Best attenuators for 1987x?

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

  1. kinleyd

    kinleyd Well-Known Member

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    Looking good!
     
  2. Michael Roe

    Michael Roe Well-Known Member

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    If your pic is accurate, then you have the answer right there! If the 1987X is too loud then plug into the SV! You could also just use a load box and then send that preamp signal to your SV's FX Return. If you start attenuating your 1987X, your SV will do the job better. All just IMHO :)
     
  3. Derek S

    Derek S Well-Known Member

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    Such a great sounding amp...but ungodly loud lol, loudest i've ever played through in fact. I tried to make this amp work for home studio jams/tracks but simply couldn't find a way to tame the beast without sacrificing tone. Good luck though, I'm sure if you figure it out it will be worth it - the core tone of these amps is great!
     
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  4. rolijen

    rolijen Well-Known Member

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    The SV is also great. I really enjoy it. But... it does not have the same girth.

    Even through the greenback-loaded cab I’m using with the 1987x, the SV isn’t as full and 3 dimensional as it’s bigger brother. No shade being cast on the SV, but it’s just not the same. While I love the SV, if I could only have 1, I would choose the 1987x. It’s magical.

    But, your point is well taken. In fact my cheapo Bugera attenuator works quite well on the SV as I don’t need to cut very much when running in 5 watt mode.

    But, if you haven’t played a 50 watt plexi, (I gigged with a 100 watt Super Lead back in my younger days) you need to try it out. I’m blown away.

    Thanks for all the great comments! Please keep ‘em coming.
     
  5. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

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    They don't really "cancel out" the amp's power section, but instead provide an adjustable, interactive/resistive/reactive load box to mimic the speaker load that the amp is used to seeing and simply dumps the amp's wattage off as heat through what I'm betting are really substantial resistors, etc. It then derives a line level signal to send to the other line level bells, whistles and processing features and subsequently the solid state power amp. I have no issue with the already "captured" true sound and dynamics of the tube amp being re-amplified by a solid state power amp. The sound is already there and almost every PA/sound system is already powered by solid state amps, so.......! A lot good information right here:
    https://www.boss.info/us/promos/waza_tube_amp_expander/
    While devices like this are certainly robust in features and can do a lot of amazing things (only one of those features is accurately capturing the true amp/speaker sound and re-amplifying it), many of those features and options available can cause/allow folks who are not well versed in what they're actually looking for or needing to get "lost in the sauce" (so to speak), and end up with sound coming out of their speaker(s) that doesn't even closely approximate the sound of their amp cranked directly into a speaker. Units like this are also quite costly for simply wanting to knock down the volume without losing tone. In other words: "If all those extra features are not needed, why spend $1,299.99 for it?" Of course, if those features really intrigue and float one's boat, have at it! The reviews of many of these devices are really quite stellar, just WAY more than I need and/or can justify spending on my "broken" (often called a fixed, but trust me, it's "broken") retirement income!

    I too own a 50 watt, Weber MiniMass, love it for what it is/does and will never get rid of it, due to it's convenience. It does however pale by comparison to the tone and overall response retention of the @JohnH design.

    A) Yes, the Weber does allow a continously variable amount of attenuation compared to John's stepped -3.5db per step design, but therein lies the reason John's design is superior for sonic quality.
    1) John's design incorporates a very specific ratio/balance of series and parallel resistance, combined with choke coils/inductors to provide the same reactive load to the amp at all settings. That delicate, specific ratio also allows the speaker to see a resistance quite similar to what it would see being driven directly from the amp. There are no additional capacitors or other circuitry needed to "compenste" for losses incurred by deviating from that optimum ratio.​
    B) While the Weber MiniMass can work quite well at certain settings, the balance/ratio of parallel and series resistance widely and wildly fluctuates throughout the sweep of the "Big Knob!" This makes it so that there are only a few "sweet spots" in that sweep where that optimum ratio (and/or direct multiples of it) are achieved. Following is what I perceive to be the "sweet spots" though the exact positions of the "Big Knob" may vary slightly with different amps and speakers used. Also, it seems that different vintages of the Weber may have used slightly different taper rheostats, so YMMV.
    1) "Big Knob" all the way up/clockwise provides the minimum amount of available attenuation. This works well for just "shaving a little off the top" of an amps volume. For most amps/speakers the treble compensation is not needed or just the +3db setting can be enough. The low end "bounciness" and tactile/dynamic feel is only affected ever so slightly.
    2) "Big Knob" at between the 12:30 & 1:30 clock positions needs at least +3db or +6db compensation, depending on the amp/speaker combination. The low end and dynamic feel is compromised even a bit more than the previous setting. This knocks the volume down fairly substantially, though still pretty loud with a 20 to 50 watt amp.
    3) "Big Knob" at between 8:30 & 9:30 takes you down to nearly bedroom levels. Surprisingly, the low end and treble is not too dissimilar to the #1 mentioned setting, although any real "girth" is mostly gone!
    4) To my ears, most other settings in between the ones mentioned seem fairly lackluster and uninspiring, although my 5E3 Tweed Deluxe seems to tolerate the full sweep of the "Big Knob" a little bit better than any other amp I've tried with this attenuator. It may have to do with the 5E3 not having any negative feedback/presence designed into it's circuit.
    5) With all that said, the Weber MiniMass is a very handy tool for trying out amps in a cranked up manner, at volumes that won't vaporize small pets and young children!​
    C) While the JohnH design only provides switched "steps" of -3.5db each, it retains all tonal and response character at all settings, making each step a "sweet spot!" Even when the EXACT volume level desired might end up falling in between any two of the switched "steps" I've found it quite easy to simply run it at the louder of those two "steps" and simply compensate with more judicious playing dynamics. This is a small price to pay and requires me to be more precise with my techniques! This does not strike me as a bad thing! :naughty:
    D) @JohnH has done extensive testing and graciously provided detailed graphs, diagrams and 8X10 color glossies, :p demonstrating the consistency of the response with his design. Though the thread is quite lengthy, with a bit of chaff along the way, it is a VERY informative read, for anyone truly interestd in this stuff. The load and reactivity that the amp sees, as well as what the speaker sees/gets remains remarkably constant (within a small percentage) of what happens when the amp is simply driving the speaker in the normal way. Of course there is no way to make up for the loss of air movement as the volume goes progressively down! :shrug: In my situation though, it does seem to act somewhat like a "loudness" button on home stereo receivers, though not nearly as pronounced! In other words, it kinda makes up for the natural phenomenon created by the Fletcher/Munson curve. Yes different amps react a little differently to this attenuator design, but those differences are well within the limits of easy and slight adjustability.
    E) And if you haven't already seen it, here's a link to the JohnH attenuator thread. Well worth the read:
    http://www.marshallforum.com/threads/simple-attenuators-design-and-testing.98285/
    Also, please don't ever feel "reluctant" to call me out on anything. I live my life treating the whole world as a classroom and am always learning and revising my perception of the results of my studies and endeavors! I welcome and truly appreciate the discussions and friendly debates with all who care to engage in them with me!

