Best attenuators for 1987x?

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by rolijen, Jun 20, 2020.

  1. Bogmonster

    Bogmonster Active Member

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    Another vote for the Fryette here. I've had one for a few years now and it's absolutely brilliant. Very usable and it has a proper pot on it as opposed to the notched attenuation that some others use. Loads of features too (DI, FX loop, ability to mismatch cabs and you can reamp a small amp to 50W). Also has some additional tone shaping too.

    I also own a Weber Mass 200 which is also great but the PS-2 is much better. I use it with a 100W Super Lead and a JTM45. If it broke I wouldn't even hesitate about buying another.

    I can't speak for the Waza TAE or the OX. They both look great too. The extra effects and functions are supposed to be great but they're overkill for my needs. I reckon you won't go wrong with either though.

    Hope this helps.
     
  2. SlyStrat

    SlyStrat Well-Known Member

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    Scumback.
    Tried most.
     
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  3. tmingle

    tmingle Well-Known Member

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    I have built & used 1 of John H's attenuators for maybe 2 years. I added a line out right at the speaker out & recorded with IR's. It works really well on recordings & you can use a room IR on a separate track to simulate a room. I would suspect that the OX is an incredible unit as well as some of the others. After recording a loop, recording at all attenuation levels & normalizing in Reaper, I am certain that most tonal difference is your ears playing tricks with you. Please keep in mind that my testing was with a DSL40C, probably not the best choice for a test of this nature.
     
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  4. EADGBE

    EADGBE Well-Known Member

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    I think the THD Hot Plate is the best attenuator. But I'm no expert. Personally I think an amp sounds better without an attenuator or a variac for that matter.
     
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  5. marshallmellowed

    marshallmellowed Well-Known Member

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    It's funny, how these threads always seem to turn into a comparison of "attenuators" and "re-amper's". While they both offer a form of volume reduction, they are obviously not the same. Re-amper's, regardless of the design, are delivering the final audio via another power amp, be it solid state, or tube. Either way, it's that power amp driving the speakers, not the power section of the guitar amp. I can see where those requiring extreme volume reduction may need this, but I personally would never go that route. That approach seems counter-intuitive to me, especially when you consider the additional cost, but that's just my thought process, obviously not everyone's.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  6. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Are you referring to certain re-ampers or just the product in general? Also, what, in your opinion, is counter-intuitive about using these units?

    Real questions,...I don’t know anything about these products.

    And you always seem to have a lot of good and accurate information, and knowledge about the subjects you respond to.
     
  7. marshallmellowed

    marshallmellowed Well-Known Member

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    The product in general. When I say "counter-intuitive", I mean, if I pay good money for an all tube amp, I want to hear exactly that, the all tube amp connected to a cab. Re-amper's, while they do exactly what they say they will (allow you to drastically reduce the volume of a cranked amp), eliminate the direct coupling between the power amp section of an amp and the cab. This is due to the fact that the amp is no longer connected directly to the cab, but passing through the re-amper, which is now connected to the cab. I'm not dissing anyone that chooses to go this route, just saying it's not an approach I would choose. I personally can't see spending nearly as much on a device to utilize an amp, as I did the amp itself. On the other hand, I'm perfectly happy using a good "reactive" attenuator (never paid more than $160 for one) to knock a few db off the volume. Again, just my opinion, nothing more.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
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  8. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree with @marshallmellowed that calling things like the Power Station, OX, Unleash, etc, attenuators is somewhat of a misnomer. Although a better descripition of them would be "re-ampers" but that can be confusing too, because actual "re-amping" involves a totally different process in the recording field. While these units can work quite well, the price is quite high and gets even higher as bells & whistles get added. Maybe a better name for them would be "Powered Load Box" which is essentially what they are.

    "Reamping is a two stage process whereby you first record a dry or clean track and then re-record the track afterwards by sending the clean track back through your amps, effects and speakers."

    OTOH, a simple to build, reactive/resistive attenuator like the one designed by @JohnH in this linked thread:
    http://www.marshallforum.com/threads/simple-attenuators-design-and-testing.98285/
    can be easily built for between $60 & $100 or even have someone assemble it for you for an additional $100-$125-ish. Now the reason many folks bash attenuators is that that vast majority of the affordable ones suck tone, life and dynamics out of the sound of an amp. The JohnH unit does not! I'm also gonna bet that the DBL from Scumback also works quite well, yet still at more than twice the price of having someone build you one of the JohnH units. The popular Weber units work just OK, as there are only a couple or few "sweet spots" on the dial that don't suck your tone too badly.

    Just My $.02 & Likely Worth A Bit Less,
    Gene
     
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  9. JohnH

    JohnH Well-Known Member

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    Hi @rolijen
    Two nice plugs from @tmingle and @Gene Ballzz above, for our Marshall forum design. Lots of others have now built it and liked it, but building electronics is not for everyone. if you have a look a Post 1 on the thread linked by Gene, you can get the idea. It actually is a very simple thing, designed to be made in the 'shed'. I just want to say that if its of any interest, Im happy to help you work out what you need to suit your use, since there are a few options.

    But there's an entry test, if you wanted to build one yourself! You need to be able to read the simple schematics on post 1 and relate them to how parts might be wired up, carry out decent soldering and have access to and be able to operate a multimeter to test it.
     
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  10. Mystic38

    Mystic38 Well-Known Member

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    I will read your request as "I want to hear the tone of my amp at lower volumes" and in response I will give another plug for the Boss Waza Tube Amp Expander (which is neither an "attenuator" nor a "re-amper")

    To get quieter volumes you can..

