NAMM 2023: DSM & Humboldt unveils the Simplifier MkII, upgrading the zero-watt stereo guitar amp with revoiced preamps, more dynamics, reverb and more

DSM Humboldt Simplifier MKII
(Image credit: DSM & Humboldt)

NAMM 2023: DSM & Humboldt has launched a new and improved version of its Simplifier zero-watt stereo guitar amp

The Simplifier MKII is still a compact and pedalboard-friendly unit, designed to provide some boutique all-analogue DI electric guitar tones. 

You still have the same three preamp voicings, with emulations of classic Marshall, Vox and Fender amps onboard. But arriving in a newly designed enclosure of heavy-duty aluminium, complete with metal switches, it promises a more intuitive user experience, improved dynamics, and it now comes with reverb.

Indeed, the plate reverb, which arrived by popular demand, is the only digital element in the design, but it is sidechained, preserving an all-analogue signal path. 

The idea behind the Simplifier MKII is realism – an amp in a compact box that gives you the a similar feel and tone as a tube amp when sending your signal direct when playing live or recording, with stereo cab simulation offering a choice of three speaker types and three cabinets.

Among the Simplifier MKII’s new features are its preamps, which have been wholly redesigned to present a wider range of gain. There is a new Power Amp Drive control so you can crank it up and emulate tube amp compression you, plus there is a handy LED clip indicator to let you know when you are pushing those power tubes into the aerobic zone. 

DSM Humboldt Simplifier MKII

(Image credit: DSM & Humboldt)

So much of the Simplifier’s success was down to the feel that it gave players when doing direct. The MKII looks to enhance this. Its USA preamp is based on a vintage Fender ’59 Bassman. The AC Brit preamp voicing references the sort of chime and sparkle of a vintage Vox combo. The MS Brit will give you that Plexi grit and punch.

There are a lot of controls on the enclosure but DSM & Humboldt have arranged them to be as tactile and intuitive as possible. Heavy-duty switches select preamp types and the corresponding power type, which adjusts the feedback path, PI gain, and power transformer effect on the power tube emulation.

Similarly you can select cabinet types from an emulated 1x12 Fender Combo, 2x12 AC-style twin cabinet, and a 4x12 stack – for when you want to blow the bloody doors off. And for when you don’t, there’s a master volume control so you can access those cranked tube amp tones at manageable levels. Other controls include Presence and Resonance, and Bass, Middle and Treble tone stack section.

Your speaker emulation options comprise a Celestion Vintage 30, a Blue Alnico, and a Celestion G12 Greenback. Again, each selected by one of those heavy duty switches.

DSM Humboldt Simplifier MKII

(Image credit: DSM & Humboldt)

 As with its predecessor, the Simplifier MKII has all the connections you could need, including a headphones output with level control for silent practice and monitoring, a 1/8” aux in, plus stereo 1/4” and XLR outputs.

The Simplifier MKII is available now, priced £299 / $349 street. See DSM & Humboldt for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.