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  1. #1
    Eruption bjk's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 10:17 AM
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    Default Attenuator for PV 5150 combo?

    So I've got a 5150 combo. I'm not crazy about the overdrive tone. I just can't lose the harsh, brittle, ice pickiness. I generally play on the rhythm channel with the crunch button in, using the low gain input- pre at around 5. But it really warms up and has a nice creamy tone when cranked (post over 5). Problem is that's way too loud. So from what I understand, an attenuator allows the power tubes to be cranked but you can cut the output to the speakers, the idea being you get that "cranked" tone at listenable volumes. Anyone use one of these? I don't know if it's more of the speakers breaking up and moving air at high volume that gets the good sound. Or is it more the "post" tubes cooking that achieves the sweet spot? I'm guessing its probably a combination of both.

  2. #2
    Eruption AFU's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 06:36 AM
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    I don't know how it works. I'm no electrical engineer. But your right. Once you get these amps loud they sound better. Some of the fizz goes away. Not all of it though. I read speculation about the PV 5150 being designed that way. I can tell you this. If Ed designed it it's meant to be played loud and will sound its best that way.

    Preamp distortion type amps like the 5150 series are not supposed to benefit from attenuators. The power section isn't supposed to have much if anything to do with gain. My ears say different and was waiting for the Friedman STFU attenuator to try with my 5150. He took to long getting it to market and I now have a 5150 III 2x12 combo. The built in attenuator sold me. Wether it's just a master volume or real attenuator doesn't matter. I hear the amp change as I turn it down and usually play at 1 watt at home.
    There's a few good attenuators that won't suck tone too much. I hear Fryette was making a good one. I very curious to hear how it sounds if you get one!

  3. #3
    Top Of The World WDFA5150's Avatar
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    10.29.15 @ 04:06 PM
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    Default

    I have the 6505 head- it's set up with the same setting Ed used when they were his amp of choice- the only thing I really alter is the treble depending on how reflective the room is.
    Ed apparently set his volume at 6!!!!!! I can get to 3 and it's deafening. I ran it at 6 just once but had to stand in another room to be able to tolerate the volume- it sounded WAY better- very full and round but too loud.
    Attenuator seems to be the way to go but dont they fry your power tube faster?
    I used to be 'sean112' but lost all my details!

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 12:01 PM
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    Default

    I used to use the original 5150's (both stacks and combos) with Ed's settings too , for rehearsals and live gigs . Master volume was usually between 4-5 .
    They are loud amps !!!

    Yeah , a power soak/attenuator will drain the life out of your power tubes faster - as a rule . It's a trade off and a double edged sword for guitarists ... LOL
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - a very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

  5. #5
    Eruption bjk's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 10:17 AM
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    I overheard a guy asking a tech at GC about it affecting the amps life and he said it has no ill effects on the tubes or circuitry. It's what the attenuator is designed for. The amp is not doing anything abnormal, the decibels are being lowered to the speakers at the end of the signal chain.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 12:01 PM
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    Default

    I could be mistaken , of course , yet I always thought that those types of devices helped to shorten tube life ? I'm thinking of the old Marshall Power Brake/THD Hotplate , et al .
    My understanding is that the harder the power amp tubes are pushed (and for longer) the quicker they fizzle out under normal wear and tear . To get the total effect of the power tubes running 'full open' , there has to be a downside ... or so I thought .

    I don't claim to be an expert on this - simply relating what I've seen/heard and been told by other musicians and techs over the years .
    I've never dealt with any staff or associates from GC though .
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - a very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

  7. #7
    Eruption bjk's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 10:17 AM
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    Default

    I'm definitely not an expert when it comes to amps and circuitry. I watch some of those Rig Rundowns on YouTube and a good majority of the tech talk goes completely over my head... But to the point of shortening tube life, is that because the tubes are cranked, and regardless if there's an attenuator or not, they're going to burn out faster? Either way, I'm just curious if that "sweet spot" is attainable at lower volume.

  8. #8
    5150 clawedmonet's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 10:38 AM
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    Default

    I have a Hot Plate for my 5150 combo and it works really well. I should use past tense because I use a Mesa Boogie Express as my go-to amp now, even for most gigs, because it's a lot easier to move around. But I also have a Weber on the Boogie.

    The attenuator should open up a lot more tonal possibilities for you. Make sure you get the right one! I got mine so long ago that I forget the specs, but you'll have to match up the ohms. It's not rocket science, but don't skip that step. I think the reason why people have bad experiences with attenuators is that they don't get the right attenuators for their amps.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Top Of The World chris95's Avatar
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    11.13.17 @ 03:44 AM
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    Hi!
    I have the 5150 combo. I use it with the jettenuator (jet city) attenuator. It's very affordable and works well. It also have a line out and a speaker simulated output for recording.
    It wont destroy your tubes, there's no more issue nowadays with recent attenuators.

 

 

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