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  #1  
Old 03-07-2013, 08:50 PM
traynor_garnet traynor_garnet is offline
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Jettenuator Review New Attenuator

Ok, I’ve had a bit of time to spend with the unit and make some quick and rough recordings (see below). Before we get to the sounds themselves just a few words.

Attenuator Experience.
I have owned the following attenuators:
Bad Cat Unleash
Alex Attenuator
Aracom Pro and DAG
Ho Attenuator (Ultimate Attenuator)
THD Hotplate
Weber Mass, Mini mass, and Micro Mass


Jettenuator Impressions.
This is a nice unit. A big plus is the small size. Some of the attenuators on the market are so big it is like lugging another head around with you. It also has handy features like multiple ohms (big plus) and a useful speaker simulated out which actually sounds decent if not earth shattering.

The unit itself sound fairly transparent. It is easily the match of other lower costs units and gives the more expensive units a run for their money at the very least. I wish I could directly a/b this with the others but the others are all gone so I can only go by memory. It may even beat the high priced competition at higher attenuation levels (overall lower volume) so it is definitely a contender!

One thing I am starting to notice is that some attenuators sound better/worse with particular types of amps (circuits). IOW, attenuator ‘x’ may sound “the best” with amps a and b, but sound crappy with amps c and d. Attenuator ‘y’ may be great with amps c and d, but sound a bit off with amps a and b . . . I say this because trying to declare one attenuator “the best” is tricky to say the least.

The Jettenuator is “musical” and pleasing to the ear; some of the other units may initially sound more “transparent” (for lack of a better word) but this transparency can also sound unnatural somehow; kind of like the top end is artificially kept “open.” However, this will all differ from amp to amp and one’s taste. Bottom line, this is more than worth checking out and does not instantly strike you as crappy sounding (like a few of the other units on the market).

The Sounds

The sound clips were recorder with a primitive recording chain. An SM58 stuck in front of a cab, running directly to my Line6 UX1 and recorded in Reaper. I took zero time to get levels right or play with mic position (I have a fulltime job and a small kid, so time is not plentiful). No effects what so ever.

The guitar is a 1981 Greco Les Paul (stock). The Amp is 1965 Traynor Bassmaster with a tube rectifier and two 7027s. This amp is basically a tweed bassman/JTM 45 and sounds freakin great (I would put it up against anything). The speaker cab is a matching Traynor 2x12 loaded with a Weber Alnico Blue and a Weber Alnico Silver (50 watts each). No effects at all. This is guitar straight into the amp (the amp is channel jumped like all good 4 holers).


Here are the sounds in order from least to highest amounts of attenuation (clips one through 4). The last clip is with medium attenuation and I am trying to add some dynamics by picking lightly and letting the amp clean up.

http://www.soundclick.com/player/sin...&q=hi&newref=1

http://www.soundclick.com/player/sin...&q=hi&newref=1

http://www.soundclick.com/player/sin...&q=hi&newref=1

http://www.soundclick.com/player/sin...&q=hi&newref=1

http://www.soundclick.com/player/sin...&q=hi&newref=1



The Bad.

There are two big negatives with this unit: first, no bypass switch and two, the first step of attenuation is too drastic. I would like to have less initial attenuation and a wider overall sweep. With my big 50 watt amps this isn’t really a problem. But with my smaller Traynor bassmates (two 6V6s) the attenuator actually takes too much volume off. How much volume? Even with the least amount of attenuation I don’t think I could jam with my combo. This means that a combo that is too loud for small rooms (with a drummer) can no longer even keep up with drums while using the Jettenuator. This is a real shame because it sounds nice while attenuated, but I purposely jam with my combo to save me hauling around my big rig (head and 2x12 cab). For low volume playing around the house, however, the Jettenuator works amazing with amps of all watts so make sure to check one out if you play mostly at home.

The Verdict.

This is a real toss up for me. I will play it a bit more but the simple fact that the first step of attenuation is so great will most likely lead me to return the unit. If I cannot use it while jamming it doesn’t make sense to keep it. Or, maybe I will just start using my big amp! LOL

Last edited by traynor_garnet; 04-28-2013 at 06:18 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-07-2013, 09:40 PM
sickboy79 sickboy79 is offline
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Great review, thanks!
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:59 PM
Tone Loco Tone Loco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traynor_garnet View Post
There are two big negatives with this unit: first, no bypass switch and two, the first step of attenuation is too drastic. I would like to have less initial attenuation and a wider overall sweep.
So I take it that like a hot plate it goes in steps, although not marked with the change in decibels like the hotplate.

