Picture yourself on stage, in the middle of a set, going for that classic vintage 80’s over-driven guitar sound…..vintage you say? Yes! Remember that classic 80’s overdrive is almost 40 years old! Anyway, every time you crank up the OD, your tone gets a bit spongy and woofy…you know what I mean. If only you had a way to….wait….you have the brand new Panama Overdrive pedal from that mysterious Carl Martin dude, and it comes with a Damping control. You switch over to the Panama, crank the Gain, increase the damping and your distortion becomes even more aggressive, more cutting and clear…just like….well you know. Decrease the damping, and your distortion becomes deeper, thicker with more bass dynamics. In other words you have an amazing overdrive pedal that you can customize on the fly! And…it’s analog!
The new Carl Martin Panama Overdrive, cool anodized case and that awesome Carl Martin DC/DC converter circuitry which allows the pedal to run with +-12V internally (this means better parts and better sound). Check it out yourself, Gain Level and Tone controls along with the new Damping control, head mounted input/outputs and 9V DC input which requires a regular 9V 100mA external power supply and the new small footprint. Bigger sound, bigger tone, all analog, all Carl Martin!
What’s that sound? It sounds like we have another winner from the folks at Carl Martin! The overall overdrive / distortion sound is very Plexi-like, and similar to other Carl Martin pedals that have been based on the classic hot-rodded Plexi amplifier tone. As such it’s a natural for the sorts of ’80’s rock and metal tones its name likely brings to mind, but don’t underestimate its usefulness for lower to mid-gain tones too. The Carl Martin Panama offers a lot of now-vintage overdrive and distortion tones in a classy looking, well-built modern box that won’t take up much room on your pedalboard. The Damping control is no gimmick – it really does change the feel and tightness of the low end, and is especially useful for dialing the bass back and tightening it up on crunchy rhythm parts, while still giving you the ability to put some of that low end back in whenever you want to thicken up solos or for beefier lines. The Carl Martin Panama is just as good at driving a dirty or slightly-dirty amp as it is at running as a stand-alone overdrive plugged into a clean amp. No matter which way you want to use it, it will make a great addition to your dirt pedal collection
Australian Music Magazine
The goal of this pedal is to give you that very particular tone of that very particular Plexi. But does it succeed?
Well, it gets a lot closer than you might expect from a little box that isn’t an overheating tube amp head and cabinet. Key to this is its upper midrange quality, which has exactly the right amount of cut‑through in this crucial frequency range. It gives you those exciting harmonics, it gives power chords just the right kind of oomph to cut through the rest of the band, and it sounds great with a phaser pedal.
There’s a lot more going on inside this pedal than first impressions may suggest, especially one you start to explore the lower regions of that damping control and begin to find all those massive doom tones. This is a pedal that’s at home with Superstrat, SG and Telecaster alike, and just like the player whose tone inspired it, it’s way more than a one trick pony.
Guitar Magazine (Germany)
We tried the Panama on a Victory VH40 through a 1X12 cabinet with Greenbacks, and it sounds fantastic. It pumps, but stays clear, it sings, but doesn’t get buzzy – we were really impressed. We recommend that it only be used with a clean amp, but if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be delighted. Out of curiosity, we also tried the pedal with a Marshall MG100 combo with a crystal-clear setting, and found ourselves in disbelief – it sounds better than the Marshall’s own high gain channel. What inspired us most is the wide range of hot plexi sounds. And then you realize that tuned Plexi Marshalls were played not only by Eddie Van Halen, whose sound was the inspiration for the Panama, but also George Lynch, John Sykes, Steve Stevens, Mick Mars, or Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. „Basket Case“ and „When I Come Around“ come out of the speakers so fat and rich, it makes you think that summer has arrived and your party guests are just outside your door. Bam!
Guitar Bonedo.de (Germany)
The Carl Martin Panama Overdrive Pedal delivers what it promises. Connect and play, and you land in a place between the Marshall Plexi and 800. The pedal is not a real all-rounder, but it delivers what the name implies, fans of subtle warm blues tones may not find their sound here. But Rock Classics from the late 70’s to Metal it really delivers perfectly with the Tone and especially the Damping controls at tap, without any drastic changes of the basic sound.
Fans of these genres can really enjoy the great benefits of the pedal, as there is absolutely nothing to complain about when it comes to design and looks, even the price are way under Boutique pedals, the quality and sound NOT! My advice: go try it out.