    1. Use an attenuator
    If you want only low levels of attenuation then this is a good path.. some are better than others at matching the reactive load to your cab, and matching some fletcher munson compensation.. but i have yet to hear an attenuator that does a decent job of preserving tone and feel with (say) -12dB or greater attenuation.

    2. Load box & IR
    This is a personal choice, but a total non starter for me. I wish to hear my amp.. not my amp as if it was recorded through a shure 87 and played through studio monitors. A great recording solution for sure, but for playing a beloved amp.. pointless.

    3. Waza Tube Amp Expander.
    If you have a beloved amp then you owe it to yourself to try this out... It is one of those expensive products that once you use it, you forget the price... the same as my $3k OB-6 synth.

    in my case, my concern lasted all of 10mins.. the length of time it took me to hook up the TAE into my Rocker 30 & 425a cab and dime the volume..which is normally ear shattering loud (given its actually a 50W design)..So in my first controlled experiment, with dialed in reactive load and matched SPL output volumes the tone and feel of the amp is completely preserved... The TAE is curently wired up to the AD30 & 212 V30 cab providing power tube bliss at decent volume.. and I look forward to trying out the same on my VM2466 head in the basement during the week.


    in summary, I bought the TAE as an attenuator replacement, and yet it gives me so much more... a recording solution, headphones out for silent play, a post amp FX loop and re-amping possibility

    its huge $$$/buck at the asking price and my interest in attenuators is over...
     
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  11. Biff Maloy

    Biff Maloy Well-Known Member

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    Another thing to consider is speaker choice. 25 watt Greenbacks are 98db. 20 watt Heritage are 96db for example.

    It's not drastic and certainly doesn't help for getting home friendly volume but it is noticeable. I do this all the time with my 20 watt heads in my 2061CX. If i need really loud i throw in the stock anniversaries at 100db that came in that cabinet.

    If just for playing out purposes you could apply this to a 4x12 and the 1987X. A set of G12M20's could help a little.
     
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  12. kinleyd

    kinleyd Well-Known Member

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    The OX is excellent.
     
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  13. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree, that’s why I buy tube amps, because they are tube amps. As far as attenuating goes I also agree with you, I bought a Weber Minimass 50 for $135.

    It works great for my purposes, all I want is to be able to crank my tube amp a bit and attenuate the volume so it’s not killing my ears!
     
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  14. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    @marshallmellowed and @Gene Ballzz,....

    So the Waza TAE and the Power Station, and some others, do much more than just attenuate. They cancel out the power amp section of a amp and use it’s own built in solid state power amp,...it that accurate to say?
     
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  15. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

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    More important than that is what are you planning on doing with the unit? How loud can you/do you play? Do you play strictly at home? If not where else do you play and at what volumes? Do you need to adjust for different FOH scenarios? Do you record? Does the unit need to interface with a DAW?

    It’s a gear forum haha—95% of people will adamantly recommend what they currently own regardless of your situation.
     
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  16. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I must take a little bit of issue with you @Gene Ballzz about the Weber Attenuators, more specifically the Minimass 50.

    Although I do it with a bit of reluctance. I have a great amount of respect for you and your knowledge of amplification. Having said that,....

    I’ve been using it for a over a year now and it sounds great, virtually no tone loss from my SC20. The only thing my ears hear is a slight loss of high end when attenuating to very low volumes.

    But the Weber Minimass has a 2 position mini toggle switch that increases the treble by +3db and +6db, to compensate for any loss of treble.

    I guess it just goes to show how subjective good tone can be, we all hear things a bit differently.

    Here’s an old video from Johan Segeborn that’s pretty interesting. Although we all know that talking about tone,....judging from a video is not optimal.

     
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  17. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

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    Nope not everyone’s—not everyone needs that. Different tools for different situations and some of these boxes are overkill for a lot of players. If you are just playing alone at home you have different needs than someone who plays out in different venues every weekend.

    If you are going to die on the “but that’s solid state” hill I get it but what these boxes can do for a gigging player looking for flexibility is mind blowing. I’ve been playing tube amps for 30+ years and I think the TAE sounds and feels amazing. And the load is adjustable if you do feel the need.
     
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  18. rolijen

    rolijen Well-Known Member

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    Great questions! As for me, I do not gig anymore. Played out for many years. Career (outside of music) took off and I haven’t played out for 15 or 20 years. I mostly play in my basement office/studio. I do a little recording. But am mostly reliving my youth in solitude. I have a Bugera PS-1 that worked fine for my needs (or so I thought until I reacquired a holy grail amp). I just want to enjoy as much of this amp as possible without destroying what’s left of my hearing.
    7B63F7C3-E592-4585-AA10-3532C3A35D84.jpeg
     
  19. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

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    Not a thing wrong with that! Honestly in your scenario an OX or a TAE would be overkill IMO. Personally I'd look at a used Hotplate on the low end or a Rivera Rockcrusher on the high end. Never tried the Weber but I do hear some good reports. Marshall Powerbrakes are good too but they seem to be overpriced on the used market the past few years. I hate the "stepped" attenuation of these units myself but as long as you don't have very strict noise restrictions the above would work great. Obviously the more attenuation the more tone (high end) loss.

    Ditch anything Bugera IMO. Risk/reward not there.
     
  20. kinleyd

    kinleyd Well-Known Member

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    Would recommend the OX or TAE (or others like them) if the OP wants to do recording without hassle and with lots of options - they have a lot of magic in that department. If not, yeah, it would be overkill.
     
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