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Dsm/humboldt Simplifier: A Review

Steve Hotra

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,849
yes, I agree. I’m not entirely ruling out something weird going on as we’ve had some weird power issues over the last 48 hours.

but it was plugged into an isolated outlet that I always plug into. Check with a tube amp and it was quiet as all get out. Thought it might be something with my guitar. Still there with guitar unplugged. Thought it might be a pedalboard issue. Still there with no input plugged into simplifier.

it was present with headphones and PA system.

I’ll try again today to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

and I’m not trying to raise any issues as I think this pedal sounds fantastic. I’m just wondering if I may have a bad component or grounding issue in the pedal.
AC hum can really be a rabbit hole, to fall into.
I've played my Simplifier with my Jazzmaster ( a noisy guitar) at a church a few weeks ago. No noticeable hum, until they lowered the house lights ( I played in a church warehouse of 400 +)
Sounded like bacon in a frying pan :)
Yep.. had to switch around pickup setting, to knock down the hum.
But I was able to adjust and get the music out.
At times, my Simplifier will "hum" at home, with my headphones. Play it through my two amps, no issues.
And when used at a few churches, it's nice and quiet. YMMV
 

HanFastolfe

Member
Messages
144
yes, I agree. I’m not entirely ruling out something weird going on as we’ve had some weird power issues over the last 48 hours.

but it was plugged into an isolated outlet that I always plug into. Check with a tube amp and it was quiet as all get out. Thought it might be something with my guitar. Still there with guitar unplugged. Thought it might be a pedalboard issue. Still there with no input plugged into simplifier.

it was present with headphones and PA system.

I’ll try again today to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

and I’m not trying to raise any issues as I think this pedal sounds fantastic. I’m just wondering if I may have a bad component or grounding issue in the pedal.
Somewhere back in this thread, DSM suggested this is a side effect of having all-metal control knobs. Touching them introduces EMI from your body - or whatever the real science words are. Sounds like part of what you're hearing - doesn't explain the constant hum though, just the adjustment noise.

No similar issues here.
 
Messages
1,063
yes, I agree. I’m not entirely ruling out something weird going on as we’ve had some weird power issues over the last 48 hours.

but it was plugged into an isolated outlet that I always plug into. Check with a tube amp and it was quiet as all get out. Thought it might be something with my guitar. Still there with guitar unplugged. Thought it might be a pedalboard issue. Still there with no input plugged into simplifier.

it was present with headphones and PA system.

I’ll try again today to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

and I’m not trying to raise any issues as I think this pedal sounds fantastic. I’m just wondering if I may have a bad component or grounding issue in the pedal.
It sounds like you have eliminated the other possibilities pretty well. I hope it was a fluke just so you don’t have to deal with a potential return or repair or what not! I’ll be playing through mine again today and I’ll listen carefully again to see if I hear any hum, that I may not have paid attention to before, meaning that it had to have been pretty subtle if there at all. And just to make sure again, did you try the ground lift switch on the back of the Simplifier?
 

good soil digital

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
181
It sounds like you have eliminated the other possibilities pretty well. I hope it was a fluke just so you don’t have to deal with a potential return or repair or what not! I’ll be playing through mine again today and I’ll listen carefully again to see if I hear any hum, that I may not have paid attention to before, meaning that it had to have been pretty subtle if there at all. And just to make sure again, did you try the ground lift switch on the back of the Simplifier?
ya tried messing around with all the switches. I’ll get some time with it in a couple hours and will report back.

I'm going to go buy a wall wart (I've been meaning to have one around anyway) so I can totally isolate everything, including the pp2+, from the equation.
 
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rochell59

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
853
I don't normally share stuff like this, but I figured there's so much interest on this piece of gear it might be beneficial to guys wondering how it translates to a recorded session.

XLR out, Fender, 6L6, 1x12, gain around 1oclock, level around 12oclock, spread switch on.

There's a few bits and pieces where the guitar is mixed higher and you can hear more of what the Simplifier is doing:
9:50-11:00ish
30:30 ish

Make sure you watch on 1080p for full res audio.

 
Messages
1,063
ya tried messing around with all the switches. I’ll get some time with it in a couple hours and will report back.

