New Attenuator Day

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by FutureProf88, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. FutureProf88

    FutureProf88 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    1,434
    Likes Received:
    505
    Location:
    St. Louis metro area
    Got my Hotplate today. I must say I'm really impressed. I had a Rivera, which had better features than the Hotplate (balanced line out, switchable impedance) but I think at low levels of attenuation the Hotplate is a bit more transparent. There also isn't a huge jump between attenuated and non attenuated volume levels.

    Full disclosure I've only tested it with my C5, but if anyone is interested, my findings were:

    At -4 db there was a slight volume reduction and no change in tone or feel. At -8 there was a noticeable loss of high end. Using the bright switch brought it back and brought the feel of the amp back to near non-attenuated response. The tone and feel remained pretty intact at -12 as long as the bright switch was used. At -16 to -infinity (fully adjustable control) the feel of the amp was greatly diminished. The deep switch really changed the tonality of the C5, but it actually made it sound like a much bigger amp. I couldn't hear a difference with the bulbs engaged or not.

    I'd say that this is a great tool to protect a speaker cabinet from a 100 watt amp or to bring a big amp down closer to club friendly volumes. It will not satisfy someone who wants to attenuate an amp down to a conversational level for something like late night practice.
     
    Barfly and MarshallDog like this.
  2. Jakeboy

    Jakeboy Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    135
    Location:
    Missouri
    Quality attenuators are my friends.....
     
    tone seaker likes this.
  3. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Messages:
    4,654
    Likes Received:
    1,623
    Location:
    In your bathtub.
    The better method is adjustable magnet speakers.
    These do not kill the high frequency at lower loudness settings.

    Another helpful method is to change the amp output to triode, to lower the efficiency.
     
    BanditPanda likes this.
  4. el_bastardo

    el_bastardo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    440
    Likes Received:
    339
    That's pretty much the M.O. for any attenuator. Great for knocking a few db off, but a huge compromise for bringing a giant amp down to whisper levels.
     
    FutureProf88 likes this.
  5. FutureProf88

    FutureProf88 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    1,434
    Likes Received:
    505
    Location:
    St. Louis metro area
    I'm not using it for lower loudness settings. I'm bringing it down to a 50 watt or 25 watt level so I can run it with a single 1960BX.
     
  6. tone seaker

    tone seaker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    2,411
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    I have been using "The Ultimate Attenuator" for 13 years with my 100 watt Marshall Super and fender's to bring them down to gigable levels and protect the speakers. You can hear it in the link bellow in my signiture "My Music" with my Marshall cranked :)
     
    FutureProf88 likes this.
  7. Barfly

    Barfly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    852
    Likes Received:
    621
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Clips or it sounds like an AM radio.
     
    SG~GUY, flyinguitars and FutureProf88 like this.
  8. Len

    Len Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Messages:
    658
    Likes Received:
    262
    To bring a loud amp to conversation level without killing the tone you usually need a re-amper (Unleash, Ultimate, Power Station, etc).
     
  9. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Messages:
    4,654
    Likes Received:
    1,623
    Location:
    In your bathtub.
    Wrong.
    I certainly do not need any transistor amp attached to a Marshall.
     
  10. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Messages:
    4,654
    Likes Received:
    1,623
    Location:
    In your bathtub.
    Change to triode output wiring instead.
     
  11. FutureProf88

    FutureProf88 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    1,434
    Likes Received:
    505
    Location:
    St. Louis metro area
    Never been a fan of triode modded amps. I have considered that but I like the snap too much. The attenuator works better for me. I fail to understand why you're so against the idea of using power attenuators. For ultra low volume practice they aren't the best solution but they work well for the applications that they're really designed for. Also, reamping is another tried and true technique and something like the Power Station (which uses a tube power amp) is pretty much the EVH recording setup.

    Here is a short (14 sec) clip from our gig Saturday. I was running a Germino HR100 through a BX cabinet. Amp settings were: Presence 1, Bass 3, Mids 6, Treble 6, Bright Volume 6.5, Normal Volume 2, Hotplate to -8, bulbs off and bright switch and deep switch both off. You're seeing our bass player here as this video was taken by one of his friends and he wrote this song. We haven't recorded it yet but it's called "Spilled Drinks and Bath Towels."

