Opinions on cheap power soak I bought

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Viking Power, May 19, 2021.

  1. J Bird

    J Bird Synchromatic

    Word is that the attenuator should be twice the amps power rating. I got a 25w Weber Mini-Mass last year. Put it in the cab, just fit under the speaker magnet. I turned a bunch of knobs and changed out tubes, but in the end (two weeks, maybe), I pulled it and it's been sitting on a shelf ever since.

    Not knocking the product, I just preferred the amps non-attenuated tone.
     
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  2. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Yes @wabash slim : good idea to test, at least ! :cool: I never thought about that... :oops: Well, "we learn every day", didn't you wrote ? ;)

    Light filament bulbs behave as is : less resistive when cold, more resistive when hot, the resistance variation being a S curve with hysteresis due to thermal inertia of the filament.

    This property was used notably in Wien bridge signal generators, and also in some compressor-limiter-expander circuits in the golden tube era.

    Usually the S portion of the curve is quite shallow, and it matches the dark-red illumination of the filament. Would it be usable / useful for a "reactive" amp power attenuator ? I don't know... o_O

    That said, once when lit, the filament bulb presents always some inertia to voltage variations, so maybe this inertia could be profitable to simulate some kind of loudspeaker motional impedance ? o_O

    Pure speculations from myself :confused:... But why not ? ;)

    A+!
     
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  3. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Hi Jason
    your's will certainly degrade the base amp tone plus it has a volume dial that click shifts to big jumps in attenuation. I doubt it will cause any damage but it's wrong that most attenuators do.

    If you ever want to upgrade to the best go direct to
    https://www.fryette.com/power-station-integrated-reactance-amplifier/

    It's by far the best attenuator/re-amper for a bunch of reasons.
    It does far more than attenuation and is 100% transparent, has no noise and has a volume dial with big sweep.

    Fryette PS2 is a game changer for anyone with an amp they want to be able to crank it plus for anyone with a low watt amp they want to amp up to tube 50w. It also delivers a great series loop.

    I've owned it for a few years and there's several threads on it here if you do a search
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  4. Not a gearhead when it comes to pedals. There’s some interesting stuff here in that regard, so I’m glad its not sprinklers or atomic squirt guns.

    There’s a lot of sorcerer’s apprentice in these.

    Would love to hear more abt the component’s effect on sound. The why’s & wherefore’s. I have a much older Boss effects box that is awkward as hell to use.
     
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  5. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    Everybody has an opinion.
    For me I never really cared for cheap power attenuators. To my ears they smash the tone and don't sound anything like a cranked amp. The other part of the game is the over driven power amp pushes and over drives the speaker - that's where the real sound comes from.
    With an amp like a Princeton I think over drive & distortion boxes work better.
    Better designed Attenuators cost $300 and more. For that price you can buy a bunch of pedals and get all kinds of different flavors of over drive and distortion. For me that's where the fun is anyway...:).
     
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  6. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I can only speak for my own and limited experience with my amp and its built in attenuator, but while I would prefer thr versatility of a continuous variable cost tool knob, my amp has 5 discrete attenuation settings. The intent is that the attenuator is tuned for this specific amp at each attenuation level so that you have fewer choices, but they should sound "better". I don't know if that is true but that is the intent.

    Your attenuator probably has more bells and whistles to tune the attenuator to the amp, speaker, wattage, attenuation level - it's designed to work on any or most amps. Mine is designed to work for just this amp, and also avoid complicated controls and too much weight in a combo I would guess.
     
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  7. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Yes Power Station 2 does have bells and whistles enabling it's compatibility with any amp.
    But outcome is it does not change the base the tone of any tube amp plugged into it.
    And it's volume dial is excellent so you can adjust to any volume you desire.
    It's the only attenuator that does both.

    It can do this cos it's not actually an attenuator - it's a reactive load power amp with a loop.
    This video is long but it explains why....

     
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  8. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I'm with @Waxhead on this. I had kind of wanted a PS2 for many years. I just kept putting it off. Being home a lot last year I played around with my gear more and decided I needed impedance matching and attenuation. I tried for the PS2 but the backorder was non-stop. A returned PS100 went on the block and I grabbed it. I have no idea why I kept putting it off. Was it expensive? YES! Do I use it? YES on almost every amp. Either I attenuate or I am impedance matching to different cabs I have built or bought, or best of all making the passable little hybrid amps sound even better! It seems to give a bit of life to the software stuff as well. I love the thing. Now the 100 did give me a bit of noise when I really pushed boosting the little 5-watt amp but I do not believe it was the PS doing it it was coming from cables or inherent noise from a cranked little 5-watt amp just screaming! So you get out what you put in tweaked the way you want ie boosted or attenuated. Save your money until you can get the Fryette you won't regret it. Even works well as a power amp for a pedal or two or more.

    You do have to pay attention my PS100 is 100 watts but I generally play into a 30 watt 2x12, my favorite cab and speaker set up, and if I get stupid and don't pay attention I could blow the speakers. As you turn the volume up you will know because first the speaker will fart out, keep going and it is death. I have not cranked it up to see where my cab will fart out because it gets too loud before that happens. But it is worth noting.
     
