#1
Hey dudes! I'm in the process of sprucing up my Peavey Triple XXX Super 40 combo, a 40 watt all tube amp made expressly for metal.

I'll be re-tubing with hand-selected JJ's by none other than the most worthy Bob Pletka, and I'll be setting my bias hotter for a higher dissipation for a warmer tone. Worry not all ye "don't fry your tubes looking for the brown-out tone" peoples, I'm not going higher than 85% dissipation or so.

Anyways, during the spruce-up process, I was thinking that I rarely turn the amp up past about a 1/4 in my home, and up to about 2/3rds at gigs, since I'm always mic'd. I was thinking about this, and also thinking about attenuators and such things, and I came across a dilemma, should I:

1 - Buy an attenuator so I can work the amp harder at home ( like I said I'm rarely above 25% power in the house ).

2 - Swap out for a speaker with about 2-4dB less sensitivity, thus knocking down the volume by a good bit and again, working the amp harder at considerably lower volume levels. Basically the same end result as step 1, but with less flexibility. Maybe better tone though, as the speaker is a stock Peavey 1x12.

3 - It's not worth the trouble since I play high-gain music where most of the goods are going to come from the pre-amp anyways.


The reason for #3 is that I have never had the opportunity to play an attenuated high gain amp, and I'm not entirely sure that is necessarily a phenomenal idea, although the thing sounds absolutely STUNNING when I'm gigging or just playing loud enough, wherever it may be, to get the amp running hot. I would love to get that sound at lower levels. That's why I started down this attenuation path in the first place, but maybe you guys have tried attenuators on higher-gain amps and that isn't such a sweet idea? Would a lower sensitivity speaker swap yield better tone dividends than simply attenuating?


Any suggestions?
#2
First off, I'd steer clear of eurotubes. Bad stories and he only sells JJs and not for any cheaper than anywhere else.

I wouldn't do an attenuator personally. I used one for a long time and came to the conclusion they don't really work all that well.

The speaker is a good idea and I'd consider doing that no matter what. I wouldn't worry about the sensitivity a whole bunch and just focus on getting a good speaker. 2-4 dbs is not a very big difference, it's actually just barely enough to notice. Not to mention you'll probably have a hard time finding the sensitivity of your current speaker and then matching it up with the many ways speaker companies measure the sensitivity of their speakers.

I wouldn't say it's not worth the trouble, you have to decide that. If you like the tone it gets at higher volumes then I'd say it's a good idea. Just consider that it may just be because it's loud and not that you're driving the amp harder. Not saying it's one way or the other, just food for thought. I will say that if you enjoy tight riffage you probably aren't gonna like having a lot of power tube distortion, its saggy and fuzzy and not conducive for tight, fast riffage IMO.

Now that that's out of the way lemme give you one more option (I know, don't hate me ). Reamping. All you need is a load box with a line out and a power amp. You can get a cheap load box from weber speakers and then a crate power block off ebay for a grand total of about 150~200 dollars. You can fully crank your amp and take it to whisper volumes with virtually no tone loss. This is what I do. It's awesome, you can set your master volume to the point where everything sounds best and use the power amp to control overall volume. As long as I'm above medium TV volumes I can notice no difference in tone except for, a) it doesn't hurt my ears b) I don't get speaker distortion of any kind.

If any of that's confusing I'm glad to clarify

I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#3
Quote by Kevin Saale
First off, I'd steer clear of eurotubes. Bad stories and he only sells JJs and not for any cheaper than anywhere else.

I wouldn't do an attenuator personally. I used one for a long time and came to the conclusion they don't really work all that well.

The speaker is a good idea and I'd consider doing that no matter what. I wouldn't worry about the sensitivity a whole bunch and just focus on getting a good speaker. 2-4 dbs is not a very big difference, it's actually just barely enough to notice. Not to mention you'll probably have a hard time finding the sensitivity of your current speaker and then matching it up with the many ways speaker companies measure the sensitivity of their speakers.


I wouldn't say it's not worth the trouble, you have to decide that. If you like the tone it gets at higher volumes then I'd say it's a good idea. Just consider that it may just be because it's loud and not that you're driving the amp harder. Not saying it's one way or the other, just food for thought. I will say that if you enjoy tight riffage you probably aren't gonna like having a lot of power tube distortion, its saggy and fuzzy and not conducive for tight, fast riffage IMO.

