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Hot Plate Experiences/ Recommendations


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#1 radatats

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:13 PM

After blowing up another thread about low power tube amps, I am seriously considering a hot plate/attenuator for my DT-25.  There are a number of different ones out there at various price ranges.  I kind of like the Jet City Jettenuator, variable attenuation, adjustable line level out, XLR out with mic sim for FOH, and good for 100W amp., for about $240.

 

Now I want to hear your experiences using one, good and bad, what brands you like and prices, values.  Should I anticipate any downside for my amp by using one?  Tube or transformer wear and tear?

 

Other than putting an equalizer in the DT's FX loop for global EQ I think this might be the last piece of the proverbial puzzle...


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#2 grandinq

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:51 PM

I've got a Weber Mini Mass; it was $115.  I like it quite well.  I mostly use it for home practicing.


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#3 geppert

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:43 PM

I've got a Weber Mini Mass; it was $115.  I like it quite well.  I mostly use it for home practicing.

 

Did you get the attenuator from the Weber Site??? If so ... how long did it take? For $115 I assume you got the 50W version?


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#4 Stratman82

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 05:01 AM

After blowing up another thread about low power tube amps, I am seriously considering a hot plate/attenuator for my DT-25.  There are a number of different ones out there at various price ranges.  I kind of like the Jet City Jettenuator, variable attenuation, adjustable line level out, XLR out with mic sim for FOH, and good for 100W amp., for about $240.

 

Now I want to hear your experiences using one, good and bad, what brands you like and prices, values.  Should I anticipate any downside for my amp by using one?  Tube or transformer wear and tear?

 

Other than putting an equalizer in the DT's FX loop for global EQ I think this might be the last piece of the proverbial puzzle...

 

I've got a THD Hotplate (8ohm version) that I've used with my DT25 quite extensively and over the past week with my new Or15H...

 

Its a great piece of kit with some limitations. The downside of the THD in particular is that it's not switchable bewteen 8 and 16ohm impedance. If your only using it with the DT25 then you'd only need 8ohms anyway, plus you could technically still send it to a 16ohm cab as well (as the impedance rating is higher) but that may slightly reduce cabinet output. Because each model is only 1 impedance it's also cheaper, particularly if you buy on ebay. I got a 2nd hand model in good condition on ebay for about £150 (new Rivera Rockcrusher £399!).

 

I researched it all quite extensively prior to buying and the consensus from amp experts and designers is that attenuators are safe when used properly. The amp head doesnt know what its attached to directly as long as impedances are matched...8ohm output on DT25 to 8ohm rated THD Hotplate. "Wear" on the tubes and transformer is as high as it would be without an attenuator and the gain and volume knobs all set the same.

 

However.....I think the use that you're putting it to determines if its a worthwhile purchase or not. If you're using it only for "bedroom" volumes i.e. TV level volume then you'd generally need to set the hotplate at -16db attenuation or beyond in 25watt full power mode. In my experience the hotplate maintains great tone up to around -12db attenuation, ideally -4-8db for "perfect" tone reproduction. In my experience with both the DT25 and OR15H using the hotplate for >12db attenuation (i.e. -16db mode) is NOT WORTH IT. At that setting tone quality deteriorates considerably to the point where tone on both amps is actually better in full power mode with the volume (master volume in DT's case) down low to reduce volume.

 

So what I'd suggest is that the Hotplate is excellent for home use if you can manage slightly louder volume levels at home (-12db to -4db attenuation). It's perfect for stage use where you wouldn't be attenuating beyond 12db anyway, i.e. turning the volume up slightly between the start and the end of the night.

 

If it's only for home use at very quiet levels (-16db and beyond), in my experience and after much trialling, I'd stick with the amp alone and use the DT's master volume.


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#5 Stratman82

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 05:09 AM

Oh yeah, I think what swung me in favour of the THD Hotplate is that I heard Joe Bonamassa uses one!!


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#6 grandinq

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 03:21 PM

Did you get the attenuator from the Weber Site??? If so ... how long did it take? For $115 I assume you got the 50W version?

 

That's the one I got.  I want to say it didn't take that long to get -- less than a week.


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#7 ozbadman

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 03:54 PM

That's the one I got.  I want to say it didn't take that long to get -- less than a week.

 

You guys talked me into getting one of these. I just ordered it. I would have preferred the THD hotplate, but they seem really hard to get, and they're very expensive compared to the Weber. The Weber has variable input impedance, which I like, but I would have liked the bass boost as well, which the hotplate has (mind you, from what I've read, it can make the sound a little muddy). Hopefully turning up the Bass on the amp will work sufficently well if necessary when I use the attenuator (this'll be my first use of an attenuator, so I'm not quite sure what to expect).


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#8 anonyrat

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 02:58 PM

I also use the Weber Mini Mass. Yes it is the 50w and their turn-around from order to international delivery was very impressive.

I use it for home practice and home recording. It has a line out socket.

Observation: I have both outputs connected to ProTools ( both outputs being the lineout on the DT25 and the MiniMass ) both signals look identical albeit the Minimass being hotter.

The Minimass line out is PRE the attenuation which is good in some ways as I can turn the Minimass down very low (to hear ProTools monitor) whilst still delivering full power to the recording input.

