Palmer PGA04 - Speaker Simulator with Load Box

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by 7 Dying Trees, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. 7 Dying Trees

    7 Dying Trees Forum MVP

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    So, I've now had the palmer for a few months, and have extensively used it way more than i ever thought I would and both live and in the studio, and seeing as I am keeping it, I thought it'd be fair to post a review, which I'll split into Studio and Live use.

    Studio:

    First up, the palmer is a load box and speaker simulator, and as such eliminates the need for a cab and micing up. I've been tired of the pod for a while as it hasn't been inspiring, reamping wouldn't work for me as I record at home and have neighbours who I doubt would appreciate their teacups vibrating off their cupboard shelves... I also have nice amps that are just gathering dust unless rehearsing or playing live, which is a shame, and I wanted to be able to use them. I also tried impulses but didn't really get what i was looking for out of them either. So a device that simulates a speaker and acts as a power soak for the amp seemed ideal.

    Anyway, onto the review.

    Ease of Use:
    - You plug your amp's speaker output into the unit, set the amp to 8ohms. Then plug a lead from the output of the unit into a soundcard, mixing desk, whatever.
    - EQ the amp, then adjust the bass and treble on the palmer to taste, as well as the speaker sim strength (effectively a master volume).
    - Set the amp volume to a level that doesn't max out the led power meters.
    - Record/Jam/Etc

    Overall, once it's set up, it's set up. You just don't need to touch it at all, it just works, which is really nice.

    Sound:
    Sounds like the amp. I've been amazed. You plug the amp in, and it sounds like what you hear when playing in the rehearsal room. EQ is very easy and smooth, just that you have the extra speaker properties to play with. You can even blend in some unfiltered direct signal from the power amp to add some high end, and it has a low pass filter to cut the really harsh stuff out. You also get to choose the what I assume is mic type, from what seems like a condensor and an sm57 a like.

    Recording with it is fun, you get all the responsiveness of the amp, nuances, sag, and just an overall really organic sound, it's a pleasure to play, and has made me think of just never using the pod again for recording.

    One con to it is that the sound you get lacks the airiness you get with a mic, but that's no big deal, for people who want a razor tight sound it's perfect. It's the only real complaint, but studio magic can fix this.

    Live:
    - I ended up using this live for half a tour. Basically amp->palmer->front of house desk/monitors. With a good PA it sounds immense. Really nice defined bass, chunky, weighty, and crystal clear, a destructive guitar soiund. On a bad PA however, the amount of eq to make the PA sound good on the FOH desk means the palmer gets lost a bit an micing it is a better option in those cases, but from reports of the FOH guy, he loved it. Seems that having a second track with the out of phase signal+delay acts as a magic slider thickening up the sound. It's huge. Some issues with getting it too work properly in a 2 guitar band, but on the whole a very positive response. Overall for live, a second unit would be a good idea, and as you can daisy chain them, and also still have a cabinet at the end, it provides a lot of options.

    Reliability:
    It's not failed on me. You can overdo it by forcing too much power into it and burning it out, but you'd need a 120-150w amp at least running at full pelt to do this, which is just ludicrous anyway... It's not died, and I've put a 5150 and the VHT through it, both running very very loud :)

    Value:
    I bought mine second hand, and so far it's paid for itsself really, couldn't be happier, plus the used prices are still high for these, and they are well worth it.

    Expressiveness/Sounds:
    Will do what the amp does, reacts to dynamics, playing style, everything. It's amazing.

    Overall:
    Killer unit that is a must have for anyone recording in places where sound levels are an issue (apartments etc) or even for jamming and playing around with nice amps that need to be pushed to get the best out of them. Live it also acts as a way to feed the sound guy the exact sound you want. As long as the PA is up to it, it'll sound good.

    I am extremely happy with this unit, and am thinking of getting a second one for recording just to be able to run two different flavours at the same time and blend them, even though this won't be for a while as I have to save up. The other very cool thing is that I can use the amps I have, and record with them at home, and play through them. It'll cost me a bit more on tubes as I'll be wearing them out faster, but it's very very very much worth it!
     
  2. Les Paul Gibson

    Les Paul Gibson SS.org Regular

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    thanks for the review, I know EVH, Lifeson, and few other pros have used this and been more than happy. I was looking at getting the P-03 for my Egnater MOD 100, to get a consistent sound for my Logic Pro. I have some plugin that fix any issues, hell its cheaper than all those damn mikes!!!
     
  3. brodjentle

    brodjentle SS.org Regular

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    im buying one of these!
     

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