Palmer FAT 50 – Tube combo – Test Report by Guitarrista
A dual-channel tube combo with classic overdrive and a sound output which makes the earth shake.
The German company Palmer has been producing high-quality amplifiers and audio tools for almost 30 years. The combo we are looking at today belongs to the Fat Series which, to a certain extent, is a return to their origins in the 80s with the full tube amplifiers which made them popular in those days. As we expect, it recaptures the essence of the classic rock sound with pure all-tube saturation which works perfectly with a cleaner sound or a crunchier sharper sound half way between overdrive and high gain. This model is also available as a head with a separate 2 x 12” cabinet.
This is a dual-channel combo with a single input, it has a power rating of 50W and carries a 12″ Eminence Governor “Red Coat” speaker. The front panel includes a Master volume pot controlling the overall output level and a Reverb pot, there are three toggle switches (Clean/Drive channel, Normal/Bright output, and High/Low gain), volume controls for the Clean and
Drive channels and an equalizer which includes: Drive, Bass, Mid, Treble and Presence/Volume. The rear panel has several jack inputs: inputs for the footswitch with volume control, two effects loop sends and returns (also with level control),
and a further 4 for connecting external speaker cabinets (both 8 Ohm and 16 Ohm outputs). The unit is the standard size for a combo however it weighs far more than many similarly-sized units (especially if you like to keep the footswitch in the space at the back… as it is fairly heavy and adds to the weight considerably). In fact one of its big advantages is that this series comes with a rugged footswitch. It has 4 buttons (Gain, Channel, Reverb and Volume) with a protruding plate at the front to allow it be bolted to a pedal board. The general construction quality is good, the finish is fairly basic and there are no trims or decorative features. Let’s say it’s more of a functional look. The unit is finished in black, the only outstanding features being the silver level pots.
Sound and performance
This is truly a very simple combo, it has two channels which share a common EQ. One of the best features is the raw power it is able to output, as well as the fact that we get almost no background noise when it is set at higher volumes. The sound is generally clean. Sometimes at very high volumes the bands become confused and the sound loses a bit of clarity and frequency balance. The clean channel has a crystalline sound with a nice dynamic tone. The mids and bass are slightly narrow but the treble band gives far more tonal variety. The Bright/Normal switch is great and makes the overall sound brighter (somewhat
similar to the result you get with bass/treble dual inputs, although in this case it is presented in form of a switch). The distortion is somewhat metallic in the high gain mode and is not particularly convincing. The level of saturation is moderate making it more suitable for classic rock applications rather than metal. The only effect included is a reverb which is clean, crisp and has depth.
The FAT50 is a tube amplifier with a classic sound, it has two channels providing a clean sound and a saturated sound. It sounds good, the reverb is nuanced and has depth with the added bonus of a 4-button footswitch for fast and efficient
changing of the parameters. It is mid-sized although somewhat heavy.
The last word
We like: The high power output, the dynamic sound and practical 4-button footswitch.
We don’t like: The slightly metallic sound in High Gain mode.
Guitarrista’s viewpoint: A high-quality combo which is ideal for lovers of the classic medium-gain sound.
- Price: € 899
- Type: Tube combo
- Power Amplifier: 50 W
- Speaker: 1 x 12″ Eminence Governor “Red Coat”
- Channels: 2
- Inputs: 1
- Effects: Reverb
- Max. power consumption: 150 W (42 W in standby mode)
- Dimensions: 58 x 50 x 27 cm
- Footswitch: 4-button made by Palmer
Distributor: Adam Hall GmbH
For more information go to http://www.palmer-germany.com/mi/en/FAT-50-Tube-Guitar-Combo-50-W-PFAT50.htm
Source: “Guitarrista” Magazine, Spain, November 2010
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