 

The Minimass has a good feature where it boosts the Treble by +3 +6db ( so can really brighten up a dull sound in a dull venue)

 

I run the DT25 flatout with the master on MAX. and the Minimass on 4 (40%) for normal listening levels and 2 (20%) when recording.


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#9 radatats

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 07:39 PM

Thanks for all the insights and advice.  I am inclined towards the Weber but really not sure if it is something I actually need after all.  I think I am getting all I need right now at home levels and he Weber isn't really going to give me much more.  I really need a bigger house with soundproofing!  I definitely agree that the sweet spot is really found with volume when the speakers and cabs can come to life, not just from driving the tubes a little harder.

 

:)


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#10 Brazzy

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 06:59 AM

Don't forget to check out the bad cat attenuator, pricey though.


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I mostly play at home and my own music which is more of a bluesy Jazzy Rock mixture as I'm still learning how to play guitar so when I post a reply to try and help give ideas you know where I'm coming from. In a nutshell I'm always learning and having fun doing it. Rock-On!! Oh, and if I don't respond promptly I'm probably playing guitar or my computer locked up from multitasking 'cause I'm using Gear Box, HD500 Edit, Audacity and tab filled browsers all at the same time, Hahahaaaa. Surprisingly enough my 'puter handles the load more times than not.
 

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#11 guyotron

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 04:23 PM

I purchased a Weber Mini Mass in 100 Watt for my DT-50.  I added the balanced output option so I can either use the XLR out from the DT and/or the balanced out from the Mini Mass for recording purposes.  I'd need to add speaker impulses to the Mini Mass output as it's the 'raw' output from the amp to the speaker with no speaker emulation.  I like that option because I can tailor the tone better.  I bought the Mini Mass because the DT-50 sounds better with the channel level dimed and the master brought down to keep the output level more sane, but it's still too loud for recording, so the Mini Mass brings it down to better levels.  The master volume has to be at a certain level to get enough of a signal in my interface, and that level is too loud without the Mini Mass.


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#12 innovine

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 10:02 PM

Hey guys, would anyone have the time to post a soundclip of the dt direct out with the master down low, and then with the exact same guitar signal and patch, with the attenuator in place and the master pushed up a bit?
I need to keep the volume pretty low at home, and am wondering if the tone difference is worth the attenuator. I keep hearing people say it; better but I've yet to hear the recorded difference.
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#13 grandinq

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 04:39 PM

So....I'm reading about the new firmware update for the pod hd500, and I'm wondering if the new feature that allows you to use the pod's master volume to attenuate basically cancels the need for buying the the items we were discussing in this thread!  Has anyone tried the new firmware, and is it an easy replacement for a hotpate, Weber mini mas etc.?


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#14 boyce89976

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 07:13 PM

So....I'm reading about the new firmware update for the pod hd500, and I'm wondering if the new feature that allows you to use the pod's master volume to attenuate basically cancels the need for buying the the items we were discussing in this thread!  Has anyone tried the new firmware, and is it an easy replacement for a hotpate, Weber mini mas etc.?

 

I just updated the firmware on my HD 500x last night and played with it some tonight.  I'm running it via L6 link into a DT25.  I mainly use the "American Clean" setting and have to have the "master" volume on the amp set really low.  Tonight, I set the "master" volume on the DT to about 50%, and used the "master" volume on the POD, to control the leveI.  Might just be me, but I noticed enough of a warming effect on the overall tone, that I might have to re-EQ my patches... especially the dirty patches.  All playing was done a relatively low volume, until tomorrow morning when the wife and kids will be gone for about an hour and I can crank it up a little bit.   


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#15 Metalchef

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:27 PM

Yes I quite like the new update to the l6link but I still feel an attenuator would preserve the tone a little better. Here is my logic behind it and someone please correct me if I'm wrong....... The more the Master Volume is turned down (in LVM) the more the Digital Components take over (which is why the full amp versions, to me, sound better than Pre versions due to a modeled power amp section). So in short Lower Volume (on the master volume.) in LVM = more of the digital feel. While the Attenuator or Variac would allow you to bypass LVM and run the tubes at full power (or close too it) and getting that tube tone we all so dearly want at the LVM decibels ( or at least close to it).

So i think the Attenuator / Variac route would be better because it will allow u to run the tubes hotter . Hope I didn't confuse anyone while I thought that one out. Like I said if I am wrong please correct me as the Rock Crusher I am looking at is almost $500.
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#16 boyce89976

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 10:01 PM

The amp definitely seems punchier with the master on the DT up above 50%, and using the master on the POD to control output.  Could be my imagination though.  What I do know is this combo (POD 500x/DT25) sounds better the more I play with it.  

 

Also plugged straight into the amp this afternoon (first time... have had it for almost a week), and it sounds sweet on it's own too.  Great job, Line 6!  


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#17 Metalchef

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 10:51 PM

Yes it does do very well. I love the versatility it provides and yes the new update does allow for more tone at lower volumes but I still don't think as much as an attenuator would help. I have yet to really crank up my dt502x12,for longer than 5-10min.
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#18 innovine

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 11:09 PM

Would anyone care to record a clean riff, then record it being reamped with the master up, down, and then the same with the attenuator in action?
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