The problem solver – Palmer Buff & Y-Box – Test Report by Soundcheck

Aside from the stylish superguitars and cutting-edge amps favoured by many guitarists, there are also lots of small gadgets that just do their job without any fuss but without which a first-class performance would not be possible. One manufacturer that boasts a wide range of these products is Palmer. We decided to pick on two of these small boxes and subjected them to an intensive test.

One thing about the test subjects was clear from the off: These devices should be functional, practical and unbreakable — and the two Palmers fulfil these requirements perfectly. For those of you not familiar with this manufacturer: Over 30 years in the industry has provided Palmer with a wealth of experience in manufacturing analogue circuits. The products are made in Germany and come with a five-year guarantee, meaning you can really put your trust in the company. And this trust is only increased further when you actually look at the devices: Ultra stable steel housing, firmly fixed sockets — there’s nothing loose here!

But let’s start with the Buff — an effects pedal that works with just a few buttons and switches. If you look at the small box from above, you can only really see the on/off switch — there is no risk of accidental adjustments. Everything else is on the rear of the box — the input and output, the connection for the power supply and a single level controller that is accompanied by a bright switch. ·What’s more, Palmer has thought to put holes in the pedal baseplate, which means that the box can be screwed onto a pedal board.

The Buff was designed with two main functions in mind — a buffer and a booster. The buffer function means that the pedal can be really helpful if there is a long length of cable between the guitar and the amp — if the stage is too large or there are lots of effects connected in between, for example. Even with passive electronics, the sound can be lost quickly. The Buff can help with this by powering the signal from the front in such a way that it can get through even longer cables easily. What’s more, the box can also be used as a booster so you can really blast the amp — this is perfect for a solo, for example. You will also be pleased to know that the Buff has ample reserves so that more extreme boosting is also possible. And the bright switch can also be used to create extra highs.


This brings us nicely to the Y-Box. The function of the Y-Box is quite simple: one guitar goes in and the sound comes out from two amps. Something that sounds so simple in theory can often lead to problems in practice. If the signals are not split properly, you can quickly start to hear loud humming noises and phasing problems can develop. This is where the Y-Box steps in — it generates two galvanically isolated outputs from the incoming signal. The small box also has a ground lift so you know you’re in safe hands. And if there are any phasing problems? Not an issue — simply press the phase reversal switch and everything will sound like it should. It really can be this simple — you just need the right device.

At a glance

      • Palmer Buff & Y-Box
      • Distributor Adam Hall;
      • Price (RRP) Buff €89
      • Y-Box €128

+ Ultra solid design
+ Maximum ease of use
+ Brilliant sound neutrality



      • Type: Buffer/booster
      • Design: Foot pedal
      • Housing: Sheet steel
      • Connectors: Input, output, 12 V AC
      • Switches & controllers: On/off, level, bright
      • Power supply: 9–20 V AC or DC, 9-V block
      • Dimensions (H x W x D): 120 x 100 x 61 mm
      • Weight: 840 g


For additional product information, go to:


      • Type: Splitter for guitar
      • Housing: Sheet steel
      • Connectors: Guitar, amp 1, amp 2, 9–18 V DC
      • Switches & controllers: In phase/reverse, GND/lift
      • Power supply: 9–18 V DC, 9-V block
      • Dimensions (H x W x D): 123 x 80 x 45 mm
      • Weight: 250 g


For additional product information, go to:

Source: Soundcheck Magazine, Germany, December 2011

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