Now that that's out of the way lemme give you one more option (I know, don't hate me ). Reamping. All you need is a load box with a line out and a power amp. You can get a cheap load box from weber speakers and then a crate power block off ebay for a grand total of about 150~200 dollars. You can fully crank your amp and take it to whisper volumes with virtually no tone loss. This is what I do. It's awesome, you can set your master volume to the point where everything sounds best and use the power amp to control overall volume. As long as I'm above medium TV volumes I can notice no difference in tone except for, a) it doesn't hurt my ears b) I don't get speaker distortion of any kind.

If any of that's confusing I'm glad to clarify




I understood that paragraph in bold about 80% of the way, you're going to have to fill in the other 20% for me Didn't quite get the trick of what that set up does.


As for Eurotubes, I've been ordering from Bob for years and have received nothing but the highest quality service and products from him. He is a true master of customer service, and I have spent many an hour in e-mail communication with the man. He really cares about tubes, about customers, and about thier needs. He has spent a lot of time typing out very detailed responses and recommendation to my each and every question, offering insight to my tube-troubles, and guiding me through re-pairs and mods personally. I would recommend him and his business to anyone and everyone!


As for the dB thing, I have a question for you: I am under the impression that since doubling the power in a tube amp literally only increases the VOLUME by 3dB according to the exponential relationship between tube power and volume pressure, that decreasing the sensitivity of ones speaker by 3dB is (in regards to volume as obviously no speaker swap changes the actual wattage of your amp) like reducing the amps power by half. Obviously, I could get much juicer sounds out of a 20 watt combo at the same volume level as a 40 watt combo. This concept was put forward by Dave Hunter, the former editor of Guitar Magazine (UK), a tube amp designer and builder, and also the author of The Guitar Amp Handbook: Understanding Tube Amplifiers and Getting Great Sounds. I don't know why, but every time I bring up that concept here everyone says it won't work, yet an amp builder of decades of experience says it will. I have not had the opportunity to try it for myself, but I'll take the amp builders word until I've seen it proven otherwise.


Could you talk a little more about why you don't like attenuators? What kinds have you used, and what "doesn't work" about them? Also I'm itching to understand your re-amping setup, I haven't quite gotten my hear around that.
#4
As far as bob goes, I never trust someone who only sells one brand. I mean, what do you expect him to suggest but jjs? If you've had good experience with him congrats, I'm just saying. it's not important either way.

3db isn't very much. I totally agree having a speaker that is 3dbs more efficient will have the same effect as doubling wattage. It's still not a very big difference. Another problem is the not every company rates their speakers the same (some rate the highest efficiency they ever reach, which maybe be at a stupid frequency that isn't audible. An exaggeration, but you see my point.) Finding the rating on the peavey speaker might be tricky too and seeing as it's crap it may well be a low efficiency speaker. I'd say focus on a complimentary speaker, that should help your tone more than anything.

Honestly, I don't know why reamping works, it just plain does. You don't lose dynamics and you don't get the treble sucked out either. The eq on the power block works great having it after the power tube saturation to control the over all sound. I set the eq on the BJr to where the dynamics, and feel of the amp are right, the eq on the power amp fills in the gaps.

I used a weber miniMASS and still do (but as a load box now). Light attenuation it does a pretty good job (light now not in amount, but light as in not quiet) of getting cranked tone to liveable volumes, but nothing like tv volumes. At quieter bedroom volumes it kills treble and sucks dynamics. The weber mass series is supposed to be one of the better attenuators out there, unfortunately I've never been able to try any other kind of attenuator to compare.

In my mind attenuators are suited for bringing a cranked plexi or the like to stage volumes, not for bringing amps down to bedroom or practice volumes. Considering you can build a superior reamping rig for not much more it seems like a better option, to me anyways.

Just to be clear, you understand how the set up is connected, yes? You were just asking why it works?
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#5
Quote by Kevin Saale
Reamping. All you need is a load box with a line out and a power amp. You can get a cheap load box from weber speakers and then a crate power block off ebay for a grand total of about 150~200 dollars.


