L-Pads (L refers to the shape of the network, the way the parts are connected to form the pad. Some also refer to the L as meaning Loss or Losser Pad) are used to decrease the output level of a speaker. One use for an L-Pad attenuator is to be able to crank your amp into power tube distortion, and then reduce the power to the speaker to a comfortable level. L-Pad attenuators, as noted in the picture below are rather simple devices, and you can build one yourself. All you have to do is calculate the correct resistance for the attenuation you want, then make sure you have the correct power rating on the resistor for the amp you intend to use it with. You must ensure that you put in values that correspond to the amps output impedance, so the total impedance will be calculated to be the same as the amp. This is critical if you intend to dime your amp with heavy distortion (compressed signal, square wave).

An L-Pad is nothing more than 2 resistors, one in series (R1), and one in parallel (R2) with your speaker.
 From amp output Z = Your amp output and speaker impedance (very important). A = The amount of attenuation you want in DB. If you want to experiment with equalizing it, you can try different values of nonpolarized capacitors across R1 for a treble boost, different values of inductors for a bass boost, or a combination of both. These are low impedances, so the values would be in the microfarads and 10's of millihenries. You can make the L-Pad variable by substituting ganged rheostats for R1 and R2. Or, you can hand select several resistors that will be switched in as sets for R1 and R2. Remember to ensure that you match the input impedance of the L-Pad to the amplifier output impedance if you are going to dime the amp.

 Calculates Series and Shunt Resistors Information For You To Enter: Speaker and Amp Output Impedance? Ohms Desired Attenuation? DB Amplifier Power Output? Watts Results: R1 Series Resistor = Ohms R2 Parallel Resistor = Ohms R1 Series Resistor Power = Watts R2 Parallel Resistor Power = Watts Speaker Power = Watts Extra info: Shunt || Speaker = Ohms Amplifier Output Current (@ Full Power) = Amps Current through Series Resistor (@ Full Power) = Amps Current through Shunt Resistor (@ Full Power) = Amps Current through Speaker (@ Full Power) = Amps Amplifier Output Voltage (@ Full Power) = Volts Voltage across Shunt and Speaker (@ Full Power) = Volts Voltage across Series Resistor (@ Full Power) = Volts The resistor and power values that are calculated should be rounded to the closest available standard value. The power rating should be rounded up, and selecting a power rating that is at least one and a half times the power value calculated is suggested.

Questions? Feel free to email Ted anytime.