A Project Finished

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A Project Finished

Postby ricochet » Thu May 04, 2006 5:15 am

Tonight I finally finished a long-promised device for a teenage guitarist friend who asked if I could build something like Eddie Van Halen's tech built for him. It's an attenuator that will soak up the wide-open output of his 100 watt Marshall amp, while putting out a line-level version of the distorted output signal to be amplified by another amp of any power level, allowing that full-tilt Marshall crunch to be put out without quickly deafening anyone in the vicinity.

I'm late getting it done because I had to run to the hospital to stand by for an urgent C-section, while I was in the middle of working on it.

Now I've got a little tuning up to do on an amp I built some time back, so I can get it off the table and build another amp I've designed and have all the stuff for. I need to get a good bunch of round tuits.


"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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RE: A Project Finished

Postby ricochet » Thu May 04, 2006 10:16 pm

We tried it out a bit with the aforementioned young fellow playing with it hooked up to the output of a cranked Fender Pro Junior and the output from the power soak to the input of a PA system. Worked exactly as intended. Sounded just like a cranked Pro Junior, played at a volume where everyone could talk and conduct business normally. Like when you hear high energy rock over the radio, played through your stereo at a normal working volume. The young man was well pleased, and kept saying it was "Too cool for school!" He'll try it out with the 100 watt Marshall tube head for which it was intended this evening when he gets home from work. I expect it'll do the same with it. It'll get a lot hotter with it, though; I could barely feel the warmth from the Pro Junior.

He's just bought one of the reissue 18W Marshalls. After he plays with this thing a while, I'll put him up to trying the attenuated output of his 100W head into his 18W.

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RE: A Project Finished

Postby rustyslide » Fri May 05, 2006 2:02 pm

talk about overdrive :D
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RE: A Project Finished

Postby jeffl » Sat May 06, 2006 10:59 am

Very cool,Rico. I betcher now the kid's favorite "uncle".
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RE: A Project Finished

Postby ricochet » Sat May 06, 2006 5:04 pm

Think I'll cruise over there in a while and see if he's working. I'd say he's given it a good workout by now.

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RE: A Project Finished

Postby bosco » Sun May 07, 2006 12:30 pm

I'd say he's given it a good workout by now.

So it's safe to say that he probably didn't stop to look for arrowheads along the way?

:D
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RE: A Project Finished

Postby ricochet » Sun May 07, 2006 3:03 pm

I'd say so. I never made it over there yesterday, though. I've got plenty of time to hear about it, I think.

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RE: A Project Finished

Postby ricochet » Sat May 13, 2006 7:31 pm

The kid's delighted with his device, which he's been playing that big Marshall through for a week now, putting it out at more reasonable volume through a Crown power amp.

I just got a card reader so I can download the SmartMedia pics out of an Olympus D-600L camera a friend recently gave me. Here's a pic of me with the "Brown 'N' Serve Pan Full Of Warm, Brown Tone," the morning after I built it:

http://oldengine.org/members/culp/Brown ... eSized.jpg

Attempts to edit this to put the image inline with [img]&[/img] tags don't work, so you'll just have to click on that if you want to see it.


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Last edited by ricochet on Sun May 14, 2006 6:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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RE: A Project Finished

Postby trguitar » Sat May 13, 2006 10:10 pm

Ric, you crack me up. You impress the hell out of me too. Nice hat!
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RE: A Project Finished

Postby ricochet » Sat May 13, 2006 10:22 pm

Thanks, TR!

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Postby cas » Tue May 16, 2006 3:11 am

Hey Ric...is that Christine behind you, watching protectively?? She's purty.

Carol
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Postby ricochet » Tue May 16, 2006 6:08 pm

Yes, indeed, that's the lovely Christine. You can't quite see on the wall over her is the portrait of my grandfather that my mother painted long ago.
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Postby watertore » Wed May 17, 2006 2:26 am

ricochet: That is a cool device. I use a THD Hotplate with my deluxe reverb. I was very skeptical about these things, but they really work. All my 1 man band electric recordings, and the ones with my trio, have the amp volume no louder than an acoustic, picked with your fingers. If the hot plate dies, I will have to buy my next one from you. Walter
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Postby ricochet » Wed May 17, 2006 3:46 am

I could probably make one that'd work, but those Hotplates are pretty slick.

This one's a little different device in that it doesn't attenuate the output to a speaker, it absorbs the whole output power of the amp and passes along a line-level replica of the distorted power stage output of the amp to another amp that can amplify it at whatever power level is desired. The output just sounds like what's coming out of the cranked amp. The only thing that's lost is the tonal coloration of the speakers.

Light bulbs can be used to make attenuators in several different ways. They're variable resistors with about 10X their cold resistance when they're at full brightness. Put a bulb in series with the speaker, and it's a volume compressor, because as the signal power goes up the bulb gets hotter and resists the current more. Put one in parallel with the speaker and it'll decrease the volume, but acts as an expander because the bulb's filament gets hotter as the signal goes up and diverts less of it. Various combinations can be cooked up, but they're basically customized to the power level of the amp. They do color the sound, as there's a lag time for the filament to heat.
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Postby rustyslide » Wed May 17, 2006 1:43 pm

How long do the bulbs last in this role? same as lights on a dimmer switch in a house with a young child?

I'm thinking it'd get very loud, very quickly if that parallel bulb burnt out.
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