Price paid: $ 250
Purchased from: eBay - used
Sound — 10
I play in a cover band that gigs regularly. I use a Gibson SG Standard, Fender VG Strat and a Fernandes Monterey Elite Sustainer (for drop D tunes) through a Marshall JCM 2000 TSL 100 (on the 50 watt setting) and Marshall 1960AX cabinet. I was pretty happy and thought that I was churning out some pretty thick tone - until I got the Hot Plate. Now, I'm ecstatic. The break-up I now get out of my amp makes it sound like it was meant to sound - buttery lows and piercing highs. Distortion that is crunchy and powerful. The clean channel is full and bright. It also includes an onboard noise reducer which limits hiss from the amp. It really is incredible.
Overall Impression — 9
Anyone that gigs in bars knows that the folks there to drink and have a good time don't care about your guitar tone. However, I've had a few guitarists come up to me between sets to compliment my sound and ask me how I'm getting it. My band mates are impressed as well. I used to use a bunch of effects on a pedalboard, including a noise suppressor, prior to buying the Hot Plate. Now, one distortion, one wah and a tuning pedal is all I need. My tone is that good. As I mentioned before, you will go through some tubes so it will cost you some money. But I couldn't be happier with my tone. One of the better pieces of equipment I've purchased.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Thus far, I've used the Hot Plate for 5 or 6 gigs and I've had no problems. Constructed of diecast metal, it seems pretty rugged although I certainly wouldn't recommend dropping it. It does get hot and has a small onboard fan to help it cool. It will also cause you to burn through tubes in your amp quicker so know that using it will cost you some money.
Features — 8
The THD Hot Plate power attenuator is a must for any serious player looking for the rich tone breakup achieved only from playing his tube amp at high volume. The Hot Plate limits the amount of power sent from the amp to the speakers and allows the user to crank up the amp's volume without forcing patrons out of the bar with their hands covering their ears during the gig. The Hot Plate comes in several Ohms ratings (mine is 16 Ohms) so make sure you purchase the correct impedence for your rig. It also includes a load setting that allows you to manually adjust the power reaching your cabinet and thus the volume hitting the crowd. The Hot Plate has bright and deep switches to affect your signal/tone if desired and has two lines out if you choose to run two cabinets. It is small - weighing maybe two pounds - and is really simple to use. It takes a little period of feeling out (at band practice) to get comfortable with the volume settings but, once you do, it's on!