Q: What is a Pad?
A: "pad" is short for an "Attenuation Pad".
This is a device used to lower the signal level between two other devices.
Pad between L1® Model II and PackLite® power amplifier model A1
If you are using a L1® Model II with a B2 Bass Module and an PackLite® power amplifier model A1, you may find that the Red LED on the PackLite® power amplifier model A1 lights up earlier than expected. You can put a 10 dB Pad between the Model II Power Stand Bass Line Out and the PackLite® power amplifier model A1 input.
Unfortunately most Pads have XLR connectors, so you may need to get some Tip-Ring-Sleeve to XLR adapters to make all the connections.
Pads for PS1 Power Stand (Classic) / Model I InputsPS1 Power Stand (Classic) / Model I's when running a pro level +4 dBu signal (e.g. output from a mixer) to the XLR inputs on Channels 1 or 2. We want to do this because the input sensitivity for these inputs is set for microphones. To get a better match for levels between the source and our inputs, we can use a pad.
Pads can also help when connecting the Power Stand Line Outs to semi-pro or consumer recording devices. If the Power Stand Line Outs are too high for the recorder's inputs, a pad can be used to prevent overdriving those inputs into clipping distortion.
Signal Source that has a Pad
Check your source device (mixer or DJ mixer) to see if there is an attenuation switch. This may be marked Line/Mic or show -10dB or similar markings. If you have a switch like this, try it. It may give you the same benefits of using a pad.
Pad with PS1 Power Stand (Classic) / Model I Line Outs
A -20dB pad is also a good choice when connecting the Power Stand Line Outs to a house PA, or other off-stage system. This would ensure that the house mixing console's inputs can handle the signal level without being overdriven into distortion, especially if the house console has insufficient built-in pads, or none at all. (Beware of the potential for Ground Loops here.)
T1 ToneMatch® Audio Engine No Pads Required
The T1® XLR inputs on channels 1-3 were designed to accept inputs from microphones up to normal line-level inputs without needing a switch or a pad. This is in unlike the L1® Model I or L1® Classic) Power Stand where a pad is recommended for line-level inputs.
- The T1 ToneMatch® Audio Engine Channels 1, 2, 3 inputs will accept a wide range of signals. We have not encountered a normal use where someone needed a pad - even using +4dbU console outputs, which is as high as it gets.
- MikeZ-at-Bose talks about T1® XLR inputs
Daisy Chaining PS1 Power Stand (Classic) / Model Is
Another application (although relatively rare) is if you want to connect the output of one PS1 Power Stand (Classic) / Model I to input of another. Sometimes called daisy chaining, you can connect the Line-Out of one PS1 Power Stand (Classic) / Model I to Channel 1 or 2 of another. In that case you probably want to have a -20 dB pad inline, between the Line-Out of the first System and the Channel 1 or 2 XLR input of the second. Why use a -20 dBu Pad?
- The XLR connects to a balanced low impedance input stage with a lot of gain. The 1/4" input is unbalanced, has about 20 dB less overall gain but a very high input impedance. 
See PS1 Powerstand / Daisy Chain for more information.
You can find separate attenuation pads like this:
Cost: $20-30 on the web
- Search results on the web
- You might find something like this in a local music store if they have a Pro Audio department.
This is an example, and you will want to look into the details to determine if you need a pad, and the kinds of connections that are appropriate for your input device.
More Formal Definitions
"attenuator or attenuator pad Electronics. A passive network that reduces the voltage (or power; see usage note under gain) level of a signal with negligible distortion, but with insertion loss. Often a purely resistive network, although any combination of inductors, resistors and capacitors are possible, a pad may also provide impedance matching."
Do It Yourself
An inline pad can be easily soldered, you'll need to insert 3 resistors into your mic cable. The values of these three resistors are determined by the amount of attenuation you wish to achieve. Bose recommends -20dB of attenuation to bring a hot +4dBu balanced line level signal down to a voltage that the Bose PS1 (Classic) Mic inputs can handle.
To build a -20dB attenuation pad insert the following three resistors into your XLR cable path.
- Two 680 ohm resistors inserted into lines (pins) 2 and 3
- One 150 ohm resistor inserted across pins 2 and 3
To minimize the effect on common mode rejection, you should use 1% resistors, but common-ordinary 5% carbon film resistors will work. For microphone pad applications, 1/4 watt or less is fine.
Source: Rick Chinn / Uneeda Audio