The Weber Mass Lite 100w attenuator with an added line-out would be a good choice, no?

https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/masslite.htm

I got one a few weeks back, and I'm digging it.
#6
With these amps, it's key to run the master volume very high and adjust the channel volumes for volume preference. This will push the poweramp harder while still getting the high gain from the preamp. Noise will come with this though, so a noise gate/suppressor is recommended.
You may also want to consider putting a lower wattage speaker in the amp so you can get earlier speaker breakup at lower volume levels. This will help low volume high gain tones sound warmer and more crunchy. Something that is either 50 or 60 watts would be good.
MARSHALL JVM 210H
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#7
Quote by Kevin Saale
As far as bob goes, I never trust someone who only sells one brand. I mean, what do you expect him to suggest but jjs? If you've had good experience with him congrats, I'm just saying. it's not important either way.

3db isn't very much. I totally agree having a speaker that is 3dbs more efficient will have the same effect as doubling wattage. It's still not a very big difference. Another problem is the not every company rates their speakers the same (some rate the highest efficiency they ever reach, which maybe be at a stupid frequency that isn't audible. An exaggeration, but you see my point.) Finding the rating on the peavey speaker might be tricky too and seeing as it's crap it may well be a low efficiency speaker. I'd say focus on a complimentary speaker, that should help your tone more than anything.

Honestly, I don't know why reamping works, it just plain does. You don't lose dynamics and you don't get the treble sucked out either. The eq on the power block works great having it after the power tube saturation to control the over all sound. I set the eq on the BJr to where the dynamics, and feel of the amp are right, the eq on the power amp fills in the gaps.

I used a weber miniMASS and still do (but as a load box now). Light attenuation it does a pretty good job (light now not in amount, but light as in not quiet) of getting cranked tone to liveable volumes, but nothing like tv volumes. At quieter bedroom volumes it kills treble and sucks dynamics. The weber mass series is supposed to be one of the better attenuators out there, unfortunately I've never been able to try any other kind of attenuator to compare.

In my mind attenuators are suited for bringing a cranked plexi or the like to stage volumes, not for bringing amps down to bedroom or practice volumes. Considering you can build a superior reamping rig for not much more it seems like a better option, to me anyways.

Just to be clear, you understand how the set up is connected, yes? You were just asking why it works?


Unfortunately, no, I don't ! I was asking you to explain that because I have never heard of re-amping first, and second I don't understand it in theory ( as in what is actually going on with the amps, signals, ect. ), and thirdly I don't understand it in application, as in how to set it up. Could you explain what a re-amp set is DOING, and then how to do it myself?


Also, I guess this is my thought on the 3dB switch: yes 3dB isn't very much volume difference, but getting the SAME volume with a 20 watt amp and with a 40 watt amp are very different things. Lets pretend you set up your 40 watt amp on clean right before breakup. Now you set the 20 watt amp at the same VOLUME as the 40 watt amp, but as we know the 20 watt amp will perform differently at that same volume than the 40 watt will. While the 40 watt is nearly out of headroom, the 20 watt will be over the edge into overdrive territory, and in generally will be working harder to get that same level of volume, probably sound a bit warmer, and be more ( at the risk of using a cliche ) "alive" sounding.

That's what I mean by the appreciable difference attained by "halving the power" in swapping for a lower sensitivity speaker. The VOLUME difference won't be cataclysmic, but the PERFORMANCE at those different volumes will be noticeably different.


As for the stock speaker it's actually not bad at all. Many folks have swapped speakers only to stick the stock back in on this combo. The amp has an MSRP of $1050 and the Peavey XXX line had a Sheffield loudspeaker specifically designed and voiced for them, and this amp is loaded with one. Here are the specs:

* 12"
* Impedance: 16 Ohms
* Power capacity: 200 W Peak 100 W Program 50 W Continuous
* Sensitivity: 97.8 dB 1 Watt / 1 meter
* Usable frequency range: 70 Hz ~ 6.5 kHz
* Cone: Paper with treated paper edge
* Voice coil diameter: 1.75” / 44.5 mm
* Voice coil material: 2 layers, thermally bonded copper wire Nomex®
* former Nomex®
* stiffener
* Net weight lb. / kg: 10.4 lbs. / 4.7 kg
* Weight Packed: 13.00 lb(5.896 kg)
* Width Packed: 6.37
* Depth Packed: 16.25
* Height Packed: 15.12

Not that the speaker in there now is godly per se, but it certainly isn't crap. It's 2.2dB lower than a Vintage 30 though, I might not ever be able to find a 12'' with a dB rating 3dB lower than that. Hmm.


Which leaves me no closer to a decision...sigh....as the great Eor of Winnie the Pooh would say, "Oh bother."


