logicbdj, on august 17, 2012 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Ease of Use: INTRODUCTION
Like amplifiers and guitar pickups, there are so many distortion pedals on the market that a person can invest thousands of dollars in the pursuit of the ultimate tone'. The type of distortion also is in question as what is good for classic rock in the 1960s is not quite the same as it was and is for music of the 1970s, 1980s, etc. And certainly a pedal made for Metal can vary significantly as well, since there are various styles of Metal and Metal tones, ranging from Glam Metal, Thrash Metal, Nu Metal, Power Metal, Progressive Metal, etc.
Having experimented with many pedals, I couldn't quite find the sound I wanted for my heavier' compositions rectifier pre-amps and simulators came close. Then a Hungarian custom guitar/bass pickup developer brought to my attention a YouTube video and my immediate response was that's it! And the it' was Palmer's Solid Metal Pedal (one in a series of the company's Root Effects' lineup).
I heard of Palmer, but only in passing due to the excessive advertising and recommendations of American-based manufacturers in North American music gear magazines. An interesting aspect of Palmer is that in 1980 the company began as a repair and customization depot used by musicians who wanted or needed technical expertise beyond what most manufacturers offered. It was that personal research and development insight from the consumer's perspective, and the custom work Palmer did as a result, that stimulated further adventure for Palmer into the manufacturing industry. Now this elite boutique builder of 10 employees is developing pedals, amps and other electronic devices of the highest caliber.
What further drew me to the quality and sound of Palmer's Solid Metal Pedal is that so much modern Prog and Thrash Metal emulates from European countries, both East and West... Music that tends to be more cutting edge, as of late, than what has been emerging from the USA, Britain and other countries. And considering Palmer is German-based, they are up to their elbows... Knee deep... And in the trenches of technology and European Metal mayhem.
EASE OF USE & FEATURES
Like any pedal, there generally are knobs to turn, and so in that regard the pedal is straight forward. However, the tonal variations are such that it's not a simple plug-n-play device.
The Volume knob acts like an output', in that the more it is turned up the greater the signal, which means the greater the Drive and distortion (and possible noise', thus requiring you to use the knob wisely for best effect).
The Distortion knob kicks in right from the start it is not subtle, nor should it be, since it is a Metal' pedal. And the higher you turn it up, the greater the modern Metal sizzle that tends to shift the tone from raw and organic to an almost industrial buzzsaw. As well, this knob coordinates in balancing distortion quality when manipulated with the Volume (output) knob.
The Low (bass) and High (treble) EQ knobs work as you would expect, for either a deeper or higher pitched tone. But it is the other two EQ knobs (Mid and Mid Freq) that offers so much diversity and color that the user will spend hours experimenting with fat, deep growling distortion, to a thin speed' distortion that will cut through any mix. // 9
Sound: Adjusting the Distortion knob is what offers variation between classic rock and speed metal. At around 9 o'clock you achieve a crunchy and punchy distortion, but as you move the knob toward 5 o'clock, the effect becomes more industrial' in nature. As well, the pedal reacts favorably with the guitar's volume knob, since rolling off on the output calms the distortion so that you can go from a heavier to a more classic distortion.
As stated, Mid and Mid Freq are the stars of the EQ family. Turned down low and you get a clean cutting tone, but as either is turned up (and the mix will vary this), there is more a deep throaty quality which then is affected in different ways with the Low and High settings, obviously. I found that having the two mid knobs at 12 noon or greater, and in varying mixes, is where you find the fatter, crunchier distortions.
An example will make this relationship more clear. And so, the following song link, Say You Love Me, is an example of the diversity of the Solid Metal pedal. Using a Casper GT custom guitar (with a DiMarzio MoJo pickup in the bridge) and a Pritchard Black Dagger amp (Marshall clean setting), the tonal variations is the result of pedal alteration among the four EQ knobs (Distortion and Volume remained at 12 noon):
Of course, different guitars and different amps have an effect on any pedal, and vise versa. The following is a video demonstrating the various sound qualities of the Solid Metal pedal, likely using a Palmer amp head and cabinet (as it was produced out of Germany).
Reliability & Durability: If pedal value was based on quality of construction, you would expect Palmer to be the most costly. Although their pedals are some of the most reasonably priced, particularly for the sound quality, Palmer spared no expense in construction. Adorned with a heavy foot switch and steel knurled knobs, similar to what you would find on some electric guitars, this powder-coated pedal weighs in at a hefty 95 Kg, or just over 2 pounds. The weight may be the bane of some pedal board owners who need to lug gear around, but I say get into some weight lifting or bodybuilding and stop whining! I don't think I'm being too harsh, since many guitar players are known for that skinny, emancipated look with a cigarette hanging from the corner of the mouth. Kidding aside, the box or housing is quality, solid steel, but what impressed me is its design countersunk in the back to prevent cable compression or crimping and with screw holes for pedalboard mounting! // 10
Overall Impression: Although named Solid Metal, the user can achieve surprisingly good classic rock tones by way of both proper EQ settings and showing a little humility on the distortion. With a 5-year warranty, there is a reason why Germany is leading the EU, by way of technology and quality craftsmanship and Palmer's Solid Metal is proof of that. At a great price, this is a true metal pedal that offers a plethora of tonal options that remain clean, clear and true for live performance and in the studio.
What grabbed me about this pedal most of all is that it has the sound' of what metal is supposed to sound like, achievable through a clean amp; however, if you don't like that cutting Metal sizzle tone, this pedal may not be for you. And although this is one of those must-have' pedals for both classic and modern metal sounds, be prepared to write down some of your settings since just a tweak here or there can produce significantly different results. Have fun! // 9