In praise of Tone Controls

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by JoeSmo, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    I couldn't have said it any better, being in the same shoes, so I will just jump on this bandwagon, too.
    nm_west, JoeSmo and Vignus like this.
  2. apesfan

    apesfan Forum Resident

    I'll never forget when I upgrated from Nikko pre and power amps, Kenwood 620 cassette, Dual turntable and Cerwin Vega S1 speakers.
    Had saved 2500+ hundred dollars in 1985 to upgrade the whole system to Adcom 555 amp and matching pre, Thorens 160 turntable and Polk sda 1a speakers. Never needed to use the tone controls and many slow upgrades later never had to.
    So what does that mean. I always, well almost always, buy an intergraded or pre amp with tone controls just in case needed. Never needed, smart buying or just lucky.
    In the car that's a different story, take care, John M.
    Minty_fresh and JoeSmo like this.
  3. Rodney Toady

    Rodney Toady Waste of cyberspace

    I don't use mine much (if ever), but I'm sure that if I didn't have them, having to worry about possibly needing them at some point might severely interfere with my listening.
    JoeSmo likes this.
  4. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Forum Resident

    Lewes, DE

    Some guys just get overwhelmed with the job of getting a room to work.
    It takes a LOT of work to get some installs to sing.
    Sounds like you have a lot of work TO DO.
    Let me know if you want some suggestions on reading material on how to fix your install.
    OR just turn up your tone controls.
    Your choice.
    Whatever makes you happy is OK with me.
    JoeSmo likes this.
  5. Scott222C

    Scott222C Loner, Rebel & Family Man

    Tone Controls are the spices, or even Salt and Pepper, of Audio.

    Keep your Sushi Purists and Amps without Tone Contols.
    JoeSmo likes this.
  6. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Forum Resident

    Maryland, U.S.A.
    Part of learning is doing, or trying. I think most of the folks here are particular enough that they should be able to figure it out.
    Or they can just throw a lot of money out and get "the best" equipment, but they will just have to compromise if they play sources
    that are not the best, if they don't have any "adjustments" like tone controls.
    JoeSmo likes this.
  7. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    New Mexico USA
    JoeSmo likes this.
  8. hesson11

    hesson11 Forum Resident

    Okay, wait, I think I do get it now. My system is just ******. I'm just glad there's no shame in it. THANKS!
    riverrat and JoeSmo like this.
  9. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Iowa, USA
    I'll be listening to my no shame junk system tonight! Got some new Dire Straits albums this week to fire up.
  10. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Des Moines
    As audiophiles we are all our own mastering engineers. If a mastering engineer can add 2db to make a recording sound better, why can't we add 2db in our own systems to do the same? Not to mention there are threads out there where our host gives EQ advice on certain albums.
  11. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Forum Resident

    Maryland, U.S.A.
    After I got my Schiit Loki, there were a few albums that I always felt were "thin" sounding, and I was able to "fill them out" a little. When I had them sounding just right with the equalizer, I needle-dropped them.
    Now the cdrs are my go-to for these albums. Very pleased. Nice to hear them without feeling they are deficient in some way.
    Benzion likes this.
  12. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    detroit, mi
    Love em plus a subwoofer.
  13. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Southern US
    I’ve had components
    With tone controls
    So long that the last time I auditioned a piece without them, I kinda had anxiety that I was helpless to change anything, whether I needed to or not.
    LONG LIVE TONE CONTROLS! Shields at maximum!
    SandAndGlass, Nick Brook and Vignus like this.
  14. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    [Spoken like Scotty on Star Trek] Y' can't increase the bass any more Captain! It's as loud as it can go, y'can't get it any louder. The deck is already shatterin', the dilithium crystals are now dust, and McCoy has run out of ear defenders!:yikes:
    brianplowe, SandAndGlass and Vignus like this.
  15. ronm

    ronm audiofreak

    southern colo.
    I need them.
  16. Minty_fresh

    Minty_fresh Forum Resident

    Ive always been pro-tone controls but I audition amps in direct mode or, in the case of my new but not yet built amp, without tone controls.

    I feel like it needs to get very close to the sound I want sans tone controls and then I can sweeten to taste as they say. I see a Schiit Loki in my in my future.

    As long as the controls are properly implemented I am all for them.

    I’m drink as **** and I still make sense. Thanks autocorrect!
  17. Minty_fresh

    Minty_fresh Forum Resident

    I don’t disagree but sometimes tuning the room is expensive/not always possible so tone controls can very much help.
  18. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Greater Vancouver
    :shrug: On the main system, Classe separates, Sony SCD-1 and Unity Audio Fountainhead Signature speakers with custom cabinet rebuild, I don't need them at all. The equipment does everything just fine and very accurately including appropriate bass response as long as it's available on the CD release in the first place which is a majority of the time. On the Pioneer SX-434 system I'm glad they're there to make up for its sonic deficiencies and it sounds blah flat due to design.
  19. rushed again

    rushed again Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    How else would I fix those rough sounding recordings? They work for me.
    Magic and Nick Brook like this.
  20. All my gear has tone controls. While most of the time they are zeroed, or bypassed, there are situations where a little tweaking is in order.
    I like having control over the equipment I use.
  21. searing75

    searing75 Forum Resident

    Western NY
    I usually keep my MC32’s tone controls out of the signal, but at times, find them very useful, along with the Expander and loudness control.
    riverrat likes this.
  22. JackG

    JackG Forum Resident

    I find tone controls as "loudness" compensation invaluable given the human ear's well-known reduced sensitivity to bass at lower volume levels. Specifically, the "55Hz" speaker EQ setting on my Outlaw RR2160 really fills things out at low levels. Very smart feature.
    Magic likes this.
  23. I've never been a huge fan of using tone controls or a loudness button/switch, but have used it on occasion. I think it can help with playback for a boost in enjoyment on some albums that are deficient in some way, but those occasions (for me) were rare. And when I did use it was usually the loudness control. I appreciated this feature on those mid-seventies amps.

    My current amp has Bass/Treble controls, but I have never touched them. Instead I have used the tone controls on my full-range speakers to adjust for my room and it's deficiencies. I found an adjustment setting that worked for me after listening to various albums over time and then left it there. This by no means a perfect solution, but it works for me and I'm happy with it.

    If one has the perfect room and the perfect gear and the perfect pressings you obviously don't need access to them, but who does? Tone control is not the evil I've heard some say it is. It's a feature to be carefully used and most convenient for the majority who have less than perfect systems.

    Slightly off-topic...with the increase in MONO reissues and such I'd prefer to see a MONO switch incorporated as a standard feature, but that's another discussion.
    riverrat, JackG and Magic like this.
  24. JackG

    JackG Forum Resident

    I would add "and you always listen at the same perfect level", per Fletcher-Munson.

    riverrat and Johnny Vinyl like this.
  25. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    On the subject of a mono switch: Would it make a difference if it is on the amplifier or on the player itself (where the player sends out a mono signal to the amplifier)?

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