Our Rivera RockCrusher Power Attenuator Review
One of the most important tools in the arsenal of any guitarist who has to adjust studio/stage levels with an open throttle on their tube amp is a powerful and reliable attenuator, also known as a load box.
This is especially true since vintage valve equipment has grown in popularity over the past few years. This, coupled with the fact that modern boutique-style sound amplification comes with no master volume control, makes it a good idea to include a sturdy attenuator in your gig bag.
Who Is This Power Attenuator For?
The Rivera RockCrusher Recording Power Attenuator and Load Box is the quintessential volume control solution for both professional and novice guitarists. The versatility of the Rivera RockCrusher load box means it has something for everybody. Since those who use vintage amps would never dream of cutting into an amp to accommodate a master volume, that’s where an attenuator comes in handy. This makes the RockCrusher attenuator a must-have for any vintage amp enthusiast.
One of the reasons to get this attenuator is because it comes from the brand Rivera, a name that’s become synonymous with great sounding equipment across the board. The Rivera RockCrusher Recording Power Attenuator and Load Box is no different and lives up to the hype of its predecessors. If you want to get yourself an attenuator that plays nice with the most powerful amps available in the market today, while not sacrificing on the tone, then the RockCrusher should be right up your alley.
What makes the RockCrusher unique is that while most other attenuators go the purely resistive load route when it comes to the design, the RockCrusher uses a reactive load network that smoothens out impedance and capacitance reactance. What you get as a result is an attenuator that is able to deliver a better overall tone with lots of equalization range.
One of the reasons why you should get yourself the Rivera RockCrusher Recording Power Attenuator and Load Box is because its setting is incredibly easy to understand and remember. The controls are where they should be and are not complicated to tweak. The easy-to-use layout of the controls makes it easy for both professionals and beginners to use without difficulty. Because of its versatility and sturdy build, the Rivera RockCrusher Recording Power Attenuator and Load Box is a great choice whether you want your tone at home with a low volume or you want to crank up the 100-watt unit for a gig.
What’s Included With The Rivera RockCrusher?
- The RockCrusher is invaluable & unbeatably versatile because you can place it between your amp & speaker cab as a power attenuator, or use it in place of your speaker cabinet as a load box while sending its balanced XLR or unbalanced ¼” line out to another amp as a slave, or even send its output to a mixer for recording or live performance.
- In addition to providing superior tone, impedance matching is critical for your tube amp's health & longevity. Rivera gave the RockCrusher an 8/16-ohm selector switch so you can use either value to accurately match your cabinets & amplifiers. Tthe RockCrusher is easy to use both on-stage & in the studio. For “bypass on the fly,” which lets you use the amp with a speaker cabinet when full output level is desired, Rivera included a front-panel full bypass switch that removes the load entirely.
- When low speaker volume is desired, there is a Studio position of the Attenuator Level Selector that enables the Studio Level control to adjust from low to quiet output--perfect for home, project, & studio recording.
- Balanced XLR & unbalanced ¼" phone jacks with a convenient front-panel level control allow interfacing with practically any audio equipment. Two Speaker jacks allow easy connection with up to two speaker enclosures.
- Bullet-proof construction, a standard feature of Rivera equipment, is also engineered into the Rock Crusher: Within the 16-gauge welded steel chassis of the RockCrusher, heavy-duty & rugged industrial-grade components are used throughout & designed to give you years of reliable, cool-running service. In addition, both sides of the RockCrusher chassis facilitate mounting rack ears or other brackets for professional road case installation.
The following is a quick breakdown of the features of the Rivera RockCrusher Recording Power Attenuator and Load Box:
- Maximum input power 120 watts RMS
- Function: Attenuate/Bypass
- 11-band equalizer
- On/off power switch
- Input: 6/8
- 18 VDC/1 amp
- Equalization: Edge/Warm
- Attenuation (A, B, C D, E, Studio)
- Studio Level: Min/Max
- Input power / Line out levels light indicators
- Max/Min line out
- Balanced and unbalanced line out
- 2 x output to speakers
- 1 x input from amplifier
The new version of the RockCrusher Recording Power Attenuator and Load Box comes with an 11-band EQ for direct out. These 11 bands have been specifically designed to replicate the EQ curve of any electric guitar. The standard features of the Rivera lineup of sound equipment have all been engineered into the RockCrusher attenuator and load box, which gives you the freedom to create a number of different sounds and record them hassle-free. Housed within the 16-gauge welded steel chassis are heavy-duty components, ensuring that the load box is going to deliver an incredible level of sound for years to come.
Overview of the Features Of The RockCrusher
The main attenuation switch has a six-step setting that ranges from -3 to -20 dB, with the final setting called the ‘Studio Setting.’ You can also route the audio to a wire-wound pot allowing the continuous reduction in volume at the way to zero. The recording EQ section of the RockCrusher comes with direct output and can replicate speaker cab tones perfectly. The RockCrusher boasts of both high and low “boost” switches to compensate for any lost frequencies. You can go from zero attenuation to very low conversation levels without damaging the tone, which is one of the highlights of the RockCrusher.
One area where the Rivera RockCrusher Recording Power Attenuator and Load Box shines is its ability to integrate with your PC. For the best results, you can crank the amp up and keep the volume down to saturate the amp tubes before sending it to the PC and recording it.
While some folks might prefer to buy a box that comes with a cab emulator, then again, why would you when this unit allows total customization thanks to the 11-band EQ. The Rivera RockCrusher load box also gets extra points for its extremely low maintenance requirements. For instance, there are no tubes to change or noise from the fan, nor do you have to plug in the RockCrusher into a power outlet, and in case we forget, the RockCrusher is built like a tank, so you can rest assured you’re going to be jamming with it for a long, long time.
On the downside, this load box is a great option if all you need is attenuation and not re-amping. Another area that the RockCrusher misses the mark is because, like most other attenuators, it will gradually suck the tone the higher you attenuate. If that’s unacceptable then you’re better off going with the Weber MASS 50. Since the RockCrusher comes with the Rivera badge on it, it’s not going to be cheap, but if you are looking for that professional tone and reliability, then you can count on the Rivera RockCrusher attenuator and load box to deliver on your expectations, and then some.
Conclusion – Is The Rivera RockCrusher The Right Load Box For You?
Not only does the impressive RockCrusher let up hook directly to your PC for easy recording, it gives your tone that rich depth and dimension to make every twang of the guitar sound spectacular. That said, the attenuation that this load box provides is extremely realistic thanks to the smart integration of some of the best technologies at Rivera that has been revamped and customized specifically for the RockCrusher Recording Power Attenuator & Load Box. This provides you with plenty of options when you’re playing at live gigs or jamming with friends.
We hope our Rivera RockCrusher Power Attenuator review has been helpful. You might want to check out the list of guitar pedals we have included in our worship pedalboard article.