What is a Power Attenuator or Tube Soak?

Oct 24 2014 0 Comments

So you love the sound of your 100 watt tube amp. Or maybe it's 50 watts. Maybe it's only 15 watts, but when you get the volume up to where she opens up, distorts just right and starts to really sound great, it's just too dang loud.

Enter the power attenuator, sometimes called a power soak or a load box. What is it? In simplest terms, it's a big old resistor, or resistor networ. Now, obviously, you can't just put a resistor in line on your speaker output. The impedance needs to be correct and there has to be a well design circuit by someone who knows what they're doing so you don't damage your amp or yourself. These devices limit the power coming from your amp to the speaker. Like a master volume? Well, kind of. Usually a master volume control on your amp allows you to get more preamp tube distortion at lower volumes. An external power attenuator gives you power amp distortion at low volume. And yes, you can use an external attenuator with an amp that already has an internal master volume to further dial in your favorite tone at an appropriate volume level.

The Jet City Jettenuator, designed by Michael Soldano, is a feature laden little box which can really help you do a lot of things with that amp of yours. It has continuous attenuation to dial in the exact volume you need, an XLR output, so it's a DI for you tube amp, and a line out with it's own volume control. Works with any amp up to 100 watts.

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