Palmer PDI-03 Speaker Simulator

August 23, 2006

The PDI-03 is a passive device that takes the signal from an amp’s speaker output, and converts it to balanced and unbalanced signals suitable for feeding the input of a mixer, recorder, or power amp. The unit is preset for an 8-ohm load, but can be factory modified for 4 or 16 ohms. You can go direct and use your speaker simultaneously if you choose by using the Thru jack, and there are also four additional unfiltered 1/4" outputs with a separate level control. Two three-way filter switches allow you to adjust high-end response to simulate “American,” “British,” or “bright” speaker types, and adjust low-end response to simulate closed-back 4x12, “neutral,” or open-back 2x12 speaker cab sounds.

I routed the PDI-03 to a MOTU 828MkII via a balanced XLR connection and tested it in a studio environment using several guitars and amps. Whether handling clean, crunchy, or distorted sounds the results were uniformly impressive. In all cases, the PDI-03 effectively captured the personality of the particular amp, and the only aspects of the original sound that didn’t make it through were hum and noise. Although pricey, the PDI-03 is arguably the best-sounding speaker simulator you can buy.

Palmer (Distributed by JAMS Audio), (866) 380-5267; www.palmergear.com.

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