When choosing your attenuator, you must consider power handling and impedance. Also decide whether a stepped attenuator control with preset increments will be OK for you, or if you’d prefer the finer range of a continually adjustable control. Other potentially useful features may include equalisation controls and impedance switching. Dummy load switching will safely silence your amp and the direct output can be routed to a power amp for re-amping.
1Eminence Reignmaker FDM £159
US manufacturer Eminence offers two speakers with flux density modulation. The Reignmaker is the British-voiced model and the Maverick is voiced for American tones. Available in 8- or 16-ohm impedance with 75-watt power handling, you can adjust the attenuation level by turning the rotary control at the back of the speaker itself.
2Dr. Z Brake-Lite £180
Specially designed to mount inside a combo amp, the unit is attached to an inside wall of the cabinet using two fixing screws. There are fixed wires and a jack to plug into the speaker out of the amp and a jack socket where you can plug in your speakers. It works with valve amps up to 45 watts and can be used with 4-, 8-, or 16-ohm loads. A standalone version is also available.
3Weber Mass 100W $257
Loaded with a ‘silent speaker’, Weber’s most robust attenuator has a main volume knob and three-position treble compensation switch. The line out has a bypassable three-band tone stack and separate volume control. Impedance options are 2, 4, 8 and 16 ohms, and the attenuation is continuously adjustable from -3dB to over -70db. It can also be used as a dummy load and there’s an attenuation bypass switch.
4Bad Cat Unleash £349
This is one of those new-fangled active attenuators with a built-in 100-watt Class D solid state amp. It’s small and light enough to throw in a pedal bag, two switchable level presets, direct out and an effects loop. This little beauty will make loud amps quieter and low-powered amps much louder.
Not exactly sure what an attenuator actually does? Check out our guide to learn more.