(Two part post: This is part 1; another angle in the followup comment ) So... on the side of another project, I ran into this "attenuator" in an amp. That sent me into a little research on the side. I have some questions I need to answer to broaden my understanding: This Chinese 5W tube amp was sold with a slider switch for .1 watt, 1 watt, and 5 watt. Here's what the output looks like: -- It looks to me like it's basically volume reduction, not attenuation. Just bleeding of output to ground. I'm thinking that the transformer & tubes will not be driven to the level of realistic high output as a "real" attenuator (or speaker) would do. So it's really just cutting output to the speaker jacks. But I'm a lightweight in electronics and particularly tube amps. Tell me what this does in terms of sounds.