Magazine article Guitar Player

THD Hot Plates: Power Attenuators

Magazine article Guitar Player

THD Hot Plates: Power Attenuators

Article excerpt

Rich harmonic density, extreme dynamic sensitivity, smooth creamy sustain--these are some of the characteristics that output-tube distortion and output-transformer saturation contribute to an amp's sound. Unfortunately, there's only one way to get an amp to hand over its tonal treasure--play it loud. In some environments, such as a home studio or small club, this simply isn't possible. What's needed is something that lets you really cook the output stage while reducing the level driving your speakers.

The THD Hot Plates ($329 each; $379 for the 2.7[omega] model) are power attenuators designed to perform just this function. Offered in 2[omega], 2.7[omega], 4[omega], 8[omega], and 16[omega] impedances, each Hot Plate has its own corresponding color and is designed to be used with tube amps not exceeding 185 watts RMS. Connected between your amp and speaker, the Hot Plate provides attenuation of 0dB to -16dB, in 4dB increments, and continuously variable attenuation from -16dB to zero output. Each is also equipped with a dummy load that permits operation without a speaker.

The THD's front panel sports bright and deep switches that are tailored to become more effective as attenuation is increased. This allows you to compensate for your ear's natural tendency to perceive less treble and bass as volume is reduced. A pair of lightbulbs visible through the front panel glow brighter as the device absorbs more power. They provide a means of monitoring the Hot Plate's operation and also reduce hiss and hum when the amp is idling by diverting some of the output through the bulbs. An input jack, two speaker outs, and an unbalanced 1/4[inches] line-out jack are located on the back panel. There's also a knob that adjusts the line-out level from -40dB(V) to + 10dB(V).

The Hot Plate's multi-finned, anodized-aluminum chassis houses an internal cooling fan powered by amplifier output. …

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