I wonder if anybody makes an attenuator that is just a linear sweep. It seems like the more obvious way to go, so I assume it must not be easy or that's how they would all come.

Anyhow good review. It seems like quite a few companies are jumping into the attenuator market now, I hadn't even heard of the Jet City entry.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:08 PM
GT100 GT100 is offline
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The simple and great solution to the excessive attenuation is to put the unit in parallel with the speakers.
It will attenuate much less -3db max and sound even better....

Lloyd
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  #5  
Old 03-07-2013, 10:18 PM
Dave_C Dave_C is offline
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As a fella who's been through his share of attenuators, great review - very honest and comprehensive. I have been so busy with work and out of the loop on gear (not to mention playing) that I have not even heard of this one!
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  #6  
Old 03-08-2013, 06:20 AM
traynor_garnet traynor_garnet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone Loco View Post
So I take it that like a hot plate it goes in steps, although not marked with the change in decibels like the hotplate.

I wonder if anybody makes an attenuator that is just a linear sweep. It seems like the more obvious way to go, so I assume it must not be easy or that's how they would all come.

Anyhow good review. It seems like quite a few companies are jumping into the attenuator market now, I hadn't even heard of the Jet City entry.
It is more of a linear sweep. The problem is, the dial doesn't start at zero attenuation. The manual states that the attenuation begins at -3dbs but I think it is more than that.

TG
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  #7  
Old 03-08-2013, 06:21 AM
traynor_garnet traynor_garnet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GT100 View Post
The simple and great solution to the excessive attenuation is to put the unit in parallel with the speakers.
It will attenuate much less -3db max and sound even better....

Lloyd
Yep, but on my combo and small head (both bassmates) there is only one speaker out so I cannot do this.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:24 AM
charveldan charveldan is offline
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Thanks for your review, i'm still not sold on attenuators ...
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  #9  
Old 03-08-2013, 09:04 AM
traynor_garnet traynor_garnet is offline
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Originally Posted by Gryphon View Post
Thanks for the review, sounds like a nice unit for many scenarios!
Thanks. Yep, it is a nice unit for sure. Check one out if you are in the market.
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  #10  
Old 03-08-2013, 09:19 AM
michael patrick michael patrick is offline
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Thanks for the review. Even given the drawbacks you mentioned (and they are good to know about ahead of time), it looks like it will work for what I want to do with it.

I'm eyeing it for two different uses: 1) to knock down the volume on my 5E3 clone to family-friendly levels, and 2) as a load box for re-amping the signal from my big amps through effects and then a separate power amp & speaker. Looks like it'll do both of those things reasonably well.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:22 AM
Sirloin Sirloin is offline
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Great review. Thanks! I saw this online regarding the initial attenuation. That would be a deal breaker for me.

"The big knob on the left is the amount of attenuation to the speaker. Or, it is how much load the Jettenuator will reduce the output of the amplifier on its way to the loud speaker. In fact it starts out at about 90% reduction and goes down all the way to zero output. This makes it perfect to interface your big sounding all tube amp to your recording rig or direct to a live console. "
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  #12  
Old 03-08-2013, 09:26 AM
traynor_garnet traynor_garnet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirloin View Post
Great review. Thanks! I saw this online regarding the initial attenuation. That would be a deal breaker for me.

"The big knob on the left is the amount of attenuation to the speaker. Or, it is how much load the Jettenuator will reduce the output of the amplifier on its way to the loud speaker. In fact it starts out at about 90% reduction and goes down all the way to zero output. This makes it perfect to interface your big sounding all tube amp to your recording rig or direct to a live console. "
Where did you see this quote? Do you have a link? The manual states that with the dial fully clockwise you have about -3 db) of attenuation, but I think it is more. 90%, however, sounds like too much.

TG
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:05 AM
Rex Nomad Rex Nomad is offline
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Maybe the above quote is meant to be read as the amp reduced to 90% output, not a 90% reduction in output?
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  #14  
Old 03-08-2013, 10:40 AM
Sirloin Sirloin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traynor_garnet View Post
Where did you see this quote? Do you have a link? The manual states that with the dial fully clockwise you have about -3 db) of attenuation, but I think it is more. 90%, however, sounds like too much.

TG
http://www.fullcompass.com/product/441573.html

I think what this is saying is at minimum attenuation, you get 90% signal versus not having the Jettenuator in the circuit. No bypass switch just kills it for me.
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  #15  
Old 03-08-2013, 10:46 AM
GT100 GT100 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traynor_garnet View Post
Yep, but on my combo and small head (both bassmates) there is only one speaker out so I cannot do this.
Y cable (speaker)

Lloyd
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