Where to start with attenuators?

wetordry

Member
Messages
4,497
I have 4 amps that are 8 ohm with intention of another.
One that is 4 ohm.
They range from 15 to 100 watts.

After 40 years I'd like to try an attenuator. Doesn't have to be the best, cause I can just move it to a different amp if I want to go farther down that road....and really don't need the features of Fryette or Radial.
Not really after bedroom volumes with a dimed 100 watter....i just want to get into the power amp range of 6 or 7 and not send the dog hiding.
Amp-attenuator-cabinet.
Rock crusher, weber, hot plate maybe?

Thoughts from tgp needed.
 

RockDC

Member
Messages
1,455
I have done a Dr. Z Airbrake, Webber Mini Mass, & Webber Mass. All were good at what they do, easy to use, and solid in construction. In the end I found I preferred the Master Volume on my amps and sold them. The one that colored the tone the least (although with the right tweaking they were very similar) was the Dr. Z.
 

wetordry

Member
Messages
4,497
I have done a Dr. Z Airbrake, Webber Mini Mass, & Webber Mass. All were good at what they do, easy to use, and solid in construction. In the end I found I preferred the Master Volume on my amps and sold them. The one that colored the tone the least (although with the right tweaking they were very similar) was the Dr. Z.
Understandable, and I've been satisfied with the same.
But I'm gonna have to try one eventually too see what's what.:)
Likely why I don't wanna go all in yet...
 

RockDC

Member
Messages
1,455
I have used the Hotplate, Ultimate, and Power Brake because I had a friend who had them at different points of his life. The Hotplate and the Ultimate were pretty transparent but I remember the Hotplate being a fixed ohm setting.
 

ToneDeVille

Supporting Member
Messages
4,659
Start with a Dr Z Air Brake.
PS That's also where the search ends.

yes, you can also try other units, and go through a process of buying, trying, selling, shipping, etc, but you'll end up with the Air Brake. So save all that time and money and just get one.
 

Flatscan

Supporting Member
Messages
6,580
I've tried the Air Brake, the Swart Night Light, and the Fryette Power Station.

Consensus on TGP is a very rare thing but there is a fairly strong consensus that the Power Station outperforms all other attenuators. [Do a search on Power Station in the amp forum.]

The Hot Plate is a big step down as is the Swart (although neither were "bad." The Swart would only work for your small amps.).

The PS ranks amongst my best gear purchases. The falloff in tone is de minimis.

Maybe buy a used V1?
 

andrekp

Member
Messages
5,635
Master volume amps are for people who like preamp tube overdrive. And they are all insane to a man.

I use an old Hotplate with my 18watt. I can hear it affecting tone a little bit at high attenuation levels, but it really isn’t that bad. Takes the highs a bit, which can be welcome. I’m sure the tone is affected just as much by simply not pushing the speaker anywhere near as hard. Never used any other kind. Maybe some are better these days.
 

6789

Member
Messages
2,851
Buy two used Hotplates - 8 ohm and 4 ohm.

I’ve used hotplates for years. They do the job just fine for me. They have a treble boost and bass boost which helps at the lower volume settings.
 

blackba

Member
Messages
10,791
If the power station is out of the question, then I would recommend the scumback/Alex attenuator or the Rivera rock crusher. I have direct experience with the Alex attenuator and it’s a very nice unit in that it doesn’t change the tone much until you get the last range with the variable knob.
 

wetordry

Member
Messages
4,497
If the power station is out of the question, then I would recommend the scumback/Alex attenuator or the Rivera rock crusher. I have direct experience with the Alex attenuator and it’s a very nice unit in that it doesn’t change the tone much until you get the last range with the variable knob.
The power station isn't really out of the question at this point. They do seem to be out of stock however.
I almost bought one brand mentioned a few times in this thread, put it in the cart actually.... but the ohms matching thing threw me after reading up on it last minute before checking out.
So Ive started watching ps videos, and reading more.
Sent fryette an email....about a waiting list and how to get on it?
If I'm going to spend that, I think I want some warranty...

I think every time over the years I've looked into attenuation, I've found things about them that turn me off. The ps so far, hasn't flipped that switch.
 

wetordry

Member
Messages
4,497
What amp do you have that’s 4ohm?
A super reverb, although I'm not sure I give it much weight in the decision. For the most part, a 30 watt marshall I have now is what's driving this. And a future purchase of something larger I know will need it...that amp decision not yet made.
 
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jrockbridge

Member
Messages
4,414
I’ve owned multiple Weber units, a Dr Z Airbrake and a Freyette PS2. I still own, like and use both the Airbrake and PS2. I do not recommend the Weber units.

The Weber units color the sound and affect the feel a lot. The Airbrake is better for feel and sound but still affects both. The PS2 is amazing. The feel and sound are preserved with the PS2 and the Fletcher Munson Affect is the only reason things sound different at low volumes.

Part of the reason I still keep and use the Dr Z Airbrake is that it is small, light and very portable. By comparison, the PS2 is large and heavy.

Master volume amps can be ok but you end up with more preamp gain rather than power amp gain. There is nothing wrong with preamp gain but it is a different animal.
 

tubekingsley

Member
Messages
2,952
The power station isn't really out of the question at this point. They do seem to be out of stock however.
I almost bought one brand mentioned a few times in this thread, put it in the cart actually.... but the ohms matching thing threw me after reading up on it last minute before checking out.
So Ive started watching ps videos, and reading more.
Sent fryette an email....about a waiting list and how to get on it?
If I'm going to spend that, I think I want some warranty...

I think every time over the years I've looked into attenuation, I've found things about them that turn me off. The ps so far, hasn't flipped that switch.
Check out the Tonehunter SPL Reducer, it gets crazy good reviews. It's passive, and has an impedance selector. If you wait for the next Ebay %15 off everything sale, the price is more tolerable.
 

wetordry

Member
Messages
4,497
Master volume amps can be ok but you end up with more preamp gain rather than power amp gain. There is nothing wrong with preamp gain but it is a different animal.
Admittedly i dont have the best ears, but for decades i played loud...and I can get close with a mv amp and overdrive, to what I think my amps would sound like turned down. It's good, satisfying...whatever.
But mesa, marshall, carvin legacy etc all still have something when cranked into the power section, I just can't get with a pedal or preamp gain.
Anyway, I want to buy another amp...but can't decide if I want preamp gain stages, or if I can go back to the type amps I used to use.
The attenuator might be the difference between maybe a plexi, or a jvm...if that makes sense.
 

jrockbridge

Member
Messages
4,414
You will never fully understand what you have been missing from your amps until you try a Fryette Power Station. The feel of cranked amp tamed to reasonable volume is special. Every other solution becomes a clear compromise once you have owned a PS. Reads like hype but it is true. That is why Freyette is often sold out.
 


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