the home of the turntable

using tone controls. Yes or no.

name that tune

using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby milford moore » 03 Mar 2018 20:19

Hello, All

Last week I purchased the latest Lee Anne Womack LP. I was very disappointed in the sound quality. It was very muddy and Womack seemed to be mixed way in the back of everything. While nothing can be done about the album mix - unfortunately - it got me to thinking about something an audio-phile buddy of mine used to say: "Don't touch the tone contols. Leave 'em flat and play the record like the producers/engineers intended. So, I'd love to hear your thoughts on "touching the treble/bass controls. Are there folks out there who tinker and adjust according to the album mix or is the general school of thought, "leave 'em alone".

Cheers!
milford moore

p.s. Plus 3 celcius and sunny in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
milford moore
member
member
 
Posts: 45
Joined: 26 Jan 2018 20:21

Canada

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby Sunwire » 03 Mar 2018 20:32

By the time the record has gotten pressed, the EQ may have been changed from whatever the producer and engineer intended. There is a mastering engineer, too. And many records are produced from copies and even from CDs.
Also, every cartridge, stylus, tonearm, preamp, amp, speaker, room, and piece of furniture will alter the sound.
The producer and engineer have no idea what your equipment and room are like and how they will change the sound they heard in the studio.
Use the tone controls to make it sound the way you want. Who are you trying to please? I'm trying to please myself.
Sunwire
long player
long player
contributor
 
Posts: 1432
Images: 5
Joined: 07 Oct 2004 21:54
Location: New York

United States of America

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby cminor7b5 » 03 Mar 2018 20:39

MM: I do agree with your friend's advice, although I'm not militant about it. I currently have a tube integrated amp with only input selection and volume. Although my system is currently a little bass lite, i would like to address that in other ways, such as changing capacitors, rather than resorting to graphic eq, etc.

Prior to this amp I had a Sansui 881 which I bought in the '70s. I purchased it because it had as many or more buttons than my friend's Marantz and my other friend's Pioneer. I never used the tone controls on it either.

At one point in my audio journey I ran across the concept of "straight wire with gain". In other words you can achieve the best sound by keeping the circuit as simple (straight) as possible between the stylus and the speakers.
cminor7b5
member
member
 
Posts: 230
Joined: 12 Jun 2017 00:36

Canada

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby milford moore » 03 Mar 2018 20:46

cminor7b5...thanks for your input. I think I tend to agree with you and my old buddy. As I mentioned in my reply to sunwire, I'm just astounded as to how some LPs can so sound so good on my system and others - this new pressing especially - so bad.

milford moore
milford moore
member
member
 
Posts: 45
Joined: 26 Jan 2018 20:21

Canada

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby analogaudio » 03 Mar 2018 20:49

I have found four reasons to have and use tone controls:

the acoustics of the room usually exaggerate the bass due to standing waves between the room walls floor and ceiling. The recording room where the original was created had acoustic treatment to remove this effect, at least those recording studios worthy of the name have it. This means your audio-phile buddy has not taken into account the realities of sound in untreated domestic rooms. Some bass cut is often helpful, the best tool for this job however is a parametric EQ or a 1/3rd octave EQ both of which allow selection of the frequency band to be adjusted, whereas a simple "bass" control has a very broad effect.

Reason two is that recordings vary in the relative balance between bass and treble energy, sometimes because of choices made by the recording engineer and producer, sometimes because of inaccuracies in the system. Tone controls can make adjustment to compensate for these variations.

Thirdly, some types of music are more enjoyable with tone adjustments, for example some pop music seems to benefit from more bass. This is a personal preference and tone controls allow these adjustments on demand.

The fourth reason is that the speaker tonal balance is affected by the location of the speakers relative to the walls and the location of the listening seat relative to the speakers and the walls. In many domestic situations the opportunity for variations of the locations of speakers and listening seat are very limited. In these situations the use of tone controls can Help compensate for tonal imbalances due to speaker and listener locations being non-optimal.

Tone controls are technically fairly simple and do not add significant amounts of noise or distortion, unless the design is a poor one. Some people believe the phase shifts that are introduced by analogue tone controls are detrimental to sound quality. This is contentious, the audibility of phase shifts is difficult to quantify, and there may be very little effect to hear. The very definite benefits of the use of tone controls far outweigh the probably inaudible effects of a little phase shift.

Every reason to use them, no reason not to.
analogaudio
long player
long player
contributor
 
Posts: 4590
Images: 33
Joined: 06 Feb 2007 23:58
Location: Monroe NY USA

United States of America

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby AsOriginallyRecorded » 03 Mar 2018 21:31

This is great.....I can drop right down in the middle of this...the tone controls are there for a reason, and if you can maximize your listening experience by a simple turn of a tone control, I suggest, why not? Purists may say not, but as duly pointed out by the two highly respected long players above, there are so many variables that must be considered between the wishes of the engineer and the realities of your listening space, equipment and personal preferences, that IMHO, the question of occasional usage of the controls to remedy a poor presentation by an album becomes invalid. Without available tone controls, the options are limited to changing equipment or components, but then that sound change will apply to all future playings....a definite personal preference choice. The right answer, as noted in a previous post, is please yourself, it is your listening experience that matters. Personally, I only very occasionally use tone controls, and only exactly for the reasons mentioned above. Enjoy the music! :D
AsOriginallyRecorded
senior member
senior member
 
Posts: 461
Joined: 26 Jun 2018 06:05

Canada

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby JoeE SP9 » 03 Mar 2018 22:04

I haven't had or used tone controls since I traded my ARC SP-3 for an ARC SP-9 in the middle 80's. I don't miss them.

