#1
I'm considering buying an attunator for my VC50, mainly because it's loud enough to overpower the band when I turn the volume knob to 2-3. AFAIK you start getting decent power amp saturation when the volume is about halfway, so an attunator seems like a good investment.

The thing is I've heard loads of people say it sucks tone. Is this mainly due to the fact that the speakers aren't being pushed? If so, does that mean that using an attunator to bring an amp to band practice volume levels will yield good results?

Does a tube amp at bedroom volumes sound better with or without an attunator? I understand why it would sound better cranked, but does it sound better cranked with an attunator than un-cranked?

Which attunators should I look into? Most people here seem to praise the THD hotplates, but I've heard (from a more reliable source than the internets) that the Koch loadboxes are much better than the THD's and even Webers (he tried 'em!).

I've also heard someone talk about Palmers:

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showpost.php?p=9881566&postcount=17

Any more info?

Thanks in advance!

\/ Edit
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Last edited by Kailoq at Jul 9, 2007,
#2
I'm not a fan of ATTENUATORS

I had one, and it simply sucked too much tone.....for when I could crank my Rectifier, it really make no noticable difference, and when I used it to get a good low volume tone out of my amp, it just didn't do it...lifeless.....

My experiences have brought me to the realization that there is not alternative to good tube tone than volume. You have to crank the puppy.

And the palmer is a very expensive setup. I wouldn't bother with it.
#3
webers have VERY high re-sale value, as do Hotplates as far as i'm aware. i used to have a weber, but it just didn't work right with my mesa 50 caliber.
don't know about the palmers
#4
Quote by ibanez4life SZ!

when I used it to get a good low volume tone out of my amp, it just didn't do it...lifeless.....


But did it sound better than it would have without the attenuator, so just running your amp at a low volume and essentially getting your overdrive out of pure pre-amp valves?
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#5
As long as you let more than 1 watt to each speaker....It'll sound fine. The speakers need be pushed a bit, so that's definitely a factor. when i use mine, I just use it enough to bring my amp down to a very loud conversational voice, and usually that's good enough for my neighbors, and it still sounds good. And yes, it's cool for bringing cranked tones closer to a band situation.

Weber all the way. Way better than a Hotplate. Don't know about Koch, though.
#6
put it this way, your knobs on the guitar increase/decrease resistance, and that takes away from the tone of your guitar, right? An attenuator is like a big resistor for your amp.
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#8
^Well, that's the basic premise, right? There's something there (dummy load or wattage splitter), doing something to the sound, it might have a little effect on tone, it might have alot, but it DOES have an effect, therefore, it has some tone suck, even if it's just a little.

I do like the webers because of their multiple ohms
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Last edited by Reincaster at Jul 10, 2007,
#10
My philosophy is just take an eq, and mess with it from there.

I hatethat THD thinks I'll buy more hotplates just because they only come in one ohm setting per attenuator.
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#11
Hmm...

I came across "speaker isolation cabinets"...how do those work? And how much do they cost, more, less or almost the same as attenuators?
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#12
Those are more for recording, aren't they?
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#14
Alright, thanks!

Quote by Reincaster
^Well, that's the basic premise, right? There's something there (dummy load or wattage splitter), doing something to the sound, it might have a little effect on tone, it might have alot, but it DOES have an effect, therefore, it has some tone suck, even if it's just a little.

I do like the webers because of their multiple ohms


But what if the tone suck suck gets outweighed by the fact that you're power-amp is being cranked?

A normal tube amp played at low volumes doesn't sound too great.
One which is cranked does most of the time.
One which is cranked, but is being attenuated, will suffer tone loss, but at the same time it will get that cranked sound!

How would you classify those 3 situations?

Worst, best, medium -> then it's definitly a go for, I won't be able to crank my amp, so I might as well get the attenuator, because it WILL be an improvement.

Medium, best, worst -> In this case the tone suck will outweigh the cranked sound and thus render the attenuator useless.

Which one is true?
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#15
^That's a common misconception that tube amps don't sound too good at low volumes. They sound great at low volume. It's just that when you crank it up, it sounds great.

What I'm trying to get through to your head is that no matter what setting it's on, there will be some sort of tone coloring. Therefore, you'll have to compensate with your eq and what not. It will not sound the same with the attenuator on compared to it being off.

If you crank the amp, and set a tone you like, and THEN add an attenuator set to full attenuation, you will probably NOT like the tone as a result. Use it sparingly. Besides, bedroom doesn't matter much, IMO, just deal with the low volume, less power saturation, and crank it at gigs.

