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Old January 3rd, 2007, 01:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Review of Weber Mini Mass Attenuator

Well...It finally arrived today. I purchased the Weber Mini Mass 50 watt attenuator. It features a 4/8/16 ohm speaker switch along with built in treble boost and a line out. The Mini Mass utilizes an actual speaker motor for attenuation. The unit does not require a power source.

Price was $90 on Xmas special, regular $100.

Construction:

Electronics are housed in a heavy steel box. Switches and knob are high quality and feel very solid. Rubber feet on bottom of unit keep it in place in super sonic sound conditions.

The purpose of the unit, (for those who don't know), is to attenuate, or cut, the amount of watts going to the speaker from the amplifier. This unit plugs in between the two with user provided speaker cables w/1/4" connectors. An adjustment/volume knob on the front allows a trickle to full signal going to the speaker. There is also a bypass switch.

I have a Blues Junior amp with a couple of BillM mods. I did the reverb mod along with the bias adjustment to cool the tube down. I also did another but can't remember what it did. Something with the tone though and it worked 'cause now it sounds much better.

The problem with the BJ is getting break up at a volume level suitable for home practice. It's possible to turn the Master to 1 and Volume to 12 but then the amp sounds a little thin. The amp also sounds very good on the clean settings...but again, to get good tone the volume was excessive. The Weber takes care of both those issues. The amp can be set to full Master and Volume with the Mini Mass set to a comfortable listening level. Tone is nearly identical to a straight in connection. I say nearly because speaker breakup is not happening at lower volume levels. I also suspect a bit of bass is gone because of the watts needed to get the driver to move air.

The Mini Mass does not "color" the sound. I A/B'd the unit by using the bypass switch and by completely removing it from the amp. Both methods sounded the same. It is extremely quiet and introduces no audible hiss or hum.

Final thoughts:

This unit is worth every penny paid. I now have a method of utilizing EVERY setting possible on the BJ amp at comfortable listening levels. I would think the Mini Mass would be useful for live performance. Mic'ing the amp would get the tone needed into the PA system while the unit would keep the monitor level appropriate. I'm thinking Church use here.

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Old January 3rd, 2007, 01:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've been using the exact same one as you for the past 6 months. I too really like mine,
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 06:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Mini-Mass rocks. And I don't even have the one with the treble boost (I compensate at the amp)...
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Old January 4th, 2007, 12:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ruger9
Mini-Mass rocks. And I don't even have the one with the treble boost (I compensate at the amp)...
Could you elaborate on this? Why is a treble boost needed and how do you compensate (by turning up the treble)? My Champ doesn't have a tone control, so I'm interested in learning more about this.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 07:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Attenuators by nature cut high frequencies the more you attenuate. Therefore, alot of attenuators have treble boosts built in to help compensate for that. Turning up the treble on the amp also helps, if you've got any treble "left" on the knob. My earlier version of the Mini-Mass does not have the treble boost, so I compensate by turning treble and/or presence up on the amp.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 10:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Treble loss was the first thing noticed when I plugged the Mini Mass into my BJ'r. A switch located on the front allows 0, 3db and 6db of treble boost. It is possible to add treble through the use of a graphic equalizer pedal placed in the chain just after the guitar/before the Mini Mass. I would recommend a high quality unit because:

I purchased a Behringer, el cheapo, unit for $20 and am not happy with it. It is very noisy...adding quite a bit of "hiss" to the sound. I will be purchasing another EQ pedal as it is very useful for shaping the sound.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 01:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I love my MiniMass (25w w/Maz Jr). I bought an AirBrake, hated it, and returned it, thinking attenuators probably just weren't for me. Picked up the Mini because it was only $75 and figured if I was going to sound bad (some kind of attenuator being necessary for many of the venues I play) I might as well do it on the cheap. Right off, the Mini felt and sounded better to me than the AirBrake (different strokes...).

And Ted Weber is a joy to deal with. My Mini acquired a frightening rattle after I dropped it at a gig. He fixed it, gratis.

I recently picked up a Duncan Twin Tube Classic (best overdrive I've ever used -- but that's another thread) and discovered that its tone control does a great job of returning the highs the attenuator loses.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 05:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I use one with a SFPR and it does everything as advertised. I use it to roll of some volume when trying to squeeze some distortion out of the Pro Reverb. However, it won't turn an amp like thr SFPR into a practice amp. If you attenuate to too low a level it gets fizzy and crap sounding. Great product though.
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Old January 5th, 2007, 02:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have one too. 50W version. Very useful. As those who have one will know, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Tone is definitely affected to some extent, as one would expect. However, since I've been using mine, I can get perfectly usable tone at volumes that don't prompt my elderly neighbours to start stockpiling fuel and Spam and start living in the basement.

