best attenuator for bedroom use

Daddy Elmis

Member
Messages
69
Originally posted by jokerjkny
no comparison... THD Hotplate

it can be used as a dummy load, so you can practically set it to near silent levels. and the bright / deep switches work fine.

works for most P&W gigs i do, and Lawdy knows, i'm always told to keep it down. ;)
This is one of the reasons Weber stuff caught on so well early -- you could buy one attenuator and use it on multiple amps of different impedence loads. I was using one on a Bassman (2ohm), Marshall (16 ohm) and a Pro Jr. (8 ohm). Couldn't do that with the Hotplate (at much greater cost I might add).

While you can use a higher load than the amp's rated for (i.e, 16 ohm load on an amp rated for 8 ohms) it will negatively affect power and tone.
 

Tom CT

Old Supporting Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,912
I mentioned this in a thread some months ago, but I feel it bears repeating.

I own two Hot Plates and a Weber MASS 100, and unfortunately, each has its drawbacks. The Hot Plates have detents (individual "clicks") of attenuation. All too often, one click will not be enough attenuation, while the next is too much. Of course, you can adjust your amp's volume to compensate, but this defeats the purpose of setting your amp where it sounds ideal, and attenuating the volume to the desired level. It's frustrating and happens all too often.

The Weber MASS offers a smooth sweep of attenuation, but even with it set for no attenuation, there's still a significant loss of volume compared to having the unit's bypass mode switched on. It's still attenuating the signal when it's set not to. Also an unfortunate design, as I sometimes need a very small amount of attenuation that falls between the "minimum" and "bypass" levels.

Just passing on some info - Tom
 

Scumback Speakers

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,946
Originally posted by BrewBeck
headphones
+1 on the headphones.

If you're playing that low at home, there are lots of solutions like that, use it with a Rockman, POD, modeling pedal, etc. and you're good to go. You bother no one. That's one reason why I have the Marshall MS-2 battery powered amp. Plug in your phones and instant bedroom amp for $29.

It's my portable 1/2 stack. ;)
 

jokerjkny

Member
Messages
9,592
Originally posted by Daddy Elmis
This is one of the reasons Weber stuff caught on so well early -- you could buy one attenuator and use it on multiple amps of different impedence loads. I was using one on a Bassman (2ohm), Marshall (16 ohm) and a Pro Jr. (8 ohm). Couldn't do that with the Hotplate (at much greater cost I might add).

While you can use a higher load than the amp's rated for (i.e, 16 ohm load on an amp rated for 8 ohms) it will negatively affect power and tone.
maybe...

the weber's are still "wattage" dependent, i.e. there are 25, 50, and 100 watt models.

one or the other...
 

gkelm

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,764
My 2 cents...I've had both Weber & Airbrake, and prefer the latter for the tone, construction, and flexibility with impedance. I still usually end up goosing with an OD pedal...which in the end may work for you, period.
Greg
 

Unburst

Member
Messages
4,215
I've had great results loading down an amp and reamping it.

I used to record through my Marshall 50w MV cranked into a load then line out to the power amp in of a MESA Caliber.
Sounded great for lead stuff but not punchy enough for rhythm.

For bedroom playing I'd be inclined to go with a modelling sretup.
 

flatfinger

Member
Messages
2,145
For bedroom playing I'd be inclined to go with a modelling sretup

YES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tubes are for gigs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

daddyo

Guest
Messages
11,797
I have a YCV40, a Weber MASS 50, some pedals, and a Roland Cube 30. I find that for actual practising, ie: you want reasonable tone so you can learn a song or get better at a lick, go with the Cube 30. It costs less than some of those attenuators and actually sounds pretty decent on most of the models. Now, if you are a tone junky and spend a lot of time experimenting with cool sound, then get the attenuator. I find I can get lost for hours just foolin with cool sounds and tone. It is almost and end in itself.:cool:
 

malabarmusic

Member
Messages
1,701
Had a Hot Plate
Had a MASS
Had a rack
Had a 20-watt tube amp
Had a 6-watt tube amp
Had a 1-watt tube amp
Had a solid state amp
Had a modeling amp
Had a mini practice amp
Had a headphone amp
Thought about doing a load box/re-amp rig ...

I finally gave up and decided to change the "bedroom" instead of the amp.

I bought a new house, with a big and deep unfinished basement fitted with glass block windows.

