Best Amp Attenuators

Many guitarists consider amp attenuators to be an important component of their set up, especially those using valve or tube amps.
The attenuator goes in between the energy as well as the speaker sections of the amplifier of yours, converting a portion of the energy into heat rather compared to sound. As opposed to turning up the volume, which may create your sound thin or weak, an attenuator allows you to get the complete
audio of your amp without blowing out your eardrums every time you practice.
An effective attenuator won’t alter the tone of yours when it is installed properly, but the same as with any piece of gear, choosing the proper design is crucial that you maintaining the overall sound of yours. The most significant thing is usually to search for an unit which will deal with the power your amp puts out. Using a higher powered attenuator with a lower powered amp will not result in any sound distortion, but using an attenuator that cannot handle your amp’s power can cause harm to both pieces of equipment.
Below are the recommendations of ours for the four best amp attenuators on the market:




With the PB 1, KLD offers a studio quality attenuator for about 50 % the cost of the big name studio brands. The design is intuitive and simple, featuring 2 knobs. The Attenuation knob provides you with 5 settings, from true bypass up to 7.2 decibels of attenuation, making it ideal for fine tuning the sound of yours on the stage. The level knob, meanwhile, is wonderful for the practice room or studio and uses a rheostat to give you up to thirty decibels of attenuation. The aluminum alloy casing disperses heat greatly and is able to work with speakers at any impedance rating. The quality of the sound and durability of the PB 1 make it an outstanding value.

Rivera RockCrusher

The RockCrusher works with even the most powerful amplifiers with no distortion. When you decide to use a reactive rather than resistive load, the RockCrusher maintains the impedance relationship between the amplifier as well as the speaker. Not merely does this provide you a much better tone at every dynamic, it prevents damage to both the speaker as well as the amp. The RockCrusher also gives you plenty of options for adjusting your volume and tone (see full specs). The attenuation switch has 6 settings in four decibel increments. As well as it has 2 EQ switches (Edge and Warm) which can brighten or darken the tone of yours until it has ideal for the ears of yours. This ought to belong on anyone’s list of the very best amp attenuator.

Weber MicroMass Attenuator

Weber is a trusted name in guitar equipment, and the MicroMass stays true to the standard of theirs of quality. Use the Lows Mids knob to control the master volume, then tweak the treble with the Mids Highs knob to either brighten or warm up the tone of yours. It is compatible with amps between four and sixteen ohms and gives you total control down to 50 decibels attenuation. The MicroMass uses a speaker motor for the load, giving the attenuator more interaction with the amp’s output circuit as well as making the load even more realistic. This minimizes tone loss at all levels of attenuation, making the MicroMass one of the most transparent attenuators on the market.

Weber Mass III

An alternative choice from Weber is their Mass III, which you are able to think of as the full sized version of their MicroMass above. As compared to the MicroMass, you will receive more energy and a broader range of controls. Additionally, it has 2 output jacks for rigging up multiple cabinets, which makes it a more flexible option than the smaller MicroMass. The trade off, of course, is it carries a larger price tag, but for what you receive it is worth the additional investment.
If there is one characteristic of the Mass III that is most noteworthy, it is that it’s a tone stack for the signal (see full specs). But there are individual controls for the bass, mid range, and treble, which means you are able to set the balance of the sound of yours easily. This may be a bit intimidating if you are not accustomed to getting this amount of control, and you might have to fiddle with it just a little bit to discover how to find the correct tone.

After you have mastered the operation, although, the Mass III is able to adjust your output without destroying the tone of yours. You will particularly notice the gap in the treble range. A great deal of attenuators cut off the top part of the tone of yours, but that is not really a problem with the Mass III. It is arguably the best amp attenuator for the investment.

Installing Your Attenuator

How you install your attenuator is going to depend on what kind of amplifier you are using. If you’ve a combo amp, you really want to put the attenuator between the speaker as well as the amp’s speaker out. You are able to accomplish this by unplugging the speaker from the amp and then running a speaker cable from the amp speaker output to the attenuator’s input. Plug the speaker into the speaker output of the attenuator (not the “line out”) and you are all set. Take as little cabling as you are able to to make these connections; the smaller the cable, the lower the signal loss will be.

When you are making use of a piggyback arrangement with an amp head on top of the cabinet, you will wish to plug the amp head into the input of the attenuator, then plug the cable from the attenuator’s output port into the cabinet. Once again, ensure you are in the output rather than the “line out” port, and make use of probably the shortest cable you are able to.

When you are putting your attenuator on a rack with some other pedals, you need to also use care in where you place it. Even models with great heat dispersion will get hotter compared to your typical pedal, so it is better to put the attenuator in the best position of the rack to keep the heat coming off of it from damaging your other equipment. If it is not easy to set it on top, leave a clear space above it to allow it room to vent.

Preventing Blowouts

You might have heard horror stories about attenuators causing resistor failures in amplifiers. Although this does happen, it is totally preventable in case you understand the dynamics at work inside the equipment of yours. Just since your amp sounds softer when you are using an attenuator does not mean it is not postponing similar power. The entire point of an attenuator is usually to be capable of getting the sound of the amp of yours at power that is full.

Most tube amps sound best when they are going full force, but working them tough consistently does lead to the tubes to wear out faster. In case you play the amp of yours at power that is full on a routine basis, you will most likely have to change the tubes about annually, although the time is able to vary based on your particular set up.

In general, it is advisable to replace them if you start hearing a change in the quality of sound – typically this is going to start with a much less articulated and muddier bass response. Replacing the tubes if they begin to wear out will prevent the type of catastrophic blow out that causes harm to the majority of the amp of yours.

Well, we hope you have found the very best amp attenuator for the needs of yours and also several very helpful tips to boot. Good luck!

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