Thd hotplate

The name says it all! Discuss Steve's studios, your studios and gear set-ups, amps and effects here. This is not for discussing guitars (Steve's or otherwise).
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sap
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    I have a legacy 2x12 combo, which hotplate should I get ?
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    Big Bad Bill
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    If you're planning to use it at -16dB attenuation for bedroom use, don't get one at all! I bought one and boswell and I tested it out and found that at maximum attenuation it added a nasty, nasal quality to the tone which was very unpleasant. This effect was less noticeable at lower attenuation levels. I took it back for a refund.
    TheOtnip
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    I'm gonna agree with Big Bad Bill, and recommend getting an Ultimate Attenuator instead. A lot more expensive but with more options, and it works under any impedance. I've heard the test clips with max attenuation on for bedroom levels and it's really hard to pick up the difference in tone.
    Evojackson
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    Try anything but a THD hot plate, i own one and it doesn't do much to tame the beast!!! I use a podxt or digitech 2101 for effects and to help get the volume under control. The hot plate is pretty useless.
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    Renge
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    I have the 8 ohm thd hotplate and I run it through a Mesa/Boogie Stiletto Ace 212 50watt combo and here is what I have found:

    The 16db attenuation makes the bulbs in the hot plate burn out, and when they burn out, that selection on the hotplate produces a horrible noise. The other settings aren't really effected. I bought mine for recording use and it wound up not getting a true "cranked tube amp" sound, because I tried it both ways. I don't use it any more. A lot of music retailers don't carry power attenuators because there's alot of speculation on whether or not they damage the amplifier.

    My amp now has a slight broken light bulb jingle too it - and it sounds like something inside one of my tubes has come loose. I can also hear some speaker damage as a result of having used the hot plate.

    I strongly recommend having used it, to NOT BUY ONE. I can't sell it cause no one wants it, and I can't get a refund cause I've had it for too long. My advice is steer clear of it.
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    Big Bad Bill
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    That's a really interesting account. Would you consider writing up you experience on Harmony Central? The music press in the UK who reviewed it called it the 'Rolls Royce of attenuators', but like you, that is not my experience or indeed many others here. I have doubts as to the impartiality of the UK guitar press (Guitarist in particular) after an experience I had a while ago so this may account for it. Paul Gilbert stated he uses one in an interview I read recently which would appear to be a god endorsement.......
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    Renge
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    Big Bad Bill wrote:That's a really interesting account. Would you consider writing up you experience on Harmony Central? The music press in the UK who reviewed it called it the 'Rolls Royce of attenuators', but like you, that is not my experience or indeed many others here. I have doubts as to the impartiality of the UK guitar press (Guitarist in particular) after an experience I had a while ago so this may account for it. Paul Gilbert stated he uses one in an interview I read recently which would appear to be a god endorsement.......

    I'm not the land mark guitarist that Vai or Gilbert are so I doubt I'd be taken seriously on harmony central and I've noticed that harmony central has a lot of bogus information and I think my review would probably be thrown into that particular category. I'm a helicopter mechanic in the US Marines and I'm no idiot but there is still a that I don't know about vacuum tubes, guitar amps, and what a power attenuator is and what it does and how it effects all the other elements of a guitar amps signal. Until I know more I don't think it'd be wise of me to post an opinion like mine where a lot of impressionable guitarists are reading things. I don't want anyone, or anything being criticized by limited experience with no expertise to back up the observations and opinions voiced. So no, I wouldn't put that opinion on harmony central.

