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Load Boxes, Attenuators, Impedance Matching

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Hammerhands, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    I’ve decided to try using a load box of some type. I’ve been thinking about it for a while but having 2 and 4 ohm amps makes it hard to find one.

    I’ve just found out that the Weber Z-matcher exists. Wow, everyone should have one! It makes this whole thing possible for me.

    [​IMG]

    I would like to know everyone’s experience with load boxes and attenuators. I’ve read through a lot of threads about attenuators, but I didn’t find any on load boxes.

    I’m keeping this first post short!
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  2. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    The Z-matcher, I’m not sure if I will buy that or buy the transformer they use in it and make something like the Box of Matches. I like that the Weber is cheap enough and already made [with I assume better soldering technique than me], but I don’t like the controls being on the front and so easy to bump. I guess you could hide it in the back of the amp, cover the controls, tape them. I know some people here have used it, I would like to know if they had any close calls or disasters.

    http://www.ampmaker.com/store/Box-of-Matches-30W.html

    [​IMG]

    Researching the Z-Matcher I found the Weber Mass 100 attenuator, and with that you can set the amp impedance, so I wouldn’t need the Z-matcher. I can’t find much comparing it to the newer load boxes, and where I have it doesn’t get very good reviews especially when attenuating to zero. I’ve also read some things that make me worry about what impedance it presents to the amp.

    [​IMG]

    I’ve read a bit about the Fryette Power Station 2, something similar from a guy in Vancouver and the Two Notes Reload that do the same sort of thing. The Fryette has a weird 2/4 ohm input, like 2 and 4 are the same somehow, but with a warning that you could destroy your transformer. That doesn’t seem well thought out. [I’ll bet they’re using 3.2 ohms!]

    Then there is the Suhr Reactive Load that gets a lot of love, Two Notes Captor and several others, Rock Crushers and such. They seem to come in at different prices, and I’m not really sure if one is better than the others.



    The idea I like the most so far is to use the Z-Matcher transformer and a Suhr Reactive Load.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
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  3. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    When I saw the Torpedo Live, I was pretty sure that was the thing I would buy. Then they created the Torpedo C.A.B. I dropped by a store in Minneapolis hoping to try that, but they didn’t actually have it. [And the owner thought I had stolen his shirt.]

    [​IMG]

    I saw the Mooer Radar a while ago, it’s tiny and a third of the price and seems pretty damn good, and they’ve included a Super Reverb, which has sold me on it. Mooer seems like a good company. Anyone have their pedals?

    Mooer has a multi-effects unit for about twice the price of the Radar, I considered buying that but there is no Super Reverb cab in that one, and I just don’t need another multi-effects unit. I will probably regret that.

    This morning I ordered the Radar through Amazon.ca from what may or may not be Mooer or MooerCanada, or maybe a Chinese knockoff, we shall see where it comes from.

    I should be able to use it with my preamps and multi-effects units until I’m able to figure out what to do for a load box.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  4. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    The Z-Matcher would have solved so many problems I’ve had in the past.

    This amp doesn’t work with my cabinet. Well, it does now.

    This 12” cab is $100, but it is 16 ohms. Why would anyone make a 16 ohm cabinet? Solved.

    I would have thought that someone out there would sell a simple 2:1 impedance transformer, but I just couldn’t find one.

    There was a company Danbury that made the transformer for the Box of Matches, but they seem to be gone.

    I’ve read about Peavey’s Automatch transformer, a big hunk of iron for up to 400W. That seems to be a repurposed 70/100V line transformer, which makes me think that you could use any 70V line transformer to do a similar thing, but I couldn’t find information about it. I thought it was using the voltage side of the transformer, but I’m not sure now.

    OK, looking at it again, it’s not the type of transformer that is used for the speaker in a 70V system, it is the type of transformer that allows you to connect an amplifier with a 4, 8, etc ohm output to a 70V system.

    I did read someone suggest using an output transformer with multiple taps, tie off the primary side and connect the speakers on the secondary side, but I haven’t seen anyone else consider it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  5. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Interesting subject. Wish I had something worthwhile to contribute. I'm assuming this is for silent recording purposes? Incidently, which amp uses 2Ohm cabs?


    I wasn't familiar with the Mooer Radar but it looks promising.
     
  6. wabash slim

    wabash slim Country Gent

    Age:
    68
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Many quad speaker amps are two Ohms.
    16 Ohms used to be very common. Many VOX amps are still 16 Ohm.
    Some amps have multiple tap output transformers, tho they're not that common anymore.
    All of this comes from trying to use a speaker that isn't compatible with the amp you're trying to pair it up with. Getting the right impedance speaker in the first place would eliminate the need for impedance matching gear. As to silent recording, a dummy load (basically a high wattage resistor) isn't the same animal as a speaker. Resistance and impedance are not quite the same thing. Impedance may be measured similarity, but it's a reactive load, not a fixed resistance. You'd be better off using a so-called "silent speaker". The 70.7 volt line transformers are similar to the multiple tap output transformers, tho, I'm not sure if they'd work properly in this case.
     
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  7. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    The Super Reverb is 2 ohms. A brownface Concert and a ‘59 Bassman are too.

    I doubt I will record with it. I want something better than the multi-effects unit I’m mostly practicing through.

