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A bit of an unusual question I reckon, but here goes:

Is there a device that can turn down volume yet keep the signal the same? In other words, I want to be able to get the advantage of my tube amp at appartment levels. So basically what I'm looking for is something to put between the amp and the speaker, enabling me to turn down the volume while having my tube amp at more then 0.1 of the ten as it now is...

Cheers, Hope this ain't a ridiculous question...

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There are plans out there to make a speaker load. Basically you make a cigar box type thing with a big resister and heat sink in it. You put in in parallel with your speakers and it simulates a seconds speaker cab. Never Built one. You would have to be comfortable building it, and if you short out your speaker leads you could blow your amps power section..

You could also get a speaker and put it in a wooden box, with carpet inside, seal it up and stick it in a closet. It would reduce the power by dissapating it. I don't know how much, but it would reduce the volume to the other speaker. You would have to consider what ohm speaker to put in, it varies by Amp and how many speakers you have.

The hotplate works, it's got variable amount of volume reduction. It's expensive.

-John

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I'm no electronics genius, so doing it myself isn't exactly an option. If I have to believe the text on the THD site, there are other power attenuators out there, yet they muffle the sound a bit. The idea with the carpets/closet etc, won't work as I'm in a small appartment and don't have room for an extra cab. (My amp is a combo).

Cheers

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hahaha...the cheap option is to get an amp appropriate for the venue! I know a guy who bought a 200 watter for bedroom levels...that was a Pevey as well...got a cheaper deal for a monster amp, but it never goes above 0.5 on the gain.

You need to be careful with speaker loads, especially with valve amps and while you can make them, even this is not entirely"cheap" and they are not called "hotplates" for nothing...these things can really heat up!

I'm using a 40 watter and people have still been known to complain with the thing on 1...or maybe it's my playing the same thing over and over...hahaha

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Not an unusual question at all really, in the years I've spent on the 'net, I've seen that question asked 100 times or more.

You should go out on the 'net on different guitar forums and do some searches, it gets asked all the time, and the answers are also as endless, but if you search and read enough, you will find the answer that fits your needs.

I mean seriously, I've seen threads to this question go on for 5,6,7,8 pages or more...so obviously, there is an answer for you out there. :D

To get a better answer, you should give out more information, like, do you use the amp onstage, so you actually have a need for an amp that large in the first place for other functions, or did you simply buy the wrong amp to begin with and are ready to throw good money after bad, what are your applications at home for it, and what other applications do you have for it, i.e. playing out or no?

The (correct) answer you seek will depend on the answers to these questions.

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There are a lot of attenuators out there, and the hotplate is a decent one. You can also look into power scaling, which would go inside your amp. Google London Power and you can read about power scaling. But making a big amp sound the same at low volumes as it does loud isn't easy, and it isn't cheap.

You can go to AX84.com and look at the schematics for the firefly. It's an easy build. Or just watch for a used practice amp, which is your best option for quiet.

I have 1/2 watt and 3 watt all tube amps behind me right now. Even the 1/2 watt one is plenty loud for home jamming.

Best,

Todd

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Thanks for all the feedback.

@ drak: The situation I was in when buying my amp was as follows:

I actually was interested in the Orange tiny terror, which at that time was only available as a top. The top itself already cost 400 something euro's.

I went to a store in Germany twice to test out some amps, and it turned out that the 50 watt peavey valveking sounded fine at lower volumes (at least way better then my roland cube 15) It was also a lot more versatile then the tiny terror. I kept checking out a dutch site which is somewhat like ebay for a second hand one, and they went at about 375 euros. Then one day I saw the 100 watt version, open to bidding. So I thought what the heck, I'll make a ridiculous bid (325). And to my greatest surprise the guy called me and told me he didn't feel like waiting and that he accepted my bid.

That's how I ended up with this amp. Basically I only use it in my bedroom in my appartment. Walls aren't exactly woundproof here. I can get the amp to sound quite allright (though not near warm of course) but the trouble is to adjust the volume. Breath at the volume knob and it's already too loud.

So the power attenuator sounds to me like a good option though expensive. I'll look into those options the others mentioned as well.

Cheers

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Paul Gilbert's electrical engineer father ran his amp through a toaster to turn some extra watts into heat. And in typical Paul humor fashion, he made toast at early gigs.

For a low tech solution, put the amp in a closet with lots of clothes. Play with placement of the amp and how much the door is open. Eventually, you can get a good sound and a low sound level in the room.

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You can go to AX84.com and look at the schematics for the firefly. It's an easy build. Or just watch for a used practice amp, which is your best option for quiet.

I built a Firefly when Doug Hammond first designed it. It's a cool amp, and still pretty loud at only 1/2 watt. I also love the Octal Fatness, it has an awesome distortion tone and it's about 5 watts the way that I built it (using a 6V6 power tube).

There are plans out there to make a speaker load. Basically you make a cigar box type thing with a big resister and heat sink in it. You put in in parallel with your speakers and it simulates a seconds speaker cab.

You can do that. But the problem with those big wattage resistors in parallel with speakers is that they are a static load on your amp, not a dynamic load like a speaker is. Translation = it doesn't sound that good (in my opinion).

I like my Seymour Duncan Convertible amp, it has a variable wattage circuit (5-100 watts) in it that is perfect for for just about any venue. http://www.diyguitarist.com/GuitarAmps/Convert.htm

Edited by Paul Marossy
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Wow that firefly pcb looks sick! I may even have to give it a go.

One thing to remember with attenuators, if you are driving your tubes pretty hard it will reduce tubelife even if the output (volume) is low.

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Here's the easiest way to build the firefly. But you can't mod it that way.

I have the board, but haven't build it up yet.

Todd

http://web.mac.com/calhoun/PCB/Firefly_PCB.html

Wow, cool. The Firefly is a very cool little amp. I had to sell mine the first time my hours cut at work. Now that they cut my hours again, I have nothing left to sell... :D

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Delayed reply Paul, crazy week/weekend! I have that board, all the parts and the chassis just sitting around right now, but I also have everything except the OT for a larger 40W design I drew up for a friend. Once the three guitars I'm working on now are done, I'll get at least one of those done.

I am so slow on guitars. Amps are easier!

Todd

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rule of thumb when dealing with volume it takes about 10 times the wattage to double the volume if all else is the same.

http://misc.msorensen.net/watts.html

some reading

one of the easiest ways to lower your volume (assuming you are running through a 4X12 cab) ist to get a smaller cab a 1 x12 will help to lower it some but trust me my 18 watter 1x12 combo can get pretty loud in side the house when cranked. the attuenuators are your best bet but becareful some can put too much load on your amp. plus people claim that they do change the sound.

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Delayed reply Paul, crazy week/weekend! I have that board, all the parts and the chassis just sitting around right now, but I also have everything except the OT for a larger 40W design I drew up for a friend. Once the three guitars I'm working on now are done, I'll get at least one of those done.

I am so slow on guitars. Amps are easier!

Todd

Cool, I think you'll really like the Firefly. I'm guessing that you're slow on guitars only because you probably don't wire them up every day. :D

Edited by Paul Marossy
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