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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2021 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:44 pm
Posts: 78
Got a chance to play through 2 of the newer attenuator/reampers for a couple of weeks. Bat Cat Unleash V2 (399.00) and Fryette PS-100 (899.00) I listed the prices because these are not cheap especially when compared with either a simple Master volume, PPIMV or an overdrive pedal which are pretty easily affordable DIY projects.

These use the "newer" technology similar to the Ultimate Attenuator and Ho Attenuator. Basically you plug the output of your amp into the reactive load of the attenuator (my understanding is this appears and reacts to your amp like a speaker.) This sound then goes to the amp portion of the reamper/attenuator and then to your speaker cabinet. The other type of attenuator is the resistive load type. (Tom Scholz Power Soak, Altair, etc) I've built one using a rheostat.(it worked on an Ampeg V4 for years without problems.) So in a Reamper you are using your amp for sound/tone and the Reamper's built in amp to determine the overall volume. So the Reamper (requires power) is active and Tom Scholz device is passive.

Both the PS-100 and Unleash V2 have 2 volume levels that are foot switchable and effects loops(Fryette is foot switchable and the Bad Cat is not). You can read the specs and info on the websites.

How does it sound?

Both sound pretty good and reproduce the amp's cranked sounds nicely. Both sound better than my power soak. I've been testing with my Brit 50 and Brit 45. The Fryette is a little softer(warmer) sounding than the Bad Cat. This probably due to the Fryette running a 12AX7 and 2) 6550 tubes in the power section while the Bad Cat is solid state. The Fryette holds the advantage with the switchable effects loop and the ability to subtly tailor the sound at the attenuator w/o touching your amp settings. The Bad Cat is small, light and portable. (about 5 lbs) So, if I were bringing a small lightweight setup up to a gig (1x12 cab vs 4x12 cab), I would be bringing the Bad Cat. The Fryette is more like 20 lbs. I have not recorded with either so I can't help there. I have heard some pretty impressive recordings. You can listen to demos on the web.

The other thing you can do with this amp is take your 5 watt Champ, crank it and run it into one of these devices and then to a speaker cabinet that can take 100 watts and your little Champ just became a 100 watt Champ, so if you are just getting a little drowned by your drummer you now have the ability to balance your volume to the rest of the band. Very nice Swiss Army knife. Because the reampers have a built in amp you also have the ability to run a wet/dry rig and have your effects in the reampers effects loop.

Summary: I like these. I like controlling my amp sound and volume with the guitar volume control, but I have gone to pedals because of the more sensitive ears of today's listeners and employers. This is one answer to the quandary. I think you need to try these to determine if these are for you. I have a couple of friends that think the Fryette is the absolute best thing out there. (usually vintage non-master 100 watt Marshall guys) Until I had these devices I couldn't compare a 100 watt non-master to 50 watt non-master. Just too loud to play around with these for a couple hours. With these devices you can tell the nuances between the similar circuits without ear fatigue. Now that I have you all psyched to get a cranked amp sound for $$$.

An alternate view. It's still hard to get the feel of a cranked Marshall, Celestions moving lots of air from a 4x12. Remembering Dr Z's quote paraphrased "they don't make a pedal that can give a you clean sound" It would be nice to have a clean Super Reverb with a touch of reverb and a Marshall cranked thru one of these devices. Depends on how good your back is. :?

This is another tool in the arsenal. See if you can borrow one for a while. Hope this helps.


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