Now when I crank my 100-watt Hiwatt, I'm happy, the neighbors are happy, the sun shines more brightly, and the birds sing more sweetly.

Yes, the house cost as much as a '59 LP, but I can sleep in it and the loan interest is tax deductible. :cool:

I've ended my personal 20-year quest for the next best solution to the tone/volume conundrum, and (big surprise) I've found myself playing more and playing better.

If I needed to knock off a few dBs to avoid ear-ringing, I would -- in order -- consider (1) lower wattage amp; (2) running a load box in parallel with the speaker cab; (3) fewer speakers; (4) less efficient speakers; (5) smaller speakers; (6) an attenuator.

I still put an attenuator on the list, because some players on this board whose tone production and ears I respect swear by them. :)

- DB
 

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,992
Originally posted by John Phillips
You can do it by changing the impedance on the amp: set the amp to half the impedance of the Hotplate if you're running at half power. This is effectively the same as doubling the impedance of the Hotplate. It doesn't matter what impedance speaker you're using because when you're attenuated, the Hotplate is the load on the amp, not the speaker.

Alternatively, if the amp has a fixed impedance, get a Hotplate of twice the impedance of the amp in full power mode. This will be safe in either setting, since you can use a Hotplate of one step greater impedance than the amp - but not the other way round.
Well yes and no.
Lets use a twin as an example.
If you yank two tubes it's not gonna double the impedance. It'll take to something like 1.6 times the impedance.
And if you use it with the build in speakers it'll still see those 4 ohms as well.
Also since as a rule when you yank tubes to cut power you going to have less strain on the transformer the likelyhood of it overheating is zilch.
personally I'd go with the right impedance and mismtach down.
Especially on Fender style amps.
 

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,992
Originally posted by John Phillips
Yes, but you can use the 100W model at any power below that, so it becomes universal. Power ratings are an upper limit, not a 'match'.

One thing that's very important to know is that there is NO hard-and-fast rule about matching across all attenuators. It depends on the design - how closely (or otherwise) the attenuator matches the impedance curve of a real speaker, and they all vary.

Two examples:

The THD Hotplate is in fact lower impedance than a real speaker at some frequencies, especially with the Deep and Bright switches engaged. This means that it's perfectly safe to use with an amp of (one step) lower impedance, but NOT with one that's higher - because the real load is then further away from matching than you think it is.

The Marshall Powerbrake is the other way round - higher impedance than a real speaker at high frequencies. This means that you shouldn't use it with an amp of lower impedance than the attenuator (ie 2 or 4 ohms, since it has 8 and 16 settings).

Confusing... and there's no way of being sure without knowing the true impedance characteristics of the particular attenuator you're using.

There is also a few models that claims to be 'universal', but in fact they aren't, no matter what the makers say. They're still a single impedance, and although they will work with others, you are mismatching, and there's potential for damage.

It's most critical when you're cranking the amp full BTW - less so if you're using the amp well below full power.
Except that most folks that by attenuators by them rated for watt they think their amps are. As in "I have a 100 watt Marshall I'll get a 100 watt attenuator".
Ans as you know a JMP can do 150 watts any day of the week.
 

John Phillips

Member
Messages
13,038
Originally posted by Ed DeGenaro
Except that most folks that by attenuators by them rated for watt they think their amps are. As in "I have a 100 watt Marshall I'll get a 100 watt attenuator".
Ans as you know a JMP can do 150 watts any day of the week.
True! But IMO any attenuator that claims to be a "100W" model should be able to take the full continuous output of any "100W" amp ever made, no matter that it means that its real rating must be higher... that's just good conservative rating practice.

BTW, can you explain why removing two power tubes increases the output impedance by 1.6 times, not twice? I always thought that since the two pairs of tubes are in parallel, they have half the impedance of one pair. Not calling you out, I want to know if I've got something wrong!
 

gkelm

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,764
Originally posted by John Phillips


There is also a few models that claims to be 'universal', but in fact they aren't, no matter what the makers say. They're still a single impedance, and although they will work with others, you are mismatching, and there's potential for damage.

It's most critical when you're cranking the amp full BTW - less so if you're using the amp well below full power.
Could you comment on the Z Airbrake? What to avoid to minimize potential problems other than diming the amp?

