Palmer PDI-03
Designed by Martin Schmidtz in Frankfurt, Germany, the Palmer PDI-03 Speaker Simulator was originally Palmer's staple product. That quickly came to an end when they received a threat of legal action by Groove Tubes for having some similarities in design the their SE unit. So Palmer dumped the 03, and designed a totally new one which is the PGA-04. According to a lot of people, the 03 really sounds much, much better than the Groove Tubes SE, so they couldn't have been copying much, if anything, from GT. I think Palmer was so small that they didn't have the money to litigate even though they knew they had done nothing wrong. So they caved, and GT was successful in getting a competitors great product off the market.

Having heard about all this a while ago, I've always been interested in getting an 03 to see what all the comotion was about. I've looked for a long time and could never find one here in the States. I've seen plenty of the newer 04's for sale here, but no 03's. Luckily, I found a guy in Germany that was willing to sell me two of them. Since he lives in the same town as the Palmer factory, sometimes there are a few floating around there. A llot of great musicians have used the old 03's live and in the studio such as Def Leppard, Mike Campbell & Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, etc.

There are several different aesthetic differences in the units depending on the year. One thing I need to verify is the start and finish production dates. So far I've seen four different versions. In the photo below, the middle unit is the newest, then the bottom unit, and then the top is the oldest. The bottom two are the ones that I actually own.

The only other version of the 03 that I've seen is the one in Eddie Van Halen's rack. I believe this is a early-mid version model, because it's very similar to the bottom unit in the photo above. Below is a very poor quality picture of the PDI-03 in EVH's rack. You'll notice that they took the "PDI-03" off the front. I would be really interested to know why they did that.

Below, is a photo of the new, very different PGA-04 ADIG-LB model currently being sold by Palmer. Unfortunately, it's not even close to sounding as good as the PDI-03.

I do believe they live up to the hype. I really haven't spent as much time with mine as I'd like to, but I'll be doing more with them this summer. If you ever see one grab it!!!! They're worth their weight in gold, and you could always re-sell it to some rich famous guitar player for some bucks if you don't need it.

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