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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-29-2007, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Attenuators?

So, dispite telling myself I'd resist the urge to use my new tube amp at home, the inevitable has happened. It brings a whole new joy to playing that my Pod xt just can't match up to.

So, I was wondering what experiences you guys have had with attenuators. Right now the two I am aware of are the THD Hotplate and the Weber Mass. How do these compaire? Are there any other attenuators I should consider? Is it worth it at all?? Tell me whatever you guys know.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-29-2007, 09:56 PM
 
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Re: Attenuators?

Well, I don't know how much this will help, but I had a Marshall powerbrake that I used with a JCM900 head and a TSL100 head for a while. I'm not sure it really helped the tone all that much. I have since sold all of the Marshall gear for a Soldano SLO100, which is the ultimate amp for me,,,but I don't desire an attenuator for it. Why? Well, because turning up a tube amp does make it sound better, fuller, warmer,,,,and the SLO is no exception,,,,but I once read that it's more than just driving the power section harder, it also has to do with how the speakers react, the air they move, etc. So using an attenuator may improve your tone if you will still be playing quite loud anyway (i.e stage volume), but to my ears, it will never equal the sound of truly, naturally playing louder. I currently use a Gmajor FX processor in the loop of my SLO, and use its level control to allow me to turn my SLO up louder without all of the volume..............and it helps a bit, but it always just sounds better when you really push those speakers and play loud. For live, I would say try just playing through half of your cab (then you could turn the amp up more with less overall volume),,,but for at home, quiet recording use,,,you might benefit some, but there's nothing like the real thing. Crank your tube amp and cover the miked cab with blankets....that might help. I think most people will agree that cranking your amp and heavily leaning on an antennuator to make it really quiet doesn't exactly create magic.

Last edited by lynchfan6; 08-29-2007 at 10:02 PM.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-29-2007, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Attenuators?

Well that's something else I'm thinking about. The GH50L is plenty loud enough for gigs etc on around 1-2 on the master volume. However I'm told that you can get some really sweet power amp overdrive when its cranked to 4 and beyond. That is simply too loud to be practical. I'd like to be able to use it at rehearsal (with a drum kit) levels, but get the tone of if it were really cranked. How would an attenuator fare in this kind of situation?

Bedroom levels I'm not too bothered with, that's obviously not what this amp was made for and not what I bought it for either. I've heard that an attenuator can make the amp sound like a good recording of a cranked tube amp, rather than an actual tube amp, if that makes sense. If that's the case, then it's still 1 up on the pod.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-29-2007, 10:52 PM
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Re: Attenuators?

Had a hotplate, hated it. Never tried the others but I found the hotplate was the quickest way to make a 100 watt marshall sound dull and lifeless.
Worst $225 I ever spent on gear.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-30-2007, 07:47 AM
 
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Re: Attenuators?

I run my GH50L with a Weber MASS 100. I love it. I don't think it kills the tone any more than running the amp on 1 would, as you can get rid of the fizzies and get a bolder tone.

I've never tried the Hotplate, so I can't tell you what the differences are. The MASS units use an actual speaker motor in them, so they might suck less tone, not sure.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-30-2007, 09:18 AM
 
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Re: Attenuators?

I have a Weber Mass Lite 100. Use it with my JSX. As toshiro says, it's better than running the amp on 1. Fuller tone. Don't expect it to perform miracles, but if you want to play quietly and still get a decent sound, I don't think you've got much of an option. The Weber is pretty cheap... $100 I think I paid or so.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-30-2007, 09:29 AM
 
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Re: Attenuators?

im actually reading stuffs on the ultimate attenuator. this seems to be the best.i had the thd hotplate before and sold it coz it colors tone when used at high attnt settings.im a bedroom player.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-30-2007, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Attenuators?

Thanks for the tips guys.

From what I've gathered so far, the Hotplate is the only one that will truly take it down to bedroom level, but will seriously suck the tone.. which sort of defeats the point since I can just use my pod for that kinda stuff. Plus its bright purple...

I've also discovered the Dr. Z Air Brake which seems to have some pretty good reviews. Both that and the Weber MASS are said to be really transparent and effective at bringing your amp down to soundguy-friendly volumes. So it's between these two at the moment. Anybody used the Air Brake before?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-30-2007, 10:35 AM
 
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Re: Attenuators?

I swear by the Rockman Power Soak.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-30-2007, 11:29 AM
 
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Re: Attenuators?

Quote:
Originally Posted by elcid View Post
Had a hotplate, hated it. Never tried the others but I found the hotplate was the quickest way to make a 100 watt marshall sound dull and lifeless.
Worst $225 I ever spent on gear.
+1. deja vu with this?

If you can find one used try it but I wouldn't spend the money on a new one.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-30-2007, 05:46 PM
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Re: Attenuators?

Quote:
Originally Posted by finstah View Post
+1. deja vu with this?

If you can find one used try it but I wouldn't spend the money on a new one.
Just looking out for the guy. When I needed one all I heard was how great the Hotplate was, so I was very disappointed when I finally got one.
Personally I wouldnt even buy a new one, if something doesnt do the job its supposed to right, even at $10 it's a waste.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-31-2007, 02:38 AM
 
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Re: Attenuators?

The Weber MASS will take you down to bedroom levels too. The attenuators I'm familar with - Altair, Power Soak, Power Brake - have notched, preset levels to bring the volume down where the MASS & Hotplate have infinite variability. Meaning a smooth turning knob. I think the Hotplate is notched, and the final notch engages the smooth knob.

I've been thinking about a MASS because even the final, bottom notches on my Power Soak or Power Brake will not allow me to crank an amp and stay at a level that won't disturb anyone in the house. It's a joke, I have a 30 watt Marshall Artist, I put THD Yellowjackets in it and brought it down to 12 watts. Then I use the Power Brake on the lowest notch and I still can't get the amp past 1 without being a disturbance.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-31-2007, 04:45 AM
 
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Re: Attenuators?

I have a THD Hotplate I use with my Legacy combo and love it. I can finally use my super loud ass amp in my apartment without pissing off the neighbors. Sounds great to me.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-31-2007, 08:03 AM
 
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Re: Attenuators?

I would get the attenuator, especially with a Laney GH50L. If for nothing more than to smooth out the volume jump.

Are you gonna completely saturate the power stage? Probably not, but the amp sounds better on 4 than 2, and that's a lot of volume with these. I wouldn't squish it too much, though.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-02-2007, 07:19 PM
 
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Re: Attenuators?

I've had a Marshall Powerbrake (good, but sucked tone), used a Hotplate (made my amp sound fizzy) and now use an Magus Ultimate Attenuator - best investment I ever made in my tone! No colouring of tone whatsoever and completely tames the amp.

Let's me run my JSX on Master Vol = 3.5 (the sweet spot to my ears) and then turn down to any volume I need from then on with NO discernable difference in sound.

Of course, running it wide open to get the full volume through the speakers does add an extra something to the sound when the speakers are getting a spanking, but that's also something to do with the 'boner factor' you get by making so much noise!

check it out - www.ultimateattenuator.com

Good luck!
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