    Thanks For Noticin'
    Gene
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
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  6. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

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    Yup.
     
  7. Mystic38

    Mystic38 Well-Known Member

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    no not really.. or rather, i guess accurate but very incomplete...?

    your tube amp interacts dynamically with the speaker load and a resultant complex output exists.. note this output contains every aspect of the tube amps tone and feel/interaction with the speaker load.. hence every aspect of the power amp is used to generate this signal, therefore the character/tone/feel/sound of the amp is not "canceled" out...its used to generate the signal..

    so sending this signal via a clean, clear ss amp (obviously the best option to faithfully preserve the original source) will provide the (imo) best possible manner to faithfully reproduce NMW, or those MV amps with significant power stage saturation, which in my case are Vintage Modern, Rocker 30 & AD30.

     
  8. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Ok,....:D
     
  9. marshallmellowed

    marshallmellowed Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I buy tube amps to play them at the volumes they were designed to be played at. If I need to knock a few db off to preserve my hearing, I use one of my fairly inexpensive attenuators. If I want pristine recordings and extreme versatility live, I use my Axe FX II, far more capable than any amp/reamper/load box configuration (IMO). That's my mode of operation, and it works for me. I'll leave you guys to discussing all the other devices that can be connected to an amp, I personally don't need them. :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
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  10. tmingle

    tmingle Well-Known Member

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    I have owned a Weber in the past & it works OK. To my ears, John H's unit sounds far superior & desired volume can be adjusted with the MV control on the amp if it has one.

    With the use of any type of load box, be prepared to adjust the tone controls on the amp. I also use an MXR 10band in the loop of the 40C.
     
  11. tmingle

    tmingle Well-Known Member

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    I
    I started recording 3 tracks for every part.
    1. SM57 off center
    2. I split the guitar signal in my Helix & record 1 of the Helix amps. I send the other split to the 40C.
    3. I also record the direct guitar on a 3rd track & run thru an amp sim & IR.

    For an amp sim, 95% of the time I wind up using the Red Pig amp in Amplitube.
    The options are endless with this setup.
     
  12. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    These two statements fit me to a T!




    (Even though I cherry picked and quoted the statements I agree with:D)
     
  13. Trapland

    Trapland Running Into Walls Silver Supporting Member

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  14. Del Rei

    Del Rei Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that man!
    I’m really considering a 1987X but it must be really loud without an attenuator. I’ll keep checking this thread to find a good option...
     
  15. Peter Ocsenas

    Peter Ocsenas Member

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    SPL-Reducer
     
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  16. MullardFillmore

    MullardFillmore New Member

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    I’ve owned the rockman power soak, THD hot plate, the original Weber mass, a Recycled sound power plug, and I just got a brand new Weber mini mass last week. I’d rate them best to not so best.

    New Weber (it has selectable impedance, treble boost and line out)

    the original Weber mass
    Recycled Sound power soak
    THD Hotplate
    Rockman power soak

    I’d say the power plug sounds as good as the Weber’s but it doesn’t have as many features
     
  17. waveslave69

    waveslave69 New Member

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    I have a 1987x with a 4x12 and use a Tone King Ironman 2 100W Attenuator and it is excellent, can't rave enough about the Ironmans they truly are a great transparent attenuator, i have a couple.......the 1987 is still a little loud even at max attenuation but not unbearable depending on what volume you want to run it at. Between 3 & 7 on both channels (jumped) is the sweetest sounding.......love it!
     

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  18. aberry9475

    aberry9475 Member

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    I use these. Actually, I might be open to selling one if anybody's interested.
     

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  19. junk notes

    junk notes Well-Known Member

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    Played through several. When I do use, or am in need of an attenuator, a Marshall PB100 works best with my Plexi's, as long as it has the 1-wire mod. I also like a few of the newer attenuators that offer more in recording features.
     
  20. ultrataco

    ultrataco New Member

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    I use a Tone King Ironman II mini with my SV20h. Before that I had a Weber MiniMass. The Weber was ok but I much prefer the Tone King. However it only handles 30 watts. For a 1987 you'd have to go for the full size one, which is a lot more expensive. But if got a 1987, that's what I'd do.

    I'd like to try a Scumback DBL someday, but I'm very satisfied with the Tone King.
     

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