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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed in a recent high end amp thread that the poster's amp had a master volume, but it was the only volume. In this case, is it not just "volume"?

My current amp has both vol/master vol and I can get sounds I really like at low volumes.
I'm not yet in the market for an amp of high caliber, so I haven't spent any time behind one (I don't test drive until serious...That only gets me in trouble) At some point though, I will be looking for a higher end amp, but does the fact many don't have attenuation feature mean I have to have it cranked anytime I want to get the most out of it? Or does rolling back the guitar volume and pushing up the amp achieve the same thing?
 

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One volume? Dunno.

Lots of previous thread about cranked sound at sensible volume.

My two bits: attenuation sucks. Kevin O'Connors Power Scaling works best but must be implemented properly.

It's a minefield with an average of 11.5 opinions for evry ten players.
 

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Was there a gain knob in addition to the master volume? If so, the gain controls the preamp gain and the master controls the power amp so you can achieve any level of overdrive at any volume.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
One volume? Dunno.

Lots of previous thread about cranked sound at sensible volume.

My two bits: attenuation sucks. Kevin O'Connors Power Scaling works best but must be implemented properly.

It's a minefield with an average of 11.5 opinions for evry ten players.

Does it really suck that bad?
My amp is probably considered to be low(er)-end full featured tube amp. It's a Traynor YCS 90. It has two channels, both with volume and gain and then one master to run the whole works. I am assuming with this particular set up the master is considered an attenuator??

I know I have some hearing loss but I don't think my ears suck so bad that they can't tell any difference in tone between low-level volumes and elevated volumes. I hear the same thing only louder.

Perhaps they aren't trained to hear the subtle differences in quality like other people's are here. I do tend to like a signature tone and leave it at that if that makes any sense?

What am I not seeing ( or hearing )
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Was there a gain knob in addition to the master volume? If so, the gain controls the preamp gain and the master controls the power amp so you can achieve any level of overdrive at any volume.
Yes, there was
 

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OK. Looks like both amps have the same thing with different names on the controls. Neither your amp or the hi-end amp has attenuation. Thats a different animal. Your hearing is fine. So are the amps.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
OK. Looks like both amps have the same thing with different names on the controls. Neither your amp or the hi-end amp has attenuation. Thats a different animal. Your hearing is fine. So are the amps.
Thanks

I suppose the only real difference is that one amp has ability to adjust volume as per channel then
 

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Does it really suck that bad?
My amp is probably considered to be low(er)-end full featured tube amp. It's a Traynor YCS 90. It has two channels, both with volume and gain and then one master to run the whole works. I am assuming with this particular set up the master is considered an attenuator??

I know I have some hearing loss but I don't think my ears suck so bad that they can't tell any difference in tone between low-level volumes and elevated volumes. I hear the same thing only louder.

Perhaps they aren't trained to hear the subtle differences in quality like other people's are here. I do tend to like a signature tone and leave it at that if that makes any sense?

What am I not seeing ( or hearing )
No your amp does not have attenuation.

Your volume knob controls your preamp tubes, your master volume controls your power amp tubes. any low volume overdrive you are getting is preamp overdrive.

An attenuator goes between your amps overall output and the speaker.
 

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I was a "no dirt pedal snob" for many years. Now there are many pedals that are so good that you wouldn't know the difference. And you could save a lot of money. They also work much better at bedroom levels
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No your amp does not have attenuation.

Your volume knob controls your preamp tubes, your master volume controls your power amp tubes. any low volume overdrive you are getting is preamp overdrive.

An attenuator goes between your amps overall output and the speaker.
So I have probably not truly "heard" my amp... The loudest I play is about as loud as my stereo goes without clipping. Which is about 70 watts RMS give or take. At those levels I've barely engaged the master volume on my amp.
 

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Put the master and channel volumes to noon and find out what its made of.

People went from wanting power amp saturation and speaker breakup (origins of rock) to preamp saturation and a clean power section with no speaker breakup.

Some people want two or three of those in their sound. Theres no wrong answer.
 

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if I was really a purist, my amp wouldn't have any vol or tone knobs at all....and just be hardwired to "11" forever
 

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Can someone enlighten me on the word "attenuation"?

Pls and thank you. :D
 

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My amp only has one knob for volume and and an on off switch.

I went to radio shack / source to buy an attenuator - no one including the store manager knew what that was.
 

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Can someone enlighten me on the word "attenuation"?

Pls and thank you. :D
Someone here will be able to give you a technical explanation, but, to me it means the amp generates all the power/loudness and then a device "soaks up" or "defeats" a bunch of it to hopefully give you the same sound at a lower volume. I think there is a detailed discussion on the London Power website.
 

