Best attenuator for NMV Marshall-style amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by smilefan, Nov 26, 2005.


  1. smilefan

    smilefan Member

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    I have heard it said my times that certain
    designs of attenuators seem to be suited to
    different amp brands/designs.

    In your experience, which work best with
    non-master Marshall-style circuits?

    Z Airbrake?
    Weber Mass?
    Hot Plate?
     
  2. doctord02

    doctord02 Member

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    hate to say it, but you'll get as many opinions as there are attenuators... I have a Marshall Power Brake, so thats what I use on everything. At some point I'll get a Weber or possibly a Hotplate, if the price is right. Otherwise I'll try building a resistive load type based on some of the schems I've see floating around.

    I'm of the opinion that more than 2 or 3 clicks on _any_ attenuator and you are altering the tone of the amp.
     
  3. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    me, too.

    for modest amounts of attenuation, like for live work, I like the Dr Z Airbrake.
     
  4. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    2 or 3 clicks on a HotPlate is actually quite a bit of attenuation.

    The PowerBrake is actually sometimes the right answer, despite usually not being the best sounding attenuator. A lot of the time HotPlate sounds best, and sometimes Airbrake sounds bets.

    If I only had one attenuator, it would be HotPlate.
     
  5. 57special

    57special Member

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    It seems important to find the right match. My Weber Mass didn't do much with a divided by 13, but works wonderfully well with my TW clones. An old Groove Tubes speaker simulator that i had worked great with BF Fenders. I'm guessing the Weber would work well with an old Marshall, but that's just a guess.
     
  6. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    The following is only my opinion, but I've never ever been wrong. ;)

    If you don't expect much from attenuator going in, you will be less dissappointed. Most attenuators are usefull, but only for a gigging situation to tame the SPL of something like a 50 watt plexi so you don't get thrown out of the club. But they don't work well for bringing that amp down to bedroom levels, I shudder to say this, but I prefer the tone of a Pod to that of an attenuated tube amp, that's got to be pretty bad when you consider I don't even like a Pod for much at all.

    With all that said, I've had the following, and in this order:

    Altair
    Power Soak
    Hot Plate
    Air Break
    Mass

    Of these I prefer the Hot Plate as the lesser of all evils.
     
  7. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    i've used the power soak, the powerbrake and the hotplate.
    i kinda like the hotplate the most.
    U can make up Ur own mind tho'. check out this link and go nuts listening to all these various attenuators at various levels. go nuts.

    http://bruceclement.com/music/psk.htm

    yea, a 50 watt amp ain't gonna sound as good at bedroom levels as a smaller (MUCH smaller) amp. as for the assertion about whether a digital model sounds better.......
    check out the clips.
    and no, i'm not anti-amp sim. there's a time and a place they can really fit. i think they're really good for doing processed sounds. think andy summer, edge, david torn, etc.. amp sims can be quite effective for recording if U want to go for those type of sounds. but, if U are a tubes and tele kinda gal(uy) that digs pluggin' right into the amp and lettin' loose.... even the best sims (waves/PRS GTR gets closest to a raw amp in sound and feel but is still MILES away from tubes/iron/wood/tweed/paper) really aren't that satisfying.
    but my 50 watt half stack sounds mighty fine w/ the 16 ohm hotplate attenuated up to three clicks and not so bad even w/ more soakage goin' on.
    but for bedroom levels (even tho' U haven't said that's what U're after) even the dual EL-84 HW marshall amps (18-20 watts) are only about 4 dB quieter than a dual EL34 (50 watt). for bedroom levels and GREAT sound U need a micro amp AND an attenuator.
     
  8. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    I have only used the Hot Plate, but it does the job and I feel no need to look further. It works and works well. Has never let me down and always does the job.
     
  9. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    I 100% agree with Kelly's post. My experiences exactly . Except I prefer the Dr Z Air Brake over the THD.. AS for amps though , I love the THD's.

    ERIC
     
  10. somedude

    somedude Member

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    I use a Hotplate....

    ...that said, all attenuators affect tone to some degree or another, and just like everything else in music it all comes down to personal preference. Two guys could have the exact same setup, yet one will prefer one attenuator and one may prefer another.
     
  11. kevin hart

    kevin hart Supporting Member

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    i like the airbrake better than the hotplate just because the amount of attenuation on each click is less, which i found works better for me. the hotplate is set at 4db for each click. the airbrake is much more subtle at 3db on the first click & then just a little less than 2 db for each click after the first. you can also adjust the 2nd, 3rd & 4th clicks on the airbrake if you so desire. i just found that with the hotplate in a live situation the 4db difference was a bit too much at times.
     
  12. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    as much as i love the hotplate, i totally agree with U.
    andy marshall, are U listening?
    personally i'd like to see 1dB steps right at the top of the range.
     
  13. JacksonAmpworks

    JacksonAmpworks Member

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    I have used both the Hotplate and the Mass over the years and I really dig the Mass. It's size (MiniMASS), cost, and tone give it a clear advantage to me.

    IMHO, of the two, the MiniMass is the most natural sounding and honestly "feels" the best of the two.

    One HUGE benefit of the MiniMASS is that you can select 4-8-16 ohms speaker outs.

    One HUGE benefit of the Hotplate is that you can run almost 300W into it.
     
  14. ungarn

    ungarn Member

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    My Dr Z Airbrake works very well with my Rivera Chubster. The nice thing about it is that you can use it with any ohm...unlike the Hotplate.

    Good luck!

    -Thad
     
  15. pluto

    pluto Member

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    With a non master Marshall, without a doubt, the best attenuator I've ever used is a hotplate. I've owned the Z, Koch, Ultimate Attenuator and also played the Marshall powerbrake.
     
  16. MARCO

    MARCO Member

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    THD Hotplate, then the Weber Mass......I like the fact that with the THD you can compensate for the loss of lows and highs and it has a noise reduction switch. Downside is that you have to specify the ohms you want. I would think the 16-ohm would be the safest bet to get.
     
  17. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    I gotta agree with you here! Because I just don't like the tone of much attenuation, I'd much rather have the maximum attenuation be about 8db and have the selector between that and wide open in finer steps. the sub 16db rheostat for bedroom volumes is a waste on me. I do dig the EQ switches.
     
  18. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    i actually welded my 4 ohm hotplate rheostat w/ a fender vibroverb.
    lots of smoke and smell of burning electronics.
    turned the amp onto standby. let everything cool down. tried to turn the rheostat but it was welded into a fixed position. haven't used it since.
    luckily the amp suffered no adverse effects.
    i'd like an attenuator that had one dB steps down to 12 dB. that means a 50 watt amp would be outputting about 6 watts. 6 watts is still a pretty frickin' loud amp.
    too loud for 80 dB or less 'bedroom levels.
     
  19. big mike

    big mike Fixed Bias Moderator Staff Member

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    I have both the Hotplate and the Z Airbrake, and I did own the Mini Mass at one point.

    For my Rockytop 45 Clone and Marshall 20 watt HW,

    for 1 or 2 clicks, the Airbrake sounds the best.

    At max attenuation it's a draw.

    They're pretty even for me. I do like the cables coming straight out the back on the THD, but that's personal preference.

    both are good units, and worth the cash. I give the Z the nod for the better sound and more adjustability of the steps of attenuation.
     
  20. axpro

    axpro Member

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    I'd have to put my $0.02 on the airbrake as well, sounds real good boy! though i have heard complaints that it doesn't attenuate enough. but I don't use that much power to begin with.

    Dave Mc
     

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