NOT all tone sucking is BAD. Tone sucking can also be identified as COLORING, which is what most pedals try to do when they're on. Hell, my tone knobs are capable of sucking tone.
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Last edited by Reincaster at Jul 11, 2007,
#16
^Well, the problem is that I discovered I couldn't bring the amp over 3 on band practice, t gigs I'll have to set it even quieter!

And the amp only came in 50W format before anyone asks

I'm planning to change the speakers though...are there quiet speakers?
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Last edited by Kailoq at Jul 11, 2007,
#17
Do this.

Move the FX loop setting toggle to the middle position.
Use the FX return level knob to control volume.

It's not a true attenuation because it's only attenuating the preamp. But what this means is that the output stage has to work harder to amplify the signal to the same volume as before. I can have my VH100R on 3 at home with this method.

Also, a hotplate won't attenuate as much as you might think. Without HP, I can use my VH100R at 0.5 at home. With a HP set at -12dB, I can use it at 1.5~2. On -16dB setting you can set it as high as you like though.

For the record, I prefer the hotplate.
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Last edited by KazVH100R at Jul 11, 2007,
#18
I think tube amps sound all right with just pre-amp distortion, they just sound much better with power tube distortion. Overdriving power tubes will probably wear them out a lot faster but if you are gigging it may be worth it. Yes to the attenuator. Tubes are not that expensive (unless you buy NOS.)
#19
Quote by Kailoq
Alright, thanks!


But what if the tone suck suck gets outweighed by the fact that you're power-amp is being cranked?

A normal tube amp played at low volumes doesn't sound too great.
One which is cranked does most of the time.
One which is cranked, but is being attenuated, will suffer tone loss, but at the same time it will get that cranked sound!

How would you classify those 3 situations?

Worst, best, medium -> then it's definitly a go for, I won't be able to crank my amp, so I might as well get the attenuator, because it WILL be an improvement.

Medium, best, worst -> In this case the tone suck will outweigh the cranked sound and thus render the attenuator useless.

Which one is true?


You're missing the 4th best case situation: the Palmer PDI 03. It's different than other attenuating devices because its line out feature doesn't alter the tone to a significant degree. Like Reincaster said, there's always some "coloring" of the tone, but w/ the Palmer, you can use the 2 3-way switches for deep/normal/bright to adjust the tone easily to compensate. It sounds just like your amp cranked at any volume, & I'd challenge anyone to tell the difference. Just listen to the first 4 Van Halen albums & guess which one of the 4 was recorded w/ just the amp/speaker setup w/ no load box(3 used the load box setup).
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#20
i say weber all the way. it has the treble boost switch too -.-
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#21
Quote by riffhog
You're missing the 4th best case situation: the Palmer PDI 03. It's different than other attenuating devices because its line out feature doesn't alter the tone to a significant degree. Like Reincaster said, there's always some "coloring" of the tone, but w/ the Palmer, you can use the 2 3-way switches for deep/normal/bright to adjust the tone easily to compensate. It sounds just like your amp cranked at any volume, & I'd challenge anyone to tell the difference. Just listen to the first 4 Van Halen albums & guess which one of the 4 was recorded w/ just the amp/speaker setup w/ no load box(3 used the load box setup).
Check out these links to learn more:

http://mr5150.vhvault.com/evh-brown-sound.html
http://guitargeek.com/rigview/258/
http://www.mikesguitarsite.co.uk/gear/van_halen/index.php?page=amps_effects
http://www.amptone.com/eddievanhalenrig.htm


Okay, but I don't know if you got what he was asking. He wasn't asking about tone in the LINE OUT, he was asking about tone from the SPEAKER OUT.
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#22
^ Í've never heard any attenuator's speaker output that doesn't suck tone to some degree, the Palmer included. Also, like you said before, not ALL tone sucking is bad. It really does give a lot of amps a rich, creamy sound. But if you're after a Metallica or Megadeth type sound, you'll likely need to run a line out to a power amp. That's just my experience w/ 4 different devices(Palmer PDI 03, THD Hot Plate, Marshall Power Brake, & Altair Power Attenuator) & numerous amps. I don't think the Altair & Power Brake even had line outs. It's been a while since I've dealt w/ them.
FWIW, the Palmer seems to work best w/ non-master volume amps, simplicity at its best.
I'm just trying to explain that there are choices beyond what many UG folks are familiar with, & those choices reward you with great tone that you wouldn't have believed possible.
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#23
I like the palmer, and I know that pretty much every attenuator speaker out has tone sucking, the point is, the TS wasn't asking to use the line out for a power amp or pa system, because he clearly stated he was going to use it on his combo for practice.
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