I like the idea about getting a speaker with a lower wattage rating also, although I'm not sure which of those wattage ratings up there my speaker is actually running at. One would guess its the 50w continues rating, in which case swapping out for a lower power speaker would not be an especially awesome idea, hahaa, considering the amp is an extremely aggressive 40 watts, I don't think taking it below 50 would serve anyone's purposes. If you guys can interpret those ratings for me and tell me what it's actually running at, I would like to investigate dropping in a speaker that is not only less sensitive, but less powerful too.
#8
Speaker efficiency has a very dramatic effect on amp volume. Anyone who says otherwise has never swapped out a greenback for a G12.
One problem you'll run into is that different manufacturers rate their speakers differently, so a 100 dB speaker from celestion might be louder than a 100dB from Eminence. Eminence numbers are particularly inflated.

Another factor here is speaker breakup. At a certain volume point the speaker itself will begin to introduce some distortion. Since you've got a 50W speaker in a 40W amp, you can't really get a lower wattage speaker to exploit that, and there's really no way to get speaker distortion at lower volumes outside of physically dampening the sound.

In any event, looking at less efficient speakers is a good idea. Other ideas would be to get a hotter set of power tubes, hotter preamp tubes, and making a simple L-pad attenuator to knock just a few dB off the top. A good approach to lower volume usually involves making small adjustments on several fronts, since being too drastic in one category usually destroys your tone.

Good speakers for that amp in the lower dB range would include the Celestion G12-65 and G12T-75.
#9
Quote by Roc8995
Speaker efficiency has a very dramatic effect on amp volume. Anyone who says otherwise has never swapped out a greenback for a G12.
One problem you'll run into is that different manufacturers rate their speakers differently, so a 100 dB speaker from celestion might be louder than a 100dB from Eminence. Eminence numbers are particularly inflated.

Another factor here is speaker breakup. At a certain volume point the speaker itself will begin to introduce some distortion. Since you've got a 50W speaker in a 40W amp, you can't really get a lower wattage speaker to exploit that, and there's really no way to get speaker distortion at lower volumes outside of physically dampening the sound.

In any event, looking at less efficient speakers is a good idea. Other ideas would be to get a hotter set of power tubes, hotter preamp tubes, and making a simple L-pad attenuator to knock just a few dB off the top. A good approach to lower volume usually involves making small adjustments on several fronts, since being too drastic in one category usually destroys your tone.

Good speakers for that amp in the lower dB range would include the Celestion G12-65 and G12T-75.



Thanks for the advice friend! What's an L-pad attenuator? If you can't tell I'm new to the world of attenuation and other such tricks. I'm not new to building though, so if I can I'll do it.

One question on your speaker recommendations: they are only .8dB less sensitive than the speaker I have now, and they are both 15 watts more powerful...will the difference be very appreciable?
#10
I had it in my head that the Sheffield was a more efficient speaker than that. Again, the brand difference means that you won't know the effect on volume until you change the speaker, so that's probably not a good option.

An L-pad is a couple resistors used to make a very, very simple attenuator. The advantage to the L-pad is that it's very easy to make and also very cheap. You can get a few different resistors to experiment with different levels of attenuation, or add a switch/dial/pot/rheostat for further options. Here's a good start:
http://www.webervst.com/lpad.htm

Since it's such a small circuit, you can put it right into your amp if you like, with a switch or jack to go in between normal and attenuated output. Just remember to allow for proper heat dissipation.

The one I use on my Marshall is approximately a 7dB reduction which is fairly drastic but allows for 15W use live and 3W use for practicing in my apartment.
#11
Quote by Kevin Saale
Honestly, I don't know why reamping works, it just plain does.
That's what many doctors say about many medicines

/pointless post
Then there's this band called Slice The Cake...

Bunch of faggots putting random riffs together and calling it "progressive" deathcore.
Stupid name.
Probably picked "for teh lulz"

Mod in UG's Official Gain Whores
#12
I don't want to steal Kevin's thunder here, but I'll have a go at explaining how reamping works.

Imagine for a moment that your combo is made up of two seperate parts, like a head and cab. This is your signal path with an attenuator:

Head (power and preamp) --->Attenuator --->Speakers

This allows you to practise at lower volumes, but the suppression of sound can lead to you losing at least some tone.

