Dr. Z Brake Lite Troutdale OR

Dr. Z Brake Lite's open-back construction emphasizes the necessity of attaching it directly to the inside wall of an amp’s cabinet —the Brake Lite cannot be used as a stand-alone unit—and it comes with double-adhesive-backed side tabs and two sturdy mountings screws specifically for this purpose. If you want to have a clear view of this product, this article is right for you.

Eastside Music
(503) 491-2270
21977 Se Stark St
Gresham, OR
Types of Instruments Sold
Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Thee Music Store
(360) 834-0899
205 Ne 21St Ave
Camas, WA
Types of Instruments Sold
Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Portland Music
(503) 760-6881
12334 Se Division St
Portland, OR
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Beacock Music
(360) 694-7134
1420 Se 163Rd Ave
Vancouver, WA
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment

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River City Music Inc
(360) 892-8061
13215 Se Mill Plain Blvd
Vancouver, WA
Types of Instruments Sold
Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Pacific Percussion
(503) 252-1934
359 Ne 167Th Pl
Portland, OR
Types of Instruments Sold
Drums & Percussion

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Portland Music Company
(503) 667-4663
12334 Southeast Division Street
Portland, OR
 
Dme Music
(503) 786-8742
9006 Ne Brazee St
Portland, OR
Types of Instruments Sold
Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Guitars & Fretted Instruments

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Guitar Center
(503) 654-0100
13029 Southeast 84th Ave.
Clackamas, OR
 
Day Music Co
(503) 775-4351
Pob 86508
Portland, OR
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Dr. Z Brake Lite

Dr. Z Brake Lite

The Dr. Z Air Brake, which was designed in conjunction with the late Ken Fischer of Train wreck amps, has been a popular attenuator since its introduction around 2003. Now Dr. Z’s new Brake Lite puts similar thinking in a smaller package—with a shrunken price tag to match—in an attenuator that’s intended to be mounted inside the cabinet of any tube combo of less than 45 watts. Its white aluminum housing contains the two large resistors that do all the dirty work, as well as a 5-position rotary switch for selecting four attenuation levels of –11dB down to –2dB plus bypass (the same thing contained in the Mini-Z Head, in fact).

Its open-back construction emphasizes the necessity of attaching it directly to the inside wall of an amp’s cabinet —the Brake Lite cannot be used as a stand-alone unit—and it comes with double-adhesive-backed side tabs and two sturdy mountings screws specifically for this purpose. Once mounted, unplug your combo’s speaker and jack it into the Brake Lite’s “To Speaker” output, and plug the unit’s hard-wired “To Amp” cable into your amp’s output. Viola – your combo now has its own internal attenuator.

I tried the Brake Lite with a range of small and medium-sized combos, and found it cooperated well with all of them, allowing me to do anything from knocking off a few decibels to make a cooking 15-watter less decapitating in a small pub, to—at full attenuation— achieving fully saturated output-tube overdrive for recording in my attic studio while the kids still slept undisturbed just one floor below. Although attenuators are designed to allow you to maintain your ideal “sweet spot” amp settings while reducing overall output levels as desired, their alteration of the interaction between amp, speaker, and the human ear does still change the perceived tone of your amp somewhat.

Higher attenuation settings induce a rounder, more compressed feel, with greater perceived attenuations of lows and, in particular, highs, but this is the case with all units that I have tried, and can be compensated for somewhat by making adjustments in amp EQ and gain settings. This caveat noted, the Brake Lite does its job extremely well and is an extremely useful tool for any guitarists who need to make his or her favorite smaller combo sit right, volume-wise, in a range of venues.–Dave Hunter

Specs
Contact Dr. Z Amplifiers (216) 475-1444, drzamps.com
Model Brake Lite
Price $169 retail/street price N/A
Controls Attenuator (level) 0-4
Ratings For amps of 45 watts or less, with 4Ω, 8Ω, and 16Ω outputs
Kudos
Handy in-cab mounting means you’ll never forget your attenuator again. Solid and reliable output attenuation
Concerns
None.

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