Give Me Suggestions for an Attenuator!

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Fiesta Red, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    I have (and love) a ‘63-reissue Fender Vibroverb...40 Watts (depending on what you read), 2x10 speaker configuration, output impedance is 4 ohms.

    I have often desired the ability to crank this baby up without killing the hearing and enjoyment of everyone involved in smaller rooms.

    Someone recommended the Dr. Z’s Brake Light—I like the size and price of this one, but before I take a plunge, please give me your recommendations and experiences with any and all attenuators for a 63RIVV.
     
  2. jonyorker

    jonyorker Tele-Meister

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    I have the Carls Speaker Soak, which is essentially the same as Dr Z's.

    I wonder if the fancier attenuators like the Weber Mass III or similar with a speaker coil is worth the extra coin myself.

    Subbed!
     
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  3. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Jet City released their Jettenuator, which was cloned under the Thomann house brand and later again by Behringer as their PS1 ( PowerSoak ) There is some loss due to the load being mostly resistive rather than the reactance of the voice coil 'pushing back', but it isn't too bad and allows much crankage. An EQ tweak takes care of a lot of the Fletcher Munson effects.
    It features a line-out and an XLR should you so wish. The amplifier connects to one of the 'In' sockets, 4,8 & 16 Ohm available, and your speaker to the Speaker Out. You can run it without a speaker attached. This is an undocumented feature, and I use a load resistor anyway, to be safe.

    Mine is the first Thomann ( Harley Benton ) clone, and I wouldn't be without it now. I can set my amplifier to levels that would be physically painful in my small room, and have all that lovely output stage glory whilst retaining hearing and domestic harmony. It's also quite useful for taming a few Db when your amplifier is just a little too much for the situation, but turning it down makes it sound flaccid.

    It's an L-Pad with load resistors. Nothing complex.
     
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  4. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Meister

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    I've got a Jettenuator and it sounds just fine to me. It's been fine with a JTM45 and a DRRI. I have a CVR I've been meaning to plug into it, and if I do I'll let you know. That's reasonably similar to the VVRI in terms of power and size.
     
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  5. t-luxe

    t-luxe Tele-Afflicted

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  6. ronzhd

    ronzhd Tele-Holic

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    Just make sure you get the right attenuator for the application. The Swart Night lite is awesome, I own one and mounted it in my Bjr., but it was not made to handle over 15, 20 watts. I also have one designed for up to 50 watt amps, That I use on my PRRI, attenuatorB.jpg see pic.
    Go on Reverb and search them. The Red box was purchased from the builder, so I got to speak with him before I bought it.
     
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  7. Chris4189

    Chris4189 TDPRI Member

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    I use a Fryette Power station on my 100 watt super leads and 65 fender twin. It’s very transparent and gives you some nice useful features like an effects loop, line out etc.

    I just recently picked up a used SPL Reducer which is a no frills attenuator and it’s rated for 200 watts and honestly it is just as transparent as the Fryette. I’ve been using it on an old PIG (Marshall Major) and for the money I think it’s a steal this far.
     
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  8. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The only attenuator I've ever had, and still have, is a 50W Weber mini-MASS. It's 15 years old, looks rather crude, but works great. The actual speaker load doesn't matter as long at the correct amplifier speaker load required (4 ohm, in your case) is selected.

    Edit: Weber attenuators use a speaker voice coil as the primary element.....
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
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  9. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    I got a Weber Mass Lite. Works as advertised, although I don't think any attenuator can fully replicate and scale what happens at high power levels like a pair of speakers. In that respect, finding some much less efficient speakers (95 db or less) can significantly mute the volume at high power settings.
     
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  10. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've been looking for an attenuator for a long time. I think my general requirements are that the wattage be enough to easily handle the load, and that it have a speaker coil so that its actually working like an attenuator and not just a glorified master volume knob.

    No experience with your amp, sorry.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  11. daveIT

    daveIT Tele-Holic

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    Used to have a Weber Mini Mass when I had my larger amps years ago. It worked great.
     
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  12. johnDH

    johnDH Tele-Meister

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    Are you up for a home-build project?

    For the price in parts of a cheap bought one, you can build a rock-solid reactive attenuator that will easily handle that amp with zero tone change at all settings. A growing number of guys have built them now and tested them with many different amps.

    lts written up here:

    http://www.marshallforum.com/threads/simple-attenuators-design-and-testing.98285/

    Its now a 26 page thread with over 500 posts. But the first post has everything you need to know, then read the journey from the start of the design process if interested.
     
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  13. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    Due to some medical issues (some unfortunate Shake-hand) and serious lack of time, it would be best if I stayed away from any soldering irons or sparky bits at the present.

    I have a friend that loves challenges such as these, so I might drop this in his lap and see what transpires.
     
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  14. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Weber attenuators use a speaker coil.....
     
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  15. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Afflicted

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    I am loving the reactive attenuator that I built using JohnDH's schematic. Sounds so good with my 18 watt clone and PR that I sold my Weber Mini Mass. Great project for anyone that loves to build!
     
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  16. LightningPhil

    LightningPhil Tele-Meister

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    Suggest starting with an L-pad and see if you like it.

    If not turned down too far, they can sound pretty good. On my AC30, even very low it’s great. Probably different to more expensive options, but if you like it, stop there.

    Since an attenuated output to the speakers will prevent breakup, swapping in inefficient clean speakers works well too. Quite like running into a single 10” bass driver. The upshot is more bass and less volume.
     
  17. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    did you do a build thread on it? I don't see that he's using a speaker coil, is that right?
     
  18. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    +1 on the Weber Mass; the 50W version should be sufficient for the Vibroverb.
     
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  19. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Holic

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    I haven't had mine as long but I am pleased with my MiniMass.
    I like that it has compensation for the perceived loss of treble as you decrease loudness.
    I also like the line level out: you can use this to play your amp direct into a board or digital interface.
    The fact that it is a speaker voice coil makes the amp behave the way it was designed.

    I do think the higher level digital reactive load attenuators offer some advantages at massively more cost.
    The Weber attenuators are a nice "in between" option.
     
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  20. johnDH

    johnDH Tele-Meister

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    The Marshall forum thread linked above has full build details, analysis, testing and sound samples, with several build reports.

    It doesnt use a speaker motor, it has two inductor coils (similar to as found in speaker x-overs) that are in balance to provide a consistent reactive response. So unlike other designs (eg Weber), it needs no treble compensation.
     
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