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Can someone enlighten me on the word "attenuation"?

Pls and thank you. :D
Just to expand on it, an attenuator as usually defined is something that soaks up power after the power tubes. So while a master volume limits the signal into, and thus out of, the power section (there is no real level control of a power amp, just control of the input to the power amp), an attenuator absorbs some of the power coming out, allowing only a small portion of the power to get to the speaker. So you get to work the power tubes without being overly loud. Power tubes sound a little different when they overdrive than preamp tubes do (compression, etc). With a master volume turned down, you will never experience those special overdrive characteristics of the power tubes overdriving.

A few of the issues with attenuators are that if they are a resistive network, they don't react with a tube power section the way a speaker (which is reactive by nature) does. Some better attenuators are reactive (a combination of resistors, capacitors and ineductors) to more accurately load the amp like a speaker does. Also, speakers worked hard have a sound of their own - that some people desire - and an attenuator takes that out of the equation.

Another device similar to an attenuator is a re-amper, which absorbs all of the sound of the amp, produces a line level signal that is then sent to another power amp to be amplified. The advantage of that is the guitar amp plugged into the re-amper can be run however you want, while the re-amper controls the actual volume. In theory, you can play a 100 watt amp late at night at TV volumes. But you still miss the 'cranked speaker' component that attenuators also do away with. Two examples of re-ampers are the BadCat Unleash and the Fryette PowerStation.
 

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Just to expand on it, an attenuator as usually defined is something that soaks up power after the power tubes. So while a master volume limits the signal into, and thus out of, the power section (there is no real level control of a power amp, just control of the input to the power amp), an attenuator absorbs some of the power coming out, allowing only a small portion of the power to get to the speaker. So you get to work the power tubes without being overly loud. Power tubes sound a little different when they overdrive than preamp tubes do (compression, etc). With a master volume turned down, you will never experience those special overdrive characteristics of the power tubes overdriving.

A few of the issues with attenuators are that if they are a resistive network, they don't react with a tube power section the way a speaker (which is reactive by nature) does. Some better attenuators are reactive (a combination of resistors, capacitors and ineductors) to more accurately load the amp like a speaker does. Also, speakers worked hard have a sound of their own - that some people desire - and an attenuator takes that out of the equation.

Another device similar to an attenuator is a re-amper, which absorbs all of the sound of the amp, produces a line level signal that is then sent to another power amp to be amplified. The advantage of that is the guitar amp plugged into the re-amper can be run however you want, while the re-amper controls the actual volume. In theory, you can play a 100 watt amp late at night at TV volumes. But you still miss the 'cranked speaker' component that attenuators also do away with. Two examples of re-ampers are the BadCat Unleash and the Fryette PowerStation.
I didn't understand very much of this. I will have to dissect this and try to peice it together like a puzzle! All this tech talk is so above my head and very new to me. I feel so stupidMJF$#

Maybe we should start a thread with technical lingo terminology broken down for the not so tech savy people like me.
 

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............and here I am, thinking I've used layman's terms. :(

If there's anything specifically you want fleshed out, I'm sure we can help.

I find it really helps to think about a guitar amp in a 'block and level' way, considering the separate components that make up an amp. There are at least two basic blocks to a guitar amp: preamp, with all the tone controls and gain/volume control, and the power amp, which really only has a master volume control associated with it. And that isn't always true - a non-master-volume amp like a Deluxe Reverb, the 'master volume control' is always on 10. There are other blocks that can be included, like an effects loop between the preamp and power amp. Reverb and tremolo can also be thought of as blocks inside an amp.

The preamp has all the tone controls and preamp gain/drive controls on it. The power amp takes that signal you've created with all those preamp controls and just makes it louder.
 

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............and here I am, thinking I've used layman's terms. :(

If there's anything specifically you want fleshed out, I'm sure we can help.

I find it really helps to think about a guitar amp in a 'block and level' way, considering the separate components that make up an amp. There are at least two basic blocks to a guitar amp: preamp, with all the tone controls and gain/volume control, and the power amp, which really only has a master volume control associated with it. And that isn't always true - a non-master-volume amp like a Deluxe Reverb, the 'master volume control' is always on 10. There are other blocks that can be included, like an effects loop between the preamp and power amp. Reverb and tremolo can also be thought of as blocks inside an amp.

The preamp has all the tone controls and preamp gain/drive controls on it. The power amp takes that signal you've created with all those preamp controls and just makes it louder.
This dumbed down "Lola" version makes sense to me! Now I know what a pre amp is vs a power amp! I can put the rest of the peices together!

Thx so much HD for your time and effort in making me a more educated gear head!

No longer a kindergartener but a grade oner! Yeah! :D
 
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