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Simplifier - DSM & Humboldt Electronics

Aug 18 2022
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dsm humboldt simplifier
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The Simplifier by DSM & Humboldt is a fully analog amp and cabinet simulator in a small form factor.

They've managed to pack so many features into this little pedal. It has (stereo) send & return, line-out and balanced output, separate cab and mic position simulation controls per stereo channel, 3 types of preamps and 3 types of power amps, all implemented completely analog.

The amp models are the usual Vox, Fender and Marshall sound-alikes. I don't have a lot of experience playing many different types of (real) amps, so I can't judge how well they model what their label says.

I do think the differences in amp types are less drastic than in other modelers like my Iridium. It feels like for each amp, it toggles between a few components to slightly change the voicing of the drive section.

But I believe it's not important what the label says. I encourage everyone to just fiddle with the knobs until they get to their desired sound.

And being able to fine-tune and fiddle with the Simplifier is its true strength. There are so many options to sculpt your sound that there is no excuse if you can't make this sound good.

A few observations about the knobs and what I feel they do in practice:

  • Preamp types: changing gain level and frequency response of the drive section
  • Mic positions: low pass filters. I think having one "mic" slightly off center is good to tame the directness of the Simplifier. Setting the second mic to somewhere around noon adds a bit of body
  • Resonance: feels like it's controlling the low-end output around 80Hz. I like to have this fairly low, otherwise the sound can get boomy and muddy.
  • Presence: high-end response. I like to keep this fairly high for clarity and chime, but turn it down a bit for gainier sounds to tame some fizziness
  • Power amp types: very subtle but sounds like it's shifting how the mid-range is emphasized.
  • Cabinets: a more drastic change than the power amp switch, and feels like the whole frequency response is changing.

Overall I was very impressed what a fully analog circuit can do. The whole track, including all guitars in the backing track, was recorded with the Simplifier.

Recording Notes

Guitar

  • Fidelity Guitars Stellarosa Lite II with Lollar Firebird pickups (both pickups)
  • Simplifier

Overdubs

I used multiple tracks to fill the backing track with life. For all parts I used the Fidelity Stellarosa with different pickup settings and the Simplifier with different amp models. For cleaner parts, I used the Fenderish setting. For medium gain chimey stuff I used the Vox model. For lead and power chord overdubs, I used the Marshall sound-alike.

Other pedals used for the overdubs:

Bass

Drums

  • GarageBand Drummer Gavin (indie rock) on the Brooklyn kit
  • Whole kit treated with the stock GarageBand RAT-style pedal plugin

The whole mix was "mastered" with limiter and mild compression in the DAW.

Links

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