Reamping is a similar concept, but it involves no noise surpression AS SUCH.

Here's your signal path for reamping:

Head (power and preamp) --->Load Box --->Second Power Amp --->Speakers

First, a load box:

What a load box does is give something for the current from the speaker lead to run through so that it has the correct resistance (you know what happens when you turn an amp on with no speakers connected right?) This is in effect pretending to be a cab so that your amp doesn't blow up. You might be thinking, what is the point of a load box? All it does is stop the sound dead. BUT, most load boxes have a line out, which gives a line-level signal (like the signal your guitar gives out, or a preamp) which you can then send somewhere else.

Where do you send this now line level signal? The second power amp. Thus, you can crank up your amp as much as you want, because the load box just turns it into a line level signal, with your cranked up tone intact. It's sent to the second power amp, and you can adjust your volume on that to taste, and then the second power amp turns it back into a speaker level signal which connects to the speakers.

The only tonal loss you could concievably lose is because such a low volume is not pushing the speakers as much, but that is pretty insignificant.
...
#13
^Thank you, that sounds right to me. Having less volume affects tone as well because of the way we interpret different frequencies at different volumes. At low volumes we're much more sensitive to middle freqs so when you go very quiet it'll seem like you're losing lows and highs, that's where the eq on the power amp really comes in handy to fill in the voids so to speak.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#14
Quote by bartdevil_metal
I don't want to steal Kevin's thunder here, but I'll have a go at explaining how reamping works.

Imagine for a moment that your combo is made up of two seperate parts, like a head and cab. This is your signal path with an attenuator:

Head (power and preamp) --->Attenuator --->Speakers

This allows you to practise at lower volumes, but the suppression of sound can lead to you losing at least some tone.

Reamping is a similar concept, but it involves no noise surpression AS SUCH.

Here's your signal path for reamping:

Head (power and preamp) --->Load Box --->Second Power Amp --->Speakers

First, a load box:

What a load box does is give something for the current from the speaker lead to run through so that it has the correct resistance (you know what happens when you turn an amp on with no speakers connected right?) This is in effect pretending to be a cab so that your amp doesn't blow up. You might be thinking, what is the point of a load box? All it does is stop the sound dead. BUT, most load boxes have a line out, which gives a line-level signal (like the signal your guitar gives out, or a preamp) which you can then send somewhere else.

Where do you send this now line level signal? The second power amp. Thus, you can crank up your amp as much as you want, because the load box just turns it into a line level signal, with your cranked up tone intact. It's sent to the second power amp, and you can adjust your volume on that to taste, and then the second power amp turns it back into a speaker level signal which connects to the speakers.

The only tonal loss you could concievably lose is because such a low volume is not pushing the speakers as much, but that is pretty insignificant.



The only question I have left after that eloquent and effective description is this: what affect does running my signal through an entire new power amp have? Won't that power amp impart a good deal of "sonic artifacts" to my tone? Or not?

It seems like a bit of a go-around to spend all this time and money perfecting my amp's tone with speaker swapping, re-biasing, tube-tasting, and that's not even to mention all the things that go BEFORE the amp, like the hand-wound pickups, the high quality cables, the clean power sourcing, the boutique quality true bypass pedals, the custom-gauge all nickle strings.....you want me to run all that effort into a solid state power amp I can get on eBay for $115???


Defend yourself man.


Maybe I'm being close minded about this and running all that glory into a $115 SS power amp WON'T hassle my tone, but I would like an explanation of why it won't, because my intuition is screaming at the top of it's lungs that it will.


One more question for you Roc8995: Since the case is that the speaker is already pretty low sensitivity, your suggesting I not bother swapping speakers if my ultimate goal is to reduce volume since I'll never quite know if I'm getting the effect I want until I've actually bought the speaker, correct?
#15
Quote by lumberjack

It seems like a bit of a go-around to spend all this time and money perfecting my amp's tone with speaker swapping, re-biasing, tube-tasting, and that's not even to mention all the things that go BEFORE the amp, like the hand-wound pickups, the high quality cables, the clean power sourcing, the boutique quality true bypass pedals, the custom-gauge all nickle strings.....you want me to run all that effort into a solid state power amp I can get on eBay for $115???

