Any experience with the Sequis Motherload or Richter Control attenuator?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by grism, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. grism

    grism Member

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    Like almost everyone else, I am looking for the best tone at the lowest volume. After the kids are in bed and I get time to play with my loud, expensive toys the experience is reduced because of the low volumes that I have to keep. I've tried attenuators (hotplate and MASS), I've tried slaving into a SS amplifier. The slaving has produced the best results, but I can't help but think that it can get better. The attenuators that I have tried seem to squash my dynamics and also really attenuate the high-end way too much. I've stumbled across the Sequis Motherload and am intrigued because it has a reactive load and a speaker simulator, but I don't really plan to do a whole lot of recording. Does anyone have any experience with the Motherload or the Richter Control attenuator? Do they preserve a tube amps dynamics as the signal is attenuated? What frequencies seem to get lost in the attenuated signal? The reviews of the Motherload are quite positive and some of the folk over at GearSlutz seem to quite like them.

    A bunch of signal chains are possible, but here are 2:

    1) guitar --> 100W amp --> Motherload via amps speaker out --> Mixer via Motherload XLR line-out --> studio monitors

    2) guitar --> 100W amp --> Motherload via amps speaker out --> Bogner OS 2x12 openback cab via MotherLoad "thru to cab" feature and using MotherLoads built in attenuator

    The mixer in the first chain is optional as you could go directly to monitors that accept a XLR input. With the first option the speaker simulator introduce a "miked speaker" sound to the signal. The second option uses my cab but is basically an attenuated sound. The first option requires the Motherload while the second option really only needs the Richter Control. Now for the kicker... The MotherLoad is $900, while the Richter Control is *only* $450. In that price range is also the Ultimate Attenuator, but after adding options to it, sure does quickly get expensive. And overall I wonder which of the 2 signal chains will sound and "feel" better?

    Of course I realize that a key part of the overall cranked amp sound will be missing, the speaker compression (will the Motherload speaker sim help with this?) and air movement but I don't have the luxury of a proper practise space to enjoy that :(

    All thoughts and opinions are welcome. I know that attenuators have been covered to death here, but there is relatively little info on the Sequis stuff. BTW, I am not looking for "smaller amp" suggestions because I like the sounds and features of my 100W amp!

    Michael G.
     
  2. 908SSP

    908SSP Supporting Member

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    I have a Richter #005 so they are still very rare. I owned 5 and tried 1 other attenuator and the Richter was the best sounding attenuator if you want transparency. I would buy another Richter in a heart beat if I lost mine.

    It is my understanding that the Richter sounds as good as it does because it accurately duplicates the changing impedance response of a real speaker cab at rated at 8 ohms.

    What's bad well it is expensive. Only works on a 8 ohm output from your amp will run either a 8 ohm of 16 ohm cab not recommended to run a 4 ohm cab. It is fairly larger size. It looks plain and the control knob is cheap. The feet are too short to sit on an amp with handle.

    Like I said it simply sounds better then the rest. The amp responds exactly like it wasn't there. The tone is unaffected by the amount of attenuation till you get so low that the speaker no longer responds correctly.
     
  3. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I liked them both. Like Alex I thought that the Richter was the most even and consistent attenuator I've heard over the whole volume range, and possibly the most transparent overall too. It has the great advantage of having a continuous volume range, not clicks... but the disadvantage (for some applications) that the minimum attenuation is 6dB (maximum output is 25% of input power), so it isn't going to be so good for just very subtly taking the edge off an amp on stage - which something like the Airbrake is. I also agree about it looking plain, but I think classy.

    The Motherload is better still... it's the best direct-to-desk unit I've ever heard, by miles. Way better than the Palmer, IMO. I simply connected it between my amp and my home studio setup and played through the monitors, and even with all the knobs on the Motherload set flat it still sounded totally natural and extremely like a mic'ed cab in a room - something I've never even remotely got the impression of with any other unit. It also has a low-power speaker output, but this is much quieter than normal attenuators and only for personal monitoring normally - it's maximum output is 2.5% (not 25%) of the input power. That's actually still quite loud in a home situation if you've got a 50 or 100W amp connected to it though. If I was doing more serious home recording than I do, I'd have bought it immediately regardless of the price. I think it's better value overall than the Richter, for what you want.
     
