#1
I have a CR120H and I find I have to crank it really loud just to get a good tone out of it and playing it at bed room levels isn't that great. Would using an external attenuator work with a solid state head like the Cr120 or does it only work for tube amps? 
#2
The thing that's often forgotten in this equation is the speakers - they tend to need to be working fairly hard in order to get the most satisfying tone possible, which is often pretty loud. By using an attenuator, you still restrict the signal that goes to the speakers, so it only solves half of the problem if you want to use the amp at bedroom volumes. With a solid state amp I'm fairly certain that it's the way the speakers sound at lower volume levels which is causing this.

Playing at bedroom levels is always going to be something of a compromise on the tone/dynamics that you pretty much just have to live with, regardless of the gear you use. the electric guitar was meant to be played loud! that was the whole purpose of amplifying it - that doesn't mean "hearing damage" volume levels are necessary, but - loud enough to compete with a set of acoustic drums, a grand piano, or a saxophone, with regard to sound projection - and it's always going to sound best at that type of volume level for that reason, imo.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#3
sean.orpwood90 I really don't think an attenuator with an SS amp will do anything for you. The reason why attenuators are oft used with tube amps is because the power tubes will only really distort when driven hard. With SS components, especially power section, you do not really want them to distort. The only thing the attenuator will do with an SS amp is just reduce volume methinks. You are just missing the volume and acoustical interaction between a loud guitar amp and the guitar, which you cannot really simulate. It requires volume.
#4
Quote by sean.orpwood90
I have a CR120H and I find I have to crank it really loud just to get a good tone out of it and playing it at bed room levels isn't that great. Would using an external attenuator work with a solid state head like the Cr120 or does it only work for tube amps? 


Absolutely no reason I can think of to use an attenuator on a solid state head.
#5
Quote by dspellman
Absolutely no reason I can think of to use an attenuator on a solid state head.

I agree.  Use the built in one labeled Volume or Master. . . . 
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#6
Quote by sean.orpwood90
I have a CR120H and I find I have to crank it really loud just to get a good tone out of it and playing it at bed room levels isn't that great.  


What you're missing is loudness compensation.

From Wiki: Loudness compensation is a setting found on some hi-fi equipment and equalisers that increases the level of the high and low frequencies.This is intended to be used at low listening levels, to compensate for the fact that as the volume of audio decreases, the ear's lower sensitivity to extreme high and low frequencies may cause these signals to fall below threshold

Unfortunately, most loudness compensation controls don't work all that well (except for theater systems, where there's a specific reference loudness figure) and most guitar amps don't have 'em. So what you have to do is find a way to increase high and low frequencies at a specific (low) volume so that it matches what your ear hears at higher volumes.

The other option is to NOT use the amplifier section, get a good set of headphones and crank the suckers up with the speaker/power amp turned off. That way you can blast your ears into early tinnitus if you like.
#7
dspellman so basically follow the Fletcher-Munson curve. Which would be boosting the bass and treble or cutting the mids a bit at low volume. Just a touch though...

This still won't fix the sound, a cranked speaker is a happy speaker. I have the same amp as TS, it does love to be cranked, but an attenuator would be as useful as a Canadian nickel here in the states. IE, you can get it to do its job of reducing volume, but it isn't the right tool for the job.

Best would probably be less efficient speakers, but it would only help a little bit.
#8
Quote by Liaztraht
dspellman so basically follow the Fletcher-Munson curve. Which would be boosting the bass and treble or cutting the mids a bit at low volume. Just a touch though...

This still won't fix the sound, a cranked speaker is a happy speaker. I have the same amp as TS, it does love to be cranked, but an attenuator would be as useful as a Canadian nickel here in the states. IE, you can get it to do its job of reducing volume, but it isn't the right tool for the job.

Best would probably be less efficient speakers, but it would only help a little bit.


Very few people have actually heard a cranked speaker these days. And a speaker run into speaker distortion isn't very happy -- it's on the edge of burning out the voice coil or ripping the cone. Been there, done both, and the sound isn't better, trust me.

Less efficient speakers are an interesting thought, but you need to look at Fluxtone speakers (there's a website). These take the moving parts of your favorite speakers, the parts that actually produce a distinctive sound, and add a variable electromagnet. This allows you to reduce the efficiency of the speaker by up to 25 dB, or the equivalent of turning your 30W amp into a 1/8th W amp. Unlike working with an attenuator, which inserts itself into the loop from output transformer to voice coil, working with a Fluxtone allows the speaker to sound exactly like the speaker, just at a lower volume. Power handling actually remains the same, but volume is much lower. Even then, however, this is something that would be beneficial only to a tube amp.