    The reason I put it here is because I've noticed that Vai's fan base is mostly musicians, many Jem players, many DiMarzio players - but amp wise I've noticed a fair amount of people don't play the Legacy. The ones who do are always raving about it though. So when it comes to anything that changes the way an amp sounds - in order to help a fellow Vai enthusiast out of having to retube or respeaker their amp, I thought it'd be fairly objective of me to put out a strong opinion in regard to the hot plate because of it's potential to essentially damage an amplifier. Retubing an amp is easily 100-200 dollars depending on the amount and kind of tubes. Respeakering can be anywhere from 200 - 1000 dollars depending on what speaker and how many. A hot plate is 300 bucks and if it's going to cost you HALF the price of your amp to repair as a result of using, in my mind that is not a financially sound move, and lacks in practicality because it drastically changes your operating costs and increases the frequency of maintenance which I find unacceptable in every way. Granted I hold the world to Marine Corps standards and I'm easily just as picky as Vai is - but far less well financed to pursue my keen sense of exactness and attention to detail - so I have to play with a much rougher set of quality thresh holds than Vai is probably accustomed to. So because of that, if I'm in the economy class of guitar players who take it as a serious hobby but don't quite have the circumstance due to debt or family issues or some other life challenge, I figure advice like this will save someone not just the cost of a hot plate, but also the cost of getting back on track. The cost of finding practice space or sound proofing a room can vary, but I'm willing to bet what a person learns about amps, wattage and volume as a resulting of learning to sound proof or finding a life style and living arrangement that enable them to crank it up is probably going to be more valuable in the long run, and around the same cost of a hot plate plus repairing their favorite amp. So I say screw that thing. It's a purple paper weight.

    I'll only say that here, because I know there a lot of good people who research things thoroughly before making a commitment to anything, and when they commit, they are serious. Otherwise I would just say I didn't like it personally and the only way to know is to take that risk and see if you found it worked for you. If it did, awesome. If it didn't I'm sorry to hear that, if it makes you feel better it happened to me too.

    It's going to be 2010 by the time I can retube and respeaker my Stiletto - which is absolutely maddening because I was in the MIDDLE of recording my first studio effort. Set backs are a bummer, so research your gear, try it before you buy it, and don't buy anything until your first hand experience has had a chance to take a consistent place on the feed back spectrum.
    FudeMan
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    Just to check, how can you be sure its the attenuator that has caused the problem with you amp? Things can go wrong. I've had a THD 16 ohm and run it with my legacy and X100b and have never had any problems (had it for about 4 years). The 16db setting does sound bad and i wouldn't recommend a hot plate for someone wanting bedroom levels but for rehersing with a band and live i use the -12 or -8db settings and it allows me to really crank the amps which produces a much better tone for the volume level.

    Basically i have nothing bad to say about the THD, and in my opinion if you are wanting bedroom playing levels i wouldn't go with a 50 or 100watt amp to start with.


    Off topic

    By the way Big Bad Bill i see you are in the the uk, you seen or played the new blackstar 5 watt mini head? For low loevel playing and recording it is amazing. Its Only about £300 and no other amp in that pric range (or a lot higher) can come close to it). that would be my recommendation to guitarists wanting bedroom levels costs about the same as a hot plate but much more resonable and can plug into your loud 'gigging' amp speakers.
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    Renge
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    Honestly I can't say the hot plate is responsible. But it's the only change I've made and since then I've noticed two distinct issues. Mesa/Boogie is pretty tight about quality control, so I don't think it's that kind of issue.
    fyrie
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    Sap,

    I've been using a THD 8ohm for about 5 years now with a Legacy combo and a second rig witch is the the head and a 2x12 ext cab. It works really great for live gigs where I can attenuate to -12db or greater. However, for bedroom levels I can't say it's really any better than not having one and that's probably due to the fact that the speakers aren't moving much at bedroom levels.

    If you really want the best possible power tube saturation at bedroom levels look at something like the Suhr Badger which has power scaling. However for a gigging musician the THD is awesome and well worth the money.
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    scottinomaha
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    I just got a 16ohm THD hotplate today and it was fantastic I use a 5150 head (120 watts and I haven't been able to turn the volume above 2 otherwise I dominate the monitors. A buddy recommended it to me and I couldn't be happier I set it at -8db adn no noticeable tone loss but deffinite cut in volume I was able to turn to 5.5 volume and it sounded great. Anything lower than -8db it started to flatten out but its still a huge diff. in volume. I used it at our show tonight and everyone really liked my tone. I say experiment. I have atleast 6 friends that use different ohm'ed thd's just make sure you match it and you should be fine.

