Review: Palmer Pocket Amp

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I’ve had the Pocket Amp from Palmer Musical Instruments for a month now. It’s fantastic and it has actually stopped me from buying an amp just because I want to have a good sound. I almost bought the Apogee GiO! But then the Pocket Amp came to me.

The box comes with the Pocket Amp in it and a couple of picks that smell funny. You also get an in-depth manual in English on how to use the unit. I understand that the Pocket Amp was made in Germany but there are some funny words in there. You get all the details on how to use the knobs and switches and what they do.

There are knobs for Drive, Level, Treble and Bass which are pretty self explanatory. They do what they should on any amp. You can also select amp mode to simulate US, Britt (?) and Tweed amplifier sounds. The mode switch will let you choose from Heavy, Crunch and Clean sounds. You can even set the position of the microphone simulation to off axis, center or classic settings. This is all on the top of the Pocket Amp with a power LED, a ground switch and the foot switch. The head of the switch is too small and it doesn’t click so you don’t feel that you turned on the heavy stuff or not. You have to look at the LED for that.

The Pocket Amp has XLR and line outs, aux, headphone and DC 9V in. That’s quite a diverse set of connections for something so small. So far I’ve been using the XLR output plugged in the PA directly. I love the sound of my Telecaster and it just sounds great with the Pocket Amp. The whole little box feels sturdy and the enclosure feels like it will last for ever. The rugged bottom makes sure that there is no sliding on any stage. The 9V battery can be inserted here as well.

During live use I had a little problem with some silly feedback coming back from a monitor speaker. This can be avoided by placing monitor speakers carefully. Clean levels are also a bit low compared to distorted. Sometimes it takes a while to set up a good sound, but it’s not rocket science.

The device retails at $95 (65€) and for that price it’s a steal. If you want to play the guitar literally everywhere, buy the Pocket Amp. Of course if you already have a huge rig you can still get the Pocket Amp for traveling or practicing. You will save yourself from some heavy cabinet-lifting time.

Pros:

  • Small, sturdy
  • Great and diverse sound
  • A lot of outputs

Cons:

  • Foot switch doesn’t click
  • Big signal drop when switching between clean and distorted mode

I’m no guitarist. I only play support chords when they are needed. And for this purpose the Pocket Amp is perfect.

Palmer Pocket Amp

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