5 Things You Need to Know About DSM & Humboldt

If you haven't already heard of DSM & Humboldt, you should. They're one of the most pioneering pedal companies around today. In a world of digital amp technology with IRs, MIDI and endless menus, DSM & Humboldt are taking it back to basics. High Quality analogue effects that do it all!

James Hurman

James Hurman

1. Who are DSM & Humboldt?

Hailing from Santiago, Chile, DSM & Humboldt are a boutique guitar pedal manufacturer. Formed in 2019, DSM & Humboldt made instant waves in the guitar community for their Simplifier Zero Watt Amp and Cab Sim Pedal.

Founders Jano Acevedo and Daniel Schwartz met around 15 years ago when Daniel was working in electronics. 4 or 5 years ago, they decided to embark on a joint venture. This culminated following the 2019 NAMM Show when Jano returned, inspired by what he calls the “Preamp NAMM Show” when several of the big hitting brands unveiled preamp pedals such as JHS with The Clover. He also noticed a trend towards cab sim technology; Daniel’s “OmniCabSim” proved to be very popular.

Jano returned to Chile enthused by what he had seen and said “we have to take all this and put it inside a box. And we have to do this right now!” Daniel got to work on bringing this to life; combining a preamp, power amp simulation and his cab sim technology. This became The Simplifier, and as Jano says, “the rest is history…”

2. What makes DSM & Humboldt different?

DSM & Humboldt carved out a unique niche in a competitive market for amp & cab sim technology. Strymon had the Iridium and Walrus had the ACS1, which both use powerful digital processing, but The Simplifier pioneered an all-analogue amp and cab sim pedal – no IRs, no MIDI, no computers. They found the perfect formula to get every sound you want just from the pedal – for technophobes or analogue purists, it was the perfect solution!

3. Why analogue?

it is possible to make a good solid-state circuit that can sound really like a real amp if you make the right design choices.

For the last 25 years or so, amp modelling technology has been dominated by digital tech – think Neural DSP, Line 6 or Kemper. Daniel describes a “je ne sais quoi” with analogue amps – so what is it that guitarists love about analogue amps?

Daniel explains that his design originated from “the fascination I have with amplifiers – tube amps and even solid-state amps”. He continues “All my life I have analysed circuits and schematics, and simulated them, and tested them […] I’ve come to realise it is possible to make a good solid-state circuit that can sound really like a real amp if you make the right design choices.”

Daniel comments that the processing power of digital technology “to my ears sounds too processed. It sounds like a record, and I didn’t like that.” In contrast, he explains “I wanted it to sound like a recorded guitar, but also like an amp in the room. So you can tweak it to get both sounds […] it’s more natural.”

With The Simplifier, the clue is in the name; “tube amps are really simple” Daniel says. “I figured out a way with a couple of switches to get a hold of the soul … the core tones [of a tube amp].” The Simplifier features 3 amp types:

  • American – For classic rounded Fender Black panel cleans.
  • AC Brit – For chimey Vox-esque cleans through to dynamic mid-range crunch.
  • MS Brit – For vintage Marshall Plexi tones capturing the essence of classic to hard rock.

Each amp type can be paired with a variety of cab styles and power tube emulations. The only digital element of the circuit is the onboard reverb which can do everything from natural room ambience to shimmery plate or an ethereal wash.

Ultimately, there is a certain 1 or 2 percent that digital technology still doesn’t capture, whether it’s the dynamic range, latency, or its interaction with analogue pedals – it just feels different when you play. The circuitry of The Simplifier captures that analogue magic … that je ne sais quoi!

4. Simplifier or Simplifier Deluxe?

Following the instant success of The Simplifier, DSM & Humboldt followed up with the Simplifier Deluxe, a dual-channel version.  This allows you to set each channel up in a traditional A/B configuration or run them on parallel for a totally unique blended stereo sound for almost limitless tonal flexibility!

Whilst The Simplifier is mono in and stereo out, allowing for stereo output and stereo effects loop (using the 5 cable method), The Simplifier Deluxe is stereo in and out – allowing for more options. You can make use of stereo effects into the input, run parallel channels and effects, or even plug separate instruments in through each channel for a straightforward jamming setup.