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    scottinomaha
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    Oh did I mention I scored it for $160 from a guy who just moved down to a low watt combo I was ready to pay $329 new price and this was only used a few times.
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    Big Bad Bill
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    Renge wrote:I'm not the land mark guitarist that Vai or Gilbert are so I doubt I'd be taken seriously on harmony central and I've noticed that harmony central has a lot of bogus information and I think my review would probably be thrown into that particular category. I'm a helicopter mechanic in the US Marines and I'm no idiot but there is still a that I don't know about vacuum tubes, guitar amps, and what a power attenuator is and what it does and how it effects all the other elements of a guitar amps signal. Until I know more I don't think it'd be wise of me to post an opinion like mine where a lot of impressionable guitarists are reading things. I don't want anyone, or anything being criticized by limited experience with no expertise to back up the observations and opinions voiced. So no, I wouldn't put that opinion on harmony central.
    But a review is just that-its your opinion on something whether you're an expert or on the minutiae of construction and function, or if you simply use your ears as objectively as possible to give your opinion on the way it sounds. Someone reading the reviews will take them all into account and come up with a conclusion after critically appraising the opinions they've read-that's what any review is about, isn't it? If you have used a THD and have an opinion then I'd say please share it with us all because your opinion is just as valid and useful as anyone else's.
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    Big Bad Bill
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    FudeMan wrote:By the way Big Bad Bill i see you are in the the uk, you seen or played the new blackstar 5 watt mini head? For low loevel playing and recording it is amazing. Its Only about £300 and no other amp in that pric range (or a lot higher) can come close to it). that would be my recommendation to guitarists wanting bedroom levels costs about the same as a hot plate but much more resonable and can plug into your loud 'gigging' amp speakers.
    Thanks for the suggestion but I haven't tried the Blackstar or indeed any other low watt amp, FudeMan, and for good reason. I'm beginning to suspect that the old 'power stage distortion is more musical' is another piece of guitarist's snake oil! Here's why: I've played my 5150, 120 watt head for years now at bedroom levels and occasionally at much greater volumes and so know how it sounds in a variety of situations. When I play at low volumes, it sounds like a 5150 and it sounds like EVH when his settings are dialled in. When I play it cranked up, it sounds the same only louder! When I put in my custom musician's earplugs to attenuate the high volume, the amp sounds like it does at low volume (only it feeds back uncontrollably!) . So where's this fabled power-stage-distortion-sweetness-that'll-change-my-life? I have no evidence for its existence. All I'm saying is that I think power stage distortion does exist but that its effect are as subtle as an ebony/rosewood fingerboard difference, that is negligible. The use of the THD however, especially at the -16dB level added unpleasant overtones to the sound of my 5150 and it seemed that with every increasing increment, the brittle tone became more apparent. Thus I got a refund for it and simply turn down in my music room and my amp sounds amazing to me and any of my friends who listen to it.

    Beware the snake oil, and the 'emperor's new clothes' syndrome!
    FudeMan
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    Ok, im not sure about the whole poweramp distorition thing either but do know my legacy reacts very differently sound wise when at 5-7 as opposed to 1-2 but i dunno if you've played one but at anything paseed 4 its loud as hell! and a thd is a great solution for gigs so i don't drown everyone out. I would say the legacy is a very poor amp for playing a bedroom levels. Never used a 5150 but sounds like that is a bit different, also i have been told that the 5150 has a ton of preamp distortion anyway but have you tried dialing back the distortion and turning up the volume?

    Anyway, regardless of if poweramp distortion does anything, the blackstar sounds great at low and high volumes and high volume it isn't actually that loud. Just give it a try, or the pedals they are great if i wasn't a student (lack of money) i'd be getting the overdrive one to run into my x-100b...
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