     
  12. tone seaker

    tone seaker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    2,411
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    Your loss my gain, it sounds amazing. My clips prove it :)
     
    Len likes this.
  13. MonstersOfTheMidway

    MonstersOfTheMidway Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    3,981
    Likes Received:
    1,323
    I don't use attenuators, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that most attenuators are designed to be connect between the amplifier's speaker output and the cabinet's speaker input.
    Question: what happens if the attenuator fails? Is there a fail safe or some other feature/circuit that protects the amplifier is the attenuator fails?

    I understand attenuators get extremely hot due to the amount of energy they are taking in from the amplifier (most designs have some kind of cooling system such as a fan to help dissipate heat). But if an attenuator should fail for whatever reason, what are some features that protect the amplifier? For example, if the attenuator fails, do some attenuators have a built-in feature that allows the signal to "bypass" the attenuator altogether and be sent to the cabinet as if the attenuator was not there? I know attenuator designs vary from manufactuer, so any info would be appreciated.
     
  14. FutureProf88

    FutureProf88 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    1,434
    Likes Received:
    505
    Location:
    St. Louis metro area
    Not that I'm aware of. It's the same deal as if a speaker fails. No failsafe there. Just get an attenuator that's rated much higher than your amp. The Hotplate is 185w max. A Rockcrusher is 150w max. Weber's are marked as to their maximum wattage.
     
    MonstersOfTheMidway likes this.
  15. el_bastardo

    el_bastardo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    440
    Likes Received:
    339
    Attenuators are shockingly simple devices, so failure is pretty rare.

    I've broken my Weber Mass 200 twice. Don't ask. Both times my fault. Both times the attenuator still passed signal, it just didn't attenuate.

    Not all attenuators are the same, but the Weber stuff seems to be the simplest and most foolproof. Some of them use a tiny speaker motor with no cone for "swamp load" in the event of some kind of catastrophic failure. Mine's been to hell and back and keeps working and sounding great. As long as you use an attenuator that's rated roughly twice what you're putting through it, they'll be fine forever.
     
    MonstersOfTheMidway likes this.
  16. tone seaker

    tone seaker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    2,411
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    My Ultimate Attenuator is rated at 200 watts and have giged it more than 1000-4 hour gigs for 13 years. One of the features I like about the UA is it has dual foot switchable volume controls that are smooth turn like a volume knob not clicking down DB levels like most others so you can get exactly the level you want not to high or low like a hot plate style. The dual volume allows you to have one set for rythm and the other set louder for lead. :)
     
    Len likes this.
  17. JohnH

    JohnH Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,762
    Likes Received:
    669
    Location:
    Wilton NSW
    My view is that if your favourite amp is a modern design with an effective master volume, then an attenuator is not needed at rehearsal or gig volume. There are fine tones to be found at lower than max volume. On these, some attenuation can sometimes help when you get the amp back home and need to do some low-volume practice. For this, l favour a very simple fixed attenuator to knock the power down by a factor of 5 to 10 (-7 to -10db). Its a simple box, one plug in, one plug out, cheap and reliable. its not really about cranking such an amp at whisper volumes, but just getting it up off the noise floor and into the range where the MV sounds best. These moderate levels of attenuation have very little effect on tone.

    But I can understand how a more complex attenuator could be useful if your tone is that of a NMV amp at melt-down volume.
     
  18. tone seaker

    tone seaker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    2,411
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    The only way I can make a master volume amp not sound like a buzz saw is to crank the master volume to 7-8 pushing the power tubes and controling the actual volume with the pre amp volume. :)
     
  19. Len

    Len Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Messages:
    658
    Likes Received:
    262
    Ok, please show me a bunch of posts indicating that goos sounding high levels of attenuation can be achieved with a passive attenuators. There are many posts by others (including me) that increasing the attenuation of a passive attenuator beyond a few dB impacts tone too much.
     
  20. tone seaker

    tone seaker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    2,411
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    once the speakers stop being pushed you lose some tone :)
     

Share This Page