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Best inline attenuator pad adapters?
Old 28th February 2010
  #1
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Best inline attenuator pad adapters?

Here are two popular switchable inline attenuator pads... the Audio-Technica AT8202 and Shure A15AS.

Audio Technica AT8202:
Audio Technica AT8202 Adjustable In-Line Attenuator

Shure A15AS:
Shure A15AS In-line Switchable Attenuator

These are handy pads, a bit pricy though, nearly $50 a pop, can really add up when you need 8 or more of `em.

What I could use is a fixed inline attenuator pad of about -30db... need not be switchable.

I am VERY concerned about the quality of the audio path of such an inline attenuator as I'd be tracking through it. I have to question how good the path is on the above mentioned AT and Shure switchable pads, these are not necessarily advertised as ultra high-end pro audio pads, more likely designed for common sound reinforcement purposes.

I've read that for pads to offer premium sonic performance, the resistors must be "matched". I question if the Shure and AT pads even have matched resistors, let alone "good" resistors, etc.

So, in sum, does anyone know of a very high quality fixed pad inline adapter (of about -30db) that can be purchased? If not, are there any good custom shops that could make a few of these from scratch using top quality matched resistors?

Bottom line, I need some pads for my recording path and wish to retain the highest degree of fidelity / sonic performance possible.

I've considered trying to make some pads myself in the past, but I just don't have the time now, plus I am not truly qualified to do ultra perfect, critical electronics work anyway... I can follow instructions and I can solder well, but I fear that I may make a small boo-boo when dealing with the resistors that could possibly result in a loss of sonic performance, I'd rather buy a high-end pre-made piece or have a highly qualified tech put some together.

I noted that Schoeps offers some inline attenuator pads, likely excellent, but only in -10db and -20db sizes... and I need a -30db... darn.

Schoeps Inline Attenuators

-----------------

EDIT (11-7-2010):

So far I have found these two excellent solutions, described in more detail within this thread:

GAS - A-10 Attenuator




Little Labs Redcloud

Old 28th February 2010
  #2
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hi
these are the pads i use....the 'in line' attenuator type.

Canford Online - Products

As with most things i am sure the law of diminishing returns applies but these seem a fair deal and are well built.

best wishes.
scruffydog.
Old 28th February 2010 | Show parent
  #3
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Avedis makes some that are 35 dB..they sound good to me!
Old 28th February 2010 | Show parent
  #4
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Best? I don't know. Never did a shoot-out.

But these work great (scroll down to the last item, "MPD inline attenuators").

We have four and have never had a moment's pause about sound quality. Usually placed between the drum mics and an API preamp.

And they are inexplicably dirt cheap! Just ordered two more for the studio and four more for one of our engineers who does a lot of remote work.

JSL
Old 28th February 2010 | Show parent
  #5
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Little Labs Redcloud 8810U8ERS Passive balanced 8 channel attenuator pack | VintageKing.com

This has worked great for me with 2 API 3124's for drums. It's not fixed (totally adjustable), but for 8 channels at $350 that's about $34 per channel and the unit sounds great. Plus, it's DB25. - paul

Last edited by riffmachine; 28th February 2010 at 02:33 AM.. Reason: added bit about "not fixed"
Old 28th February 2010 | Show parent
  #6
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Another satisfied RedCloud user here. Also commonly used after API pres before conversion.
Old 27th October 2010 | Show parent
  #7
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I already have a mic level attenuator as a switch to my UA 6176.
Old 27th October 2010 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin ➑️
Best? I don't know. Never did a shoot-out.

But these work great (scroll down to the last item, "MPD inline attenuators").

We have four and have never had a moment's pause about sound quality. Usually placed between the drum mics and an API preamp.

And they are inexplicably dirt cheap! Just ordered two more for the studio and four more for one of our engineers who does a lot of remote work.