I have a dedicated treated room. In addition, I have a DSP that was adjusted and set using REW and a calibrated microphone. Fortunately for me my primary musical interests are Classical and Jazz. Most of those recordings, especially classical, tend to be well recorded and rarely if ever need any tonal correction.

If you think you improve the sound of "whatever" by using tone controls go right ahead and tweak to your hearts content. The same applies to linear equalizers. Although so many of them end up with a smiley face I'm inclined to believe most people use them for the looks.
JoeE SP9
long player
long player
contributor
 
Posts: 4493
Images: 5
Joined: 23 Feb 2009 20:20
Location: Phildelphia, Pennsylvania

United States of America

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby Spinner45 » 03 Mar 2018 23:16

This argument has been talked about on the internet to death already.
Use, or not use.... jeez!
They are there for a reason, and as mentioned, for personal taste, to compensate for bad pressings, broadcasts, etc.. and for room irregularities.
I use them, if need be. #-o
Spinner45
long player
long player
 
Posts: 1911
Joined: 01 Mar 2017 18:21

United States of America

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby AsOriginallyRecorded » 04 Mar 2018 01:49

DSP......the ultimate tone control. :lol:
AsOriginallyRecorded
senior member
senior member
 
Posts: 461
Joined: 26 Jun 2018 06:05

Canada

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby JDJX » 04 Mar 2018 02:55

Spinner45 wrote:This argument has been talked about on the internet to death already.
Use, or not use.... jeez!
They are there for a reason, and as mentioned, for personal taste, to compensate for bad pressings, broadcasts, etc.. and for room irregularities.
I use them, if need be. #-o


Exactly! :)
JDJX
long player
long player
 
Posts: 3410
Joined: 28 Nov 2013 21:17
Location: Mid Hudson valley..... NY.....In the orginal Orange County

United States of America

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby KILLorBE » 04 Mar 2018 03:20

Spinner45 wrote:They are there for a reason

Where are they?

Image

Image

There's a lot to say about this subject, and it may be a dead horse that's brought back to life by beating it, but I haven't come across a good article yet. I have some ideas and I may elaborate on that soon.

It's really simple, but it's so simple that it gets complicated... or not.
KILLorBE
junior member
junior member
 
Posts: 19
Joined: 30 Dec 2008 13:42
Location: Them Netherlands

Netherlands

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby crisis » 04 Mar 2018 05:32

I joined the "say not to tone controls" club many years ago. I accept there may be times poor recordings might need Help but my amp does not give me the option. If your gear is suitably up to it then even recordings that are not particularly mint can still sound quite good. I can not think of too many recordings I have that I would use tone controls on.
crisis
member
member
 
Posts: 59
Joined: 06 Sep 2015 04:59

Australia

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby DualSpinsMyVinyl » 04 Mar 2018 08:20

I am in the collum for tone controls. Being a young teenager in the late 1950's all quality HI FI's came with tone controls. With the advent of the CD/Digital audio, tone controls were thought to be extreanous. So tone control loss was a cost cutting measure promoted to convince us that less was more and tone controls were only for the tone deff ear. Luckily I did not fall for that ruse. I still have mine and they are abel to be in or out of the circuit. I still use them when necessary: "best of both worlds"!
DualSpinsMyVinyl
senior member
senior member
 
Posts: 258
Joined: 01 Jul 2012 16:06
Location: Central California Coast

United States of America

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby milford moore » 04 Mar 2018 17:19

Hello, All

Many thanks to everyone who weighed in on my query on tone controls. I guess it all comes down to what one prefers - or believes. I think I'm going to stay with the "leave 'em be" camp.
Now, another question: what about tracking weight? The tracking weight for an Ortofon 2m red cartridge/stylus is 1.8 grams. When I bought the cartridge/stylus the fellow at the audio store said, "1.8 grams may seem a little heavy but one can do more damage to a record with a stylus that's tracking to lightly". Any thoughts? It seems to me that one should go with the weight recommended by the manufacturer.
And oh yes, please bear in mind that although these questions may seem "old hat" to you folks who have been at this for years, I'm just now getting into vinyl/turntables, etc. in a somewhat serious manner so I have to ask to get the info. Thanks

milford moore
milford moore
member
member
 
Posts: 45
Joined: 26 Jan 2018 20:21

Canada

Re: using tone controls. Yes or no.

Postby JDJX » 04 Mar 2018 17:43

I guess some of the con arguments against tone controls ( even EQs) has usually been that some do not know how to uses them properly ....sensibly.

OK, that is a given. However the same argument can be made for every piece of hardware ever invented..... going back to the invention of the wheel. :)

Fact is, no speaker, room acoustics, tube etc is linear for one thing.

Saying you do not have a need for tone controls is like saying that you do not need a suspension on your car because you will only drive on roads that are as smooth as glass. :)
JDJX
long player
long player
 
Posts: 3410
Joined: 28 Nov 2013 21:17
Location: Mid Hudson valley..... NY.....In the orginal Orange County

United States of America

Next

Return to Music and Records