I use a Weber mini-mass and occasionally attenuate it all the way down. When doing this, I notice that even with the amp on very low, like 9-10 o'clock there is unpleasant distortion in the signal. Is this normal? Should I contact Ted?
Post by benttop (Steve) on Mar 13, 2008 11:33:50 GMT -7
It's hard to make general statements about this, because everyone seems to have a little different perception. And it may affect different amplifiers in different ways based on the individual characteristics of each amp. I would say it's worth a call to Ted, but I'm not certain he will have much to say about it. Extreme attenuation is an extreme situation that can have unintended results sometimes. In other words, damping a 50 watt amp down to 50 milliwatts, you should cut the amp and attenuator a bit of slack...
Post by benttop (Steve) on Mar 13, 2008 13:13:16 GMT -7
Back in July of '07 I did a bit of a test to see if attenuation caused any issues. I used two different attenuators and played pretty clean into both of them at all attenuation settings. I posted them here and on The Gear Page without identifying which track correlated with which attenuator setting. I used the faders on my board to make up the signal loss from the attenuation, so that every clip was the same volume. No one could tell me which clip was which. Not one person could identify the most attenuated clip from the least attenuated. I did notice that the Hot Plate added some faint distortion, but other than that, even the two attenuators sounded very alike.
I can't find that post (it's in the sounds section somewhere) but if you want to have a listen to the clips they are still hosted on my site at www.gear.strayca.com/rxes.htm - look for the heading 7/2/07 Attenuator Test. I think you'll agree that for these attenuators, using this amp, under the conditions I laid out, the attenuators really had very little affect on the tone. YMMV.
Well the distortion is definitely introduced by the attenuator. I turned up amp to about 9 o'clock and almost fully attenuated it. Heard the distortion with very light picking. Hit the bypass switch and the amp was louder but clean as a whistle.
The distortion is enough that I'll likely have to get the Mini Z for home use. I can use the OCD at this point into a clean and barely audible Route 66.
Distortion is not present at 1/2 attenuation so the unit is certainly worth the money for live situations.
I love my kids but they allow minimal volume levels at night!
Last Edit: Mar 17, 2008 10:43:16 GMT -7 by edoetsch
I've been using the Air Brake on my Maz Jr. at the "bedroom" setting with the bedroom knob dialed about halfway. I can still get a nice "clean" setting by turning the vol down and master up. The Air Brake allows me to get distortion at low volume when I want it, but not when I don't.
I have thought of going with the airbrake, but I actually play so much at bedroom level I think the Mini makes sense.
I have a Z-Vex Nano. At 1/2 watt it is great and sounds good on all of it's settings. However, it is horrible with pedals. So much so that a bedroom level, non-attenuated Route 66 (as lifeless as the amp can get) with an OCD is better than the nano with the same OCD.
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