Attenuator Suggestions?

The_Nuge

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Cool! I'm pretty handy with a soldering iron and have built several pedal kits before. I'd be interested in looking into this. Would you mind providing a link to instructions or a schematic if available?
Sure!
Let me dig through my computer...
 

ErictheRed

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The only type of "attenuator" that I'd consider these days is a re-amper, like a Fryette Power Station or Bad Cat Unleash. Far better sounding and far more versatile. The Fryette has an effects loop, for instance (not sure about the Bad Cat).
 

northernguitarguy

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The only type of "attenuator" that I'd consider these days is a re-amper, like a Fryette Power Station or Bad Cat Unleash. Far better sounding and far more versatile. The Fryette has an effects loop, for instance (not sure about the Bad Cat).
I owned a V1 Unleash and it had a loop. Great piece of kit that I ended up not needing.
 

TheWelder

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Bad Cat Unleash
The Unlease V2 isn't a bad price, necessarily. Maybe a bit more than I'm looking to spend, but not outrageous.

An issue I'm having is that just above every attenuator I look up claims to keep your amp's tone and feel consistent even at low volumes. But I'm gathering from some of the replies that this isn't always the case in practice....

...maybe I'll just stick with running the DR on 4 and using my BB Preamp for some gain. :laugh2:
 

ErictheRed

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I've had far better luck just using an amp with a good master volume, using good pedals, or using an amp with switchable power than any of the other solutions. Have you thought about headphones? Speakers have to move to sound good, and movement creates volume. You'll never get perfect tones at truly low volumes with regular guitar speakers.
 

Dazza

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Through the past 25 years I've used a variety of attenuators by THD, Marshall, DR Z, Weber, Ultimate Attenuator for stage and home use. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Simple resistor units like the Dr Z are useful for taking a few db off an amp. The larger Airbrake has a secondary resistor for 'Bedroom' levels and while it does work the resulting tone is not the most inspiring - particularly if the amp is overdriven. On the Z forums I generally found they agreed less with this but perhaps because they're more apt to be cleaner tele-country pickers than my LP-NM Marshall approach.
I regularly use the Brake Lite with my 20 watt Marshall for stage use, just a click or 2. Though I adjusted the connector clamp positions along the resistor to where I prefer the output volume.
For larger amps and/or better results at 'lower' home volumes a re-amp unit gives far better results. I've used my Ultimate Attenuator for many years without issue. It's old school now and replaced by fancier more flexible newer types, but it still does what I need it to. I don't like drive pedals and have no interest in digital modelling.

Daz
 

BoogieMan_SC

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However, the Captor X's attenuator has only 3 settings (2 fixed levels of attenuation): -38dB, -20dB, and 0dB , you cannot dial it down to exactly what you need.

When I used to own the original Captor (which has only -20dB attenuation), the attenuation feature was pretty much useless to me.
Exactly this...
I used the CX for gigs, while using the voicing options it had within the "Wall of Sound" (or whatever their interface is called to dial in voicings) combined with IR's to run to the board and out to the mains, while ALSO using my amp and cab behind me for my stage volume. The attenuator capability in the CX quite honestly sucks and I never used it since the master volume on the Friedman sounds just fine and I was able to keep my amp up just a bit, while also using a Clearsonic shield in front of it to control the level...just enough for me to feel it while playing pretty close to it was the compromise I made.

I then picked up a Fryette Power Station (PS-2 v2) and HOLY CRAP....absolutely killer tones and enough voicing options to allow you to dial in your tones as desired. I've used it with 100w Marshall Jubilee RI heads, 3 different Friedman heads I own, including the 3-channel Wildwood Smallbox 50 that I gig with....a PRS HX/DA amp I have....there's absolutely no comparison. It is THE best attenuator (really a re-amp) on the market. It has a direct out that I can run to the board if desired and it also has all the ohm/output matching ability so you can match whatever heads/amps to whatever cabinet(s), etc. It also has an effects loop should you want to utilize that on some of your amps that aren't so equipped. Pretty cool. The sound is its main selling point though...it's amazing.

PS-In the past, I've also owned the Weber, DR-Z and Palmer attenuator units...maybe another model too that the name is escaping me at the moment. Freyette blows them all away. Check out Pete Thorn's recent review of the Fryette Unit (although the review is for the PS-100):

(531) THE BEST "ATTENUATOR" AVAILABLE! FRYETTE PS100 POWER STATION - YouTube
 
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Lemonhart

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I have used the simple Juice Box attenuator, THD Hotplate and Bugera PS-1. I have since settled on the PS-1 and actually have a couple of them now. It’s simple, inexpensive and does the job well, especially for at home volume levels.
 

