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I just built my Attenuator!

asintoras

Member
Messages
1,873
That's right!

I gave the credits to the original designer of the circuit, but I made the enclosure design, and of course, I built it.

It sounds really great, and I'm waiting for a friend to send me the diagrams for the foot-switch to bypass the circuit (when playing a guitar solo).

In this one, I don't have the rheostat (for the bedroom levels) because it's main idea is to be used live, at a gig.

Well, less words... an image worth a lot more:
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Hope you like it... :RoCkIn
 
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shngn7

Member
Messages
1,232
That's awesome! Looks great. I don't know much about attenuators at all. What are those big tubey things?
 

soulsonic

Member
Messages
980
What are those big tubey things?
Big power resistors. That's what converts electrical current into heat... thereby reducing the amount of power that goes to the speakers.
What gives attenuators their charm to me as a builder and designer is that their workings are about as basic as you can get.
 

thesteve

Member
Messages
1,457
Out of curiousity, the design looks very straight-forward. How much did this cost you in parts?
 

Ed G.

Senior Member
Messages
259
How's it affect the bottom end? I have a Weber MiniMASS that seems to suck out the high end and the bottom end of the tone at moderate attenuation levels. It really loses that bottom end kick.
 

GoofyDawg

Member
Messages
875
Awesome! Looks like the innards of my Dr. Z AirBrake. I too am curious as to how much it cost you in parts.
 

soulsonic

Member
Messages
980
How's it affect the bottom end? I have a Weber MiniMASS that seems to suck out the high end and the bottom end of the tone at moderate attenuation levels. It really loses that bottom end kick.
The gimmick speaker motor in the MiniMASS is probably what's robbing the frequencies. You could disconnect it and replace it with a 16 ohm 25w resistor and see if that helps. How old is your MiniMASS, does it have the 3-way treble boost switch? You can tailor the amount of treble bleed by swapping caps... the stock values of treble bleed caps in MiniMASSes ranged from 1uF up to about 10uF depending on what was available... and whether people were complaining about them being too bright or dark. As far as I know, all MiniMASS have some kind of treble bleed cap, even if it doesn't have the treble boost switch.
I know all about MiniMasses, I've built hundreds of them... I may have even built yours.
:facepalm
 

jamiefbolton

Member
Messages
912
thats really cool. my homemade attenuator is not nearly as nice. but here is another idea for you guys.

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=260-248

simple LPad attenuator from parts express. different ohms and watts available too. i thought it would take a lot of highs away, but i'm really surprised at how well it works.

it does crackle on me when i turn it, but its "crackle okay". lol. a guy explained to me why its okay but i didn't understand him. anyway. cheap and sounds good.
 

thesteve

Member
Messages
1,457
thats really cool. my homemade attenuator is not nearly as nice. but here is another idea for you guys.

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=260-248

simple LPad attenuator from parts express. different ohms and watts available too. i thought it would take a lot of highs away, but i'm really surprised at how well it works.

it does crackle on me when i turn it, but its "crackle okay". lol. a guy explained to me why its okay but i didn't understand him. anyway. cheap and sounds good.
I had an L-Pad type for a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe I used to own. The guy who built it for me said that L-Pads tend to be vastly underrated and he wouldn't recommend using one any less than double the rating of the amp. I believe my amp had a 100W L-Pad in it and he told me that if I used it for heavy attenuation while cranking the amp I definitely would be risking failure.
 

soulsonic

Member
Messages
980
I had an L-Pad type for a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe I used to own. The guy who built it for me said that L-Pads tend to be vastly underrated and he wouldn't recommend using one any less than double the rating of the amp. I believe my amp had a 100W L-Pad in it and he told me that if I used it for heavy attenuation while cranking the amp I definitely would be risking failure.
Yeah, L-Pads work really great because they're designed to be a correct constant-impedance attenuation network (sadly, most commercial attenuators aren't... don't ask me why!).
But yeah... the power rating thing.... I tried a 100w one with my 100w amp turned up to about "4" and it started smoking!
I say the 100w L-Pads are probably alright for amps up to about 20-ish watts, but anything bigger than that and you'll need something more heavy duty. It would be AWESOME if they made some serious L-Pads that could take a Marshall at 11, but I haven't found one yet.
 

spentron

Member
Messages
1,738
Realize that if the attenuator breaks while using it, it will probably kill your output transformer. Make sure the connections are not mechanically reliant on the solder.
 

asintoras

Member
Messages
1,873
Soulsonic: Thanks for all the responses while I wasn't here!

Yes, basically, it's an Airbrake.

It cost me $95.00 for the pieces, plus $18.00 the box, $10.00 for the plate and laser engraving, and one afternoon to build it.
 

thesteve

Member
Messages
1,457
Wow...that's pretty cheap considering the price of something like that new. Where did you find the schematic for it? I've got an old enclosure from another piece of electrical equipment around here that looks like it'd be the perfect size for an attenuator.
 




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