52 Amplifier Heads, week 27—Palmer EINS

Sometimes when researching guitar amplifiers I not only come across something that meets my criteria, I also come across a brand that markets in a way that appeals to me. It does so by being humorous. Palmer Musical Instruments is such a brand. When I first discovered their little one watt amp (the Palmer EINS) I couldn’t help but notice the website header with slogans such as fat is beautiful and who’s up for a threesome?. Of course they’re referring to tone and their triple single ended amplifier, but all the same, I was hooked.

The Palmer EINS (often abbreviated to PEINS which you really need to make sure you type correctly) is a simple, but awesome looking and sounding little amplifier head. Not only that, it’s been developed with real guitarists in mind. You may be thinking there’s no other way of building an amplifier head, but this head recognises that not every guitar player is going to want and/or need the same tonal requirements. Knowing this, they’ve built this amplifier with an ECC83 preamp tube and an ECC82 power tube by default. That’s not the cool part though. The cool part is that they allow you to purchase the amplifier head with four other tube configurations (each developed with a particular user group in mind).

Those alternate configurations are:

  1. ECC83 preamp and ECC83 power tube for a quieter amplifier that distorts easier
  2. ECC83 preamp and ECC81 power tube for something louder than the previous option (but still quieter than the default configuration), more gain, increased ease of distortion
  3. ECC81 preamp and ECC82 power amp which stays clean for longer, has increased headroom and provides a darker distortion sound
  4. ECC81 preamp and ECC83 power amp which is the quietest of all configuration types and provides the most precise distortion control.

I’ve made a list already and it’s only featuring the tubes. Awesome. Of course there’s more to this tiny amp than just tubes. That’s why we need another list. Lucky you.

  • 1 watt class A amplifier head
  • Input connector
  • 8 ohm and 16 ohm speaker outputs
  • Simulated speaker output
  • Tone and Level knobs
  • Boost control

Let’s just rest a while. Two lists is hard work.

Obviously you need to know more (even after two lists). That’s why I’ve saved the best for last. The sound. You need to hear the tone. Not only that, you need to see visual proof that the amplifier is delivering the awesome tone that you’re hearing. Luckily for us, there are quite a few videos on YouTube that showcase all that the PEINS is capable of. 

One of the official Palmer EINS videos for example showcases how effective the simulated output is compared to a recording made through a Shure SM57 microphone. This same video also showcases how a blow-up guitar will not work with the Palmer EINS. Good to know.

From the realm of unofficial videos we find this video by David Wallimann who gives a great review of the Palmer EINS using just the amplifier head and also a few different guitar pedals through the head. Sonic Frog TV also provide us with a good video review that lets us see and hear how the Palmer EINS sounds using a few different settings of the tone knob. More importantly, this video lets us know that even left handed guitars will work with this amplifier head*. More information from the category of Good to know!

There you have it. It’s a tiny amp that seems to deliver a wide range of tones considering its limited control options. More importantly, it is only one watt (perfect for my needs) yet plugs in nicely to a decent sized speaker cabinet. Add to that a marketing style that appeals to me and you find yourself with a possible new contender for the title of Guitar amplifier head Scarebear plans on purchasing at the end of this year and article series.

Rock on tiny amplifier!

Disclaimer: I’ve not played through this head. I have not experienced the sound or tone of this head other than through video. That doesn’t matter. It looks awesome, it’s obviously played by winners and I want one.

* This part is sarcasm. I’m aware that left handed guitars don’t have amplification limitations.

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