BluesDudeAK

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Tried the Dr. Z and some other popular attenuator a few years ago and sold them. Picked up a Tone King Iron Man II recently but haven't tried it out yet. Several of the amps I'm using now have built in attenuators, Lazy J for example, that work great. Best and cheapest volume control I've found is the Rothstein Notch Rockit clean boost pedal. No noticeable tone difference at all. Unfortunately they have been out of stock for years.
 

JOHN HUFF

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While keeping costs down is always a consideration I would strongly urge examining the THD "Hot Plate".
I've used one for many years now.
They're a great product with some really awesome features such as the line out on back with its own separate level control by which you can run straight into your main amp but still slave into another amp and run effects without again, compromising your main signal into your fav tone machine.
Also there is minimal if any compromise of the tone or performance characteristics of your amp.
Remember your amp is stilled "dimed" so your tubes are being driven to get the sound we all know and love and again with the THD whether you're running a 5E3 or a vintage JMP superlead, in my humble opinion you lose almost nothing notable as far as ambience and performance go.
Also Andy Marshall at THD responded to my questions in a phone call a couple of weeks ago and informed me that yes he would be doing a production run of the Hot Plates in June.
This would be a good time to place an order if that thing floats your boat.
 

Jwg0122

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I love the sound of my Deluxe Reverb on full volume, but it's way too loud for most applications. I've never used an attenuator before, but I'm kicking around the idea now. I know all the YouTube flavor of the month guys have the OX, but I'm not looking to spend that kind of cash.

Any suggestions? Looking to keep the tonal characteristics and feel of the amp the same, but just at a comfortable volume.
Carl’s Speaker Soak on Reverb for about $50.
 

severalbeans

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fryette power station 2. probably the most useful piece of gear i've ever purchased.

- best sounding attenuator i've ever used (i've owned weber, thd, rivera, koch, and a couple of the cheapos). you can truly get great tones from a screaming amp throttled to bedroom volume levels. none of those others could do that, though the rivera was easily best-of-the-rest.
- adds an effects loop to any amplifier
- lots of tone shaping with presence/depth knobs as well as bright/deep switches
- can be used as a 50-watt power amp, which is super cool for using preamps, multieffects, etc

it also has a bunch of recording and line in/out features that i don't use.

$700 might seem expensive, but i think it is a bargain given all it can do. it has really simplified my setup in my studio where i have stacks of tube heads and a single 412 cab. the shared effects loop alone is almost worth the price as it eliminates so much cable swapping and clutter.
 
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Big John

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...or.....build a little sound proof doghouse.

Hard to beat a real speaker pushing a real microphone (or two).

Plywood, foam, glue, and screws...$60 tops.
 

SackvilleDan

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I don't think Alex Attenuators are made anymore (he sold to someone else, who may be making something similar under a different name, but I can't remember what), but I've had an Alex for a few years now, and it does everything an attentuator should - make the amp sound the exact same, just less loud. Maybe you can find one on Reverb!
 

JOHN HUFF

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Great thread! Presented an opportunity to explore some new ideas on different products.
Cool.
 

ErictheRed

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I would generally agree that the Power Station is the best thing to buy. But having owned one...I just didn't use it much. This was when I had a vintage '76 Hiwatt Custom 50, a vintage '66 Fender Vibrolux, and Suhr Badger 35, and Mesa Triple Crown.

The Mesa Triple Crown sounds great at essentially all volumes to my ears, has an effects loop, etc. I had no need for the Power Station. Same with the Suhr Badger since it has power scaling. The Hiwatt didn't scale down all that well, I didn't think. It just sounded best cranked up pretty loud with the speakers moving. I had no need to ever use the Power Station with it, since it got great overdrive at lower volumes with pedals and it had a very flexible EQ (Normal and Brilliant channels, ability to blend them, channel and master volumes, Mass/Mids/Treble/Presence controls).

The only amp that really benefited was the Vibrolux, I could really get that cooking and then turn the volume down to wherever I wanted it. However since I had other amps, I found that I was always just using the right amp for the job anyway. The Hiwatt worked quite well at essentially any volume, surprisingly, as did the Suhr Badger and Triple Crown. So I sold the Power Station. I also sold the Hiwatt because while it worked well and sounded amazing, it was definitely overkill for me, and the Suhr Badger 35 did a similar thing for my uses (with a different tone admittedly). I also sold the Vibrolux for a Pro Reverb, which somehow works better for my uses as well--maybe the 12" speakers?

So anyway all of this is just to say that I've been most pleased with just using the right amp for the job. If you have one old amp that you want to use all of the time in all situations I could see using the Power Station, but otherwise for the price you could pretty much just buy another amp.
 


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