Introduction to the HotBox

Valve amps sound their best turned up to eleven but most of us live in a world where neighbours, police, the guys in recording studios and our bleeding eardrums just can't put up with all that volume. That's where the HotBox comes in, it sucks up most of the power your amp puts out and allows you to work it really hard so get that sound, but without the pain.

AudioStorm are experts in Power Attenuator design.

We've been making and selling these units for many years and have countless satisfied customers. Don't settle for some el-cheapo unit with air cooled resistors or a terrible rheostat when you can have our cutting edge technology instead.

Models

The HotBox is available in a variety of different models

  • HB60 is a rugged, no-nonsense entry level unit ideal for the user who just wants to record or jam a little more quietly.
  • HB60 Pro adds switchable reduction to enable jamming at home, recording in a studio or pub size gigs.
  • HB120 Pro offers switchable reduction and higher power handling to suit amplifiers up to 120watts.
  • HB150 Pro is our flagship with four carefully chosen levels of reduction and massive 150 watt power handling.
  • BurnBox adds Recording DI functionality to any HotBox or can work by itself with amps of 15 watts and under.
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What watts are what?

We design our units to just work so you don't have to worry about the decibels and watts and all that jazz, just pick the unit which sounds right for you and you'll be good to go, but if you want more detail we can appreciate that too...

Human hearing is really, *really* advanced, tough to explain and doesn't always make sense. In order to hear a wide range of volumes from super-quiet to super loud our hearing is non-linear. This means that if you want double the volume, you need between four and ten times the power! That means if you have a 50 watt amp and need it to be fully twice as loud then 100 watts isn't anywhere enough and you'll actually need a 500 watt amp!

To make matters worse watts are not a measure of volume: They are a measure of power consumed whilst trying to make volume, which is why some 30 watts amps are louder than some 100 watt amps. Some amps are just better at turning watts into volume than others.

On top of all this our hearing is sensitive to different frequencies in different ways and some people perceive volume differently to others. Broadly speaking though, the following table averages all that stuff out and provides a good place to start from if you want to do some conversions:

Sounds like...
Decibels?
Ratio?120watts becomes...
60 watts becomes...
30 watts becomes...
Half Volume
-6dB4:130
127.5
Quarter volume
-10dB10:1126
3
Tenth volume
-16dB30:14
21

 

If you want to jam and record your amp you will usually want something in the 5 to 15 watts region.
That's still loud, way too loud for solo practice (Unless you are into extreme metal in which case anything goes). If you want to jam by yourself you probably want 2-5 watts, max. That's loads. If you want to jam at night, with neighbours, you'll want to get the volume down to at least 1 watt, probably even less.

But there is another factor: Too much reduction also *sucks* tone. The sweet spot is around -10dB, enough to be useful and keep all the tone of your amp. Getting down to -16dB is still great and it's a lot of reduction. Go much past that and it's just too much and it'll sound bad. That's why we make our HotBoxes the way we do. The Studio is -10dB, the Pro series -10dB and -16dB. They're simply the right values for the best tone with a great and useful amount of reduction.