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  9. GretschPraise

    GretschPraise Gretschie

    239
    Jun 26, 2017
    Tampa Bay
    This is what I do. I find the Wampler Euphoria adjusted properly does a great job of sounding naturally like the amp.
     
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  10. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    As we still speak about power attenuators... ;):)

    Here are the 2 small and simple integrated power attenuators I put in two of my DIY 5-watters :


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    upload_2021-5-29_19-1-35.png

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Both are identical :

    [​IMG]

    A+!
     

    Attached Files:

  11. pmac11

    pmac11 Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    I picked up a Torpedo Captor 8 for my Mesa F50. By itself the amp is insanely loud, but the Torpedo provides -20db attentuation. Great tone at reasonable volume. Not noisy. More affordable than the OxBox, but also fewer features. Just a thought- happy tone hunting!
     
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  12. Viking Power

    Viking Power Synchromatic

    575
    Jun 11, 2018
    Mountlake Terrace, WA
    So much valuable info in these replies. Thanks folks!

    I have removed the cheap-o power soak and will just chalk it up to a lesson learned.

    I got a chance to play around with someone’s OxBox a week ago. That was cool. I now have a clue as to what a good attenuator is like!

    I will press on with using my dirt boxes to add break up to my amp for now with the goal of getting an OxBox or Fryette PS-2 in the future.
     
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  13. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Research both since they are not the same, some similar options are in them but they are not the same.
     
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  14. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Consensus on the OxBox on the TPG forum is that it does degrade amp tone a little.
    It's digital so your signal goes thru a-d-a conversion.
    And it's also lots more expensive than a Power Station 2 :D
     
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  15. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    A friend in Vancouver calls me from a music store one day, needs a co-signer so he can rent a o box. One of his buddies bought one and was raving about it. He was using it to sound like marshal amps and such. So my friend wants to give it a shot. I sign he gets home uses it a week takes it back. He said it didn’t make sense since the amps it was emulating he already owned vintage original and had a solid load or power soak so it didn’t make sense to him. But he said it sounded good.

    I considered the ox box, the boss unit I forget the name but it is loaded with functions, and the Fryette.

    Honestly the Boss was in the lead just for the shear number of things it can do but when I made the list of my needs and wants the Fryette fit perfectly.

    I suggest anyone thinking of units like this really put thought into their needs. I made a list.
    Mine was as follows.
    I wanted to make the sterile simulated software amps from my zen tour more tubelike.
    I wanted to make the little hybrid amps with a pre tube but SS out more tube like.
    I needed a good attenuator.
    I really wanted and needed impedance matching.
    I thought it would be nice to have an FX loop for the amps that didn’t have them.
    I did not want to have to learn more new gear when I haven’t put a dent into the learning curve of some of the stuff I have.

    That basically left me with the Fryette. But like I said the others have some very impressive bells and whistles but besides not needing what they offered as cool as it sounded I was also put off thinking about the obsolescence of those boxes once the electronics used inside are obsolete. I’ve been bit a couple times and didn’t want something that would be no more than a paper weight in ten years give or take.

    So make a list, be realistic of your needs, then your wants, and things you know you don’t want. See where that takes you, and good luck!
     
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  16. KreepyTeach

    KreepyTeach Electromatic

    81
    May 27, 2018
    Brooklyn, Ny

    Are both cables amplifier cables? I accidentally used a patch cable instead of an instrument cable, and couldn't figure out where the noise came from!

    Ive used attenuators from a passive L pad unit on ebay from $60. I'm currently using a mesa boogie powerhouse attenuator.
    S Spendsome extra money on it. It'll keep your power section of amp treated well, and having a line level output from an attenuator is the best thing!
     
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  17. Viking Power

    Viking Power Synchromatic

    575
    Jun 11, 2018
    Mountlake Terrace, WA
    Yes they are actual speaker cables.
    I will spend some real money if I decide to worry about this any more.
     
  18. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    This is good advice for anyone considering one of these products.
    In my case I bought Power Station before the Oxbox was released.

    I saw that many Oxbox features are different to PS2 and I had no use for most of the bells and whistles on Oxbox, ie IR's etc etc. And I didn't want any a-d-a conversions either cos I've learnt from experience this always results in some signal loss.

    But Oxbox looks like a good product if you have a need for most of what it delivers and making amps quieter and louder is not your priority no 1 :)
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2021
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  19. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Yea it looks interesting and ha one cool features that could be fun but didn’t fit my list. The Boss I looked at was the Boss Waza Tube Amp Expander. It is a serious piece of work and if money was no object I could be tempted to own and mess with one. Notice I said mess with. I’m sure a lot would have serious use for it but for me it would be nothing more than a fun piece of kit and more to learn to use. I have done well sticking to my method of making a list except when it comes to speakers and amps. I need neither but do so enjoy playing with different one. But now I’m way off topic.

    The friend I mentioned who tried the oxbox uses one of the Mesa power attenuator whatever they call them. He has had it for a long time and was another one telling me I needed some kind of attenuator.

    anyone with a more powerful and louder amp really needs to consider one. I wish it would have been the third piece of equipment I bought after the first guitar and amp. If I knew then what I know now.
     
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  20. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    I checked out the Boss Waza too and have same comments about that as I have with the Oxbox. Has many bells and whistles I have no use for, is digital and costs over $1000.

    But could be great for someone with those needs :eek:
     
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