I think using something like this -> http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Crate-CPB150-PowerBlock-Stereo-Guitar-Amp?sku=487829 is basically the equivalent to just plugging into a PA system with a volume knob. It won't affect the tone, it'll just mean you can change the volume
Ibanez S320 with Dimarzio Fred + Seymour Duncan 59-> Weeping Demon Wah -> Ibanez TS-7 -> Homemade iBoost x3 -> Keeley DS-1 -> Visual Sound H2O -> MXR Ten Band -> Traynor YCV20
#16
The Crate PB is as clean as it gets (as are pretty much all poweramps) I can detect no coloration at all. SS, pfft, it's not that bad. Your amp is SS rectified and probably has some ss gain stages somewhere in it. Your pedals are solid state. When you get mic'd up its through a solid state amp. All tube doesn't mean all good, just as SS doesn't mean super sucky. I'm not saying a tube power amp wouldn't be better, but we're going for cost effectiveness here.

Rocs suggestions are great too, especially if you're only looking at knocking the volume down a bit.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#17
Yes, I was suggesting that a new speaker is probably a waste.

About the power amp thing: for reamping, you want a really clean, sterile amplification, which is why the cheap SS power amp is ideal. The idea is that even that $100 ebay special SS unit is not going to color your sound all that much. That's an awful thing if you're just plugging your guitar into it, but with a good amp in front it's a great setup. I use a bass amp for reamping; a keyboard amp, hi-fi unit, or anything like that would work just fine as well.
#18
Quote by Kevin Saale
The Crate PB is as clean as it gets (as are pretty much all poweramps) I can detect no coloration at all. SS, pfft, it's not that bad. Your amp is SS rectified and probably has some ss gain stages somewhere in it. Your pedals are solid state. When you get mic'd up its through a solid state amp. All tube doesn't mean all good, just as SS doesn't mean super sucky. I'm not saying a tube power amp wouldn't be better, but we're going for cost effectiveness here.

Rocs suggestions are great too, especially if you're only looking at knocking the volume down a bit.



I'm no stranger to quality SS stuff, so it's not so much that I don't trust it as I was basically just looking for some feedback on the power block I suppose. I'm not a snob as far as "all tubes or all-time-failure" goes, but I was a bit tentative about running all my gear through something so....affordable. I guess. That's not a reasonable notion I know, but it was bothering me.


Another Q for you guys at this point is where I might dig up some more schematics on L-pad attenuators?? The one Roc8995 linked is very basic, and if at all possible I'd like to get/build something I could get some versatility out of, such as being able to dial in the amount of attenuation.....haha, that pretty much puts me back in the "buy an attenuator" ball park.


Kevin you mentioned you don't like the attenuators for squashing the volume, but what if I just used one to cut it down "some"? My interpretation of "bedroom level volume" is considerably louder than most I think, consider I live with a very musically oriented family; there is almost always drums crashing, basses rumbling, pianos clanking, or guitars screeching from somewhere or other, and the nearest neighbor lives about 300 yards away. So, I can get a pretty serious level of volume going, but not enough to really heat up a 40 watt amp. How do you like attenuators for just bringing some of the "action" further back on the volume knob?
#19
They actually do that pretty well IMO. I didn't mind using mine at all as long as I wasn't playing uber quiet. Unfortunately for me my dad hates guitar and his wife more so when they're home I can't be any louder than a tv, a volume level that attenuators don't do well (I had to use full attenuation to go that quiet).
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#20
Quote by lumberjack
The only question I have left after that eloquent and effective description is this: what affect does running my signal through an entire new power amp have? Won't that power amp impart a good deal of "sonic artifacts" to my tone? Or not?

It seems like a bit of a go-around to spend all this time and money perfecting my amp's tone with speaker swapping, re-biasing, tube-tasting, and that's not even to mention all the things that go BEFORE the amp, like the hand-wound pickups, the high quality cables, the clean power sourcing, the boutique quality true bypass pedals, the custom-gauge all nickle strings.....you want me to run all that effort into a solid state power amp I can get on eBay for $115???

Defend yourself man.

Maybe I'm being close minded about this and running all that glory into a $115 SS power amp WON'T hassle my tone, but I would like an explanation of why it won't, because my intuition is screaming at the top of it's lungs that it will.




While it's true that you would ordinarily lose dynamics and clarity by running through SS, a relatively good SS power amp will just make the dynamically enhanced sound you're getting from an all valve power amp LOUDER. The reason this doesn't happen normally is that you've got a SS power amp just amplifying the preamp, so no dynamics are created.