JSL
Probably a stupid question, but, why aren't they recommended for condenser mics?
Old 27th October 2010 | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveschizoid ➑️
Probably a stupid question, but, why aren't they recommended for condenser mics?
Presumably because they interfere with the path of phantom power to the microphone.
Old 27th October 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveschizoid ➑️
Probably a stupid question,
I knew it.
Old 27th October 2010 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerc ➑️
Avedis makes some that are 35 dB..they sound good to me!
That's the one I'm using t. recommended by Wade from Chandler. I'm using them for converting a line signal to mic signal (impedance change and 35db drop)
Old 27th October 2010 | Show parent
  #12
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Where can you buy the Schoeps ones? I see they don't sell directly from their site.

Thanks!
Old 27th October 2010 | Show parent
  #13
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Never mind I found it... 65.00 each is a bit steep but at least these can be used with condenser mics.
Old 27th October 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveschizoid ➑️
Probably a stupid question, but, why aren't they recommended for condenser mics?
The statement about condensers is specific to the 620 ohm option. It does not apply to their other standard attenuators. Check the "Type" menu, you'll see that this is only one of eight options.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkSky Media ➑️
Presumably because they interfere with the path of phantom power to the microphone.
Yes, presumably ... if it were true.

It is not true.

We use them all the time on drums, including Gefell M300 for overheads, FET47 for kick, maybe an omni pencil under the snare, etc. These are all condensers. If phantom power were an issue, we would have had big problems on basically every drum session for the past three years. We have not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone ➑️
Never mind I found it... 65.00 each is a bit steep but at least these can be used with condenser mics.
Oh, good Good, people. Aren't we smart and experienced enough not to go off and running right away with a new piece of misinformation?

These attenuators aren't fundamentally different from ones made by Little Labs or Shure or anyone else. They're just made by some guy in his house, and he sells them cheaply.

It's good stuff, and they absolutely work with condenser mics.

JSL
Old 28th October 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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Bassmec's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Umm!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin ➑️
The statement about condensers is specific to the 620 ohm option. It does not apply to their other standard attenuators. Check the "Type" menu, you'll see that this is only one of eight options.




Yes, presumably ... if it were true.

It is not true.

We use them all the time on drums, including Gefell M300 for overheads, FET47 for kick, maybe an omni pencil under the snare, etc. These are all condensers. If phantom power were an issue, we would have had big problems on basically every drum session for the past three years. We have not.



Oh, good Good, people. Aren't we smart and experienced enough not to go off and running right away with a new piece of misinformation?

These attenuators aren't fundamentally different from ones made by Little Labs or Shure or anyone else. They're just made by some guy in his house, and he sells them cheaply.

It's good stuff, and they absolutely work with condenser mics.

JSL
I like the old sort with davens or leaf switches best this is my current favorite:

Thanks to Royal Navy purchasing of the 1950's, its not only built like a brick shit-house its also ideal for taming the monstrous output of an overdriven OP-6.
Other than that I just make my own out of high quality resistors inside xlr joining adaptors when I know exactly what dB's and impedance I want with the fully switchable type.heh
Old 28th October 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin ➑️
The statement about condensers is specific to the 620 ohm option. It does not apply to their other standard attenuators. Check the "Type" menu, you'll see that this is only one of eight options.




Yes, presumably ... if it were true.

It is not true.

We use them all the time on drums, including Gefell M300 for overheads, FET47 for kick, maybe an omni pencil under the snare, etc. These are all condensers. If phantom power were an issue, we would have had big problems on basically every drum session for the past three years. We have not.



Oh, good Good, people. Aren't we smart and experienced enough not to go off and running right away with a new piece of misinformation?

These attenuators aren't fundamentally different from ones made by Little Labs or Shure or anyone else. They're just made by some guy in his house, and he sells them cheaply.

It's good stuff, and they absolutely work with condenser mics.

JSL
Well, if you read the ads of some of the other ones listed you would see that they say they are NOT recommended for condensers... They ARE NOT all equal.
Old 28th October 2010 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone ➑️
Well, if you read the ads of some of the other ones listed you would see that they say they are NOT recommended for condensers... They ARE NOT all equal.
What other ones are you talking about? What ads? Can I get a link?

If you're going to smear an otherwise perfectly good product, a little solid substance seems to be in order.

I know everyone is dying to believe that there is a big difference between the $15 product and the $65 product, and usually there is. But not always.

JSL
Old 28th October 2010 | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin ➑️
What other ones are you talking about? What ads? Can I get a link?

