I know some of you enjoy attenuators, and use them with great success.. knocking the signal down to your desired level. Rarely, I'll wipe the dust off of mine and plug it in. Each time, I hear and feel a difference in speaker response that I do not like. I don't like to disrupt the magic between a nice output transformer and a great [AlNiCo] speaker.
As a result to my continued objection with the attenuator, I've stumbled upon an alternative solution.
As my interest in DIY effects grew, I bought a copy of Craig Anderton's "Electronic Projects for Musicians" book. After building my own revised version of Mr. Anderton's Passive Tone Control [basically, an elaborate Varitone], I realised that this passive unit was cutting the overall signal. While doing it's thing, emphasizing and cutting different frequencies, it was reducing the overall volume [in a very pleasing way].
In summary.. I built a condensed version [in about 15 minutes] last night. A 'stealth' version with no adjustments.. it uses only the component values that maximize signal cut and achieve my desired tone.
The tone is so warm, juicy, and complex.. at a volume that's completely acceptable for practicing at home.
We are talking about a pretty big swing here.. with my Ghia set at 11 o'clock, the 'stealth' unit keeps the volume comparable to the no-stealth 9 o'clock position.
The signal path is simple:
Input Jack >> Resistor >> Capacitor >> Mini Audio Transformer >> Resistor >> Output Jack