  4. GuitarBrent

    GuitarBrent Member

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    Thanks for the review, John! Grism and I must be in the same boat. With a 5 month old baby boy and a stay at home wife now, I just don't get to crank like I used to. I need something to let me play when they're in bed. The Motherload seems to be the best out there, since I want to use it for recording and for jamming. Now I just got to come up with the scratch! :RoCkIn
     
  5. grism

    grism Member

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    Yeah, thanks a bunch for the thorough coverage on these units guys! I'm really impressed that an attenuator can actually be that transparant. I admit that I was somewhat skeptical of the marketing claims on the Sequis site, but I do trust Alex and John's ears. I've read the POD XTL threads where Scott P. was working like a madman to get John to like the POD tones, and I've respected John's ears ever since!

    I've put so much thought into this and I agree that the Motherload will be the best value for me overall. A real hit to the pocketbook up front (my entire amp fund for the year :eek:) but will be a real value in the longer term.

    Michael G.
     
  6. DigitalTube

    DigitalTube Member

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    We all have different tastes, but for me I had the MOTHERLOAD for only about a month, and didn't like it at all, and I really wanted to like it.
    I also had heard good things about the Palmers, and bought most of the models and again none of them did it for my taste, I'm still looking for something to go direct from my amps..
    Just my opinion.. you might like the Motherload.
    E.B.
     
  7. grism

    grism Member

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    Thanks for the input H-2, is it something that you can put your finger on with the motherload? Did you experiment with the filters? I've read more than once that you gotta put the time into this device to get the rewards out of it.
     
  8. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

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    I have the THD and -4 is not quite enough and -8 is too much. Maybe the Richter would be great for my Plexi. Where do you buy these? I'll do a search.
     
  9. DigitalTube

    DigitalTube Member

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    I did spend lots and lots of hours with this device, first week I had it maybe 8-10 hours a day in the studio with different speakers, and I also tried it with a PA system just to see how well it would do, my sound man also a guitar player tried it too, as well as a few other people, and we all came to the same conclusion, it was a bit better/different then the Palmer but didn't sound good to be used in a serious recording, maybe for some demos it would be ok, It always sounded like a direct recording, also in my opinion it's overpriced, but I was lucky to get most of my $ selling it on Ebay.
    It's a very nice built unit, and has all the features I'd need, and I hope they coninue to improve on it, I'd probably try it again.
    Don't know how easy it is now to find one to try, I had to buy it in order to try it.
    E.B.
     
  10. stark

    stark Supporting Member

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    This is what's working for me. The sound of a mic'ed cab can't be beat, but this setup is way more flexible and silent to boot with comparable tones to a mic'ed cab.
    Tube amp head> Palmer PDI-03 (or any other load/line out box)> Line In of Pod XT Pro> Monitors/Headphones.
    Set Amp Model to "No Amp", Pick your cab (I use 4x12 w/greenbacks), Pick mic type (I use 57 on axis).
    For recording I turn off all room simulation and effects. I use my outboard stuff. You can use all the effects in the Pod if you want. I can see this sytem working great for a touring band that uses all in ear monitors. You can still use any tube head you want. To me any of these speaker simulators are just fancy direct boxes. If you use them that way they are great. You can also do the virtual cab and mic thing with a plugin to your DAW.

    Adam Stark
     
  11. grism

    grism Member

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    Here is the USA homepage if you haven't found it yet.

    http://www.motherloadusa.com/
     
  12. Luke

    Luke Senior Member

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    I gave up on all of the devices on the market and finally built a isolation box in my basement. If you have an area somewhere in the cellar or garage where you can construct a mini room, about 4ftx3ftx3ft you can solve your volume issues forever. The materials only cost about $150, essentially you need some lumber and some drywall and bits of hardware.
     
  13. Tubevalvemaniac

    Tubevalvemaniac Member

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    There is almost no market for ~1000 $ pro devices as Motherload, so some of cheaper designs are still available.
    In all fairness, original Motherload is Rolls Royce of attenuators for guitar amps.
     
  14. rburkard

    rburkard Gold Supporting Member

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    I had both and liked them, however the SPL Reducer just as an attenuators sounds better. Preserves your tone and dynamics, is small, has switchable impedance. This one is the best IMO.
     

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