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Harley Benton Attenuator with ’65 Fender Bassman

I acquired one of the most affordable attenuators/loadboxes available. Recently I have only had ’78 Silverface Fender Vibro Champ at home. Even that is actually pretty loud considering there’s a neighbour behind the wall. Basically I never crank it much beyond volume at 2.

I was thinkikng bringing my VOX AC30 home and getting an attenuator to use with it. But then I noticed there was ’65 BF Fender Bassman 50 for sale at decent price and couldn’t resist getting it. It was just a head and I only had Ulraltone tweed cabinet with Celestion Gold 12″ 15ohm speaker. Bassman output is 4 ohm, so not ideal at all. I found immediately an add for Mexican made Fender VM 212 cabinet for sale – and it was extremely affordable.

These two have 50 year age difference, but they look and sound together extremely good.

’65 Fender Bassman on top of 2015 Bandmaster VM 212

Now, the only issue is the level of volume at home, where I want to use them mostly. I’ve had attenuator, load box, Impulse Response (IR) “something” in my mind for very long time before, but I really didn’t know which one should I get, since I didn’t know what they actually are. Besides I was also thinking getting a “modeller” or “simulator” with maybe possibly having possibility to utilise them at bedroom volume levels.

But then, I like old amps and real hardware. Although I was already totally convinced, that Line 6 Stomp Box would be perfect fit for me, I just couldn’t resist getting 60’s Fender Bassman. Real amp from 60’s. John Lennon used blonde early 60’s Bassman and Paul McCartney ’68 Silverface Bassman after Beatle’s VOX era. ’65 Bassman with AA165 circuit would be such a perfect fit for me being some wehere in the middle between two of those.

But even with just 50 watts it is loud. I mainly play at home either through amp or with GarageBand direcly connecting guitar through audio interface or with mic in front of my small ’78 Fender Vibro Champ. Later 5 watt amp cranked up to volume at 3 at maximum.

I decided to go for most affordable attenuator there is. Harley Benton PA-100 it is. I also considered a bit more expensive Bugera, but that didn’t seem to have output for mic, which I considered to be required for connecting the amp directly to my MacBook through audio interface.

While waiting my order to be mailed I decided to play with Two Note Wall of Sound plugin. It has power amp simulation as well, so it doesn’t necessarily need an amp at all, but like said, I’m a hardware guy. I acquired a cabinet bundle. Fuellerton with plenty of Fender cabinet simulations. Played with it by connecting guitar from my pedal board to audio interface and from there to GarageBand. On Wall of Sound plugin I could easily choose different cabinets and power amp tube modelling. Impressive results!

Next day the attenuator came. Extremely easy to setup. Tried first on cabinet. Without pedals and with pedals. Then hooked it into audio interface. Especially with audio interface and Wall of Sound cabinet simulation and headphones the sound was amazing. Plus I could change the sound directly from Bassman, which I’ve jump connected to use both bass and guitar channels. When I crank volume up on bass channel it breaks up beautifully.

The ability to switch between different cabinet simulations, microphones, rooms for various reverbs and other WoS Capabilities is just amazing. I spent a bit over 100€ for cabinet bundles (Fender and VOX inspired), which is significantly more than for HB attenuator, but that was money well spent.

Here’s a small vid a made with Wall of Sound and both guitar and bass recroded through Bassman head connected to audio interface through mic mod output on HB PA-100.