I'm going to go buy a wall wart (I've been meaning to have one around anyway) so I can totally isolate everything, including the pp2+, from the equation.
I really like my two Tripp-Lite isobar ultras surge protectors that I use. I hope you sort it out. In my old dwelling I had a devil of a time isolating a hum problem..I was using a dual amp setup.. it turned out to be a wicked combo of dirty Power, EMI from dimmer switches, single coil 60 cycle hum and ground loops.. I got rid of most of it by shielding a Strat, getting an isobar, getting a Radial Shotgun splitter with ground lift switches, and running the dimmers at 100% when I had to have the lights on. My less shielded guitars were still a bit noisy but the ground loops and the dimmers were the biggest culprits for me. And I still had a guitar that had poor grounding which hummed ugly, that would go away when I touched the strings...
 

Guitardave

Member
Messages
9,872
I switched to using a BoxKing BK05 battery power for my board which helps eliminate a bunch of noise issues.

Really flexible and useful unit. Runs my board for about 20 hours and it can also be used while it's charging.
 

good soil digital

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
181
Ok, I've now confirmed with a dedicated power supply in multiple outlets in multiple physical locations across the county.

With nothing but power and headphones plugged in my unit has a distinct fuzzy hum. Adjust the gain and volume all the way down has no effect on the hum. Changing the headphone volume changes the pitch to a slight degree.

It's not loud enough that I think you would hear it while playing with a band, but it's terribly annoying playing with headphones on.

I'm gathering no-one else is having this problem judging my the replies thus far?
 

Guitardave

Member
Messages
9,872
Ok, I've now confirmed with a dedicated power supply in multiple outlets in multiple physical locations across the county.

With nothing but power and headphones plugged in my unit has a distinct fuzzy hum. Adjust the gain and volume all the way down has no effect on the hum. Changing the headphone volume changes the pitch to a slight degree.

It's not loud enough that I think you would hear it while playing with a band, but it's terribly annoying playing with headphones on.

I'm gathering no-one else is having this problem judging my the replies thus far?
I'm not having any issues and I don't hear it in any of the clips I've posted. But I do have hearing loss in certain ranges so I may simply not hear it!

Simple test is to roll off your guitar volume and see if the noise goes away. Does it occur with nothing plugged into the DSM? Does it happen only when you are touching the DSM?

Again - you are trying to isolate where the noise is coming from. Doesn't solve it - but helps pinpoint what to focus on.
 

good soil digital

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
181
I'm not having any issues and I don't hear it in any of the clips I've posted. But I do have hearing loss in certain ranges so I may simply not hear it!

Simple test is to roll off your guitar volume and see if the noise goes away. Does it occur with nothing plugged into the DSM? Does it happen only when you are touching the DSM?

Again - you are trying to isolate where the noise is coming from. Doesn't solve it - but helps pinpoint what to focus on.
No guitar, or anything for that matter, plugged in other than headphones and power.

I'll reach out to them and see what they want me to do. Sounds like I might have a small issue with mine.

But again for anyone reading, it sounds awesome!
 

jeremyjh

Member
Messages
353
It's not loud enough that I think you would hear it while playing with a band, but it's terribly annoying playing with headphones on.
I tried cranking up the headphone volume and I do hear a slight hum, but its at a volume level that would be beyond painful if I played at this level. I usually play with the unit's volume level about 12 and gain from 12 to 2:00 - a little less volume for Marshall. If you had both gain and volume rolled way down and cranked the headphone volume to compensate it might be a bit annoying. But I'd guess what you are hearing is not normal. Any chance you can try it in a totally different environment like your workplace or a friends house? Just to eliminate electrical/grounding issues.
 

good soil digital

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
181
I tried cranking up the headphone volume and I do hear a slight hum, but its at a volume level that would be beyond painful if I played at this level. I usually play with the unit's volume level about 12 and gain from 12 to 2:00 - a little less volume for Marshall. If you had both gain and volume rolled way down and cranked the headphone volume to compensate it might be a bit annoying. But I'd guess what you are hearing is not normal. Any chance you can try it in a totally different environment like your workplace or a friends house? Just to eliminate electrical/grounding issues.
Yup, I had the headphone volume at about 11 o'clock when I first started noticing it. It does get louder as you turn it up, but I am guessing what I hear at 11 is probably more than what you hear at full volume. It's loud enough that if you had headphones on and weren't playing constantly it would drive you nuts. I actually took it to work today to make sure it wasn't my house and had the same issues. I reached out to DSM Humbolt and heard back from them in like 30 seconds. I hesitate to continue to post because I don't want to negatively influence anyone because it really is a very cool unit. Sounds like I might just have a small problem with mine.
 

good soil digital

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
181
Update:

The guys at DSM are top notch and I heard from both of them very quickly after shooting them an email. I checked the timestamp and it was less than 90 seconds... They asked me to try plugging into the FX loop send instead of the output and see if the hum still persisted.

