Attenuator, Power Soaks

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Thread: Attenuator, Power Soaks

  1. #1

    Join Date: Oct 2012
    Location: Colorado
    ME: Blackjack SLS C-1
    Rig: Peavey VYPYR 75

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    Attenuator, Power Soaks

    Are amps power limiters like Blackstar, Bugera, H&K use that go from like 100 watts down to 10, or 36/18/10/5 the same thing as using an attenuator with an amp that doesn't have this feature?

    I'm in the market for a new amplifier. I am not in a band and I do most of my playing at bedroom level.

    I would like an amplifier that that can play dark and dirty at volumes that won't cause my wife and neighbors to kill me.

    I guess I'm not sure if low wattage amplifiers will get the job done

    Would it better to have high wattage amplifier with a power soak or attenuator or a lower wattage amplifier like say a Blackstar HT 5 Metal.


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  2. #2

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: 7th plane of ethereal hell
    ME: Ibanez UV7PWH
    Rig: Mesa Roadking II

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    I use a THD hotplate with my Mesa at home, and with the 5150. It does a very good job, plus, if i change amps, I still have an attenuator.

    Not sure if the amp attenuation is the same as an attenuator, as it's via a pot control, whereas on attenuators you have settings, ie, -4db,-12db,-16 etc

    Me personally, I'd buy an attenuator, and then get the amp you want.

  3. #3

    Join Date: Aug 2013
    Location: Canada
    ME: PRS Torero
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    Usually an amp that has wattage settings changes the wattage it's running at, so you'd end up with slight differences in sound. An attenuator just knocks off volume. The further down you go (no matter which route you take) you will notice some tone loss, but depending on the unit it's more than likely our ears than the unit itself doing that.

    My attenuator knocks off 12db and lets me crank a 50w amp up to 5 on the master in church, haha. I just finished posting this in another thread so I'll just quote me:

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Broadsword View Post
    Check this thing out:

    It's a DIY attenuator (similar to the power plug you can buy on ebay for $100) that knocks off 12db, which is pretty dang substantial. Not hard to build and a fun project if you're into that. Does not suck tone in any way whatsoever.. been using mine for a long time and I can't hear any tone degradation and hardly even gets warm to the touch. The power plug says it adds in some treble or something to compensate but it shouldn't need it tbh.

  4. #4

    Join Date: Oct 2008
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    I use the 1W Marshalls. Sound great at non ear-raping levels.

    All of my amps have good master volumes, though, and sound great at bedroom levels.
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  5. #5

    Join Date: Jul 2013
    Location: Massachusetts
    ME: Jackson SLSMG
    Rig: Mesa/Boogie Rocket 44

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    You might want to skip the attenuator and simply use an amp with a master volume. Twice I have used power attenuators and been disappointed with the results. I think the problem is that it's the loudness that's appealing, and you can only get that by playing loud. I once used a Peavey VTM120. When I played it with the master volume on 10 and used a power attenuator, the amp did not sound any better to me at low volume with the power attenuator than it did at low volume with the master volume turned down. Many people say that they can tell the difference, but I did not.

  6. #6

    Join Date: Aug 2013
    Location: Canada
    ME: PRS Torero
    Rig: Dual Recto reborn

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    I mic my class 5 so for fun I tried heavily attenuated (orpheus class5 attenuator) VS full volume. The difference is sustain and room resonation, which are wicked but you can live without them.

    I agree with above about just using the master volume though. Unless you're going for power tube saturation it doesn't matter, except that tube amps generally have a threshold somewhere around 1-3 on the volume where it doesn't sound awesome lower than that.

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