Looking for advice on an amp attenuator

Discussion in 'Amp Tech Center' started by Tenderfoot, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I see, is there a reason the group is playing so much quieter? My group practices at near stage volume. Can they crank it up on their end to meet you? It just seems that you know what you want in a sound and would be better off finding a way to play at that level without going to a attenuator which will alter your sound some....you never get exactly what you want to hear. Have you discussed it with the others in the group, might be they are wishing they were playing louder as well, but didn't want to say anything.

    I just don't think you will be fully happy with any attenuator so why waste the money. Engineer out the issue and play it at the level that you prefer is my advice (which means virtually nothing)
     
  2. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Holic

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    Milspec,

    First of all your advice does mean something. You make a valid point about attenuators (as others have) and as a result of your and other TDPRI members replies to this thread; I have declined the offer to purchase the attenuator (at least for now). While, as previously mentioned in this thread, a 5157 or 12AY7 preamp tube didn't get me where I wanted to be. I decided to revisited using a lower gain preamp tube (as suggested in this thread) and started searching the web. I found that NOS/ANOS 5157 and NOS GE 12AX7 Long Grey Plate preamp tubes were the ones to use and not the recent preamp tubes (which thin out the tone and are harsh in a lot of cases). I just might spend $30 to $50 on an ANOS 5157 and see what happens.

    FYI, I do not play with a group. It's just my friend and I and sometimes one other person. We sing but do not have a PA setup so need to keep the volume down below our (senior but not quite Walter Brennan) voices.

    Again thanks for your input helping me get to where I want to be with tone.

    Tenderfoot
     
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  3. Woollymonster

    Woollymonster Tele-Meister

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    The seller in your original post offers a 14 day return policy. Why not give it a shot? Then you can let us know.

    I actually had one of those 64 Custom Shop Hand Wired amps on order. But I backed out knowing it was just going to be too loud at home. What a great amp though if you can let it breath.

    If you do get another amp, I would look at the Carr Sportsman for some great vintage Black Face tone that is capable of bedroom volume. It has a great reverb but no tremolo. I use a pedal for that. Carr has great built in attenuators that DON'T such tone. I also now own the Mercury V. No way I would sell that Fender. What a great classic.

     
  4. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Holic

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    Thanks Woollymonster for the input and video links (which I have previously watched in the past). Actually was waiting for Infinity Guitars in Houston to get a couple of Carr's in stock but there was a long lead time and the 64 DRHW became available and just won me over. I had been waiting for a HW Fender BF amp for a long time and just couldn't resist the opportunity to own one again. I even sold my Tone King Imperial to help with funding the 64 DRHW.

    I will not part with the 64 DRHW and it will pass along to my adult son when I depart this earth.

    While getting an attenuator is currently on hold (going to try an ANOS 5157 first) I did ask the seller to contact me if they decided to offer a price reduction (they are now standing firm on the $285). If I get the attenuator Acorn or other, I will post a review on this thread.

    Tenderfoot
     
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  5. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Me neither, but just thinking about how you might accomplish your goal! To my ears a Volume pedal does about the same tone kill as an Attenuator.
     
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  6. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Attenuators in general are good at knocking a cranked amp down a few decibels for stage use. If you want to bring a loud cranked amp down to bedroom levels with no tone / response change, you’ll need to go much higher up the food chain, to a reamper like the Fryette power station.
     
  7. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    IMHO...Use the DR for what it's meant for, a larger room. Maybe just save your pennies and invest in any one of the many outstanding 5 watt tube amplifiers out there. (Even a 12 watt PR or Pro Jr. is VERY loud in a home.) I don't believe your DR is going to sound like a DR with an attenuator unless you go for one of the $700 plus options (Universal OX, etc.) It would be like buying a classic Chevy muscle car and ripping out the Muncie M22 comp transmission and putting in a Chevy automatic so you don't have to use a clutch. Convenient, yes, but just not the same thing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
  8. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Holic

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    Thanks Wayne Alexander, I am looking at possibly moving up the food chain if need be.
     
  9. Festofish

    Festofish Tele-Meister

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    Carvin Legacy(Hot rodded Marshall) into an Egnater stereo 4x12.
     
  10. Treehouse

    Treehouse TDPRI Member

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    Hey festofish, what about the Legacy makes it a hot rodded Marshall?

    Don’t mean to derail. I sold a Weber mass and picked up a 5f2a clone and love its low volume tones!
     
