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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been through a ridiculous amount of attenuators:

Bad Cat Unleash
Alex Attenuator
Aracom Pro and DAG
Ho Attenuator (Ultimate Attenuator)
THD Hotplate
Weber Mass, Mini mass, and Micro Mass
Jettenuator

Most are decent enough and the more expensive units offer better clarity at higher levels of attenuation. Overall, however, I felt none were great at high levels of attenuation and I always went back to my pedals and a clean amp rig for lower volume stuff.

When I bought the Bad Cat Unleash it was current the TGP darling and was garnering nothing but rave reviews. I bought one and returned it because I didn’t like the way it sounded. In a strange herd mentality, I was attacked and belittled with an almost moral indignation because I “dared” to question the Unleash’s perfection (I’m unfortunately not really exaggerating; you can look up the old threads.) From that day on I vowed to avoid the TGP hype train and take every review with a huge grain of salt.

When the Power Station came on the market many of the guys who had lampooned me about the Unleash and sang its perfection, suddenly changed their tune and were raving about the Power Station. All the same superlatives were used and anyone who questioned it, pointed out a potential flaw, or expressed doubt, were attacked just as I had been previously. I read the hyped up reviews and tried to see through the familiar BS and hyperbole. I paid most attention to those who didn’t find it perfect and communicated with them privately in hopes of finding some type of balance and perspective. I was even, once again, kind of attacked here and there for asking questions about the PS and its possible limitations (how dare I!) . . .

Long story short, a used V1 appeared in Canada so I decided to bite the bullet and find out for myself. Here are my final thoughts.

It is a great unit and I see why people love it. It is certainly one of the best options out there. Having spent more time with it, on my specific rig, I will say the following:

1.) The high end changes when the PS is inline. It's not so much that the high end disappears, but that it changes character. The warm and rounded highs when bypassed become more strident and less open when the PS is engaged (yeah I know, words to describe sound get ridiculous).

2.) I can hear the lack of "oophm" Braciola refers to. I actually think it is a question of re-amping dynamic range. What seems likes unity while picking lightly or moderately doesn't seem like unity when you dig in. There is a lack of "bloom" with the PS engaged unless you crank up the PS a bit. This starts to defeat the point of attenuating.

3.) At really high levels of attenuation I'm not sure it is better than pedals into a clean amp. At moderate levels of attenuation I am not sure it is better than a good MV.

4.) I don't like that the fx loop takes the entire signal. If you have any "tone suckers" in the loop your entire amp sound changes. Not the PS's fault, but a reality.

So there you have it. For me, on my rig, I couldn't justify the expenditure. If you don't have a MV and don't want to mod your vintage amp, if you want to make a small amp louder, and if your fx chain is transparent, it is an amazing unit. When set to unity and A/Bing the unit in and out of line, it is pretty darn close. Your ears quickly adjust and there is no chance an audience member would hear your tone and say, "hey, something is off." There is a real difference, but given how quickly your ear adjusts you can appreciate how great this thing is. In a band mix your are not going to notice any difference.

End verdict: one of the best options out there but don't expect miracles. Those who love it and those who moved on are both right.

TG
 

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I love your reviews of attenuators.

I also had issues with the Unleash, but my big one was that one had to adjust the input level on the Unleash. It wants a consistent signal level. If I turned the volume down to get a cleaner signal, the overall sound became sputtery and gated. Does the PS do that as well?
 

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As I said before, I appreciate your balanced assessment of the PS. Something that perhaps isn't happening elsewhere while everyone is still in the honeymoon stage. I will comment on your points, though:

1) Very true. But this may be because of the nature of trying to mimic a speaker box with only one hardware-built reactive load configuration. While it may make one type of speaker sound strident, it may also make another type of speaker sound dark or lack clarity. I imagine they did generalized as much as they could, but I don't imagine it mimics every possible speaker box. How could it? The Suhr load box suffers a similar malady, as it only mimics a 412 with G12-65's (a great choice, but only one option). It's the nature of the beast without going to software solutions, like IR's, IMO.

