Help me pick a POWER attenuator!

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by WholeLottaGlove, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. WholeLottaGlove

    WholeLottaGlove Active Member

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    I’m looking for a power attenuator to use with my 800 4210 50 watt combo and my DSL 50 head. I’m mostly looking to lower the volume of these down to loud bedroom levels. There are a ton of options, but I’ve narrowed it down to just a few. I’m trying to keep the price around $200, so I realize that limits my options quite a bit. Here’s my list so far:

    Two Notes Torpedo Captor: I’m loving the idea of the direct recording and cabinet emulation, but the -20dB pad attenuation kinda worries me. No feature to dial the overall volume to taste and I have no loud/quiet it will be.

    Weber Mass Lite: I like the feature to adjust Highs/Lows. Simple layout from a good, reputable company. Not sure of the sound quality.

    Bugera PS-1- Cheap but effective from most accounts. The reliability, safety and sound quality concern me a bit. I don’t want to blow my amps up due to a faulty box.

    I realize attenuators aren’t magical devices and all have their own challenges, so I’m not expecting perfection. I just want to get a bit more from my amps. My only experience with power attenuators is a Power Brake, so I have some idea what to expect.

    Looking forward to hearing from you guys. Hopefully, this goes better than my last thread haha. Thanks
     
  2. Deep Purple fan

    Deep Purple fan Well-Known Member

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    I use Hotplate ....I have both 8 and 16 ohm versions.....and a Marshall Power Break 100 with excellent results. The Marshall can be switched to either 8 or 16 ohms. A lot of people bash the Marshall PB but I never had an issue with it sucking my tone.

    I don’t attenuate much. But I’ve used them at max attenuation at home and was happy enough. At lowest attenuation the Hot Plate has a volume knob you can take it down to whisper. Pretty effective.

    The Hotplate 100 W attenuators could not handle my Marshall 100W 1959SLP. After a while they needed to cool down. The Marshall could handle the amp. So make sure you check power rating. For a 50W Marshall id want a 100W rated attenuator.
     
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  3. fifteenohms

    fifteenohms Well-Known Member

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    This plus a simple master mod to a 6550-based JMP mk. 2 100w by Jose "Arrco Electronics" Arredondo were the two main elements of the creamy saturation Dave Pritchard had in Armored Saint: the Tom Scholz Power Soak.

    Dave's unit would get so hot, the vented casing pieces would warp and melt.

    Simple resistive-load units are inexpensive to buy, and cheaper to build.

    Ive even seen custom-wired ceramic Ohmite loads mounted inside the early Boogie amp heads. From the factory.

    So you can even make em yourself or buy used. You dont have to spend big bux for a solution.
     
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  4. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Well-Known Member Sponsor

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    I need to get off my ass and do some Scumback DBL attenuator clips. I never have, so it's time. I've got another batch coming in soon, so I'll get to it when I go get them in a few weeks.
     
  5. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member

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    I can’t give you any advice from personal experience, but I find that Weber MiniMass quite interesting!

    Especially for $136.00,....
     
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  6. fifteenohms

    fifteenohms Well-Known Member

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    All you need to make a resistive load is: nichrome wire wrapping some tile scrap, brushed with glaze slurry fired in a kiln for however-many hours.

    Mark your meter points, solder ends to brass nut glued to the tile, glaze, bake, and done!

    If I offered these devices theres no way Id order those loads as ceramic resistors when I can make em myself with a tile saw
     
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  7. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

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    I like the ones in my Mesa TC100, it’s $2399 but you get 3 of them and a nice box to carry them in.
     
  8. JohnH

    JohnH Well-Known Member

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    If you have workshop skills, for about $100 you can make a high quality but simple reactive attenuator capable of more than 30db of attenuation, in small steps and with negligible tone change. See workbench section for full details, analysis, testing, sound samples and build reports.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  9. WholeLottaGlove

    WholeLottaGlove Active Member

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    Nice. I might give this a shot. Any build you prefer in particular?
     
  10. WholeLottaGlove

    WholeLottaGlove Active Member

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    I was all in for the Mini Mass, but the 50W is not recommended for 50W amps. I’d need the 100 watt.
     
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  11. JohnH

    JohnH Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Im happy enough with the latest one I built, but looking at all the other builds on the thread, they all look very neatly made (better than mine!). Each one is a bit different, to suit the needs of the builder. Options include which amp Ohms to build it for, and how many output jacks, switched stages and bypass switching, and what power to design for. The circuit looks and is simple, but the way it works is significantly different to any other attenuator design. But its all laid out with no secrets. I enjoy chatting about it and seeing how different people put it together, so if you are interested, step into that thread if you like to discuss more. The only price of admission is the ability to read the schematic and relate it to your own wiring build.

    btw, from about page 11, the design is all worked out, and is most recently reposted on page 20.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
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  12. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member

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    Right, you need s 100 watt attenuator. I’m considering the MiniMass for my JCM800 Studio.
     
  13. kebek

    kebek Active Member

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    Thd
     
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  14. Kid_Awesome1

    Kid_Awesome1 Active Member

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    Just remember that the attenuator you pick should be at least 50% higher wattage than the amp you're reigning in. If you want to get it for a 50w amp, spend the extra $60 and get the Mass Mini 100, not the 50.
     
  15. LPMarshall hack

    LPMarshall hack Well-Known Member

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    I’ve had great results with the Powerbrake. Hot Plates get great reviews too.
     
  16. MoreAmpsPlease

    MoreAmpsPlease Active Member

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    I have the Weber 50. It's very transparent, but only useful to about 3/4 damping. Degrades the tone past that. So now I use it in conjunction with my 100W homemade resistive load, each working at about 50%. I made with very direct wiring in a big aluminum enclosure to work as a heat sink. I found that one attenuator by itself just gets too hot and even more when trying to damp the signal too much. I tried daisy chaining them to see if that was any better and it works! Easy to test because there is a bypass switch right on the front and I can monitor the signal coming through the recording console.

    I've been using simple resistive loads for years because I just needed to bleed off some db's, not going for bedroom, just bringing it down to workable.

    I tend to distrust any small box attenuator (where's the heat go?). If it's not large and vented, I don't trust it. The Weber 100 may be the best option for a 50w Marshall. I typically use the Weber 50 to attenuate my Princeton and Deluxe for recording and that works out great. Again, the bypass on the front is a great way to toggle it in and out and immediately hear what it's doing.

    edit: when I say "best" I mean, it's not insanely expensive yet effective enough. BadCat has something that on paper looks like perfect, but I don't need that level of device.
     
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  17. Chris4189

    Chris4189 Well-Known Member

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    Fryette powerstation is the best one that I’ve ever owned hands down. Second would be Alex/Scumback followed by a hotplate or powerbrake.
     
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  18. Deerhunter1972

    Deerhunter1972 Active Member

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  19. Kim Lucky Day

    Kim Lucky Day Active Member

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    Interestingly, when I recently inquired about using the Mini Mass 50 for a 50W amp, one of the customer service reps at Mojotone said the Mimi Mass 50 is so over-engineered that it is fine for use with a 50W amp. I did order one but only for use with my SV20H.
     
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  20. matttornado

    matttornado Well-Known Member

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    hmmm.... I wonder if their 100 watt attenuators are "over-engineered" to handle a cranked 100 watt amp also.
     
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