Who Makes the Most Transparent Attenuator?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Josh O, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. Josh O

    Josh O Member

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    I might want to get one for my Fuchs Blackjack21 for my small practice room. Who makes the most transparent? Dr. Z, THD, another?
     
  2. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    I can't say which is the most transparent units. However, I can tell you that I use the Dr. Z Airbrake and it works well for me. I gig every weekend with it and rarely use more that 6 dB of attenuation.

    I don't pretend to have super hearing. But to my ears, I don't notice any loss of tone.
     
  3. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Depends on the amp. I tend to like the MASS and the Hotplate with different amps. I'm sure the Z attenuator is good with plenty of amps as well. Unfortunately, I've found that trying to predict which attenuator will sound best with an amp is not the kind of thing I can predict very well. The only guideline I can suggest is that amps that are very Marshall like seem to do well with the Hotplate. But once you get past halfway down the attenuator, they all suck.
     
  4. Boomer

    Boomer Member

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    I've been using a HotPlate with my Train 45 and I'm waiting for Andy to get "The Conductor" to market.
     
  5. hw2nw

    hw2nw Member

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    Dr. Z Airbrake for the Fuchs...definitely. Had that combo several months ago.
     
  6. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    You're going to have to try several. They are amp dependent.
     
  7. somedude

    somedude Member

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    There's no such thing as a transparent attenuator.

    That said, I agree with the others that you need to try a few if you can.
     
  8. ButchR

    ButchR Komet Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree with Leon. I like to run my Komet brake as a second speaker out or at most one click of attenuation. After that it goes downhill in the tone dept.
     
  9. benttop

    benttop Member

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    I have an Airbrake here, and two Hot Plates, and use all three actually. And from my perspective, there are more questions than which is the most transparent. Because at one click, most are pretty transparent, or at least these are.

    But they are quite different for a number of reasons. As shipped, the Airbrake attenuates by approximately 2 db per click, while the Hot Plate attenuates by approximately 4 db per click. That may not seem like earth shattering news, but if you're trying to attenuate a 30 watt amp vs a 60 watt amp it might make a huge difference. I find that the Airbrake is almost perfect for my 30 watt Z Stingray because the smaller attenuation steps give me finer control for that amp. But on my Flexi, the Hot Plate's 4db steps are closer to what is needed here. Of course, YMMV.

    The other thing to consider are features - what else does it do? The Hot Plate has a Load position that shuts off the speaker, and a variable line out. You can use these features together to run your amp head without speakers at all. You'll want a cab simulator between the Hot Plate and the PA, but I know folks who are running their heads this way and liking it a lot. You can't do that with the Airbrake. The Hot Plate also has a bright switch, a deep switch, and a bulbs switch (this is somehow noise reduction - don't ask me).

    Conversely, the Airbrake steps can be adjusted by moving a connection inside the device. So if 1 db steps would be better for you, or 2.5 db steps, you can set it that way. Can't do that with the Hot Plate.

    Tone changes as a result of a lot of attenuation has more to do with the Fletcher-Munson curves than tone suck - obviously ANY attenuator that you use to attain greater than 8 db of attenuation is going to fall victim to this effect. So plan on staying above that and you'll be closer to "true bypass tone" than if you try to play your amp at bedroom levels.

    As always, YMMV!
     
  10. Don L

    Don L Member

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    I've been very satisfied with Ultimate Attenuator.
     
  11. Orren

    Orren Member

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    I've owned a Weber MASS and THD Hot Plate. I've also had the Richter Control here for review for a couple of months. I think they all do the job, but I keep coming back to the Hot Plate. More "real world useful" decibel adjustments, great line out, tone controls, and it sounds great.

    That's not to say others can't also sound good in your circumstance. But for the amps I've had here (Rivera, Soldano, Randall, THD, etc) the Hot Plate always beat the other attenuator around.

    Orren
     
  12. gixxerrock

    gixxerrock Member

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    I spent some time ABing a THD Hotplate against a Marshall Power Brake on my Rivera Quianna and THD Flexi. There was no comparison! I have spent a long time finding nice amps and the Marshall made them sound like crappy amps. Both amps have a decent MV but the Hotplate actually gave me a small net improvement in tone (8db attenuation + a little more MV to thicken up the tone). I bought the Hotplate.

    Shawn.
     
  13. 908SSP

    908SSP Supporting Member

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    Richter is the most transparent. I have bought 6 in the last year sold all the rest after getting the Richter. The Richter sounds better on every amp I have tried it on, better then any of the other attenuators sounded on the amps they sounded best on. All attenuators are not created the same.
     
  14. chumbucket

    chumbucket Supporting Member

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    What's the scoop on the Conductor?
     
  15. Josh O

    Josh O Member

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    I guess I'm going to have to experiment. Would like to know what the deal with the Fuchs Conductor is too. I really don't need much attenuation, just enough get over the threshold of my pedals sounding mediocre and my pedals sounding awesome.
     
  16. DWB1960

    DWB1960 Senior Member

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    I'm using an Airbrake with a Fuchs ODS30 and it works GREAT. Depending on the situation I use either the 4.5 or 6.0 dB setting and both work killer.
     
  17. mgrier1

    mgrier1 Silver Supporting Member

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    +1

    I have one with a few options and the 'plexi' option is a must have when ordering this unit. Adds that sparkle back.


    All attenuators are a compromise, obviously, but this one does its job very well.
     
  18. Dennis Rayburn

    Dennis Rayburn Supporting Member

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    Another vote for the Ultimate Attenuator. I had a Z Airbrake and sold it once I got the Ultimate. I always use it on gigs, run the MV on my Sommatone R40 cranked, and I can bring it down as soft as I want to. Amazing device!
     
  19. Jammin'John

    Jammin'John Member

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    The most important thing about attenuation is to not use much.:D
    You lose a lot of speaker color.
    If you find that you use -8db or more most of the time then your amp is too big for the gig.....:Spank.....get a smaller amp.
    If I have to attenuate,I try not to use more than -4db.
    Don't forget.You don't have to "aim" your amp at "their" ears.
    If you tilt it back,sideways,or even aim it at the wall you will be surprised at how much you can crank it without offending anyone !:crazyguy

    JJ
     
  20. DocRock

    DocRock Supporting Member

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    Any info. on Richter? Never heard of them, but I'm thinking about going the attenuator route myself. Any info. would be appreciated.....

    Best,

    Doc :BEER
     

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