Need Help With Picking An Attenuator


Well-known member
Really could use your help gang. I’ve tried out quite a few attenuators but not all. They all seem to sound like shit to me. What do you fine gents recommend? Here’s what I’ve tried so far;

Rivera Rock Crusher (non eq model)
THD Hot Plate
Two Notes Captor X
Mesa Cab Clone
Fryette PS100

So the Waza TAE fits the bill but I trust that thing as much as I trust Gene Simmons with my wife naked in a room alone. It blew out my friends Mesa Rectoverb and also a Splawn QR and Orange RV100. There is certainly a design flaw with that unit.

Anyway…Tone King seems to be the next best thing but want something that will work well with all of my amps and I can use to record to my computer
I've been running a fullsize Rivera Rockcrusher for years with my 68 plexi and had zero issues. I do run the amp at about 80-90 ACV with a variac and the Rockcrusher nor the amp get even warm. It is really an overbuilt unit it is the size of most two rack space power amps and it is a reactive load. The load resistors are huge and like I said doesn't even get warm with my setup. The Rivera has some nice usable features, 8/16 ohm load selector edge/warm swtiches, bypass switch, and an adjustable line which I have never used since I use a Suhr Iso line out to tap my W/D/W signal st the amp speaker jack itself.

Like any other attenuator anything below -8DB starts to get the Fletcher Munson curve efffect with human ears. As far as I'm concerned it is about as transparent as you are going to get.

I have NOT played a Fryette PS100 or the PS2 but Fryetter build some top notch stuff and have consdered the PS-2 many times.

Out of the attenuators you mentioned the Rivera is the only one I would trust with an expensive amp. The THD hotplate will do the job but it is a 1/4 of the size of the Rivera. Make of that what you will. I do use an old blue 16ohm THD with my 50 watt Marshall to shave of about -8DB for home playing and it works just fine for that wattage amp IMHO.

Seems the Waza TAE eats amps, quite a few nice amps on here were damaged by that unit. Maybe look in to the OX BOX it seems to get good reviews as well Ossie Ahsen cranks 100 watt Superleads into it all the time with not issues as far as I know.
The Boss Waza. I blamed the Suhr SL68 that was popping the HT fuse, but in hindsight it was likely the TAE. I had each version of the Fryette Power Station, and they work well.
I recently saw a YT vid of a guy comparing a Power Station to a Tone King Ironman II. I thought the Iron Man sounded better. I bought one and it works well with my PRS Hendrix amp.

I’ve found under a certain volume everything sounds like shit even when using something like a ps2. There’s no way I’ve found to outrun a cab that’s not being pushed hard enough except for running a modeler into a power amp.
I’m partial to the power station and hot plate although the line out on the hot plate is a bit hot and does get a bit fuzzy on the -16ohm setting.
Based on versatility, safety, and bang for the buck I’d say the PS is probably the best bet.
I've owned the Rock Crusher, PS v1 and PS100, and the Waza. None of them stayed. My best results have been with a Suhr RLIR slaved out to my power amp of choice. I'd like to try the Ironman at some point as it gets pretty good reviews.

Hard to beat the Power Station for a standalone unit. There's been whispers of Suhr releasing a fancier reamping device, no details yet but I'm looking forward to it.
I recently got a TAD Silencer to tame my SLP Clone. So far I‘m happy with it. Not sure if you can get that thing in the US.
I've got a Badcat Unleash and a Fryette PS2 (the 50 watt version of the PS100). I've played the Ultimate and the Dr Z as well, and out of all of them I'd buy the Fryette every time. Cool feature set, lots of functionality other than attenuation, and it sounds good.
For silent direct recording the Shur Reactive load seems to hold up well. I have not heard any negative press about amps blowing up. But it is no a multistep attentuator to my knowledge. The St. Rock also has gotten good reviews for silent recording.
I haven’t done an extensive AB comparison but I’ve had luck with the Two Notes Reload (Captor X with some added features).
I’ve used many attenuators over the decades. Here are my experiences:
- Typical passive attenuators (Hot Plate, Weber Mass) suck tone when you try to attenuate more than a few dB.
- Active attenuators (Ultimate, Unleash) are more transparent than passive ones at heavy attenuation settings, but are prone to audible noise and reliability issues.
- My latest one (Ironman II) is my favorite - transparent and very reliable. My only concern is the weight, but I can live with it.