I’m going to be spending more time away from home over the next year or more. I always take my guitar and till now have been using a Vox Amplug (the clean version). I find it somewhat fiddly as it is so small and you can’t see see the controls at the bottom of your guitar. You need a magnifying glass to read the knob marking and I often bump one of the effects buttons when I am adjusting something. Also I don’t need batteries and would prefer DC input.
I started looking around for an alternative with these criteria:
- A small unit separate from the guitar, with clearly marked knobs so I can see it easily without needing glasses.
- Headphone output, aux in and 9V DC plug.
- No need for bluetooth, wifi or any other fancy connection methods. I am fine with cables.
- A few amp options would be good to play with, but I don’t need 10,000.
- Finally, no requirement for a mobile phone or a computer to drive it. I just want knobs and buttons on the unit.
I thought this was asking a lot, but then I came across the Palmer Pocket amp that is exactly want I wanted. It has 3 amp settings (Vintage, Brit, US), each one with 3 modes. And there are 3 microphone placements.
It has just arrived and so far is looking perfect for me. I realise it is “old school” technology (I think it came out about 8 years ago), but it might be of interest to those who prefer to keep things simple.
Good find. I went looking for something just like this a couple of years ago and didn’t come across this unit. I would have bought one if I had. In the end I made my own. Just a volume knob. No modelling capability.
I also tried a “dongle” style unit that plugs into the guitar. I hated it and sent it back. The headphone jack was intermittent and the sound was awful.
DSM Humbolt Simplifier. It’s now on its second revision and is available for both guitar and bass. This is the king of the heap, IMO, if you are looking for an analog solution to the personal practice tool question without any of the digital bells and whistles.
Looks very interesting. But A$630
The Palmer cost me A$160 on Amazon.
See, now you didn’t mention keeping both of your kidneys in the bargain.
Yes, I admit I didn’t put that as one of my criteria.
I’m going to watch some YT videos about that box. I want to see what it can do.
My K.I.S.S. headphone amplifier:
You made that yourself?? I’m impressed.
And your handwriting is so neat.
Thanks. It’s a just a Jaycar amplifier circuit in a nice box. I had to faff around with the gain and modify the output to work with headphones. I wish I’d used a smaller box. Keen to hear your review of the Pocket Amp.
I’ve had a few days playing with this now and seems perfect for my purposes.
@Richard_N - the DSM Humbolt Simplifier does look really interesting. A similar idea, but it is the Palmer on steroids. Andertons did a detailed review and raved about it (but then they rave about everything, don’t they ). The DSM has reverb and it would have been nice to have that one effect included in the Palmer (but that’s not worth a kidney).
@jacksprat - it certainly does a good job of giving me a small practice amp to use with headphones. I’m enjoying playing with the settings - there are only 27 options, but that’s more than enough for me to have trouble deciding what I prefer. The vintage amp is fairly quiet, and not one I use much. I am mostly going between the Brit (which I think is a a composite Marshall/Vox sound) and the US (I assume Fender). I think I prefer US generally, but the Brit seems to be better for string bending.
For modes I mostly use clean or crunch. Not really a heavy gain type player, and I find that setting to be noisier (as in background hum). That might just be my setup. One interesting setting is the mic placement option. Classic and centre are both good; I find off-axis to be a bit dull.
So, very happy with the purchase. I have a mini-pedal board and when I go traveling I will put it on there, maybe with one or two other pedals, and that will do me.