How Does It Sound?
I tried this unit with several types of amps,
using both Les Pauls and Strats, to get a
good idea of the unit’s sonic capabilities.
First, I used a 4-ohm Fender head with a
16-ohm Marshall cabinet. When I used this
type of rig in the past, I had to rewire my
Marshall cabinet to 4 ohms. I was pleasantly
surprised to hear this setup with both amp
and cabinet operating at their normal impedances. The sound on the least attenuated
setting (A) was more open and a bit tighter
in the low end than I was used to hearing.
As I reduced the levels by stepping through
settings B-E, I detected little sonic difference
until I got down to the Variable knob settings.
It’s worth noting that when you lower the
dB level on a high-powered amp—whether
with a master volume or a power attenuator—
the sound changes because you’re not
pushing the speakers as hard. This is simply
a mechanical issue. That said, the feel I got
using the PRX 150-Pro at these lowered levels
was great. And this made playing quietly
a lot more enjoyable.
I tried other amp combinations, including a
Marshall Super Lead head with a Marshall
cabinet and a Vox AC50 with a 2x12 Vox
cabinet. I had the Vox set to 8 ohms to match
the cabinet’s 8-ohm impedance. With each
rig, the results were very much the same:
Tone and feel stayed consistent through
the A-E ranges. Testing the Marshall head
was especially fun, because I tried switching
between transformer taps, which altered
the amp’s tightness, overtones, and low-end
response. In this application, the Aracom
gives you another option for sculpting your
tone. (By the way, the 8-ohm tap on the
Marshall sounded best to me.)
The Final Mojo
Sonically, the Aracom PRX 150-Pro attenuator
stayed very true to every amp I paired it
with. My tone stayed stable as I lowered the
dB level to its minimum amount (the variable
control doesn’t turn the sound completely
off). Even super-quiet bedroom settings
sounded very good and responded to picking
and touch extremely well. This attractive,
sturdily built unit would be a great addition
to any guitarist’s tone arsenal.
you need quality tones at lower
levels, or you need to match
impedance between different
amps and cabs.
you have a low-power amp that
already provides the tone and volume
levels you require.