So I turned everything on, output still connected, hum still there. Unplugged the output and plugged it into FX send. No hum... weird, but ok. Plugged back into the output... no hum. What the what!?!?

I have no explanation of what in the world could have happened other than I had never plugged into the FX send. I wonder if plugging in jostled something loose or seated something the right way or what. But whatever it did it works splendidly.

It sounds even better without the hum =) Honestly I love this little box. I had a helix which is super incredible but I'm not a tweaker of a million parameters. It gave me anxiety. This little box fits the same needs and is as easy to dial in as a traditional amp.

Plus they just won me over with their customer service. GET ON A WAITLIST for this thing. You won't be disappointed.
 

smiert spionam

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,416
Overall, I fine mine to be pretty quiet (and it sounds fantastic), but I notice a background hum or white noise sometimes, too. Most of it goes away, though, when there's a source connected to the aux input (for headphone play along). Not sure why, and I haven't experimented with isolated AC circuits, etc.
 
Messages
1,063
Tried mine today by plugging the headphones into the Simplifier directly for the first time. I've been playing it through my recording interface exclusively until today.

I heard no untoward humming or buzzing during normal use. If I cranked it up to ridiculous ear splitting levels there was a bit of humm/buzz but I think that's just normal and to be expected.

This time, I also exclusively played only the AC Brit setting, which I had largely ignored until now....and I freakin' love it!

I put the Gain on max, and pushed the volume above 12 o'clock, into the 1-2 o'clock region, and it sounded pretty glorious, but I started to clip my H9 input level. I went back down to a volume of 12 o'clock-ish, or just a bit less than that, and the clipping stopped. I was able to push the volume to just a touch above 12 o'clock without clipping my H9's. Gorgeous tone!
Incidentally, I could have gone into the input gain level setting on the H9's to turn down the input gain there but I didn't bother.

The setting below gives me a clean, glassy, edgy tone, which breaks up if I hit the guitar hard, without clipping my H9's in the FX loop.
The tubes selected are EL34's despite it looking like it is on 6L6. Again, the difference between the tube settings is really subtle, there but subtle, but I found it more noticeable with the gain cranked.
Warning, I like pretty bright, chimey tones. But there is so much adjustability in the eq section, presence, and cab mic settings that you can easily EQ it to a darker tone. Incidentally my main guitar is a CS Jazzmaster with the usual 1meg pots, and I run the volume at 5-8.5 and tone 5-10 depending on what I'm going for, and mostly at 8 and 8 with the settings below.


I still think that the American setting may take pedals better, but the AC Brit took my pedals really well too, giving a tone that was a bit more glassy and gritty, keeping in mind that I set it up that way purposefully as I described above.

At this point it will be hard to say which setting I'll end up using mostly, but this is for recording, so I'll probably use most of the settings, as they are all just so good!

Again, I'm pretty amazed at how well it takes all of my pedals..

I may be sounding like a giddy school girl..but damn this has been one successful gear purchase!

EDIT: again I'm using Massdrop Senheisser HD 6XX open back headphones, and they sound absolutely brilliant with the Simplifier; of note they are 300 ohm headphones, which can result in too low a volume with certain devices, but the Simplifier had no issues driving these headphones, giving great volume levels.
 
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Guitardave

Member
Messages
9,872
Tried mine today by plugging the headphones into the Simplifier directly for the first time. I've been playing it through my recording interface exclusively until today.

I heard no untoward humming or buzzing during normal use. If I cranked it up to ridiculous ear splitting levels there was a bit of humm/buzz but I think that's just normal and to be expected.

This time, I also exclusively played only the AC Brit setting, which I had largely ignored until now....and I freakin' love it!

