Palmer Monicon – a great little helper for the basics in the studio – Product review by

Neutral sound for under 100 euros? In the Palmer Monicon test report, find out just how neutral this passive monitor controller sounds, why it feels so good and which studios and musicians will find it appealing. Complete details here.

What is it?

The Palmer Monicon is a passive monitor controller and requires no power source. In practice, this means: It only allows you to reduce the volume. In addition to the inputs and outputs, you will find two buttons to mute and listen in Mono. With these simple features, it is helpful for those musicians and producers at individual workstations, who work exclusively “in the box” without mixer or other external hardware, namely on the computer with DAW software and audio plug-ins. Whoever longed for a real volume controller that is easy to handle, having only a tight budget – prick up yours ears! The street price currently stands at € 59.

Craftsmanship and haptics

The housing is made of sturdy, powder-coated steel. A weight of 750 grams adds to the stability of the device, as do the four large rubber feet which protect the table surface.

The tilted angle of the user interface is not unusual for a monitor controller – this makes it much more convenient to work in a typical seated position when placing the device on the studio furniture. The edges are rounded and the switch provides for a smooth resistance.

Now to the showpiece: the Palmer Monicon, with a dial measuring 3.8 cm in diameter, which is reminiscent of a miniature hockey puck. It runs smoothly and also offers a pleasant resistance. The cap is loose by only a fraction of a millimetre – without purposely looking for this, I would not have noticed.

The four XLR or XLR jack sockets are properly double-bolted. The product photo from the back of the unit diverges slightly from our copy (and probably also from the current batch on the dealer shelves) because the plugs in the XLR inputs are now automatically locked with clamps and can therefore not be removed in the heat of battle. The small jack connectors for iPhone & co. are stable enough for conscientious handling.

In practice

The decibel markings for the volume dial suggest a non-linear amplitude – the louder it is, the finer the grade becomes: at the bottom end, the dial is marked in 25 decibel increments while at the upper end, the gradations can be fine-tuned in increments of one decibel. In practice, this proves very useful for accurate adjustment, when the input level already reaches the recommended level for listening, namely 83 dB SPL.

“Mute” is doing what it is supposed to do: it will completely mute the signal. With “Mono”, you can sum the left and right channels of the input as a Mono signal, to check whether the mix is mono-compatible.

Soundwise, there is nothing wrong with the Palmer Monicon at this price, and since there is no serious change in the audio signal, measuring instruments are not really required. A small point of criticism could be the lack of a DIM function which lowers the level button to a fixed value – without completely turning it off.

Concerning connectivity, some interested parties (mostly the DJs) would probably have liked big jack or RCA connectors, but with such a compact and moderately priced device, the manufacturer needs to make a design decision somewhere.


– No left/right deviations or any other irregularities
– Good to very good craftsmanship
– Pleasant haptics and ergonomics
– Connections for consumer devices


– No DIM function

Conclusion to the Palmer Monicon test review

The Palmer Monicon is a rugged and affordable monitor controller for home recording and work in project studios. It is very well suited to individual workstations, where no talkback is required and other tools can largely be dispensed with. Anyone looking for a simple volume control, will find it here.

The main actor is the large, smooth-running rotary controller for the passive lowering of the volume by 0 to -85 decibels. There are no noises such as a sudden level jumps, left/right fluctuations to hear and the sound remains largely intact.

The processing is very good and you will benefit from the haptic qualities in every instance. Finally, it is worth mentioning that in terms of connectivity, besides the studio, the unit also caters for consumers – and HiFi buffs – including MP3 players, smartphones & co., but also small fun synthesizers like the Korg monotron.

In terms of sound, this monitor controller is beyond reproach, and given the low price, most musicians can probably do without a DIM feature anyway.

So, this device convinces completely in its price class, and lives up to the claim of being a simple monitor controller for a single workstation. So I give the Palmer Monicon a whopping four and a half points out of five in this test review. Very good.

At a glance

Palmer Monicon review “An all-round successful little helper for the basics in the studio – compact, rugged, ergonomically convincing and largely neutral in the sound.”

Key Features: Passive monitor controller Steel housing adjustable from 0 to -85 dB Inputs: 2x XLR/6.3 mm & 3.5 mm Outputs: 2 x XLR & 3.5 mm switchable Mute & Mono Dimensions: 164 x 62 x 85 mm Weight: 750 g

Designed for: Beginners and advanced users on individual workstations in home, project or sound studio.


Source:, October 2014

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