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http://lamkins-guitar.com/music/article/attenuators
David Lamkins picked up his first guitar a long time ago. As best he can recall the year was 1967: the year of the Summer of Love. Four decades later David has conjured up an amalgam of folk, rock and jazz solo guitar music for the occasional intimate Portland audience.
location: Portland, OR USA

Facets: amplifiers, power, loudness, distortion, attenuators, @musings info
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On power attenuators

Attenuators are really good for helping an amp sit better in a live band mix. Like if you need just a little more volume to push your amp into its sweet spot, but doing that would put you too high in the mix...

Keep in mind that a tube amp that's cranked to where it's meant to be operated is going to push out 110dB or more. Attenuators set for more than about 10dB attenuation seem to have a bad effect on amp tone. So you can get down to about 100dB with your tone intact - that's still stage volume.

If you want to throttle your amp down to a level where it can peacefully coexist with other family members and neighbors sharing a common wall, you're talking about SPLs in the neighborhood of 85dB or so. No attenuator is going to cut that much volume without affecting the tone. On the other hand, most attenuators have a control that lets you dial the volume all the way down to zero. You could try it, and see whether you're happy with the resulting sound.

Seriously, if you want conversational-level volumes try a modelling amp or a modelling preamp through your home stereo. Tube amps sound best loud.

October 21 2003 00:54:58 GMT