2) I agree with that statement as well. I believe that is the nature of F-M and the fact that the speakers are working hard. Physics dictates that playing quietly, you can not overcome those two hard and fast rules. We all have to accept a bit of a compromise in these areas, if you want to play quietly something you love really loud.

The other thing I will say regarding the PS is I find both the load box controls (the Bright and Warm switches) and the power amp controls (Presence and Depth) are well-tuned to a guitar player's needs. They do more good than bad in tweaking an amp's existing tone structure just a bit here or there. For instance, my 5E3, with its limited tone controls, really benefits from the load switches to make if fuller and deeper. And of course, you can turn all that tone control junk off if you don't want it.

I am a fanboy because I haven't heard anything better for my needs (primarily making small amps bigger). But I do try and remain open-minded to the realities of it as well. You post was very balanced and fair, IMO.
 

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Are there any other options out there for adding an external fx loop to an amp without one? I like to add delay and verb after overdrive so using an amps OD is problematic if it doesn't have a loop.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Are there any other options out there for adding an external fx loop to an amp without one? I like to add delay and verb after overdrive so using an amps OD is problematic if it doesn't have a loop.
I use this to tap my main amp and then run effects to another small amp:

David Bray Amps

I think it sounds way better than an effects loop.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am a fanboy because I haven't heard anything better for my needs (primarily making small amps bigger). But I do try and remain open-minded to the realities of it as well. You post was very balanced and fair, IMO.
I can see why one would be a fan. It's a great unit. The TGP childishness about it is unfortunate.

TG
 

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I use this to tap my main amp and then run effects to another small amp:

David Bray Amps

I think it sounds way better than an effects loop.
That's a very cool idea although I'd rather not be hauling 2 amps around :) I'll give this some thought though, pretty cheap too.
 

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That's a very cool idea although I'd rather not be hauling 2 amps around :) I'll give this some thought though, pretty cheap too.
How about just one cab with wet and dry configuration, built in loop and amp. The Komet AmbiCab.

Doesn't look like it's released yet, and I would expect it to be a heavy lift and a pretty heavy financial load, as well. But are copies or similar units going to be far behind? Something for the rest of us?

Komet Amplification
 

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How about just one cab with wet and dry configuration, built in loop and amp. The Komet AmbiCab.

Doesn't look like it's released yet, and I would expect it to be a heavy lift and a pretty heavy financial load, as well. But are copies or similar units going to be far behind? Something for the rest of us?

Komet Amplification
Price is listed as $1999 US, ouch, but an expected ouch from Komet :)

I think for now I'll pick up a good tape delay and run it in front of the amp, like this :)

Why Tape Delay Goes in Front of Your Amp
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That's a very cool idea although I'd rather not be hauling 2 amps around :) I'll give this some thought though, pretty cheap too.
You can use a small cheap amp for the wet. No need for anything fancy or large. Alternatively, you could make your own Komet rig by mounting a small EH 22 Calibre or 44 Magnum in a cab. It would drive a wet speaker, your main amp would drive the other speaker.
 

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You can use a small cheap amp for the wet. No need for anything fancy or large. Alternatively, you could make your own Komet rig by mounting a small EH 22 Calibre or 44 Magnum in a cab. It would drive a wet speaker, your main amp would drive the other speaker.
Well I do have a Traynor 1/4 horse that has both reverb and delay, LOL. I just thought about it thanks to your post :)

I need to start a new thread :)
 

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Hiya @traynor_garnet. This is a great and useful review. I'm looking at a V1 right now and wondering how you used yours. Hi gain sounds? Pedals and boosts? Bold clean? Edge of distortion?

I get so much of my sound from boosting pedals pushing loud amps that I'm hopeful it could help me use my pedals in a similar way at home that I do with the band so I'm not having to practice and set my tones in such profoundly different ways.
 

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The primary reason I bought mine was to get the delay out from in front of the amp. It worked well enough that I was happy. I hate delay in front of a dirty amp.

