Review: Weber Low Power Load Dump
So, I sold some gear because I missed the sound of my Traynor YCV40 cranked. I used to live in a place where, at least twice a week, I had a good chance. I could dime it and there wasn't a person to care. Now, I am in a place where turning it to around one is sometimes too loud with my humbucker'd guitar. I knew I wanted an attenuator and/or a low powered amp and figured I'd go for Weber's LPLD or Minimass and, also, that I'd buy an Epiphone Valve Junior head. I posted some questions around, asking people if they could really explain the difference between them in a way I could better understand and also emailed Ted Weber too. With what I got back, I decided that the case for the extra $25 USD hadn't been made, so I went with the LPLD. Ted Weber was great in getting back to me promptly to respond to questions.
Here's the thing though: I live in Vancouver, BC now. My family lives in WA and I had planned to visit them. My idea was to have Weber send the attenuator there, so that I could get by the border without paying duty. $16.25 might not be a lot to some people, but that's a good deal to me! Ted said it'd be no problem, just to list the US address as my shipping address.
So, come the time to order, I did exactly that and sent it off. A few days later, I notice something that pissed me off: It was coming here to Vancouver, not to the address I had listed as a shipping address. Then, just as I was preparing to send a nasty email to Weber, I received one asking for an extra few dollars to cover the additional shipping charges that they faced when shipping internationally. This threw me over the edge and the email I sent was one of the more angry written items that I have come up with in recent memory. I quoted emails I had with Ted and my actual receipt, itself. I was furious. They pulled back on the extra shipping charges, but I was still stuck with paying duty.
So, that's a big strike against the company and, because of it, I do not know if I will deal directly with them again. Given that Weber hires people who can't handle something as ever-so-complicated as having a shipping address different from the billing address (even with a note attached to the receipt, detailing everything just in case), I was nervous when actually plugging in the attenuator. Oh yeah, I bought a speaker cable from'em too. Should probably mention that. Anyway, like I was saying, I was nervous because, if I couldn't trust his employees to handle something as simple as the shipping, how much could I trust the company's build quality and such?
Luckily, my fears appear to be misaligned so far. I haven't been able to try it with the Epiphone, as it is waiting for me in the states, but with my Traynor, I'm pretty happy.
-Being able to throw my Traynor on the gain channel and dime the gain & master volume. I forgot how much I love that tone.
-Being able to actually touch something along the lines of all the tones that this amp can provide. As you open up the volume, the amp's character changes a lot, so this is really nice.
-It works nice and, while I haven't opened it to take a gander inside, it looks like it is built decently. The switches and such don't look like the greatest things I've seen, but they are definitely not the worst either. How far the chickenhead knob stuck out from the unit kind of surprised me at first, but it isn't a problem. Finally, the jacks seem to be of decent quality so far... Then again, I'm purely judging that on resistance. You know with cheapo jacks, how the cables can just slide in and out weirdly smooth? These ones provide a bit of resistance pushing in and out. I like that.
-The unit is a decent size to just sit in the back of my amp, out of the way.
-The line out is a cool idea, but I haven't found a great use for it yet, honestly. I ran it into GR2 and used the cab sims for an okay sound, but I quite prefer the GR2 amps sims.
-As I mentioned, the line out is disapointing.
-This kills a bit of treble in the signal. Actually, the more attenuation, the more treble it kills. With the amp dimed on the gain channel for stupid riffing, that isn't entirely a bad thing. On the clean channel, that can sound pretty bad though. You really have to find the right balance to get the right sound. Unfortunately, what sounds like a good setting clean doesn't work to dirty and vice versa.
-Initially, it scared me a little because I smelled back behind my amp and it smelled... weird! I emailed Ted and he said it was probably just the thing heating up for the first time and the glue in it heating up. After he said that, the smell made sense. It smelled like a hot glue gun, kind of.
So, all in all, I'm pretty happy with the actual unit. Annoyed at the service, as they cost me what amounts to a decent amount of money for me (enough that it prevented me from buying an OD250 that I wanted! Agh!). These days, all I use amps for is stupid fun. I use them when I'm bored and want to pretend I'm a rock musician or a metalhead or a country studio guitarist or when I'm trying to play along to Neil Young & Johnny Thunders. Thus, I don't need to worry about suddenly switching from clean to gain and having to adjust all kinds of ****. I'm just having fun and, for that, this thing rocks. If I could open up the amp more, I think I'd like the attenuator even more, as a light amount of attenuation would tame the amp some, while still letting it bellow nicely. It doesn't sound the same when cranked, as the speaker isn't getting worked as much and you lose some treble frequencies, but for me, there wasn't really many other options. This works nice and is a lot of stupid fun for me.
I can't wait to try it with the Epiphone head. That'll have to wait till the 23rd though.
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