  11. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Holic

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    Thanks Greggorios, I understand your point but (as I have tried to explain in this thread) I want to use my 64 DRHW for both home and gigs (if I ever return to doing them). Most (if not all) of the attenuators are manual in changing (shifting) db levels but do so more like a semi-automatic transmission.
     
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  12. Treehouse

    Treehouse TDPRI Member

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    Ok, well how about adding a drive pedal?
     
  13. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Holic

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    Thanks Treehouse, good suggestion but I already have a couple of overdrive type pedals; but that's not the sound I am going for. I want clean but with the fullness that you get when the tubes are just about, but not quite, in saturation mode.
     
  14. Festofish

    Festofish Tele-Meister

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    That’s the design. It’s a Vai signature head with el34s so...Marshall-y.
     
  15. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Friend of Leo's

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    Think about what you mean by “fullness that you get when the tubes are just about, but not quite, in saturation mode.” That “fullness” may no longer be available when you’re no longer moving as much air.

    Yes, the Acorn is passive. It doesn't require any power. All the energy it uses comes from the amp. Most attenuators are passive. A little box with a single volume control that plugs into the effects loop (NOT between speaker and amp) is not an attenuator. It's a box with a volume control knob, just like a volume pedal. It works the same as a Master Volume.

    The attenuator you're looking at says it has “the final, lowest level wired to a separate control to bring your volume down to 1-2 watt levels”. Two watts will still be substantially louder than the TV while you play in the same room.

    Many do not like attenuators. They do change the sound. So does turning the volume of any amp down from 10 to 1. I prefer pedals, but I have pedals that do the same thing as an attenuator (to MY ear). Pedals are smaller and easier to use than attenuators.
    That said, I’ve been using an attenuator with a PRRI in order to get silence from the amp speaker and also get a decent sound through headphones. My opinion so far is your ears get “used to” what you like, and when things change, they’re automatically “bad”. If you do get an attenuator, I’d encourage you to use it exclusively to get your ears accustomed. No solution to get “cranked amp at zero volume” will actually work (LOL), but we can trick our ears into thinking so.

    You’re going to need two speaker cables. One goes from the speaker output on the amp to the attenuator. The other will have push-on clips to go from the attenuator to the actual speaker. The current cable attached to the speaker in the DRRI won’t reach. You can leave both cables attached to the speaker in the amp (there are two sets of connectors on the speaker itself). Just wrap the long cable up in a t-shirt when not in use, and stuff it between the reverb tank and the cab.
     
  16. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Holic

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    Thanks, E. Valencia for your comments have a lot of valid points for me to consider.
     
  17. King Creole

    King Creole Friend of Leo's

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    I use a Weber Mini Mass with my Bassman and it works quite well to knock a little volume down at stage volume. Attenuators don’t work well to bring a raging amp down to bedroom volume. A modeling amp would be better for home practice.
     
  18. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Holic

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    Thanks, King Creole your comments are noted.
     
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  19. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

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    @Tenderfoot

    I've just seen this thread and only skimmed it, sorry 'bout that, I'll read it soon. That said, not all attenuators ruin tone and response. There are some "active" units (like the Fryette Power Station or Bad-Cat Unleash) that are actually a dummy load box with an extra amplifier to drive and control the volume of your speaker. Of the passive models on the market, the Weber MiniMass is pretty OK, although over the sweep of its continuously variable knob there are only a couple or three "sweet spots" where it doesn't mess much with your tone, on amps up to 35-ish watts. Where those "sweet spots" wind up is somewhat dependent on the amp you're using it with. Another option is building one (with medium soldering skills) with stepped operation. The one I am linking has each switch position be a "sweet spot!" Though the whole thread is a long read, the most pertinent parts for building are in the last few pages of this thread at the Marshall forum:

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

    And while the thread is a long read, anyone interested in the technical details and testing procedures may find it quite interesting.

    FWIW, I've built a couple of these of slightly different configurations and plan to have one installed in every amp I ever own, and possibly a cabinet or two! This is by far the best passive I've ever seen and I've been trying (and hating most) attenuators since the late seventies!

    Check It Out!
    Gene
     
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  20. johnDH

    johnDH Tele-Meister

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    Thanks Gene

    Hi @Tenderfoot
    If you'd like to try a workshop project, I can help you figure out what you need to build one of these to suit your needs. The parts add up to under $100 and you can build it bomb-proof for that. Its designed with reactive circuitry to have no tonal change down to as low as you want to go Take a look at the first post, then jump to p27 onwards for the latest.
     
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