    And my amps are not getting used. It’s a quiet world at night.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  8. nickurso

    nickurso Friend of Fred

    Age:
    52
    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    I recently got one of these it’s my first attenuator. I just mounted in the amp last night and I’m gonna give it a try today

    59E4C5CB-35F4-4D02-B05C-E0CB119EDE67.jpeg 1D0C1397-C908-4799-B8FC-16983157E6E3.jpeg 7BF88F11-D78C-4A95-8F05-5F47A62283A4.jpeg
     
  9. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    52
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    This is the dirty old box that does the job for me since many, many years:
    IMG_2358.JPG
    It is an early Alessandro Muzzle.
    This is the 16 ohm version. But you can get them in 4 or 8 ohms, too.
    Inside it looks like an ancient Thomas Alva Edison project. Clean but built of strange vintage components.
    It works perfectly with my old Marshall non-mastervolume amp. Best power-attenuator I ever came across.
     
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  10. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    31
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    I like Weber attenuators.

    I have a MiniMASS which will do 15w silent and up to 50w fairly quiet. I used them in my one bedroom apartment with a 22w Supersonic. I've since moved but still use it on my amps when I want to crank them.

    They're very versatile, have 3 loads available on them already. I find them very reliable and versatile enough between my 5 tube amps. I use the headphone out as well from time to time.

    That Zmatch looks killer for your needs too!

    On another note I also have a Rivera Rockcrusher. I got a good deal on one, was sortof taken in by the whole brand/name/hype and have been pretty disappointed with it since getting my miniMASS. The MiniMass was significantly cheaper and seems to be a lot more versatile and intuitively functional with a lot fewer controls. I've been considering selling my Rockcrusher for 2 more Webers.
     
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  11. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    .
    Mooer seems to be a Chinese company, and the pedal is coming from China...slowly.
     
  12. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Gretschie

    Age:
    50
    490
    Dec 7, 2011
    United States
    Excuse my ignorance here, but these are for driving your amp in a setting that would normally blow your ears out, while these keep it a low volumes?
     
  13. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    some diatribe about simple attenuators from my attenuator page

    "Passive power attenuators dont react to an audio signal equally to how a speaker reacts (as the attenuator is turned up, the speaker cone travel is reduced) so the use of an attenuator can impact what we are hearing though the amp when employed. A power attenuator is an imperfect but practical mechanism for reducing volume without losing tone. To guitarists, “Loud” ALWAYS sounds the best, but using a power attenuator gives you a useful tool to aid your achieving good tones at levels that keep the club owners, home owners, neighbors and h.o.w. venues happy that you may perform at. Scaling back some of that SPL and readjusting your amp and pedal settings to optimize your sound and dynamics may even inspire a new muse in your playing. Note: This is a performance based attenuator and is not meant for you to turn it down to 1 watt and crank the hell out of your amp all the time expecting the full amp overdrive at whisper levels. Its meant, rather to bring down the huge SPL from your amp and speaker on stage to manageable levels while preserving the fundamental tone. Yes you can dime you amp and use this power attenuator to get it at or near 1 watts, but this will ultimately create a much much shorter tube life faster than normal and is not recommended regular practice. Also remember that some amps when cranked, the tubes start getting fizzy but you normally dont perceive that once the SPL is cranking.. With an attenuator you might find that fizz very apparent w the amp dimed and the Humbler attenuator cranked up as well beyond 2 oclock. So just back down the amp volume and treble a bit, turn up the amps bass or low mids to compensate."
    https://www.thenocturnebrain.com/products/the-humbler-50w-power-attenuator-by-the-nocturne-brain
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    CatTones, Mal Belford, audept and 2 others like this.
  14. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    Fender Super Reverbs do. All 4ohm (bassman, ie)fender transformers can run at 2 ohms but not 8ohm.
     
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  15. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Gretschie

    Age:
    50
    490
    Dec 7, 2011
    United States
    Thanks for the education Tavo!
     
  16. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    mooer is a chinese knockoff company, same company as donner, rowin,joyo as far as circuit boards are concerned. mooer just has a better emphasis in box design
     
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  17. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    Are those the same as isolation cabinets or isolation speakers?

    I’ve seen a couple of references to isolation cabs being used as load boxes, which seems like a very good idea. Take a line-out, run it through an IR.

    I see isolation cabs giving 20 to 40db of sound reduction. That’s 7 to 13 times?

    It had me thinking about this, two speakers on either end of a tube, one attached to an amp, the other, possibly attached to a transformer, powering a bunch of LEDs or something. Put it in an isolation box.

    Which made me wonder what would happen if you connected both sides of a speaker to ground, but I think the speaker coil would have to convert all the energy to heat.

    It would be useful if you could radiate waste energy at some specified frequencxy, then other things could use it for power.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  18. MTurner

    MTurner Friend of Fred

    Age:
    61
    Aug 17, 2010
    Clayton, North Carolina, USA
    This thread has done gone waaaaay over my head.

    :p
     
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  19. Henry

    Henry Friend of Fred

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Like quantum entanglement!?
     
  20. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    I guess there should be an explanation of what I’m trying to do and what sort of products are out there before the first post.

    I assumed everyone would be familiar with it.

    The first post makes it sound like the Z-Matcher is a load box.

    If someone were to write an explanation, could a moderator add a post in front of the first post?
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018