Keep in mind, SS can't create dynamics as well as a valve amp, they can certainly amplify the ones that are already there very cleanly and clearly, providing you get a decent one like a crate powerblock.

As to the cost involved, that's up to whether you feel it's a solid investment. I'm building this sort of rig because at gigs I don't need to turn my amp above two, and in the bedroom above one. I need the clarity at lower volumes. Do you?

IMO, unless you're using a very small amount of attenuation this technique is superior. It also has the added advantage of (depending on what second power amp you get) having a direct out at gigs, and you can always make your amp loud enough for any gig by upgrading the wattage of the second power amp instead of having to buy a higher wattage amp. So (not that this would apply to you, just for anyone else reading) the bluesers can get their little 15w Epiphones smokin', then amplify them through a 300w reamp rig for larger gigs. It's all about what you want, and what I want isn't neccesarily what you do.

I hope this information helps you to make your decision.
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Last edited by bartdevil_metal at Mar 6, 2009,
#21
^Or say you love the tone of your cooking 15 watter but want some crystal clear cleans, just turn the amp down and the power amp up.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#23
Great for adding an FX loop as well. I've not heard of it, but I bet you could aby two amps in one power amp and not have volume issues.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#24
The more you guys explain this concept the more genius it sounds. I've been playing tube amps for years and years, I can't believe I've never heard of re-amping before now...

One note on my volume, Kevin you mentioned you can't get above TV levels, well I can tell you right now that I can play loud enough to the point where things in the room started to shake and scoot around on my desk/dresser/nightstand and I've never in my life been asked to turn down by anyone in my family, hahaa. So maybe a quality attenuator might be all I need?


But pretending I go the re-amp route, it looks like the Crate would be a good option for the amp, but what about the load box? I've at least heard of a few different power amps, but I couldn't name you a single load box. What are some good products to use for that? If I can get the Crate for $115 or so, and I could get a load box for something similar, I might go that route just for kicks. I'm a fan of buying things used if I didn't already say so, and I hang out looking for deals on eBay and craigslist all the time. The re-amp seems like a very useful way to get great tones at low volumes, better than anything I've ever heard proposed to date anyhow.

Any suggestions?
#25
Kevin: That's one of the reasons I'm doing it, for sure. I miss the effects loop my Rocker 30 never had

lumberjack: You could get a specific load box, like this one:

https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/hpa50.htm

But because you're not sure if you want to commit to the reamp idea yet, why not get an attenuator with a line out and see if attenuation does the trick for you. If not, you can se the line out on the attenuator to build a reamping rig. Attenuators like the THD hotplate (http://www.thdelectronics.com/product_page_hotplate.html) can also be used as load boxes, so I think that that would be the logical direction to take.
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#26
Quote by bartdevil_metal
Kevin: That's one of the reasons I'm doing it, for sure. I miss the effects loop my Rocker 30 never had

lumberjack: You could get a specific load box, like this one:

https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/hpa50.htm

But because you're not sure if you want to commit to the reamp idea yet, why not get an attenuator with a line out and see if attenuation does the trick for you. If not, you can se the line out on the attenuator to build a reamping rig. Attenuators like the THD hotplate (http://www.thdelectronics.com/product_page_hotplate.html) can also be used as load boxes, so I think that that would be the logical direction to take.



Wouldn't an attenuator with a line out just be re-routing the attenuated signal to a power amp, thus amplifying the "squashed" attenuator sound? I thought that was something we were trying to avoid.


Or maybe I'm being dumb and a load box is just like an attenuator. But then....wait........what? How are load boxes any different than attenuators, and why wouldn't sending the line out of an attenuator to a power amp just sound squashed like an attenuated amp? What's different about the load box + re-amp set up that preserves the tone?


and here I thought I had finally figured this all out.
#27
No, an attenuator - when it attenuates - results in degradation of tone, slightly. With an attenuator like a THD Hotplate, you can set the dial to make it function as a load box (it doesn't attenuate to 0 and squash the hell out of your sound, don't worry).

You really are testing me to the limits of my knowledge, I'll give you that

The difference between attenuators and load boxes:

Attenuators lower volume while preserving tone (more than if you just turned the volume down anyway) by limiting the amount of power that goes to the speakers. This generally results in a slight degradation and compression.

