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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since this keeps cropping up everywhere, I thought it deserved its own thread.

I have some experience with an old Tom Scholz Power Soak with a '69 Super Reverb, and thought it was pretty cool until I talked to my amp tech about these things. His comments aside :lol:, I haven't yet tried one of the Weber MASS units, but I keep hearing good things about them, and definitely want to try one with my Sovtek head.

I found a couple lengthy write-ups on the Weber MASS and the THD Hotplate:
Weber MASS Attenuator
THD Hot Plate
...and another I've not heard of (new, apparently):
New Product Preview! "The Ultimate Attenuator"
 

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I can only speak for my experiences with the THD, but I'm a big fan of the thing. With Bright and Deep switches engaged, even -16db of attenuation is still pretty transparent, and with my Rectoverb it was the difference between an amp that was pretty toneful in safe bedroom jamming levels, and something thin and fizzy until it was WAY too loud for home use.

For the Roadster, I'm running it at -8db most of the time, and really if there's any real tonal change, I'm having a hard time hearing it. :yesway:
 

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Dream Crusher
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How are they 'bad' for your output transformers?
 

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ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹɐln&#38
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If anyone ever sees any items advertised as "attenuators" *cough*eBay*cough* that go into your FX LOOP, they are NOT real attenuators. Sure they may have a good use for certain setups, but don't get fooled!
 

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Dream Crusher
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If anyone ever sees any items advertised as "attenuators" *cough*eBay*cough* that go into your FX LOOP, they are NOT real attenuators. Sure they may have a good use for certain setups, but don't get fooled!
Yeah, those are a total rip-off. They don't really do anything aside from suck high end.
 

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How are they 'bad' for your output transformers?
Leon's tech may disagree, but a properly designed one isn't. A transformer doesn't care where the load is coming from as long as it's there.

A poorly designed one? It's dangerous in that, well, evidently the Marshall Power Brakes have a bad habit of just dying, and if a attenuator is serving as a load and then suddenly that load isn't there anymore, bam, there goes the transformer. :lol:
 

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ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹɐln&#38
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I used to hang out at one the Marshall forums years ago. Never really heard many complaints about the Power Brake, but then again most attenuator owners that also hung out there had Webers/THD's anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My amp tech probably has a lot of experience with ones blowing up, but as far as electronics go, it seems that there have been some fantastic improvements in design over the past couple of years.

The idea isn't really that it's just a load, it's what kind of load, and how does it respond to the output from the transformer. OT's are built to have the kind of load represented by a speaker, and not a candy-bar resistor. You can probably build an OT specifically for one, but then it's not going to sound good sans attenuator.

That's probably why I'm the most intrigued by the MASS, since it actually has moving speaker parts within it. You're still hitting a speaker, there's simply no cone for it to make any noise. So, your OT is still happy because it still sees a load that it was built to handle.

The Hotplate seems to have something in between the speaker motor and the giant resistor, which looks interesting...
 

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I had a Weber Mass and I thought it sounded like absolute donkey shit. I much preferred the tone of my Dragon turned down to turning it up to like 6-7 on the master and attenuating. That amp sounded great at like 1 :lol:
 

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I'm with Drew on this one. I run my Mark IV at -4 or -8dbs almost all the time.
Same thing with my 5150 II.
I don't even try to get the "bedroom" volume sound , it just doesn't work (for me anyway), but for bringing down to volume so that the amp is usable at home?
perfect.:yesway:
I couldn't have even used my Rectoverb at home when I had if I didn't use my hotplate.:D
 

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Another Hotplate user here. I've used it on both the JSX I had and my DC, and it works well.
 

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Dream Crusher
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^ Holy Jesus, how do they justify that unit being three to four times as much as the next competitor?!?
 

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How hot does it get? How hard do you hit it?
The harder I hit it, the hotter it gets. :D

I used it last night (playing through a Mesa DC-5, 50 watt head) for about 30 minutes with the pre-amp volume around 2 and power amp volume at 5 and it was warm to the touch. When it was switched off, it was really loud!

I made it a few years ago so I don't remember how much it cost to make, but the article says a 100w version would cost about $85. The article gives Mouser part #'s, so you could look them up if you want.
 

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Good news, Everyone!
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You should install some heat displacement fins and a little fan in there.

And some LED's :lol:
LEDs are the most important part!

I might have to make a two-channel version of that. my Mesa in low-power mode is only 15w, and it can still get ball-crushingly loud.
 
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