If I use a volume pedal IN THE FX LOOP OF MY AMP will it do essentially the same thing as an attenuator
no.. sticking a colume pedal in the FX loop will only affect the volume from the preamp to the power amp.

an attenuator controls the flow of power from the poweramp section to the speakers.

2 very different animals.
Grammar and spelling omitted as an exercise for the reader.
Putting a volume pedal in your effects loop is only going to act like a master volume, it won't have the same effect as using an attenuator.
Will I be able to get the sound of higher levels at lower levels? I understand if i can't get the natural drive from the tubes, but can i get a less restrained sounding clean, or slow down the quick volume increase of my amp?
Quote by nevin021s
Will I be able to get the sound of higher levels at lower levels? I understand if i can't get the natural drive from the tubes, but can i get a less restrained sounding clean, or slow down the quick volume increase of my amp?

lol wut?

Putting a volume pedal in the FX loop is the same as having a foot controllable master volume.
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Quote by nevin021s
Will I be able to get the sound of higher levels at lower levels? I understand if i can't get the natural drive from the tubes, but can i get a less restrained sounding clean, or slow down the quick volume increase of my amp?

No. Like I previously said, a volume pedal in the loop will act as a master volume. You'd be using a volume pedal after the preamp but before the power amp, while an attenuator comes after the poweramp section. A volume pedal in the loop isn't going to get you any closer to getting power tube saturation, you would be altering preamp gain/volume.
You can slow down the "quick volume" increase in the sense that you will now have 2 volume controls. Whatever you set your amp volume knob to will be your new maximum volume for your foot pedal. So you could crank the gain in the preamp, but still fine-tune the volume w/ the 'vol' knob & your pedal.
Like the others have said, this is still distinct from an attenuator - the box that would sit between your power amp and the actual speaker. This box would let you turn up both preamp ("gain") & power amp ("volume") to get what some like to call the extra 'creamy' distortion that you get w/ the power on top of the pre. It's a shame that the volume knob next to the gain is sometimes referred to as "master volume." A true "master" in the literal sense would actually be an attenuator - that's the meaning that feels right to me anyway. I've seen various names on diff amps for the 3 controls: gain/volume/master VS gain/master/attenuation
First, if you mean an amp w/ only a gain knob & no volume knobs at all then maybe, depending on where the FX loop is. but in my limited experience i haven't seen an amp so feature-limited as to not have a volume control for the power tubes but to still have an FX loop. I guess it could exist.

probably not in the intuitive sense that you (I) want it to be a master volume (i assume you want a post-power attenuator) where you can get maximum distortion/color from both stages of tubes at bedroom volume. Whether your speaker breaks up/responds the same to the nice distortion at such low volumes is another issue altogether.

Most FX loops (if not all) are in between the preamp tubes (gain) & the power tubes (volume) on the amp.

I'm not sure if there's an amp design that would allow the FX loop after the power stage b/c in most amps I've seen the signal is cut down ~10dB so it doesn't fry pedals. If you cut a signal down after the power amp & then want to plug a chorus pedal into the post-power FX loop, you wouldn't be able to regain the volume again w/o another volume pedal or amp. So seems like a bad design idea - of course there could be ways around this, I'm not an expert by any stretch of both our imaginations combined.

Anyway, putting the volume pedal in between will just give you a more sensitive way to adjust the volume coming after of the preamp going into the power, which your amp volume knob right next to the gain knob does anyway.

That being said, if you look at an amp that advertises a Master Volume, like traynor ycv50 blue, check the block diagram in the manual & you can see that the master volume pot is ahead of the splitter & the power amp tubes- right after the reverb tank. The only difference I see between the channel 2 volume on the YCV50 & its master volume is that the master is after the reverb & FX loop, which is useful of course - but the master still isn't after the power stage. so make sure you know what's going on inside b4 you buy - or better yet, just listen to it. If the amp sounds great w/ the master in front of the power, then excellent - rock out!
So to answer your question in a very specific case:
adding a volume pedal in the line would be basically the same as what traynor calls Master volume in the ycv50, except the reverb might sound a little funny b/c it's in parallel w/ the FX loop. leave the reverb off & it's the same (except for the fact that the loop signal is already downbiased 10dB less).

Some amps come w/ actual attenuators as masters, THD is one brand. they also make stand-alone attenuators for various impedance setups that can be plugged in to whatever amp you have that matches that impedance & has a 1/4" jack connecting the speaker to the amp

i hope there isn't too much misinformation above.
Carvin Legacy has no master volume, but has a FX loop. It has a volume control for each channel, but is intensely loud past 2 or so. Putting a volume pedal (or cheaper yet, volume box, like $20 on the bay) in the loop acts as a master volume and technically lets you get your preamp tubes hotter and "sound better" at lower volumes. No power tube saturation in this case.

Attenuator goes between power section and speaker lets you get power tube saturation at a lower volume.
A volume pedal is NOT like a master volume. It is more like the volume pot on your guitar. It effects the actual signal of your guitar NOT the volume.

An attenuator affects the VOLUME / decibels.

I've learned this because I used a friends volume pedal and quickly learned the technical reality. I rock an English made re-issue Top Boost VOX AC30 so as most of you know there is no master volume (attenuator) for the amp. So I had the great guys over at BadCat Amps install a custom master volume. This way I can crank the brilliant channel with tons of hot tube saturation gain and turn down the freaking volume! BTW: don't use THD Hot Plates they are expensive and will most likely destroy your amps power transformer. I've seen it happen. They're big, clunky, expensive and cause more damage then you would think.

Sorry I had to let people know my opinion on this matter to save them the grief. Look into an ATTENUATOR pedal, such as the Electro-Harmonix Attenuator Pedal.

*reported* This thread is dead my friend.

A volume pedal in an FX loop is exactly like a master volume.
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