I used the ps's eq as well as the amp's to keep the tone I was after.

I think I did a review here ages ago. I discussed the affects of attenuation, etc., but I can't remember what I said. I sold it to someone when i decided to get rid of the amp i bought it for and my 11 rack..

Sorry for the poor grammar. I'm using my phone.
 

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I had seen your review and it's greatly appreciated. I'm on the opposite side though. I hate effects loops and I'm the kind of weirdo that runs most delay, reverb and modulation before my dirt. I'm wondering more if when I hit my amp with boosts and attenuate heavily down, if the amp and boosts still retain a similar feel/sound as they do when I play live.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hiya @traynor_garnet. This is a great and useful review. I'm looking at a V1 right now and wondering how you used yours. Hi gain sounds? Pedals and boosts? Bold clean? Edge of distortion?

I get so much of my sound from boosting pedals pushing loud amps that I'm hopeful it could help me use my pedals in a similar way at home that I do with the band so I'm not having to practice and set my tones in such profoundly different ways.
I just scaled the volume to where I wanted it and used my amp exactly as I always do. I usually set my amp up for dirt and ride the guitar's volume for clean and semi dirty tones.

Your pedals will work fine, but if you primarily use boost pedals to up the volume (rather than shaping your tone by hitting the preamp hard for more dirt) you may want to run them in the fx loop.

TG
 

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I just scaled the volume to where I wanted it and used my amp exactly as I always do. I usually set my amp up for dirt and ride the guitar's volume for clean and semi dirty tones.

Your pedals will work fine, but if you primarily use boost pedals to up the volume (rather than shaping your tone by hitting the preamp hard for more dirt) you may want to run them in the fx loop.

TG
Thanks TG. I tend to run amps hot and use those boosts to shape the dirt - rangemasters to narrow the mids and fuzzes that push the amp into feedback sort of stuff. Sounds like this will work well for that.
 

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A clean boost into the input of the amp will boost the first stage of the amp (probably a tube stage). Depending on how that's set (clean, edge of breakup, full-out distortion), it may add a bit of bite or more distortion or just boost level.

Because the PS has lots of power / headroom (a very clean 50 watt tube amp), if you put a clean boost in the loop, you will get a pure clean boost of your sound, no extra gain, just a volume increase (or decrease if you set it lower or use a passive switchable volume pot). It works similar to the Solo feature on a Mesa amp, something I've gotten used to having and miss when I don't have one of my Mesa's with me. Now, when I go out sans Mesa, I put a Diamond Boost/EQ in the loop, EQ off, and I get the same feature as with the Mesas.

Mod effects are addictive in the loop as well, especially if you play with quite a bit of distortion.
 

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Mod effects are addictive in the loop as well, especially if you play with quite a bit of distortion.
Hence my dilemma :)

I threw a clip up in the other thread to show how much gain the amp can kick out. This is without the boost engaged, it's on the footswitch that came with the amp originally but @Magic Twanger forgot he had it :), I hope to pick it up next weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yep it will work as if the PS isn't even there.


Hiya @traynor_garnet. This is a great and useful review. I'm looking at a V1 right now and wondering how you used yours. Hi gain sounds? Pedals and boosts? Bold clean? Edge of distortion?

I get so much of my sound from boosting pedals pushing loud amps that I'm hopeful it could help me use my pedals in a similar way at home that I do with the band so I'm not having to practice and set my tones in such profoundly different ways.
I just scaled the volume to where I wanted it and used my amp exactly as I always do. I usually set my amp up for dirt and ride the guitar's volume for clean and semi dirty tones.

Your pedals will work fine, but if you use boost pedals to up the volume (rather than hit the preamp hard for more dirt) you may want to run them in the fx loop.

TG
Thanks TG. I tend to run amps hot and use those boosts to shape the dirt - rangemasters to narrow the mids and fuzzes that push the amp into feedback sort of stuff. Sounds like this will work well for that.
 
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