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my new recording technique (guitars) using a Weber Mass Lite
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Author:  gonzo [ Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:20 pm ]
Post subject:  my new recording technique (guitars) using a Weber Mass Lite

my new recording technique (guitars) using a Weber Mass Lite and Palmer PDI-09

this is for all you guys who are looking for a 'quiet' way to capture full bore tube amp sounds into your recorder, without getting evicted or divorced.

well, my new toy for xmas, is a Weber Mass Lite, 100w.


it works pretty well..

here's how i use it:

i have my Mesa boogie Mark IIb 60 watt tube head /speaker out (8 or 4 ohm, it doesn't matter) into the Palmer PDI-09.


so, boogie speaker out into palmer 'INPUT', and then back out via the 'THRU', and that goes to the Weber, for attenuation.

From the Weber, 'speaker out' to whatever cab i want to use (the demeter isolation cabinet if i want to play loud, the celestion greenback cab if i want to monitor 'open air'.)

idea here is, if i want to record in the headphones, i can attenuate the piss out of the boogie, put it in the demeter, and you can't hear almost anything.....
if i want to play loud, and play along with my monitors blasting my backing tracks, i can use my 1x12 with the celestion, and play as loud as i want.. the palmer doesn't know the difference, only the weber comes into play, and since i'm not micing, there's no bleed over from the guitar cab and the monitors......

so, the 'BAL. OUT' on the palmer, is an XLR out, that goes to my mic preamp, digital convertor, and into SONAR.

the switches on the top of the palmer give me line level attenuation, and 3 different 'cab and mic' sounds.
i like the NORMAL setting the best. It's all passive, the weber and the palmer, so i'm not introducing any kind of electrical noise at either of these two units.

the weber:
the feel of the response to the speaker cab, seems and feels more natural to me than other attenuators i've used before.

but, i've got to run it almost maxed out to get the 'bedroom volume' control i want for actually using my speaker cab for monitoring.

luckily, i have a Demeter iso box, that i can use as a load box to run the weber a little hotter (less attenuation, i mean)

the little palmer pdi-09 unit is the thing that's stealing the true 'amp wide open' sound, so the weber is strictly for monitoring purposes..... i'm not micing the cab.

notice the (2) attenuators on the face of the weber.....

the mids/highs one on the right, just works a little bit...
most of the energy is going to the lows and mids, so the attenuator on the left i've got maxed out, and then backed off a bit (about 1) with the highs set at about 2 or 3.

when it's maxed out, i can actually hear the speaker motor inside the cage working.
oh my god, don't dare hit the bypass switch, when the amp has the master sitting on '7'.....


i did that, just to hear the sound of the amp sitting on idle.
just that, was louder than conversation volume.

the boogie really sounds different, with the master almost wide open.
the entire tone stack, opens up, and the mids become very throaty.
6L6's like to be pushed hard, that's when they become 'musical'.

when you're using a tube amp with the master on '1', and the preamps dimed, all the tone is just preamp distortion with eq, and everything else, is just sitting on idle, and preamp distortion, isn't nearly as sweet as the power tubes cooking themselves to death.


the unit does get a bit hot...
and smells funny, at first, but the more i use it, the new burn smell is starting to go away.

i do not miss the tone stack of the full Mass at all (the 'MASS' unit comes with varying degrees of tone control AFTER the attenuation).......
the low and hi control, is enough for me.

maybe, if i was micing the cab, i might want a bit more control, but honestly, if i want more bass or less treble, i'll just tweak the amp.

using this device, has cause me to re-think all of my gain structures, and choices of eq settings.
the pedals, seem to have more tone and control, now that i'm running the boogie at it's optimum setting for 'output distortion'.

the first one i got (yes, this is my 2nd one) was dead in the low-mid side....
it was just passing signal, and not attenuating anything.

weber was cool about it.... sent me a 'pre-paid' shipping tag, and built me a brand new one, and shipped it for free.
that was the least they could do, after sending me a unit that they obviously had not demo'd before sending it.

but this one works fine.
the level of attenuation is not as 'fine' as i was hoping for, but it does work for my intended purposes.

i'm not curious enough to open it up yet...
but eventually, i will.

i just finished my first full song using this setup.
i chose the 'BRIGHT' palmer setting, just to get a super crunchy in your face tone, and used a 'V' cut on my graphic on the boogie, to approximate a more modern amp tone....

i'll post that one soon.

to hear just the palmer (without the Weber) go here:

Author:  gonzo [ Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

boogie head shot:


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