Is it better to have too much power and use an attenuator or...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by B_of_H, May 30, 2008.

  1. B_of_H

    B_of_H Member

    Messages:
    4,547
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Location:
    Jayhawk Country
    ...a lower wattage amp and be able to turn it up fully but lose a tad bit of clean headroom?


    the reason I ask is that my omega HRDX is too loud to use anywhere near the sweetspot. So i'm thinking about either getting a bad cast leash or buying a Budda SD18.

    what are the pros and cons here?

    (I play in a bluesy hard rock jamband, i do rocking funk, bues-rock and hard rock with a hint of fusion, and alt. country-rock at times) :)
     
  2. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    27,288
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    if you have a sweet lil low watt amp that only screams at the right vol level, you're never going to be able to use the clean tone at the vol you need unless you mic it.

    if you have a big amp with plenty of headroom, that's the way I'd go. you can always back off the attenuation for your cleans, but for songs that you know you have to kick it in, go ahead and leash it.
     
  3. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

    Messages:
    3,131
    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    They will sound different. It depends on what you like.
     
  4. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

    Messages:
    16,945
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I'd think with all the options available today you can find an amp thats right for you in both situations. For me, a 50 watt marshall is perfect with a loud drummer. Attenuators don't work for me. They can be ok for shaving a bit off the top but i've found they aren't too good for lots of volume control.

    Otherwise the ultimate clean/dirty rig is to use 2 amps. Just my opinion....
     
  5. B_of_H

    B_of_H Member

    Messages:
    4,547
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Location:
    Jayhawk Country

    my current amp has to be dimed to sound decent for overdrive and I can't even get close. I even dump the ext speaker to a weber load dump to cut some volume and I still can't use the amp distortion. I'm assuming the master on that marshall is never above 75% right?
     
  6. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

    Messages:
    16,945
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Well, no, not really. I may run the master high and the preamp lower... or dime the preamp and use the master for volume. I'll admit it does sound even better when i'm burrying the drummer but it's still within the sweet spot at somewhat reasonable volumes. My brother has a Hot rod. Sounds pretty good not totally cranked. Sometimes shear volume and speaker breakup can give the illusion of better tone from the amp. FWIW, have you looked into light OD pedals? There are lots of great choices out there that will provide killer tone at any volume. But things always seem to sound better loud! Just me but i'd use an OCD or a COT 50 before using an attenuator. I've used a hotplate and a Weber Mass. And if your already running a load dump, it's not gonna get much better with an attenuator. Just my opinions...
     
  7. studiodunn

    studiodunn Member

    Messages:
    2,522
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Location:
    LB, Ca.
    nothing is better than an amp between 8 - 10 IMO.
     
  8. B_of_H

    B_of_H Member

    Messages:
    4,547
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Location:
    Jayhawk Country
    I use a modded bsiab II for distortion which replaced a V2 OCD. It sounds more like my amp. (which was my goal)

    the problem with my overdrive channel is that if it's not dimed on the master (i have the gain at 2 or 3 at most) it sounds really dark and is not worth using. If I use the laod dump in line with my speaker then it makes it sound dull as hell and I lose all sparkle and life.

    I think i'll try some tweaking of the circuit before I give up.
     
  9. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

    Messages:
    11,468
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    Stamford CT
    Always prefered a bigger amp. Think a higher wattage amp sounds better even without "pushing" it. Plus theres more on tap if I need it. I prefer having headroom-clean or distorted. Bob
     
  10. Ben S.

    Ben S. Member

    Messages:
    2,115
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    Central New York
    Have you thought about Power Scaling. I have a Reeves Custom 18 and it sounds so much better than running my Marshall through an attenuator. It is perfect for shaving off some db's and maintaining sweet tone. Bedroom levels are another story because of speaker efficiency.

    There are other amps that have power scaling and use bigger bottles, like the Reeves Custom 30 or Custom Lead, or Suhr's Badger 30.
     
  11. Veritas

    Veritas Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,604
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2007
    I'd get in touch with the Omega amps guy. Let him know what you'd like different, and I have a hard time believing he won't do what he can to make the amp sound the way you want it.
     
  12. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

    Messages:
    2,924
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Location:
    Planet X
    There are some scary good master volumes out there. If you can get one on an amp that does your sound, that is probably the best way. I didn't used to think this until I came across two amps that actually have master volumes that, for whatever reasons, are incredibly good, as opposed to the "pretty good but still a compromise" that I got accustomed to.
     
  13. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,781
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    MAybe I'm weird or just plain lucky but all the MV's on all my amps work seriously well, giving gobs of tone at my volume of choice. There are plenty of options to go for there. Bad Cat HC 30 is a good place to start.
    I really don't understand why there is so much resistance to master volumes, when attenuators probably cause more tonal degradation without any of hte advantages of a well-designed in master volume.
     
  14. pepperco

    pepperco Member

    Messages:
    1,004
    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    Thee Twin Cities
    solution....

    http://www.ultimateattenuator.com/ua-pro/ua-pro.html

    I don't know why more people don't just bite the bullet,
    spend the extra cash and be done with sweetspot volume
    issues forever. I am very VERY satisfied with the UA.
    I use it with a Marshall 2061x, I can knock back the volume
    slightly (which is what I have to do most often). Or, I can
    double the power when I get the chance. It is like my amp
    head is the preamp, and the UA is the power amp, and
    it has been working very well for a couple of years.
    Small amp, with big time flexibility.
     
  15. B_of_H

    B_of_H Member

    Messages:
    4,547
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Location:
    Jayhawk Country

    I just contacted him and i'm going to take some photos of the circuit for him.

    He's been very helpfull and he did turn a cheap mass produced amp into something that sounds fantastic.
     

Share This Page