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-   -   A question about attenuators (http://metaltabs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40947)

Carbonized 2008-08-15 15:45

A question about attenuators
 
I was thinking that one can get a better, more natural sound by using lower-powered amps (50w, 40w, etc.) with 100w attenuators (like the Marshall Power Brake, I believe.)

That way, one would require less attenuation i.e. less use of the attenuator therefore affecting the actual amp tone less.

I'm saying this because I read that some people claim that attenuators have an effect on the sound, that they make the sound "thin", etc.

What do you guys think? Thanks.

the_bleeding 2008-08-17 22:09

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbonized
I was thinking that one can get a better, more natural sound by using lower-powered amps (50w, 40w, etc.) with 100w attenuators (like the Marshall Power Brake, I believe.)

That way, one would require less attenuation i.e. less use of the attenuator therefore affecting the actual amp tone less.

I'm saying this because I read that some people claim that attenuators have an effect on the sound, that they make the sound "thin", etc.

What do you guys think? Thanks.


Cranked amp tone comes from 3 places.

First place it comes from is the speakers, when they're driven with more than 1 watt of power, they start to sound good. As they get louder, they sound better. Low wattage speakers (like greenbacks) will start to compress and break up earlier, yeilding a very smooth overdriven tone. At 1 watt of power, your speakers will typically put out around 99db depending on sensitivity. Greenbacks put out 98db, v30's put out 100db, some eminences put out up to 101db at just 1 watt of power. That is loud. Also at one watt of power, your speakers start really moving, and you get to hear their full range of frequencies, anything lower and the speaker wont move enough to put out its true tone.

Secondly, cranked amp tone comes from an overdriven phase inverter. Yes. The last preamp tube in the chain basically gets the shit beaten out of it, yielding distortion, compression, squish, and most of the effects felt by poweramp distortion.

Lastly, and very lastly, do the power tubes have anything to do with loud volume breakup. Also, when they ARE making a difference, its usually too loud to tell what it is.... unless you're recording it. You really have to have the amp's volume turned up and torn off to get power tube distortion. Most of the times the phase inverter will break up BEFORE the poweramp, so people will be getting that unless they're really cranking their shit.

Summary: cranked tones come mostly from speakers and phase inverter. All this being said, a post-phase inverter master volume will yield you some pretty awesome tone, without having to dump alot of current into your powertubes (and wear them out). Attenuators suck tone because the attenuate some frequencies more than others, and also are typically abused by the user because they dont allow 1 watt through to the speakers. Fuck an attenuator.

To answer your question though, using a 100 watt attenuator with a low powered amp will suck just as much tone as a 50 watt attenuator reduced to the same volume. Although you'll be turning the knob less on the 100 watt attenuator, you'll be attenuating the same as the 50 watt would.

Carbonized 2008-08-21 17:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bleeding
Cranked amp tone comes from 3 places.

First place it comes from is the speakers, when they're driven with more than 1 watt of power, they start to sound good. As they get louder, they sound better. Low wattage speakers (like greenbacks) will start to compress and break up, yeilding a very smooth overdriven tone. At 1 watt of power, your speakers will typically put out around 99db depending on sensitivity. Greenbacks put out 98db, v30's put out 100db, some eminences put out up to 101db at just 1 watt of power. That is loud. Also at one watt of power, your speakers start really moving, and you get to hear their full range of frequencies, anything lower and the speaker wont move enough to put out its true tone.

Secondly, cranked amp tone comes from an overdriven phase inverter. Yes. The last preamp tube in the chain basically gets the shit beaten out of it, yielding distortion, compression, squish, and most of the effects felt by poweramp distortion.

Lastly, and very lastly, do the power tubes have anything to do with loud volume breakup. Also, when they ARE making a difference, its usually too loud to tell what it is.... unless you're recording it. You really have to have the amp's volume turned up and torn off to get power tube distortion. Most of the times the phase inverter will break up BEFORE the poweramp, so people will be getting that unless they're really cranking their shit.

Summary: cranked tones come mostly from speakers and phase inverter. All this being said, a post-phase inverter master volume will yield you some pretty awesome tone, without having to dump alot of current into your powertubes (and wear them out). Attenuators suck tone because the attenuate some frequencies more than others, and also are typically abused by the user because they dont allow 1 watt through to the speakers. Fuck an attenuator.

To answer your question though, using a 100 watt attenuator with a low powered amp will suck just as much tone as a 50 watt attenuator reduced to the same volume. Although you'll be turning the knob less on the 100 watt attenuator, you'll be attenuating the same as the 50 watt would.


Thanks a lot for all that info, the_bleeding. It was very helpful. I know that preferably, one should do without an attenuator. So, is there a way of achieving a cranked tone without using an attenuator (and losing your sense of hearing? :))

the_bleeding 2008-08-22 19:58

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbonized
Thanks a lot for all that info, the_bleeding. It was very helpful. I know that preferably, one should do without an attenuator. So, is there a way of achieving a cranked tone without using an attenuator (and losing your sense of hearing? :))


post phase inverter master volume gets you REALLY damned close.

xdislexicx 2008-08-23 02:28

Man up and play loud. :)

Carbonized 2008-08-23 05:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bleeding
post phase inverter master volume gets you REALLY damned close.


I never heard of that. Is it a modification of the amplifier's master volume that one can do? Do you have any links?

xdislexicx: Yeah, that's why I had bought a 40W amp... so as to be able to crank it up. It's still too loud, though, due to the fact that I max the preamp gain and master volume.

xdislexicx 2008-08-24 04:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbonized
xdislexicx: Yeah, that's why I had bought a 40W amp... so as to be able to crank it up. It's still too loud, though, due to the fact that I max the preamp gain and master volume.

Why on earth would you max the preamp gain in a DSL? :confused:

I have a DSL100, on the OD2 setting with the gain set to about 3.5 :p

Carbonized 2008-09-03 10:51

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdislexicx
Why on earth would you max the preamp gain in a DSL? :confused:

I have a DSL100, on the OD2 setting with the gain set to about 3.5 :p


Err... I've always believed more gain = more distortion? Was I wrong all the way? We always learn new stuff as we go along in life, I guess.


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