If you're going to smear an otherwise perfectly good product, a little solid substance seems to be in order.

I know everyone is dying to believe that there is a big difference between the $15 product and the $65 product, and usually there is. But not always.

JSL
For one I didn't (and I don't) smear any product! I simply stated what the Schoeps ad said... that they can be used for condensers.

For two, I was wrong as i was reading the ad incorrectly... my apologies
Old 29th October 2010 | Show parent
  #19
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Larry, in all sincerity here, not trying to be a dick ... but I hope when you realize that you were mistaken about this -- which I think you are about to realize if you will take a moment to read this carefully -- that you go back and delete/revise all the misinformation you're posting about this. It's only right.

You quoted the appropriate text, you just didn't understand what it meant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone ➑️
For two, read the ad of the one YOU recommended... What does it say at the bottom... hello!
What it says at the bottom is, as I already said, specific to the 620Ω pad.

As I noted above ... look at the "Type" menu for this product. You will see that there are eight options.
  • 12 db mic
  • 18 db mic
  • 24 db mic
  • 12 db line
  • 24 db line
  • 40 db line to mic
  • polarity inverter
  • 620 ohm inverter
Now, let's look at the first paragraph you quoted from item description:
Quote:
Choose 12dB, 18dB, and 24dB microphone level pads, 12dB line matching pad (+4dBu to -10dBV), 24dB line, 40dB line to mic level pad, or a polarity inverter.
You will note that this paragraph simply lists the first seven of the eight options.

Now, what does that second paragraph say?
Quote:
620Ω load allows for variable input impedance for tonal options with dynamic microphones (not recommended for use with condenser microphones).
This paragraph is all about the eighth option on the "Type" menu. It is only about that 620 ohm option.

It is the 620 ohm Type which is not recommended for use with condensers. I don't think it's even an attenuator!

The other seven Types are not 620 ohm, so that statement does not apply.

Furthermore, it's those other seven, specifically the first three, which are the actual subject of this thread -- that is, the type of attenuator the OP was asking about.

Furthermore, as I said before, I have been using these exact pads with condenser mics in my commercial recording studio facility for several years now, with no problems. I have bought ten of them.

Now ... will you PLEASE take a moment to really read and understand what I've written or what that other site says ... and realize that you have made a mistake about this?

JSL
Old 29th October 2010 | Show parent
  #20
Old 29th October 2010 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin ➑️
Best? I don't know. Never did a shoot-out.

But these work great (scroll down to the last item, "MPD inline attenuators").

We have four and have never had a moment's pause about sound quality. Usually placed between the drum mics and an API preamp.

And they are inexplicably dirt cheap! Just ordered two more for the studio and four more for one of our engineers who does a lot of remote work.

JSL
Excuse my ignorance and my obvious question. I’m interested in attenuating the outputs of my 3124+. I suppose that in my case the suitable attenuators would be the LINE ones. Could you confirm it please?

Cheers
Juanjo
Old 29th October 2010 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin ➑️
Larry, in all sincerity here, not trying to be a dick ... but I hope when you realize that you were mistaken about this -- which I think you are about to realize if you will take a moment to read this carefully -- that you go back and delete/revise all the misinformation you're posting about this. It's only right.

You quoted the appropriate text, you just didn't understand what it meant.



What it says at the bottom is, as I already said, specific to the 620Ω pad.

As I noted above ... look at the "Type" menu for this product. You will see that there are eight options.
  • 12 db mic
  • 18 db mic
  • 24 db mic
  • 12 db line
  • 24 db line
  • 40 db line to mic
  • polarity inverter
  • 620 ohm inverter
Now, let's look at the first paragraph you quoted from item description:

You will note that this paragraph simply lists the first seven of the eight options.

Now, what does that second paragraph say?

This paragraph is all about the eighth option on the "Type" menu. It is only about that 620 ohm option.

It is the 620 ohm Type which is not recommended for use with condensers. I don't think it's even an attenuator!

The other seven Types are not 620 ohm, so that statement does not apply.

Furthermore, it's those other seven, specifically the first three, which are the actual subject of this thread -- that is, the type of attenuator the OP was asking about.

