Review: DSM & Humboldt Simplifier DLX

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Review: DSM & Humboldt Simplifier DLX

Words by Mixdown Staff

Authorised Dealers | Expect to pay: $649

Key Features: In recent times, we’ve seen a huge industry shift away from the mega-rigs of yore in favour of compact, versatile floor-based setups to suit the rigours of live performance, with a range of hybrid pedal-amp products flooding the market and stealing the hearts of players around the globe.

Despite their undisputed convenience, many of these products do tend to be powered by DSP, and as such, continue to be a turn-off for those out there who subscribe to the notion that all-analogue will always be the superior option. 

For players who reside in this camp, you simply cannot find a better amplifier and speaker cabinet utility than DSM & Humboldt’s newly launched Simplifier DLX.

A deluxe take on their 2019 amp-in-a-box breakthrough, the DLX offers players with an incredibly powerful amplifier and speaker cabinet simulator that’s abundant in routing options and relatively soft on the wallet, and it might just be one of the year’s most practical gear releases to date.

Boasting two independent preamps and three amps based on classic British and American circuits – each with three gain modes and a three-band EQ to boot – the Simplifier DLX already presents itself as a worthy rival to its more expensive alternatives without even deep-diving into the specs. 

Both of the DLX’s preamps can be utilised as a two-channel guitar amp or in parallel – perfect for those running their rigs in stereo, or even to just run two guitars into the unit simultaneously. These three amp circuits can be fine-tuned even further via an array of power amp controls, letting you adjust the presence and resonance and even select from three different power tube emulations.

DSM & Humboldt’s deluxe take on the Simplifier also addresses a minor gripe bestowed upon the original by including onboard stereo reverb, chained parallel to the signal path of the unit’s amplifier channels.

There are three reverb modes to choose from – a room-style Short, the plate-inspired Mid and a cavernous Long – with seperate mix knobs for each channel, making switching through the unit as simple as can be. 

Additionally, the DSM & Humboldt Simplifier DLX plays host to some pretty impressive speaker cabinet situation capabilities, offering three different speaker cab types (Twin, Stack and Combo) and controls to tweak mic position and spread.

When considered alongside the sheer array of routing options integrated into the unit – including mono/stereo inputs with the option to bypass cab and power amp simulations, a stereo effects loop with options for send, thru and return, as well as an XLR DI output, headphone output with volume control and even an auxiliary input – there’s no denying that this is one seriously impressive package indeed. 

Mixdown Says: It’d be easy to jump to lofty conclusions based on DSM & Humboldt’s spec sheet alone, which makes us all more chuffed to report that the Simplifier DLX surpasses the hype it’s garnered when put to practise.

You’d be fighting a losing battle if you sought to find an amp-in-a-box product that offers this many routing options and tonal versatility, and the affordable pricing and rugged, compact enclosure of the DLX helps to put it in a league totally of its own. 

The tactile feel and intuitive layout of the Simplifier DLX’s controls will greatly appeal to hardware fetishists, while the tones offered by its three amp models and accompanying EQ and gain modes all sound as authentic as they would coming from the real thing.

Similarly, the speaker cab sim and power amp emulation stage of the DLX is well-designed and promotes uninhibited user creativity, and the option to add a splash of reverb to each channel is a nice touch too.

When you add in the near-infinite routing possibilities and potential to be used for silent rehearsals with a set of headphones, plus the fact that it comes with an external footswitch as well, it’s truly hard to find fault with this thing at all. 

Overall: A stereo-friendly Swiss Army knife for your guitar with a feature set that will reward the most demanding of analogue purists seeking to explore a pedal-based amp setup.

For more specs, check out the DSM & Humboldt webpage, and get in touch with Signal Chain for questions regarding Australian availability.