Palmer Distortion – Distortion Pedal Number 3 – Test Report by

Palmer’s Root Effects series presently encompasses nine different pedals, including four different distortion pedal models. We’ve already put the Overdrive and the Hurrigain through their paces. Now, with the “Distortion“, it’s time for the next model to have its turn.. Here we’re dealing with more heavily distorted sounds which, according to the manufacturer, should be able to cover a wide tonal spectrum. In the following test, we will see and, of course, hear whether this is actually the case.


All Palmer Root Effects come in a uniform housing measuring 120 x 95 x 56 mm with an identical design. The housing consists of two nestled, U-shaped 2 mm sheet steel sections that are painted different colours. The bottom part is usually grey, while the top is painted individually depending on the respective effect. In the case of the Distortion, Palmer chose an eye-catching yellow.

The entire underside of the pedal is covered with thick rubber, ensuring that the pedal stays put on all types of surfaces. This is also where the flip-out battery compartment is located. It ensures quick and simple battery replacement because the 9V block battery is simply inserted in the compartment and makes contact automatically when the compartment is closed. No need to muck about with screwdrivers and the like. Another practical feature is the two holes on the underside, with which the pedal can be fastened to the effects board using screws.

Palmer Distortion
Another practical design feature is the protruding base. Together with the protruding sides, it protects the connectors on the rear panel against external influences. This does make it virtually impossible to use cables with right-angle plugs on the effects board unless they are left pointing upward. However, it practically eliminates the fear of cables being unplugged because of one clumsy footstep.

The controls are arranged in a row on top. These are grey-painted metal knobs with a recessed dot to mark the position. They turn rather stiffly in comparison to guitar knobs. That also makes sense, then after all, they shouldn’t change position at the slightest touch. Below these is the footswitch, which works without clicking noises. The effect status is indicated by a small red LED next to the switch, which lights up when the effect is on. The bottom line is that, just like the other pedals in the series, Mr. Distortion leaves one with an impression of high quality and absolute roadworthiness.

Rear Panel/Connections
The rear panel holds a total of three connections: two TRS sockets for input and output and the connector for a power supply that, however, is not included. Here you can use normal effects power supply such as those from Boss or Ibanez. With a power consumption of approx. 15 mA, it is indeed to possible to play the odd gig on battery power without having to worry about the pedal giving out prematurely.

You can’t go too far wrong with just three controls. Volume controls the overall volume and Distortion controls the level of distortion. The tone is controlled using the Filter control. According to the manufacturer, it enables you to obtain more complex and interesting tone settings than with an ordinary tone control with treble and bass knobs. The praxis test will reveal whether this is really so.

Any praxis test of a distortion pedal begins with an exploration of the pedal’s basic sound. To this end, all of the controls were set to the middle position. In order to really give the pedal something to work with, I connected a guitar with humbuckers right away
– and this is what the thing sounds like: You really can’t go wrong with the Palmer Distortion. It has a good basic sound based on the classic distortion pedals. The possible settings range from light distortion with the Distortion control dialled all the way back to double-barrelled high gain. The Filter knob lets you fine-tune the tone in various ways. Very extreme sounds with hard frequency changes are uncalled for here; the Distortion is rather moderate, but very solid with a good tone. The workmanship is first-rate; the pedal is sure to survive many gigs and hard use on the road with ease. If you are on the lookout for a distortion pedal, you should definitely give the Palmer Distortion a try. It represents outstanding value for money.

Rugged construction, absolutely roadworthy
5-year manufacturer’s guarantee
Powerful distortion sound
Different sound variations possible thanks to the filter

No extremely distorted sounds possible

Complete product information is available here:

Source:, Germany

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