Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by HeeHaw, Sep 9, 2005.
Never attenuate below 8db. Never! You just don't want to go there. Trust me.
I still like it.
I personally don't hear any audible differenece at -12db. I often use it at -16 at home, it's a little fizzy but it still beats anything else. I think the Hotplate is the one unit that repoened everyones eyes to the tone of the non-MV amps. It is an essential piece of gear.
Have to completely agree w/splatt on this one. The Hotplate (and EVERY other attenuator's) performance is quite amp dependent. But beyond that, I often use it to take the load and re-amp the signal, and the "Load" setting is well below -8 dB.
+1 from me too! Sorry......
It's making me want to order a plexi clone.
It prolly is amp dependant. I'm using it with and el-84 based amp, and they tend to squish out when ran at full bore.
Yesterday I actually tried my Stephenson LJ-10 with an attenuator. The amp has Power Scaling so it's not really needed, but I wanted to find out what it sounds like turned high and attenuated. Well, the tone was pretty much the same as when using Power Scaling, but the attenuator at -12db sucked out all the dynamics and some highs. Part of it is the 6V6 and EL84 compressing at high volumes but the attenuator definitely sucks tone. So PS wins by far because at full blast without attenuation the amp is nowhere near as compressed..
Try this, crank your amp up and run your guitar cord under the door as you close it and go out into the hall or an other room. If your amp sounds like a jar of mosquitoes it will sound like crap with most any attenuator heavily attenuated. If it sounds fat and smooth through the door it will sound pretty good with most any attenuator.
Good stuff HERE . Worth the read and the listen.
I've been meaning to do this experiment with my Stephenson for a while but never got around to it. Thanks for the tip.
I figured out why I don't like it past 8db. The speakers (g12m's) aren't working hard at those levels with the hotplate. Now I know why I never liked my greenbacks at low volumes.
I might be in the minority, and I might be leaving myself open for critism but I play with a hotplate a lot because the places I play don't allow me to open my amp up to where it's pumping good and not bleed the ears of everyone around me....
I thought that the -12 attenuated clips on the above marked site that HassanBinSober posted weren't that bad...different? YES...bad? NO...
I don't think the -12db setting actually sounds bad, but the main drawback is that it definitely changes the feel of the amp. More compressed tone so less touch-sensitivity and IMO it's tons of fun to control how distorted the tone is just by picking softer or harder.
I think the real comparison is the tone at -12dB with the amp cranked, vs. the tone without any attenuation, the amp at 2 on the volume and any number of OD pedal creating the drive. THAT's why we use attenuators. Hell yeah a cranked amp without attenuation is THE tone -- but most of us don't (or shouldn't) play gigs at that volume.
One question if you don't mind...
I was using the Hotplate direct to mixing board but going to a direct box with 4x12 cabsim first.
Does the hotplate have its own built in simulation or EQ curve? I was just wondering so I wouldnt' use both..
Bump coz I was thinking about this as well.
I don't think it has any built-in cabinet simulation..one would think THD would've mentioned something like that on the website. On another note, am I right if I assume that using just the line-out without any speakers connected to the Hotplate is safe? What about running the Hotplate without anything in the speaker or line-out jacks? Would that be safe as well for example if you wanted to take a tube amp's preamp signal through it's own line-out or fx loop send into another amp (for example a Mesa's preamp into a Marshall's powersection)..basically just keeping the amp's powersection with a load so that nothing blows?
I experimented more with the Power Scaling + attenuator combination. With higher gain tones and the Drive (preamp level) and Scale (overall volume/wattage) turned down to about 9 o'clock I find the Stephenson can get grainy sounding and seems to lose punch and tightness. Lowering the gain takes out the grain but also means less distortion. Good tone for some things, but not so much for hard rock/old school metal tones.
However, when I set the amp with the Scale around 11-12 o'clock or more and the Drive a bit lower and use an attenuator set to -6db to take the volume down I get a slightly more compressed, tighter and more rounded tone that works really well for the more distorted stuff. I suppose this would equal running the amp like a regular master volume amp at 6-7 (out of ten) or something. In any case just doing the same setup with the Drive and Scale set lower without attenuation doesn't yield the same results. It's like I'm using the attenuator as an external EQ/compressor along with lowering the volume.
Considering that the Stephenson is extremely dynamic the slight compression doesn't hurt and with the 1x12 I'm using it has plenty of high end too so getting more rounded/compressed highs isn't a bad thing either. This really helped me get closer to the tones I want at the volumes I use so this "dual volume reduction" method was a success. Kinda makes me think that a footswitchable attenuator (bypass and an attenuated setting) would be pretty cool.
Well, in my admittedly brief HP experience, turning the amp to where it produces smooth, fairly distorted tones and attenuating is not the same as not using the attenuator for all the usual reasons (speakers, acoustics, etc.).
It also put my amp into a range that destroyed the clean overhead making it impractical for band use. So, I see them as most useful for just knocking off a few db IF that is what you need for your application.
Now, if you really want highly attenuated full amp distortion are you really sure:
A- that your amp can deliver those tones at all - (try before you buy)
B- does it actually sound better than good pedal distortion? (because attenuated it is not the same as using a fully cranked amp- the dynamic range and speaker push does not happen)
If you're gonna use just a line out/no speaker hooked up you have to set the hotplate to "LOAD"...otherwise you're in for trouble..you'll kill the amp...
O.K. guys, I used the Hotplate with my Reinhardt at church today in combination with a Zinky 2x12 I got in the emporium section. Running the Reinhardt pretty much floored (about 8/12). I only attenuated it to the first click (-4db) from full on, and it didn't seem to lose any touch sensativity or feel. I even run it to the -8 db on a few songs and it still sounded great with my cab miked with an SM57. Overall I am well pleased with my Reinhardt and the Hotplate. I really got lots of compliments from other guitar players about "my sound" between services today. I even sent the Hotplate home with another guitar player after the last service, so he can try it with his 50 watt JCM 800. He couldn't believe I had the balls to bring such a loud tube amp to gig with at church while taming the volume.