I put the Gain on max, and pushed the volume above 12 o'clock, into the 1-2 o'clock region, and it sounded pretty glorious, but I started to clip my H9 input level. I went back down to a volume of 12 o'clock-ish, or just a bit less than that, and the clipping stopped. I was able to push the volume to just a touch above 12 o'clock without clipping my H9's. Gorgeous tone!
Incidentally, I could have gone into the input gain level setting on the H9's to turn down the input gain there but I didn't bother.

The setting below gives me a clean, glassy, edgy tone, which breaks up if I hit the guitar hard, without clipping my H9's in the FX loop.
The tubes selected are EL34's despite it looking like it is on 6L6. Again, the difference between the tube settings is really subtle, there but subtle, but I found it more noticeable with the gain cranked.
Warning, I like pretty bright, chimey tones. But there is so much adjustability in the eq section, presence, and cab mic settings that you can easily EQ it to a darker tone. Incidentally my main guitar is a CS Jazzmaster with the usual 1meg pots, and I run the volume at 5-8.5 and tone 5-10 depending on what I'm going for, and mostly at 8 and 8 with the settings below.


I still think that the American setting may take pedals better, but the AC Brit took my pedals really well too, giving a tone that was a bit more glassy and gritty, keeping in mind that I set it up that way purposefully as I described above.

At this point it will be hard to say which setting I'll end up using mostly, but this is for recording, so I'll probably use most of the settings, as they are all just so good!

Again, I'm pretty amazed at how well it takes all of my pedals..

I may be sounding like a giddy school girl..but damn this has been one successful gear purchase!

EDIT: again I'm using Massdrop Senheisser HD 6XX open back headphones, and they sound absolutely brilliant with the Simplifier; of note they are 300 ohm headphones, which can result in too low a volume with certain devices, but the Simplifier had no issues driving these headphones, giving great volume levels.
Nice!

Once I have an amp that is breaking up I change my drive pedal settings to use less distortion and more of a volume boost to make the amp saturate even more. Then I can use my guitar volume and sort of treat it like a one channel amp.

I find AC Brit style stuff much trickier to get right but it's a great sound when you do.
 
Messages
1,063
Nice!

Once I have an amp that is breaking up I change my drive pedal settings to use less distortion and more of a volume boost to make the amp saturate even more. Then I can use my guitar volume and sort of treat it like a one channel amp.

I find AC Brit style stuff much trickier to get right but it's a great sound when you do.
I can dig it.

The funny thing is my good friend used to have a 90’s AC30 reissue...or was it from the 70’s... but I remember that I could never dial it to the sound that I wanted from it..it didn’t have enough headroom for me and when it was cranked to volumes I wanted it got too compressed and stuffy sounding, and it didn’t take pedals well at all. So I relate to what you are saying.
I’m not sure how authentic the Simplifier AC setting is, but it is actually super usable in comparison to my very limited, sample of one, real AC30 experience LOL...but maybe he needed new tubes or something!
 

HanFastolfe

Member
Messages
144
I have been spending some time with the AC Brit preamp today as well, similar to the settings above and a bit of clean boost to saturate it more and it's easily my favorite of the dirty sounds from the Simplifier.
I tend to forget most of my favorite recorded tones are coming through AC30s. Did some playing along to Radiohead's There There, the character was a good match. I think a Tele would get me the rest of the way.
 
Messages
1,063
Finally tried the aux in.

At first I thought “it’s not working !”.. but my headphones were still connected to my interface ..:oops: DOH!:D

I only plugged my iPhone in and played to the drum machine setting on my metronome, but it worked great, and I had a fantastic luxury practice session using killer stereo effects through the Fx Loop :cool:

I’m saving a ton of electricity too cause when I wanted to rock out to nice stereo effects, I was running two tube combos prior to this, not to mention the fact that now I don’t have to strategize when I could plug in on account of the noise issue... I’m a very happy camper :D
 
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HanFastolfe

Member
Messages
144


Board is a mess playing with gain staging.

Pushing the AC voice with maxed gain using a clean klone is working well. Bit of loss of note clarity in the low end, but that sounds about right against some AC30 references. RAT clone and fuzz from Spires sound just a little sputtery and broken, which seems about right. Adding low gain overdrive in the mix is a bit superfluous and doesn't add much.

Volume roll off works to get back to clean ..ish. Pretty clean. Bit of high freq early clipping that I don't like, but I have had that reaction to almost all of my amps and overdrives at low gain settings.
 




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