So glad I kept my Airbrake...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by ripple, May 29, 2015.

  1. ripple

    ripple To keep fresh, keep capped & cold. Silver Supporting Member

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    I've had an ongoing love/hate affair with my Dr Z Airbrake for the last 10 years. I originally bought it to tame my non-Master Volume Z amps, but never quite bonded with it in that specific application, so it has just sat in the closet for a loooong time. I almost sold it a year ago, but my inner packrat won out (thankfully).

    Last night on a lark, I decided to try it with my JTM-45 homebuild and WHOA NELLIE!!!

    :banana

    That amp begs to be driven hard (just on the verge of breakup), as it inhales pedals at that volume; emits molten liquid sustain, and is so harmonically rich. However, it's just so damn loud, that it's a real challenge to dial it in for home use or in small venues.

    Not anymore...

    Once I had the Airbrake in the loop, I cranked the JTM to about 6-7 on the volume knob and knocked a couple clicks off the attenuator, and I was getting all the fat, low-mid girth and gnarly high volume tones I love at much more ear friendly levels.

    I know the Airbrake is not the most highly regarded attenuator out there, but it kills with my JTM-45. It looks like I'm finally gonna get some use out of this thing.
     
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  2. pbmw

    pbmw Member

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    I have a PPIMV in my JTM45 and it works REALLY well with an Alex.
    Dial back a little on both and it's Very tasty.
     
  3. DrewB

    DrewB Member

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    I think the Airbrake works really well with Marshall 4-holers. You shouldn't "hear" an attenuator, and my experience is that the Airbrake is very transparent. One or two clicks down is about as far as I usually go, and it still sounds like my rig at those levels, just not as loud.
     
  4. garret

    garret Member

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    I have a PPIMV as well with a Mini-Mass. JTM45's need to be pushed to get all the glory and roar. The PPIMV works well with the JTM's but for me didn't really sound good until about 12 o'clock. The attenuator is a must to be able to crank the MV fully to get closer to that full out roar.
     
  5. vdoochild7

    vdoochild7 Silver Supporting Member

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    Attenuators can be really amp specific. I loved my Airbrake with my matchless clubman and Fuchs lucky 7, hated it with my route 66.
     
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  6. Sirloin

    Sirloin Supporting Member

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    I had two airbrakes- the big original, then the smaller white version. Both sucked with NMV 4 hole Germino amps that I owned at anything more than I click of attenuation. Alex was better.
     
  7. ripple

    ripple To keep fresh, keep capped & cold. Silver Supporting Member

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    Exactly my experience: I bought the Airbrake for my Rt 66 and Z28 and never dug it with those amps at all, but my JTM -45 (with EL-34s) loves it.
     
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  8. Mattbedrock

    Mattbedrock Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't have an Airbrake, but I did recently buy a Jettenuator (Soldano designed resistive attenuator). It has allowed my to bring amps to gigs I have been avoiding because of the volume needed to get them going good. I last used it with a Ceriatone 50w Bass Plexi (1986) clone and loved how I was able to bring the volume up to the 4-5 range but not aggravate my bandmates and club management.

    My JTM45 clone has a PPIMV in it that works well, but it still would be nice to get those KT66's cooking a bit and not rely on just the preamp tubes for warmth. I have several other "too loud" amps I want to try with the attenuator that never get out to gigs.

    I have resisted (hah) attenuators for years - put in an effective master volume or just bring the right sized amp for the situation, but I have to begrudgingly admit they have some utility.
     
  9. wreckmark

    wreckmark Supporting Member

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    I have an AirBrake and it sounded great with my Classic 45 too...(Germino JTM-45) Also sounded great with my Lead55. ( No longer needed since Greg installed his MV)
    It sounded just ok with my Z Wreck....

    I have a BrakeLite installed in my Maz Jr Studio and it works wonderfully in that little amp. It will go from the bedroom the the big stage and everywhere in between.
     
  10. Bandersnatch

    Bandersnatch Member

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    Exactly why I'm going to have a Hall VVR installed in my Z28
     
  11. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    "Once I had the Airbrake in the loop, ".......what? You mean between amp and speakers, right?
     
  12. ripple

    ripple To keep fresh, keep capped & cold. Silver Supporting Member

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    10-4.

    Not referring to an effects loop - I should've been more clear in my OP.
     
  13. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Got it, that's what I figured you meant ;)
     
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  14. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    I would say the reverse: Amps can be really attenuator specific really. I have some working prototypes of an attenuator design that work well. I do find some amps sound great through it, while others are simply not happy. As we operate a pretty busy service department, I've had the opportunity to try the unit with many, many amps...While it certainly can be the attenuator circuit (not all are created equal), many amps simply react differently to "talking to" an attenuator, depending on the design of the output stage.
     
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