Why All Hi-Fi Should Have Tone Controls, Including High-End.

FootHealer

Active Member
All but one of the amplifiers I have had in recent times have had tone controls. I have played around with them from time to time, but always ended up disabling them or setting them to their balanced position. I guess, as a previous poster said, if you like them, use them...if you don't, don't. I tend to avoid absolute statements such as "everyone needs tone controls". Its a matter of taste or usefulness.
 

musicphil

Active Member
I guess, as a previous poster said, if you like them, use them...if you don't, don't. I tend to avoid absolute statements such as "everyone needs tone controls". Its a matter of taste or usefulness.
Completely agree, some bought an Amstrad hifi back in the 80's and thought that was what hifi was about.
It's about what sounds right to the individual.
 

Rob Sinden

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Traditional tone controls add some noise and distortion to the signal and are very heavy-handed tools that I rarely used.

I think you need a far greater and more subtle range of options to get the most out of all your music and movies. Digital amplifiers have the potential to add far more sophisticated adjustments that you can customise to your room/ear/preference and that don’t add any noise or distortion to the signal.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Traditional tone controls add some noise and distortion to the signal and are very heavy-handed tools that I rarely used.

I think you need a far greater and more subtle range of options to get the most out of all your music and movies. Digital amplifiers have the potential to add far more sophisticated adjustments that you can customise to your room/ear/preference and that don’t add any noise or distortion to the signal.
My Dad had a couple of systems when I was a kid (80s and early 90s), one he had bought in the mid 70s (can't remember the brand now...he bought it in Japan and brought it back himself), and a Technics A Class system he bought in the early 90s (he still has it to this day). The first system had an amp with a 5 Band graphic equaliser with very satisfying "straight up and down" adjustable levels. For the second system, he bought a separate graphic equaliser (also Technics) with 24 bands divided into 12 for each channel in a 2 channel system, if I remember correctly. I really enjoyed these over a simple pair of "treble" and "bass" controls we tend to have today. What ever happened to graphic equalisers?
 
Last edited:

musicphil

Active Member
What ever happened to graphic equalisers?
They all went into skips.
Purist audio thinking came out by the designers/ manufacturers years ago.
 

musicphil

Active Member
Traditional tone controls add some noise and distortion to the signal and are very heavy-handed tools that I rarely used.

I think you need a far greater and more subtle range of options to get the most out of all your music and movies. Digital amplifiers have the potential to add far more sophisticated adjustments that you can customise to your room/ear/preference and that don’t add any noise or distortion to the signal.
You can certainly debate that all digital additions that go into amplifies add to the final signal that leaves for the speakers.
By changing the original signal you have added to it, whether it's significant it's down to the listener.
Some want tone controls, some don't, some want fancy digital devices added to their amps, some don't.
It each to their own.
 

Rob Sinden

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
If you add a bass / treble control to an analogue amplifier you are adding components to the signal path which introduces some noise and distortion. This may make your music more enjoyable but there is some sacrifice to overall fidelity.

If you add an analogue graphic equaliser this is really easy to hear.

With a Lyngdorf TDA digital amplifier, the signal is already in the digital domain so very complex tone controls etc. can be used while adding nothing to the signal path....so the overall fidelity is not compromised, while you can infinitely tweak the tonality of your music.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
If you add a bass / treble control to an analogue amplifier you are adding components to the signal path which introduces some noise and distortion. This may make your music more enjoyable but there is some sacrifice to overall fidelity.

If you add an analogue graphic equaliser this is really easy to hear.

With a Lyngdorf TDA digital amplifier, the signal is already in the digital domain so very complex tone controls etc. can be used while adding nothing to the signal path....so the overall fidelity is not compromised, while you can infinitely tweak the tonality of your music.
Would this be similar to tweaking bass and treble at the source, if the source is a PC or laptop, using a USB DAC and a media player that has equiliser function?
 

IntelliVolume

Well-known Member
Is there any way to somehow use an EQ's TAPE IN/OUT as the tape "loop" if an amp doesn't have one? What would be the best way to add an EQ to a unit that doesn't have the traditional "tape monitor"...can it run through the ZONE 2 connections somehow? Or perhaps a switching device can be added to the amp?
 

AndreNewman

Active Member
Bring back the Quad tilt control.

Call it "house curve" as that's the more fashionable name the HT guys use for the effect.

I occasionally use a touch of treble down, bass up, 1 or 2 dB to fix an occasionally unpleasantly mixed movie or album track.

