Dr. Z Airbrake attenuator, what can you all tell me about it?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Yoda, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. Yoda

    Yoda Member

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    I received a Dr. Z Airbrake attenuator for free in a trade and I'm curious about how safe it is for the amplifier. I opened it up and wasn't too impressed. I haven't been able to find much info about these on the web.

    What can anybody tell me about these, how well do they work? Are they worse for the amp than other attenuators on the market? The innards just don't inspire confidence.


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  2. Empros

    Empros Supporting Member

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    It's weird for me.

    With my Z amp (Remedy) it's great. Perfect, even. I keep it at the 4 setting on the attenuator control. The bedroom settings are crap. Handles 4/8/16 ohm just fine. I've been using it for a while, no negative effects on my amp.

    However, it didn't sound all that great with a couple other non-Z amps I've tried with it. Didn't like my Verellen (EL34, 50 watts) at all. Not sure why! It didn't affect the amp or anything, the attenuation just sounded harsh with it.

    Try it with your amp. If it works, cool! I love it with my Z and it stays attached to that amp pretty much.
     
  3. 56Tweed

    56Tweed Sub-Octave Member Silver Supporting Member

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    I've had one since Z first released it, and I never took off the back cover. You kind of ruined the magic for me.

    In all seriousness, how well they work probably depends on what you are looking for it to do. The knob on the left is notched to allow for progressive attenuation at set notches. I forget the value, but it is supposed to drop the volume by a set db for each click. The last level is the bedroom level, which then engages the right knob for a full range of attenuation.

    I've used mine with probably ten different amps over the years. I think it works great for subtle, transparent drops for a couple of clicks. At some point it starts to skew the tone and dynamics. I don't use the bedroom setting, and I think people are crazy if they expect to use this on a cranked half stack and have it sound like a cranked half stack at bedroom levels.
     
  4. H. Mac

    H. Mac Member

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    I had one, and thought it was so-so. It cut the highs a good bit when using the bedroom level, and the presets were either too much or too little.
     
  5. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I like mine for live use with the band, reasonably transparent and knocks down the volume just the right amount (not extreme).
     
  6. DrewB

    DrewB Member

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    As others have said, it is sonically transparent when used in moderation. Anyone expecting the sound to be the same at the Bedroom setting is ignoring that speakers respond differently to how much current they are seeing at their input. (read my signature)
     
  7. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

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    Despite the modest innards, they're well built, safe for your amp, and well designed. Dr Z told me years ago it's a Ken Fischer design and that he was happy to send him the royalties.

    I'd agree with other folks here who said it's great for knocking off the 'painful' and 'really' from 'loud' ... and that the Bedroom settings are too choked-off to be much use. Best for live and some studio use.

    =K
     
  8. Fishyfishfish

    Fishyfishfish Member

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    Great for live, bedroom not so much. I really liked mine but sold it when I changed my rig.
     
  9. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    Virtually the same unit that Ken Fischer designed for Kendrick, just in a different box. That thing in their can get very hot so the box is big. I have a Kendrick and a Dr Z, both are very good when used on the first one or two clicks. I just hooked my Kendrick up to my Allen Brown Sugar. It sounds Great! enough for Tony the Tiger!
     
  10. Braciola

    Braciola Silver Supporting Member

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    One or two clicks, it works fine, anything after that ........ tonal degradation!
     
  11. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    Basically its one of the old guard of attenuators, meaning that its good to knock it down a bit, but the more you try to knock it down, the more affect on your tone. Had one years ago, don't really miss it, much prefer the Alex attenuator I have now....
     
  12. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    Had one when I had my Stang Ray amp (head and matching 2x12 open-back cab loaded with Blues). It was o.k. Liked the way the amp sounded much better without anything impeding the sound at all.
     
  13. grimlyflick

    grimlyflick Member

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    I had one to run my DSL50 through. Used it for 5+ years at various levels of attenuation and never had any issues with it or the amp.

    Once you go down to bedroom level you start losing some tone, but if you're just taming a loud amp a little I think it's a great tool.
    :aok
     
  14. Yoda

    Yoda Member

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    Well if nobody has had problems with the Dr. Z Airbrake then I think I can use it with confidence to safely tame a 50-watt Bassman.
     
  15. Empros

    Empros Supporting Member

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    You'll be fine with a 50-watt Bassman, as long as it's 4/8/16 ohm.
     

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