The Deluxe also comes with a footswitch for channel switching and reverb, making it a handy tool for live settings where you’re switching sounds on the fly. Don’t worry bassists, you’re not missing out on the fun either! The Simplifier Bass Station is designed just for you, with the same quality and tonal flexibility! DSM & Humboldt’s latest offering is The Silver Linings Overdrive & Preamp Pedal.

5. What makes the Silver Linings different to other Overdrives?

I just wanted to make the best overdrive … and distortion … and fuzz.

Long-time Andertons followers may know what “JAFOD” stands for, but in simple terms – with literally thousands of overdrive pedals on the market, what sets the Silver Linings apart?

Let’s let Daniel explain: “I just wanted to make the best overdrive … and distortion … and fuzz. I just wanted to make a pedal that I would use and love and use for every style that I like.” The Silver Linings is truly a culmination of all of Daniel’s experience and expertise. “It’s my baby” he summarises. “I really put all the knowledge I have acquired in 20 years of learning electronics and sound, and playing guitar.” He concludes “I think I got it!”

The Silver Linings is built with a specific intention in mind – “versatile and useful”, and that it certainly is. The Silver Linings is a Dual Overdrive / Preamp pedal with all the modes and switches you could ever want or need. Jano says “The challenge was to try to bring something really versatile but not become a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. We tried to do master of all.” It’s certainly a high bar, but every sound hits the mark, from natural amp-like overdrive to mid-boosted Tube Screamer style gain, to vintage Hendrix fuzz tones!

The Silver Linings features a unique combination of “pre boost” and “master boost” you won’t find in other overdrive circuits. Daniel explains “It’s not just a stand-alone overdrive. It’s combining inside an amp modeller. I wanted to achieve what happens when you push the input of a JCM800 with a Tube Screamer. And with the “gain” you control the gain of both at the same time”. This innovative design combines the dynamics of amp distortion with the smooth, creamy drive you get from pedals, and the unique interaction of tube preamp being pushed by a pedal. It features 3 gain styles:

  • Soft – For a dynamic pushed-amp tone on the edge of breakup. Pick lightly for shimmery clean tones or dig in for a compressed crunch.
  • Vintage – Run the gain low for a unique tone thickener that is touch responsive. Or push the gain to enter full-bore vintage fuzz territory for a Fuzz Face style sound.
  • Hard – A modern high-gain sound with hard-clipping for a tight and articulate distortion.

The Silver Linings also features 3 different modes:

  • Normal – An open amp-like gain that is very “transparent” sounding, retaining the character of your guitar and amp. Turn up the gain for a grittier, harder distortion.
  • Preamp – This mode uses the powerful 3-band EQ to full effect, simulating the preamp of an amp which you can plug straight into a power amp, or through your effects loop to use as a second channel for your amp.
  • Mid Boost – Accentuates the 800hz range, where the guitar contains a lot of harmonic content for a rich tone that cuts through. Tonally it sits somewhere between the classic mid-hump of a Tube Screamer, and the accentuated upper-mids of a Klon. The more you push the gain, the creamier and more compressed it becomes.

In addition to the 3-band EQ, you can further sculpt using the “pre tone”, to “compensate different guitars […] but it’s actually a very powerful tool for the voicing of the distortion. The higher you go on the gain, you want to go higher with the pre tone – cutting the bass, keeping it tight” Daniel clarifies.


In an industry that is so competitive, DSM & Humboldt are one of the few pedal manufacturers that are truly original. They are right at the forefront of analogue innovation in amp simulation technology which is increasingly dominated by digital processing.

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For more on DSM & Humboldt, check out our video where The Captain Meets the Makers.

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James Hurman
James Hurman
James is a member of the Guitar Marketing team and has a particular penchant for vintage gear. He loves Strats, Les Pauls, Fuzz and British amps. He also has an embarrassingly large collection of overdrive pedals on his pedalboard

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