New DC-5 Owner, Vol. Mod VS Attenuator?

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Mark II
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New DC-5 Owner, Vol. Mod VS Attenuator?

Post by BrownieD2W » Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:28 pm

Hey Boogie Boarders,

Just picked up an almost pristine Version B DC-5 Head about a month or two ago. I've been taking my time getting to know her and I absolutely love this amp, especially with a good boost/overdrive out front, but I am starting to run into some of the volume issues I can see other people have commented on in the past. It's a loud little sucker and I can get good tones at reasonable volume levels, but this amp really does shine when its turned up and let out of the cage.

So my main question to you DC Cartelers is whether or not I should be considering the volume mod or maybe an attenuator? I really want to remove anything I can from my signal chain and really just let the amp loose, but I don't feel that I can do that at reasonable volume levels that often. The amps tone is pretty much perfect as is for what I'm doing with my band, so I'm cautious to do anything that might drastically affect the current character of the amp.

Any opinions or maybe options I'm not considering would be appreciated, thanks.
Last edited by BrownieD2W on Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mark II
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Re: New DC-5 Owner, Vol. Mod VS Attenuator?

Post by lento » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:02 am

I'm contemplating a similar question, too.
Mine is the rev B combo and I've been researching the various types of attenuators to do this.

There are quite a few models available and one of the newer ones is made by Jet City. This seems to be a popular choice for those on a budget (just over a £100 here in the UK) and works on the L Pad (continuously variable) principle.
Amongst the others are Weber, THD,TAD,Koch,SPL etc but my favourite seems to boil down to the Sequis Motherload Elemental, made here in the UK as well. However, this is not so cheap, coming in at around £300.

One other (and by far the cheapest option that I've seen) is for a passive volume attenuator inserted between the send and return loop, like here: ... EBIDX%3AIT

Now, as the DC 5 uses a parallel loop, I wonder whether this would work as intended or would it need a series loop to work properly ?

food for thought, maybe ?

Mark I
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Re: New DC-5 Owner, Vol. Mod VS Attenuator?

Post by iHatePop » Fri Jan 01, 2016 3:33 pm

You can always try the volume mod as it's literally just unsoldering a resistor on the volume pot, and see if that works. Fairly simple mod to do and to reverse if it doesn't give the desired effect. Attenuators probably won't do much aside from shave off a few dB, and any higher attenuation than that will usually suck the tone from the amp.
1997 Mesa DC-5B 1x12 Combo
1988 Marshall JCM 800 2205

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2012 PRS SE Custom 24
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Mark II
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Re: New DC-5 Owner, Vol. Mod VS Attenuator?

Post by jpistolas » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:37 am

For what it's worth I've began setting the master at the volume I want it and using the individual pre volume controls on each channel. For me it takes some "mush" away and gets some nice on the verge of power tube clipping. I know it seems ass backwards but so far it works for my ears.
DC-5B Head-Mesa 2x12 Halfback

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