Dr. Z Brake Lite Waterford MI

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.

Motor City Guitar
(248) 673-1900
1565 Crescent Lake Rd
Waterford, MI
Types of Instruments Sold
Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Hammered Strings
(248) 335-1330
942 Joslyn Ave
Pontiac, MI
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs

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Marshall Music Co.
(248) 661-1260
7470 Haggerty Rd
West Bloomfield, MI
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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Flute World
(248) 855-0410
29920 Orchard Lake Rd
Farmington Hills, MI
Types of Instruments Sold
Band & Orchestral, Print Music

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Wilson Fine Violins
(248) 258-1125
725 S Adams Rd
Birmingham, MI
Types of Instruments Sold
Band & Orchestral

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Mccourts Music Center
(248) 673-7500
3040 Sashabaw Rd
Waterford, MI

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Evola Music
(248) 334-0566
2184 S Telegraph Rd
Bloomfield, MI
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Organs, Band & Orchestral, Print Music

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Hammell Music Inc
(248) 624-8111
2700 E West Maple Rd
Commerce Township, MI
Types of Instruments Sold
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Print Music

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Limelight Music
(248) 375-0220
3220 Walton Blvd
Rochester Hills, MI
Types of Instruments Sold
Digital Piano, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music

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Upper Room Studio
(248) 879-2447
6710 Crooks Rd
Troy, MI
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Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment

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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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