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Amplifier "Attenuating" Question

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Noobie
(@noobie)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 58
Topic starter  

I'm wanting a good vintage spring reverb amplifier such as a fender twin, and these amplifiers are wayyy too loud for just messing around at the house. However, I have several low ohm, high wattage resistors that I figure I can use as heatsinks allowing me to really push the amp while keeping the volume low. Ideally I would set it up such that the speaker load would only carry around 15-20 Watts at maximum output with the rest being dissipated through the resistors.

Anyone ever done this, and are there other inexpensive ways to attenuate an amplifier without ruining the signal? The only negative I can think of under this scenario is that my utility bill will increase.

As a side note, even though I don't need all that power, I am having a hard time justifying spending a similar amount of money on a smaller 15-30W amplifier and external spring reverb unit when I can get the real deal packaged together. I'm sure many of you have had similar dilemmas :)

plz im a noob


   
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dl0571
(@dl0571)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 240
 

In my recent search for a tube amp, I found you can find a lot of tone monsters with decent or better internal reverb for a really good price (300-500) and frankly you don't need a whole lot of tube wattage to be loud.

My logic is I'd rather have a small tube amp with great tone than a higher wattage amp I'll rarely have the opportunity to play at it's "proper" volume. In a gigging situation you can always mic your amp, but it's hard to make a high watt tube amp sound good in a low volume situation.

"How could you possibly be scared of being bad? Once you get past that, it's all beautiful." -Trey Anastasio


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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15 to 20 W will still be too loud for your house. You probably want to get that down to 1 to 5 W. Weber, THD and others make variable attenuators. I believe Webers are among the least expensive. IIRC, Ken (smokindog) has a homebrew design made from audio L pads. These, combined with your higher wattage fixed resistor attenuators might do the trick for a higher wattage amp.

-=tension & release=-


   
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Noobie
(@noobie)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 58
Topic starter  

I semi-forgot to elaborate on what I am looking for in an amp. I am a fan of surf (ventures, dick dale, etc.) and alt. rock (nirvana, stone temple pilots, etc.) and was wanting an amp that I could play clean for surf and distorted for rock. If 15-20 Watts is too loud, can I get any smaller and still have enough headroom for good cleans?

I have tried out the fender pro jr. and blues jr. and they were alright, but they weren't worth the $350+ price tag to me. I'd rather spend 2-3x as much on something I really like than on something that is just alright. I haven't gotten to try out a Peavey Classic yet, but I think new ones are going for about $600, so that could be an option instead of a vintage twin / "twin clone".

I am definitely open to ideas here. I am even open to two different amps if the price can stay reasonable. Just thought I might give guitarnoise a shot at leading me in a general direction in pursuit of a good amp or amps for my needs since I have hardly any experience with good amps.

I've really had a lot of spare time lately and thought an upgrade from my junk amp might give me the drive to start playing again. Thanks for any and all responses!

plz im a noob


   
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dhutson
(@dhutson)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 147
 

Trust me, 15 "Tube Watts" will be enough to have the neighbors forming an angry mob at your door carrying pitchforks and hay-rakes (imagine the scene from Frankenstein) or the police department storming your driveway like an episode of COPS if you get much above 3 on the Master Volume unless you live in the boonies. But if you can afford a Fender Twin (2 X 12; 100 Tube Watts; 80 lbs), and your back is young enough to carry it, by all means go for it because Rock & Roll equals Loud.

I think with a little research you'll find that some of the greatest recordings in history were done with smaller amps where the tubes could be "pushed" a bit to get that incredible growl. Personally, I use a Blues Jr. coupled with a Weber Mini Mass to accomplish the same thing at household levels. Now when the Mrs. goes shopping I've been know to crank it up a bit, but I still run the attenuator when I'm pushing the Blues Jr. at Volume - 11, Master 9. Great tone, but the pictures would be falling off the walls in the house.

Stop by your local Guitar Store, plug in, and really start to wail on these smaller wattage amps. I think you'll see what I mean. But like I said, there are times when only a Marshall Full Stack will do.

Rock on,
/dwayne

http://www.soundclick.com/wayneroberts


   
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