A-designs Atty
A-designs Atty

Atty, Other Studio Effect from A-designs.

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briank 08/28/2011

A-designs Atty : briank's user review

« Simple but brilliant »

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The ATTY is a stereo two channel passive line level attenuator box.

Controls are dead simple: a smooth feeling rotary pot for continuous signal attenuation, and a quality pushbutton for hard mute, both of which control both channels all the time.

The ATTY has Neutrik combo XLR & 1/4" TRS connectors for inputs, and goldpin XLRs for outputs. The only thing stopping me from rating this section as "Perfect" is that I'd have liked to see some parallel 1/4" TRS jacks at the output as well as the input.

The box itself is strong as a brick and is finished in A-Designs lovely but durable glossy black with quality silkscreening. My oldest ATTY is at least 6 years old now and still looks good.


This box is a general purpose unit for any line level signal attenuation. It has a good, smooth range of attenuation and a fairly linear taper.

My favorite uses are for digital tracking situations where I want to run an analog output hot, but have the signal hit a digital converter lightly for best headroom--so the ATTY is a natural to have inline between a mic preamp that I want to hit hard, but still have my signal into a digital converter peaking at no more than about -9dBfs. I especially appreciate the stereo nature of the ATTY between fast-transient stereo signals such as drum overhead mic pres and digital inputs. I also like to patch the ATTY inline between my analog console's 2mix out and digital converter ins when printing mixes into ProTools--I can cream the console's 2mix to my heart's extent but still get sober levels into ProTools by attenuating the post-2mix signal into the digital converters.

Many ITB users will find the ATTY to be a great, simple analog volume control between digital interface output sums and active studio monitor inputs--which is no doubt what A-Designs had in mind when offering a hard mute button on the unit.

I have three ATTYs (all of which I find routine use for) and I can't remember if they even came with a manual. There's one knob, one button and they're both labeled, what more is there to know? ;-)


Well, you're always going to lose a little bit when you're adding two more connection points to a signal chain, but the ATTY mitigates this with good quality, gold plated connections that don't tend to oxidize, and the passive nature of the unit means there's nothing to power up and add noise to, and as little as possible to additionally make the signal pass through. This all means that the ATTY does very little to harm your signal. It brings the level down and that's about it. No more, no less.


A-Designs is one of my very favorite gear makers. Overall, the ATTY is a great general purpose studio tool that does what I want it to as simply as possible--no more, no less. It's dead simple to use, quiet, and the quality is very good.

There's only one thing that particularly bugs me about this unit: when the level pot is almost at its lowest point of travel, one side of the stereo signal will drop out before the other. This is very common with passive attenuation, but it still would would have been swell if A-Designs had used a pot that gets around this and keeps both channels dead even 'til the bitter end of the pot's travel. The upshot is that I wouldn't use this box for an analog fade-out cue. Having some 1/4" TRS jacks at the output as well as input would have been nice too, though adapter patch cords get around that just fine. Otherwise, no complaints and this doesn't stop me using my ATTYs all the time to great effect. I would and did buy more.

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