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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink I just learned about the SPL Reducer!

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I'm posting about this because I've somehow been playing guitar for most of my life and only learned that these things existed from a post buried deep in another SG101 thread. This is a PSA in case anyone else is in the same boat I was. (Shoutout to DeathTide for casually mentioning it in a previous thread).
I have a Reissued '65 Twin Reverb I got in college and unfortunately haven't been able to use as much as I'd like as it's far too loud for apartments and small venues. It's a shame since the tone is incredible compared to my smaller practice amps which unfortunately see more use day to day and in the studio. Enter the SPL Reducer. This baby soaks up power and allows you to play quieter with no loss in tone. Not only can I practice with the tone I've invested at any time of the day or night without pissing off the neighbors, but I've also split the line and recorded the signal direct which results in a really nice clean fat fendery tone without having to break out the mics.
Now that I've been gushing about this with friends, it seems like it's a well kept guitarist's secret. Apparently people commonly use them to push their tubes to distort more while being able to control the actual output volume independently.
I did a decent amount of research before buying one of these and found from another forum that if you order from you can save about $100 from the US price.
For all I know, this device is common knowledge, but it was a game changer for me so I thought I'd pass it along. I hope it helps someone else out there!


Last edited: Oct 12, 2020 13:51:13

Heck yeah I’m so glad you like it also! It is wonderful to hear that full tone at lower volumes. I have not tried other attenuators but every single comment I’ve read mentioned the change of tone, but as you and I know this one doesn’t! I noticed that yours is set to 8 ohms, did you lose a speaker? Perhaps the rest of this post is completely off-topic but I have continued to gather information about this. Some people think that resistive attenuators like that one overburden the OT over time.

I read a about the differences between reactive and resistive attenuators, and have realized that I want to look into a reactive one now. Something about the OT behaving differently splitting the load between a reactive speaker load and a purely resistive load like the SPL Reducer. To be honest I am not educated on the issue, but it seems to be possible at least? Some attenuator products contain reactive elements. I guess I’m paranoid because I’m using it on a rare vintage amp, and I really don’t know enough to truly be informed.

I have been overjoyed with the SPL Reducer, and I would probably be looking into the reactive thing more if I were playing as heavily. The truth is I’ve just gotten back to the point of being able to play for 10 or 20 minutes at a time. And this box works like a charm for that!


Danny Deathtide

DeathTide wrote:

I noticed that yours is set to 8 ohms, did you lose a speaker?

No. My amp is 4 ohms, but it didn't reduce the volume enough for my uses when it was set to that. The (tiny) manual the unit came with said that setting it to a higher resistance is not a problem, but putting it lower than it should can destroy your amp. Using the variable gain reduction at 8 ohms seems to get the best results for my uses but please let me know if this is dangerous or bad for the amp in any way. I've been accused of being many things, but a knowledgeable gearhead is not one of them.

In that case, pull two tubes. Then everything will be properly matched. I think!

Danny Deathtide

BB_Bunny wrote:

The (tiny) manual the unit came with said that setting it to a higher resistance is not a problem, but putting it lower than it should can destroy your amp.

These are the rules for a solid state amp. For a valve amp, the rule is "Needs to be the same, but you can usually get away with a 1-stop mismatch."

They who die with the fewest control knobs, win.

There won't be a problem running it as you're doing it, unless you're usually really cranking the volume knob. Fender amps are relatively forgiving of upward impedance mismatches such as that. You COULD pull two tubes and run it at 8 ohms, but the amp should be re-biased for the resulting change in the power tubes' current pull.

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