private practicing device ready for headphones. There’s a lot of punch in this little package.
A decent sound with a significant range of tones, there’s a lot of experimentation as you adjust the Gain and select among different Modes and Mics. Although it may be argued that the MK 2 not ‘tube-like’ (why compare it to a $1000+ amp?), the MK 2 does produce some very usable tones in recording and play. The Vintage has a very pleasant and clear quality, whereas the British and USA modern models both have a superb distortion that is gritty and cuts through the mix. The Pocket Amp MK 2 also takes pedals rather well. I’ve played with pre-amps and amp simulators that are better in some respects, but often at double or triple the price – then again, the MK 2 has more options than many other pre-amps so that you can achieve a lot more sounds. All in all, a worthy purchase and a device the average gear-head will make use of repeatedly.

Initially there may seem to be a lot of switches and knobs on the MK2, but once you know what Amp you want to use, the rest falls in place rather easily and you don’t have to tweak too much. The Vintage selection is pretty straight forward and you’re going to get a rather clean amp, although it does break up nicely if you crank the Gain and go into Heavy Mode. The British style amp has more high-mids and highs, (a grainy distortion) whereas the USA style amp has more low-mids and fewer highs (more bottom end). Of course you can alter this by tweaking the Treble and Bass, but those are the general characteristics when choosing the correct amp for your sound. The Mode selection is pretty straight forward if you think of it as a three-channel amp… clean, crunch and high-gain (although Palmer calls it ‘heavy’ on the MK 2, and likely because the crunch can sound pretty high-gain in some instances). Choosing a Mic also is straight forward as the Classic gives you a clearer sound with some nice mids, whereas the Centre Mic (aka SM57) produces more high-mids and treble and the Off Axis reduces some of that harshness for a smoother outcome. In that regard, when selecting an Off Axis Mic, you may need to turn up your treble if you find it has too much low-mids, or perhaps more bass if selecting the Classic or Centre mics. Obviously experimentation is paramount as it also depends on your guitar and its pickups, other pedals you’re using, etc.

Also worth mentioning is the Aux In, which allows you to hook up a CD or MP3 if you want to jam with some music, and the XLR Output allows you to go direct to a PA or Mixer (you will need to turn the MK 2’s levels down and adjust volume accordingly). Of course, you can use the ¼-inch jack output as you normally would and go into an amp or direct to your computer for recording.

Encased in a die cast aluminum chassis, the MK 2 is of moderate weight, but plenty tough. The plastic knobs produce a very smooth and high-quality turn and the selector switches (Amp, Mode, Mic and Grd) all have solid clicks when moved into place. The footswitch seems ‘slight’ in its construction, although the ‘click’ is obvious when engaging and disengaging. The guitar’s input is in the front of the unit, off slightly to the left of the footswitch, and so if used on stage I would opt for a 45-degree cable end to keep any wiring as close to the chassis as possible and to keep a foot from stomping on it. The other inputs and outputs (power, aux in, XLR out and ¼-inch out) are located in the back and far from harm. The cable placement makes the MK 2 pedal board friendly, as well as its smallish size. The headphone jack is located in the top front right-hand corner, which is not an issue as headphones would not be used in a band setting and damage to the headphone chord or the input jack is unlikely as a result. The MK 2 can operate on a 9v battery, accessible from an easy to open door on the bottom, or via a standard 9v power supply (30mA).

News Palmer

[MUSIKMESSE] Palmer Monicon L

Published on 04/07/16
On his home ground, German manufacturer Palmer presents its new Monicon L Passive Monitor Controller.

New Palmer Pocket Root Tremolo

Published on 03/03/15

Forums Palmer