Load boxes supply the amount of resistance that the amp is expecting to see from a speaker cabinet, and so absorbs the power without limiting it. It then reroutes the sound to a line level out (unfortunatley I have no idea how the sound is extracted to line level. To answer that would be going into deep audio electronics).

I can confirm from first hand experience that there is no degradation of tone from using an attenuator as a load box in this way. (I went round a friends house and tried it with my amp and his power amp - he runs a rack rig).
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Last edited by bartdevil_metal at Mar 6, 2009,
#28
Quote by bartdevil_metal
No, an attenuator - when it attenuates - results in degradation of tone, slightly. With an attenuator like a THD Hotplate, you can set the dial to make it function as a load box (it doesn't attenuate to 0 and squash the hell out of your sound, don't worry).

You really are testing me to the limits of my knowledge, I'll give you that

The difference between attenuators and load boxes:

Attenuators lower volume while preserving tone (more than if you just turned the volume down anyway) by limiting the amount of power that goes to the speakers. This generally results in a slight degradation and compression.

Load boxes supply the amount of resistance that the amp is expecting to see from a speaker cabinet, and so absorbs the power without limiting it. It then reroutes the sound to a line level out (unfortunatley I have no idea how the sound is extracted to line level. To answer that would be going into deep audio electronics).

I can confirm from first hand experience that there is no degradation of tone from using an attenuator as a load box in this way. (I went round a friends house and tried it with my amp and his power amp - he runs a rack rig).



Ok, so let me get this last bit straight: how can an attenuator function as a load box if it is designed to limit power to the speaker? Is there a resister network inside the attenuator that functions like the load box on certain units like the Hot Plate? Is this the case with ALL attenuators, or is that resistor network only present as an option in SOME attenuators? Do attenuators use resistor networks to limit the power to the speaker anyways? If so, how is a resistor network different in a load box than the resistor network in an attenuator, and why are the tonal results different?


If I can really get the load box function and the attenuator function in the same unit, it seems like that is by far the best way to go, since I could use it as an attenuator or set it as a load box in a re-amp set up if I don't like the attenuation, just like you said.
#29
I'm afraid you're asking beyond the limits of my knowledge now. For information of that depth you could e-mail ted weber (he makes attenuators and load boxes, and is always happy and punctual with answers to questions)

All I know about the internal workings of attenuators is that there are two types: speaker motor and resistor.

Resistor is a lot worse tone wise at high attenuation because it is they limit the current linearly.

Speaker motor is better because it applies a reactive limit on the current, but how or why that is better is beyond my knowledge.

http://www.tedweber.com/
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#30
I think I can answer this, colin, correct me if I'm wrong.

An attenuator and a load box both employ resistors. I think the main difference is the output on an attenuator is low impedance (meant to drive a speaker) while the line out will be high impedance (and lower voltage I'd think as well)

The MASS line of attenuators from ted weber employs a speaker motor and a resistors to act as the load. They all have a line out as well if I'm not mistaken. I'd go with a weber solely based on the price and the fact you can select the input impedance to match any amp.

They are built very well. I popped mine open when I got it and it's very clean, all the solder joints are good and the quality is overall very good. They are not rated conservatively so you need the attenuator to have more juice than the amp (for yours you'd need a 100).

I used a fifty with my forty watt HRD for a while, but I wasn't cranking all that far. I did crank it all the way once and I could smell a burning smell from the attenuator (it got hot enough to burn the epoxy a bit that holds the resistors down) I obviously stopped. I let it cool down and the attenuator worked fine after that. I'm still using that attenuator as a load box today and it shows no signs of abuse.

I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#31
my opinion: if your using your amp for metal, like you said in your first post, you arent too bothered about driving your power amp. theres nothing wrong with having spare power when it comes to metal as its just going to allow you to sound real big without choking.

i think what you like when you gig and play loud is the feeling of all that air moving - blowing your trouser legs, shaking your fillings and making you need a dump - that cant be had at lower volumes. attenuating or reamping (anything that starts to compress the power stage) wont give you that feeling because your not getting the same sound pressure.

i say leave as is. ive had a 5150 half stack which i think used those sheffield speakers. they were definitely made for that amp and maybe its the case with yours. i tried my friends marshall head into them - they sounded like crap. i tried my 5150 head into his greenback, v30 2x12 - it was ok but not as good as the peavey speakers in my opinion.

different styles.. the peavey speakers definitely had that room shaking ability and just plain sounded much bigger