My only minor gripe concerns the level pot. It is a bit scratchy in feel (maybe it needs some switch cleaner?) and seems quite 'touchy' at the full attenuation end of the scale. Just touching it at the full attenuation setting causes it to jump in volume. I also find that the 'log-ness' of the control means that much of the useful range for attenuation is in the first gnats **** of a turn, which is a bit fiddly. As I said, a minor complaint for a great product. Also, a bargain for the price compared with similar products.

Andy.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 11:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by axg20202 View Post
I have one too. 50W version. Very useful. As those who have one will know, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Tone is definitely affected to some extent, as one would expect. However, since I've been using mine, I can get perfectly usable tone at volumes that don't prompt my elderly neighbours to start stockpiling fuel and Spam and start living in the basement.

My only minor gripe concerns the level pot. It is a bit scratchy in feel (maybe it needs some switch cleaner?) and seems quite 'touchy' at the full attenuation end of the scale. Just touching it at the full attenuation setting causes it to jump in volume. I also find that the 'log-ness' of the control means that much of the useful range for attenuation is in the first gnats **** of a turn, which is a bit fiddly. As I said, a minor complaint for a great product. Also, a bargain for the price compared with similar products.

Andy.
I just got my Mass 100 today and am quite impressed. I think the scratchiness of the volume knob may be because it's a rheostat. The built-in attenuator on the Univalve amps has exactly the same quality and I was told by THD that this was the reason.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 11:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I just got my Mass 100 today and am quite impressed. I think the scratchiness of the volume knob may be because it's a rheostat. The built-in attenuator on the Univalve amps has exactly the same quality and I was told by THD that this was the reason.
I asked Ted Weber about this and he said exactly the same thing. That said, I love mine.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 11:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I have been happy with my Mass 100.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 02:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Do you think it is worth the extra $25 for the Mass Lite? It has separate level controls for highs and lows and the larger size might ventilate better.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 08:40 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Do you think it is worth the extra $25 for the Mass Lite? It has separate level controls for highs and lows and the larger size might ventilate better.
Not sure. Could be a nice feature to have I guess, but I find the Mini has all the features I need. The eq selection switch seems to work fine in combination with tweaking the EQ of the amp. My unit gets driven fairly hard and it doesn't appear to get hot, at least not externally.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 08:42 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I asked Ted Weber about this and he said exactly the same thing. That said, I love mine.
Thanks - worth knowing. I also asked Ted about this but didn't get a reply.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 09:05 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Anyone had one of these shipped to the UK? How much was the shipping?
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 09:11 AM   #17 (permalink)
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This really is a great product. I know it's impractical, but I'd like to have an audio taper pot installed on my guitar to control this. Or at least have it built into an amp. I wonder if amp manufacturers have considered this? Well, I'm sure they have, but I'd wonder why they haven't implemented it. It would function like a master volume, I guess. But instead of controlling the pre-amp, you'd be controlled the power amp. Maybe it's dangerous?
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Old April 24th, 2007, 05:22 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Anyone had one of these shipped to the UK? How much was the shipping?
Mine was shipped to the UK. I don't remember how much it cost me, but I remember it wasn't too bad. The value of the US dollar vs. pound sterling was a big help in general. Even after paying duty and shipping it was still a bargain.

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Old April 24th, 2007, 08:46 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Anyone had one of these shipped to the UK? How much was the shipping?
I payed about $40 from memory to ship to UK. Also had to pay VAT on top.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:19 PM   #20 (permalink)
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This really is a great product. I know it's impractical, but I'd like to have an audio taper pot installed on my guitar to control this. Or at least have it built into an amp. I wonder if amp manufacturers have considered this? Well, I'm sure they have, but I'd wonder why they haven't implemented it. It would function like a master volume, I guess. But instead of controlling the pre-amp, you'd be controlled the power amp. Maybe it's dangerous?
If you are referring to an attenuator placed in a factory amp...The PV Windsor Studio comes to mind. Some other amps used watt selection switches to lessen the power to the speaker, while still delivering tube saturation. Vox comes to mind. Reverend did this also, apparently.

The attenuator must be placed between the amp and speaker to work, AFAIK.

I'm with you though, it would be cool to have an attenuator control on the guitar with some kind of special cable delivering instructions to the attenuator.

PS: really,really enjoyed your discussion on vocal harmonies!
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