Furthermore, as I said before, I have been using these exact pads with condenser mics in my commercial recording studio facility for several years now, with no problems. I have bought ten of them.

Now ... will you PLEASE take a moment to really read and understand what I've written or what that other site says ... and realize that you have made a mistake about this?

JSL
Yep, You are right... my minds eye kept reading what it wanted to read and I kept "seeing 600 ohm instead of the 620ohm... my bad... my apologies.

However that said, I was never promoting anything or trying to "spread misinformation" (that came along after... oops) when you gave me the Good God statement... I was only pointing out what the Schoeps ad said...

Thanks for the link... I'll slow down when I read from now on...
Old 29th October 2010 | Show parent
  #23
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frans's Avatar
 
10 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Inline pads between mic and preamp: either buy them or get your soldering iron, search for a website that has the info, build an "H" pad, buy resistors with 1% tolerance and make sure they match with your multimeter.
In case you neither have a soldering iron and a multimeter: cry. Then cry some more. Then buy some from someone who can do it, it's not too complicated to build them. I mean.. even I could do it, right?

Pads between the output of your, say, API 312 and something else... that's a completely different story. A simple voltage divider network is the second best solution. Better would be something that doesn't stress the output stage of your pre, best would be a pre that already has a well designed output attentuator.
Old 30th October 2010 | Show parent
  #26
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666666's Avatar
 
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Hey George, thanks for turning me on to the GAS A-10. This looks like an excellent product.

I have already picked up a new Little Labs Redcloud and it's excellent (like everything Jonathan offers), but for certain other situations I might prefer the XLR lay out and repeatability of the A-10.

For anyone else interested in the GAS A-10 four-channel attenuator:

GAS - A-10 Attenuator



Old 30th October 2010 | Show parent
  #27
thumbsupthumbsup

Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 ➑️
Hey George, thanks for turning me on to the GAS A-10. This looks like an excellent product.

I have already picked up a new Little Labs Redcloud and it's excellent (like everything Jonathan offers), but for certain other situations I might prefer the XLR lay out and repeatability of the A-10.

For anyone else interested in the GAS A-10 four-channel attenuator:

GAS - A-10 Attenuator



Old 31st October 2010 | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelyDani ➑️
Excuse my ignorance and my obvious question. I’m interested in attenuating the outputs of my 3124+. I suppose that in my case the suitable attenuators would be the LINE ones. Could you confirm it please?
Yes ... but why would you want to do that?

We attenuate not so much because the API is breaking up, but because it's red-lining our digital converter input levels. So we could, I suppose, address that by doing what you suggest, attenuating the API output.

I think most experienced engineers would tell you, however, that it's better to attenuate the input. That allows you to use more of the preamp's gain -- it puts the signal more in the device's operating "sweet spot." We use 24 dB attenuators on the API input for drum mics all the time, and that always leaves us with more than enough gain.

But maybe you have some other problem you're trying to solve?

JSL
Old 31st October 2010 | Show parent
  #29
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I don't get it, don't most decent consoles have a pad button before the pre? Did all the manufacturers skimp on that one for their "boutique" pre series?
Old 31st October 2010 | Show parent
  #30
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Marcocet's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin ➑️
Yes ... but why would you want to do that?

We attenuate not so much because the API is breaking up, but because it's red-lining our digital converter input levels. So we could, I suppose, address that by doing what you suggest, attenuating the API output.

I think most experienced engineers would tell you, however, that it's better to attenuate the input. That allows you to use more of the preamp's gain -- it puts the signal more in the device's operating "sweet spot." We use 24 dB attenuators on the API input for drum mics all the time, and that always leaves us with more than enough gain.

But maybe you have some other problem you're trying to solve?

JSL
If the point is to get the best S/N ratio then you'd want to do the opposite. You'd want the most level possible going in to the API before distortion, and the most level possible going in to the converters without distortion (not that it matters quite as much with converters as it does with mic pres). The only reason to put the pad before the pre would be if you're clipping the input of the pre itself, which is pretty unlikely on a 3124.

The sweet spot could be in either direction, assuming that's what you're looking for. Either one could be appropriate.
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