NAD Fryette Power Station

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fiveightandten
Orange Master
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Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2003 6:18 pm
Location: Connecticut, USA

Re: NAD Fryette Power Station

Post by fiveightandten » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:57 pm

The Power Station is great. I’d consider it the limit of current technology when it comes to this stuff. I’ve used it to gig and record pretty much all of my amps, and with fantastic results.

It has some limitations:
-It’s expensive and larger/heavier than other attenuators. It’s not passive, so you need to plug it in if you want to use it as an attenuator (it works without power to provide a load for silent recording).

-The 2x6L6 Power amp is indeed very transparent, but like any amp, it has finite headroom. You can raise the volume of an OR-15 to the volume levels of a 30W-40W amp. But as you approach 50W power levels, the tubes start to run out of headroom and compress. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does start to color the tone at that point (which is extremely loud, BTW). Believe me, some natural tube warmth is typically desirable at 50W volume levels. But I want to be honest about the limitations and coloration of the unit. It’s 50W, and will color the tone a bit when played near that max output level (LOUD!).


Understand what this thing does. It’s soaking up ALL of the signal from your amp at all times. It does this with a reactive load that has adjustable response (via some switches on the front panel). As such, it breaks all interaction between the amp and the speaker cabinet. Instead, the amp reacts with the reactive load. It’s up to you to play with the switches on the panel so the load interacts with the amp in a way that mimicks your speaker cab (hint: don’t set the switches to “flat”).

The PS then takes a line level signal from the load and feeds that into a few different places. Foremost, it goes to an internal 2x6L6 Power amp, which has its own volume, presence, and depth controls. And it also feeds an onboard effects loop, a line out, and a direct out.

Long story short, this thing does a lot. You can make a loud amp soft, a small amp loud, you can record silently. You can add an effects loop and volume control to an amp that doesn’t have them, and you can tailor the sound to either make the amp VERY close to its natural sound, or make it sound like it never could by itself (want to add more low end to your OR-15 than it would ever be capable of by itself? Or make a dark amp have clearer top end than it’s capable of alone?).

It’s not super easy to dial in, but it does reward once you get it set up right with your amp. There will always be a small difference in the sound and response compared to the amp by itself, and the very nature of increasing or decreasing volume brings changes that are no fault of the Power Station. But this thing makes the amp sound very very close to its natural sound, at pretty much any volume you want it at.

I record with mine plenty. I don’t gig with it much lately, simply because I bought a few Morgan amps with power scaling, and carrying the PS around is no longer necessary (it does get cumbersome compared to just carrying an amp to the gig).

Hope that helps. I’d highly recommend it. Great piece of gear. I wouldn’t be able to gig my OR-80 without it, and I wouldn’t be able to record real amps at home without it. For that alone, it’s worth the price of admission for me.
Image
'71 GRO100 || '96 OR-80 || AD30 || '64 AC-50 || AC-30TBX || Hiwatt DR504 || HI-TONE HT30
LP Standard || LP Studio || LP Custom Lite || Ric 620 || Ric 360 || MIA Tele || SG 61 RI

Les Paul Lover
Duke of Orange
Posts: 6518
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:08 am
Location: Derby, England

Re: NAD Fryette Power Station

Post by Les Paul Lover » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:36 pm

fiveightandten wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:57 pm
The Power Station is great. I’d consider it the limit of current technology when it comes to this stuff. I’ve used it to gig and record pretty much all of my amps, and with fantastic results.

It has some limitations:
-It’s expensive and larger/heavier than other attenuators. It’s not passive, so you need to plug it in if you want to use it as an attenuator (it works without power to provide a load for silent recording).

-The 2x6L6 Power amp is indeed very transparent, but like any amp, it has finite headroom. You can raise the volume of an OR-15 to the volume levels of a 30W-40W amp. But as you approach 50W power levels, the tubes start to run out of headroom and compress. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does start to color the tone at that point (which is extremely loud, BTW). Believe me, some natural tube warmth is typically desirable at 50W volume levels. But I want to be honest about the limitations and coloration of the unit. It’s 50W, and will color the tone a bit when played near that max output level (LOUD!).


Understand what this thing does. It’s soaking up ALL of the signal from your amp at all times. It does this with a reactive load that has adjustable response (via some switches on the front panel). As such, it breaks all interaction between the amp and the speaker cabinet. Instead, the amp reacts with the reactive load. It’s up to you to play with the switches on the panel so the load interacts with the amp in a way that mimicks your speaker cab (hint: don’t set the switches to “flat”).

The PS then takes a line level signal from the load and feeds that into a few different places. Foremost, it goes to an internal 2x6L6 Power amp, which has its own volume, presence, and depth controls. And it also feeds an onboard effects loop, a line out, and a direct out.

Long story short, this thing does a lot. You can make a loud amp soft, a small amp loud, you can record silently. You can add an effects loop and volume control to an amp that doesn’t have them, and you can tailor the sound to either make the amp VERY close to its natural sound, or make it sound like it never could by itself (want to add more low end to your OR-15 than it would ever be capable of by itself? Or make a dark amp have clearer top end than it’s capable of alone?).

It’s not super easy to dial in, but it does reward once you get it set up right with your amp. There will always be a small difference in the sound and response compared to the amp by itself, and the very nature of increasing or decreasing volume brings changes that are no fault of the Power Station. But this thing makes the amp sound very very close to its natural sound, at pretty much any volume you want it at.

I record with mine plenty. I don’t gig with it much lately, simply because I bought a few Morgan amps with power scaling, and carrying the PS around is no longer necessary (it does get cumbersome compared to just carrying an amp to the gig).

Hope that helps. I’d highly recommend it. Great piece of gear. I wouldn’t be able to gig my OR-80 without it, and I wouldn’t be able to record real amps at home without it. For that alone, it’s worth the price of admission for me.
You sure make a compelling case for it!!!!
Ant

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fiveightandten
Orange Master
Posts: 3845
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2003 6:18 pm
Location: Connecticut, USA

Re: NAD Fryette Power Station

Post by fiveightandten » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:21 am

Les Paul Lover wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:36 pm
You sure make a compelling case for it!!!!
:lol: It's a great unit! Nothing is perfect, and it is somewhat heavy and cumbersome to carry around to gigs (extra cables to plug in, something else to carry and set up). But it solved some big problems for me, and really opened up doors for recording without big volume and mic setup.

For me, the "transparency" and sound quality meets expectations, and the functionality of what it does makes life a lot easier.

-Nick
Image
'71 GRO100 || '96 OR-80 || AD30 || '64 AC-50 || AC-30TBX || Hiwatt DR504 || HI-TONE HT30
LP Standard || LP Studio || LP Custom Lite || Ric 620 || Ric 360 || MIA Tele || SG 61 RI

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