Better attenuator than Hotplates?

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by Monstercastle, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. Monstercastle

    Monstercastle Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2020
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    33
    New member here, but long time lurker. Recently rejoined the Marshall family and have a replacement JVM410 inbound. I regretted selling my JVM the entire time since I sold it and corrected that mistake.

    I'm considering replacing/upgrading my Hotplates and am looking for feedback from people using attenuators (not re-ampers) for knocking off only 4-8dB from my master volume amps. No longer playing out, and my amps are just used in my home studio. I'm not looking to go from fully cranked amp to "bedroom" volume, nor do I want to get the power tubes cooking, and I realize that there's nothing like pants flapping cranked Marshall through greenbacks stressing.

    I have very realistic expectations and simply want the best attenuator, not re-amper. I use an attenuator as a way to get a more gentle slope of the master volume on my amps in my space, and to add in a little low end to compensate for the effects of lower volume. The hotplates are essentially working, but I'm wondering if the newer Mesa attenuators or some others might be more reactive, or sound better than what I have. I did have a Rockcrusher before, but stupidly sold it when I unloaded my JVM, and don't want to just get another Rockcrusher without testing the waters a bit.

    Amps are the incoming JVM410H, a Mesa TC-100, Mesa Mark 5:25, Friedman JJ Jr. and a DSL20HR.

    Yes, these amps all have "good masters" I still like to attenuate for the reasons I stated above.

    Any experiences that may help me out?
     
  2. mad5066

    mad5066 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    344
    I've tried the bugera PS100 with good success but sold it for a Weber Mass 200 which can handle anything. I has a smooth dial not steps so you can tweak anything in between knocking a few dBs to bedroom volume. The best attenuators usually have a reactive load which emulates speakers rather than solely a passive load. PS1 is a passive attenuator while WM200 has reactive load too.
     
  3. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    16,002
    Likes Received:
    14,224
    Hotplate is an attenuator! Unless you dont like it then get something else, people seem to like the Weber attenuators around here.
     
  4. Monstercastle

    Monstercastle Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2020
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    33
    Yep, fully aware of what I have owned and used for 15 years. As stated, was looking for the next better version. Thanks.
     
  5. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    2,339
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    @Monstercastle
    First, :welcome: to this great forum!

    Next, it's my considered and experienced opinion that the best, least tone/response robbing attenuator design was developed by our own @JohnH ! It is well detailed in this linked thread, but you need some minor hand tool and soldering skills to build it for yourself:

    https://www.marshallforum.com/threads/simple-attenuators-design-and-testing.98285/

    Over the years since the inception of attenuators for guitar amps in the '70s, I've tried nearly all designs and brands and always been left at least a little bit disappointed. The JohnH design will not disappoint! :naughty:

    Again, :welcome: To The MF!
    Gene
     
  6. Kelia

    Kelia Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    1,288
    Likes Received:
    1,423
    :welcome:...........Welcome back to the forum!

    Before you do anything,.....you need to watch this till the end.

     
    proxy, anitoli and Monstercastle like this.
  7. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    2,339
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Yes indeed, the Rivera units are certainly well rated and revered! They have some nice bells and whistles added, but are much more pricey than even having someone build one of the JohnH units! If tool friendly and able to build it yourself, the price of the RockCrusher is between 5 and 10 times the price, depeding on your parts sourcing. Please note that the JohnH design is also a reactive unit, even though a glance at the diagram may look all resistive. Note also that the JohnH has no compensation switches, because the design does not need them. John has diligently analyzed and tested to find the most appropriate impedance balances/ratios as well as also factoring in and addressing the reactive impedance "seen" by the speaker, in addition to the reactive load/impedance "seen" by the amp! There are different versions for different impedances, as well as details for "scaling up" the design for higher wattage use. For my own uses, I vastly prefer the @JohnH design!

    Check It Out,
    Gene
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2020
  8. Monstercastle

    Monstercastle Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2020
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    33
    I'm not opposed to building one and in fact it may be a cool project. I've built an 18 watt head and a bunch of pedals, so I may just do this for fun.
     
    JohnH likes this.
  9. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Messages:
    9,097
    Likes Received:
    11,985
    Location:
    Lewiston, Maine U.S.A.
    Rockcrusher's are about the best you can buy.
     
    Kelia and Drinkingdeath01 like this.
  10. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    2,339
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    @Monstercastle
    Not sure where you are located, but if resistors and some other components get sourced (and endlessly waited for) from Chinesiawanoreanam, the build can be between $60 & $90 if all comes from Mouser, DigiKey, etc, expect nearly double. Important to not cheese out on the switches and jacks. That whole thread is a very interesting and informative read, though there are a few pages of "chaff" here and there that are easily waded through! And yes, its a pretty fun project, if you like working with your hands! My eventual goal is to one installed in every one of my amp cabinets, custom tailored for each !Inductor core sourcing can be a challenge, depending on your location.
    Enjoy,
    Gene
     
    Mortfly likes this.
  11. JohnH

    JohnH Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    4,264
    Likes Received:
    2,266
    Location:
    Wilton NSW
    If you do have a go, I can help with any advice and discussion about our design and how to make it work best for your needs and what parts to get. Many have been built successfully now. They are a very simple robust design, the tricks are all in the exact balance of coil and resistor component values that keeps the tone consistent at all levels. Pre covid, the parts to build a 50W (ie for a nominal 50W amp) version were about $100. Figure a bit more now and if you want to crank your 100W amps. The build is way easier than any amp or stomp box. All the key info is on post 1.
     
  12. Filipe Soares

    Filipe Soares Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2019
    Messages:
    1,772
    Likes Received:
    3,192
    I'm very fond of my Weber Mass in the other hand if you want to go bananas you can buy a boss tube amp expander or a fryette power station. I think both are overkill for your intended use.
     
    Old Punker, TXOldRedRocker and Kelia like this.
  13. JP2036

    JP2036 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2020
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    185
    [​IMG]
    I don't need anything besides these.
     
    TheChris, Kidlargo and Monstercastle like this.
  14. Adieu

    Adieu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,130
    Likes Received:
    2,065
    Try an EQ with level control or volume box thru your FX loop

    If it's serial, you'll have 100% of what you wanted (acts like a multiplier on master volume, so Volume box 1 Master 1 makes for 1% volume, etc), and if it's parallel, like 30% effective
     
  15. Kelia

    Kelia Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    1,288
    Likes Received:
    1,423
    Wasn't the Power Soak dangerous for the amp ?...............I know the UA was but
    not sure about the PS ?
     
  16. JP2036

    JP2036 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2020
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    185
    No, not at all. Its one of the best, well made pieces of gear ive ever owned.
    Most attenuator horror stories involve user error like most things in life.
     
    Rebel420, Monstercastle and tce63 like this.
  17. Kelia

    Kelia Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    1,288
    Likes Received:
    1,423
    Thanks !!....................I know that the UA had a 32ohms mismatch iirc .
     
    tce63 likes this.
  18. Monstercastle

    Monstercastle Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2020
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    33
    I used to have the Scholz unit back in the day. I had the sustainer and eq as well. I currently have that hotplate too, and the purple 8 ohm as well.
     
    tce63 and JP2036 like this.
  19. Monstercastle

    Monstercastle Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2020
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    33
    Many of which are preceded by the phrase “hold my beer”
     
    Trapland, tce63 and JP2036 like this.
  20. trax1139

    trax1139 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    601
    Giant monster Marshalls with blowers and straight pipes AND attenuators....?
     
    Dan Sing, tce63 and Monstercastle like this.

Share This Page