To attenuate or not?


half rock, half gas
I'm thinking of getting a weber Minimass 50w attenuator for my Peavey Classic 30. My goal is to get a good deal more overdrive than just having the pre-gain cranked for classic rock. Is getting an attenuator the way to go or should I just get a Fulltone OCD?
What do you think?
I was thinking of this too..
Im confined to bedroom playing at the moment, and it doesn't even get anywhere near 1! Let alone 11 :>
Let me know how it goes mate.
Paul Gilbert uses one on his GOOMY instructional DVD. You can see it flashing away :)
My view is that the only way to get that illusive "overdriven power stage" sound is to overdrive the powerstage of your amp. A booster pedal will help you to do that if pre-amp stage is too weedy or is not giving you enough... but you will still need to drive power stage hard regardless - which means it has to be outputting the power, i.e. it's loud..

So my point here is that if you want to do that at low volumes you'll need to attenuate..


New Member
attenuators are great for making a loud amp tolerable for something like a small club.
If you try to squash down to bedroom volume, forget about it, and get a nice overdrive pedal instead.


half rock, half gas
Good input guys, thanks. By 'bedroom levels' do you mean slightly louder than the TV? That's what I'm after, a cliche I know but hey....The thing is that I'm not a tweaker,I don't really want a versatile pedal; just one sound. There is a lot of conflicting opinion on other forums about pedals vs. attenuators and I know that whatever I do is a compromise in some way or another but I just don't want to waste any money.


Well-Known Member
totaly agree with andrew, an attenuator is meant to turn a 100Watt stack into an amp that can be used in a club, but not in your bedroom. And you also need to be aware that your tubes will works really hard with an attenuator, so you'll have to replace them often!

But anyway the sad reality is that you'll never have the tone of a cranked tube amp in your bedroom, cause even if the amp is working for real, speakers will be sleeping, and that also affect the tone.

this is my opinion.


The Plank Spanker
Could you crank the heck out of an amp to get nice ballsy overdriven tone, and then have like an Ernie Ball Jr. Volume Pedal, and roll that down to get manageable volume?


Well-Known Member
If you put a volume pedal in the effect loop, the power amp section will not be working more than if the volume was set low on the amp... so basically you only get preamp distortion... so no doesn't change much the tone but it can help to manage the volume... instead of the tapping on the volume knob of the amp until you hear someting... ;)


half rock, half gas
OK, I hear you guys. I've also been reading up more about attenuators, good and bad. I still haven't decided and I'll take my time before I make my choice. The thing is, I really don't want to have pedals between me and the amp, partly psychological I guess. Also, I know that if I get one pedal it will be the doorway to more GAS for sure! In my teens I had a Marshall half stack and a bunch of effects until one day I freaked out and got rid of the lot and switched to playing acoustic for a number of years. I got back into the electric two or three years ago.

I play a lot using amp sims with effects into a multitrack with headphones --- this is all digital. I got the PV C30 to get back into tubes, that's why I want to keep the rig as simple as possible.

There's nothing wrong with the OD I'm getting from the Peavey, but a bit more of the same would be great.
Fairly sure the volume pedal would melt as it's designed to carry instrument level signal. It won't able to handle the all the power coming out of the amp. Attentuators loose the excess power as heat.

the monkey lord

The Simian Behemoth
I think attenuators are great, but to be honest a 100 Watt head is made to be played loud with a full stack... If you really want a good cranked tube tone in your bedroom I would get something like a Tiny Terror or the ZVEX nano head, something very low watt which is made for badroom/studio use.
I use a Weber Mass Lite 100 and it's so very useful. Not only for getting some nicer tone at lower volumes, but it also has this cool impedence swamping feature that they don't tell you about at first, what this means is that you can use whatever speaker(4, 8, 16 ohms) with whatever amp and you won't have to worry about destroying the speaker or the amp. It also has 2 speaker outs which is very nice, all for 160 bucks of well spent cash.
I think you should go for the OCD or some other OD, because a attenuator really isn't worth it for a 30w. And an OD can make your amp much more versitile
For me, it's loud and proud. I don't get much enjoyment out of playing at 'bedroom volumes'. If it gets too loud I either snake out my 10m Mogami cable into the hallway or put on my Sennheiser studio headphones and turn the amp up even louder.

If I HAVE to play quietly I jack into the computer and use Waves GTR.