I typically don't dime the amp anyway...usually under half volume, and back it off a couple clicks on the Z from "this hurts my ears" level down to "I can almost hear myself yell!" levels.
Greg
 

John Phillips

Member
Messages
13,038
The Airbrake is a purely resistive unit - not quite like a real speaker. Its actual resistance varies a little depending on how much attenuation it's set to, but it's closest to an 8-ohm speaker in terms of resistance over the whole frequency range. In the manual it suggests to set some vintage amps (AC30s, Marshalls etc which are known to have slightly more fragile transformers) to 8 ohms rather than 16 if you're going to be playing fully cranked. Apart from that, I wouldn't worry about it.
 

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,992
Originally posted by John Phillips
True! But IMO any attenuator that claims to be a "100W" model should be able to take the full continuous output of any "100W" amp ever made, no matter that it means that its real rating must be higher... that's just good conservative rating practice.

BTW, can you explain why removing two power tubes increases the output impedance by 1.6 times, not twice? I always thought that since the two pairs of tubes are in parallel, they have half the impedance of one pair. Not calling you out, I want to know if I've got something wrong!
Short explanation...bacause a transformer also imparts its own currve onto the equation. 2:1 on the one side doesn't end up being 2:1 on the other. Just as impedance to begin with is a 3 dimensional thing. But this is getting where i'm out of my depth and I have to drag the boss in for an explanation...so that'll have to wait.
 

The Whiz

Member
Messages
6,096
I've just got to say that using the Hotplate as a load and lining out to another power amp has worked wonders for low volume playing for me. Better tone than the -16 db settings on the hotplate, most definitely. I'm using a Mesa Blue Angel's dual 6v6 power amp section as the power amp and it's nice, the Mesa's quad of el84's don't sound great in this application though. I'm considering a Carvin solid state power amp or something for a bit more "transparency".
 

bobbtoz

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
243
I've just sort of bounced around in this thread, but here are two suggestions not related to attenuators.

1. Vox Valvetronix amps sound great at bedroom volumes.

2. Bogner Shiva-this amp has a great master volume taper. I can get a big fat tone out of this head at television volume. Putting a good boost in front of this amp only makes things better.
 

grism

Member
Messages
120
Originally posted by papa taco
I've just got to say that using the Hotplate as a load and lining out to another power amp has worked wonders for low volume playing for me. Better tone than the -16 db settings on the hotplate, most definitely.
I whole-heartedly agree with this approach, and here is the thread that got me started with this. Blistering Modded Marshall tones at Low Volumes?

I got a cheap ($160) Tube Works MosValve amp from ebay to use as a pretty transparant power amp for this idea and it works really well. I can now crank open the MV on any of my amps to get some fat and juicy power tube distortion at conversation levels. Works well with my entire current (small :() lineup of amps, but I imagine that it would work well for ANY amp that connects its speakers with a panel-mounted jack. If your amp doesn't have a line-out, then use the line-out on the hotplate or Weber MASS or whatever, using the attenuator as a dummy load. The MASS also has bass/mid/treble tone pots to tweak the signal as well.

Obviously this is still not the perfect solution but it sounds worlds better than an amp through an attenuator.

I bought the power amp so that I didn't have to tie up any of my amps for this purpose, but the power section of another amp will work fine.

Peace and tone....

Michael G.
 

johnny5

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
983
Originally posted by grism
I whole-heartedly agree with this approach, and here is the thread that got me started with this. Blistering Modded Marshall tones at Low Volumes?

I got a cheap ($160) Tube Works MosValve amp from ebay to use as a pretty transparant power amp for this idea and it works really well. I can now crank open the MV on any of my amps to get some fat and juicy power tube distortion at conversation levels. Works well with my entire current (small :() lineup of amps, but I imagine that it would work well for ANY amp that connects its speakers with a panel-mounted jack. If your amp doesn't have a line-out, then use the line-out on the hotplate or Weber MASS or whatever, using the attenuator as a dummy load. The MASS also has bass/mid/treble tone pots to tweak the signal as well.

Obviously this is still not the perfect solution but it sounds worlds better than an amp through an attenuator.

I bought the power amp so that I didn't have to tie up any of my amps for this purpose, but the power section of another amp will work fine.

Peace and tone....

Michael G.

thats a great idea. i tried it with my Weber Mini Mass and the line out level seems to be VERY high. too high to plug into the input of another amp by far and pretty much too high to go into the "return" of the effects loop. does the THD have a good line out?

thanks for all the responses.
 






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