My other tone control is Dirac.
 

LightSide

Standard Member
Should sugar or milk ever be added to tea or coffee? Or salt and pepper to food after cooking? I am all for auto-adjustments according to the listening theatre & position but everyone's hearing is different and changes with age. Tone controls are the table salt & pepper of audio reproduction. Digital tone controls/EQ that do not introduce phasing/location issues or distortion are an easy personalisation. An auto-room analysis and a personal hearing test w.r.t. ISO-referenced models would be the gold standard. In the meantime, I know my room and hearing, give me tone controls.
 

trondi

Standard Member
I’m obviously very lucky. I’m 68 with hearing loss and tinitus. I do have hearing aids with a full frequency ‘music mode’ which brings music back to where it should be.

I’m also lucky because i have a nad m33 with dirac live smoothing out the nasty bass room resonances and b&w 805 bass deficiencies, which also brings music back to exactly where my brain thinks it should be.

I’m very unlucky though that my 4+grand amp just sits on its shelf, untouched unloved ignored etc as i have no reason to touch it. Now if only it had tone controls........
 

phil t

Well-known Member
I’m very unlucky though that my 4+grand amp just sits on its shelf, untouched unloved ignored etc as i have no reason to touch it. Now if only it had tone controls........
I don't want to sound rude, but: -

Why did you buy it knowing it didn't have tone controls?

Why don't you sell it, if you've fallen out of love with it and it's now redundant?
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Don’t the M33 include tone controls?

I know your being sarcastic, but read it somewhere online.

In the settings menus?
 

tammytastic

Standard Member
I know it's been said before but surely it's just down to what your tastes are ? Direct on my set up sounds awfully flat and yes I even use loudness although the bass and treble settings are just a little above middle. I have a room to listen in but it's in a real house with real things and a system that only cost £1800 all in. But I love the sound and isn't that what matters ?
 

trondi

Standard Member
I know it's been said before but surely it's just down to what your tastes are ? Direct on my set up sounds awfully flat and yes I even use loudness although the bass and treble settings are just a little above middle. I have a room to listen in but it's in a real house with real things and a system that only cost £1800 all in. But I love the sound and isn't that what matters ?
Spot on TT. If you love the sound and you love your music, then thats what we’re all aiming for. If you also like to fiddle & twiddle then the more knobs and sliders the better!

Tone/slope/loudness controls are well worth trying if you’ve got a bit of a boom or a bit of a flat sound or a bit of a bright sound etc with some or all music that you enjoy playing.

Having said all that i still find it amazing that some of my all time favourite tracks sound brilliant to me through any playback device. ‘Appen 90% of those tracks are playing back in my head at the same time anyway 🤭
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Life’s too short... Enjoy the music. Music is one off humankind’s greatest achievements. With tone controls or not.
 

NEW MUSIC

Standard Member
Completely agree, some bought an Amstrad hifi back in the 80's and thought that was what hifi was about.
It's about what sounds right to the individual.
Hi Musicphil

Never thought I would read the words Hi-Fi and Amstrad in the same sentence, they used to sell if I remember correctly for £99.00. Before Alan Sugar was rich and famous he had a factory / warehouse in Hackney that I walked past to go to work and there was often returned ones in the doorway that there driver had unloaded, funny no one ever stole one.

Nice system by the way plus your own listing room.

Keith
 

musicphil

Active Member
Hi Musicphil

Never thought I would read the words Hi-Fi and Amstrad in the same sentence, they used to sell if I remember correctly for £99.00. Before Alan Sugar was rich and famous he had a factory / warehouse in Hackney that I walked past to go to work and there was often returned ones in the doorway that there driver had unloaded, funny no one ever stole one.

Nice system by the way plus your own listing room.

Keith
Thanks Keith.
It has taken me over 40 years to get where I am. A balance system that's all in sync with each other.

Yes, we had Amstrad selling their 'hifi' and company's like Technics selling their version of hifi , record deck, tape machine, tuner and amp all in a smoked glass unit, they called it a rack system back then. Funny when I always classed a rack as an instrument of torture.😄
We are all looking for Audio Nirvana, i think its about being happy with what you have and enjoy your music.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Anthem AVM 70 Review, EQing Your Home Cinema Sound System and More...
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

AVForums Podcast: 27th October 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Linn unveils latest Klimax LP12 flagship turntable
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Samsung Tizen plans include cloud gaming for smart TVs
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Freeview Play racks up 10 million users
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
What's new on UK streaming services for November 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom