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Tone controls, the ear and the audiophile - curse or saviour?

willem

Well-known member
Room equalization to the aid

Room equalization to the aid

I use an antimode 8033 dsp automatic room equalization system to tame a subwoofer in my main system, and it works a treat, over a large area. My subwoofer only operates at very low frequencies and from what I understand the area that is equalized narrows, the higher the frequencies.

Therefore, in smaller rooms where the problems begin at higher frequencies, it is probably best to simply use smaller speakers like the P3ESR that do not go down too low, and/or use the tone controls on the amplifier. I have done both with the system in my 16 sq m study. I use LS3/5a's without subwoofer and even these sound a bit boomy because they are too close to the wall behind, so I need to turn down the bass on the amplifier.
 

IMF+TDL

Active member
The US company Schiit has released a four-band add-on tone control called the Loki (Mini).
It can be inserted into any line level path, such as between a phono stage or CD player output and the pre-amp or integrated amp input; into an analog tape monitor loop; or between a pre-amp output and a power amp input.
Adjustment ranges/frequencies are: +/-12dB at 20Hz and 8kHz and +/-6dB at 400Hz and 2kHz.
Product website: http://www.schiit.com/products/loki-1
Some insight into the rationale behind the product: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/schiit-happened-the-story-of-the-worlds-most-improbable-start-up.701900/page-1661#post-13746220
Product video report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6oyxHGJbsM
 

willem

Well-known member
I think this is a very welcome unit, even if I think the future is in digital approaches. For those who only use a computer the Equalizer APO offers much greater precision, and for more complex installations dsp room eq like the various DSpeaker models or the room eq in the new Yamaha RN 803d are the future, I think.
 

acroyear

Active member
A useful addition no doubt. I'm always cautious of low bass controls, increasing that very low content by upto 12dB can obviously play havoc with a driver, I recall using tone controls on vinyl and finding the already bad subsonics significantly amplified of course, the result can be catastrophic, of course that is why sensible electronics include high pass filters.

I'm still to this day flabbergasted that most modern phono stages omit the subsonic filter, it is patently a bad idea, no amount of wishful thinking will take away those wobbling cones if your records are warped.
 

IMF+TDL

Active member
willem said:
I think this is a very welcome unit, even if I think the future is in digital approaches. For those who only use a computer the Equalizer APO offers much greater precision, and for more complex installations dsp room eq like the various DSpeaker models or the room eq in the new Yamaha RN 803d are the future, I think.
No doubt the future is in digital solutions, but not everyone has a computer connected to their audio system. Plus, many UI's for digital applications are not as user friendly as simply turning a knob.

Products such as the new Loki (and the Cello Audio Palette mentioned here: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/forum/the-harbeth-company-brand-then-and-now/user-feedback-likes-praise-comments/2498-group-think-what-would-a-harbeth-amplifier-look-and-feel-like/page2 ) are meant to be program equalizers, rather than to provide the room correction function.
The adjustments are relatively broad-band, and meant to compensate, for example, for a recording that was mixed to sound appealing on a basic car radio or on speakers far different from Harbeths or by a producer with an odd sense of what frequency balance sounds good.

The Audio Palette had calibrated stepped switches for the adjustments and came with a set of labels to be placed on a record jacket or CD case so that the user could make note for future reference of what compensation levels applied to a specific recording. Unfortunately, the Audio Palette was hand-made and far overbuilt compared to typical consumer-grade electronics, thus its price was competitive only with automobiles, whereas the price of the Loki is $149 (USD).
 

willem

Well-known member
For those installations that rely (almost) exclusively on a Windows PC as a souce, there is a new version of the Equalizer APO freeware software: https://sourceforge.net/projects/equalizerapo/ This neat piece of software gives a Windows PC a pretty comprehensive equalizer, and one that is rather better than what comes with many PCs. There is now also the Peace Graphic User Interface for the same equalizer: https://sourceforge.net/projects/peace-equalizer-apo-extension/
I use it to tweak the low frequency response of my desktop P3ESRs a bit, and to give them a more invasive high pass filter than what is built into my Quad 405-2. But that is not all: you can also use it to import a REW filter file to reduce the effect of room modes. If you only use a computer this saves you the purchase of something like a DSpeaker Antimode room eq unit.
 

mattykyuss

New member
Got a lovely sansui au 4900 amplifier,just to swap over now and then from my rega elex r amplifer.Running it with p3 esr,got the bass control one click from full,the treble full on ,sounds amazing compared to having them at flat zero.
 

chirhonix

Member
@mattykuss
that sounds like an extreme alteration of the sound. In Germany that was inthe 70s i believe called a bathtub sound. You may like it but I would propose to set the tone controls at zero and listento that for some time. You may be surprised that sound much more natural. Test it maybe with some radioplay, maybe a crime serial or so. Just my thoughts.
 

IMF+TDL

Active member
mattykyuss said:
Got a lovely sansui au 4900 amplifier,just to swap over now and then from my rega elex r amplifer.Running it with p3 esr,got the bass control one click from full,the treble full on ,sounds amazing compared to having them at flat zero.
Have you tried using the 'Loudness' control feature?
(set that switch to the 'in' or downward position)
 

mattykyuss

New member
chirhonix said:
@mattykuss
that sounds like an extreme alteration of the sound. In Germany that was inthe 70s i believe called a bathtub sound. You may like it but I would propose to set the tone controls at zero and listento that for some time. You may be surprised that sound much more natural. Test it maybe with some radioplay, maybe a crime serial or so. Just my thoughts.
Hi,yes i have tried at zero,but at the said settings im using,it sounds so clear and fresh,i do tend to lean to the brighter sounds in my set up.I also use a rega elex r amplifier with no tone controls and love the sound.maybe like you said,more of a natural sound.The sansui using the tone is realy lovely,and does not sound false,mat
 

mattykyuss

New member
IMF+TDL said:
Have you tried using the 'Loudness' control feature?
(set that switch to the 'in' or downward position)
Tried this,added a more powerfull sound,but not as much clarity as with the bass and treble pushed foward.Not saying its for everyone,but to my ears it does sound lovely,maybe more modern than with zero tone.To my ears very good,mat
 

witwald

Active member
mattykyuss said:
Got a lovely sansui au 4900 amplifier,just to swap over now and then from my rega elex r amplifer.Running it with p3 esr,got the bass control one click from full,the treble full on ,sounds amazing compared to having them at flat zero.
That seems to be a trifle excessive! Have you seen the frequency response curves associated with the bass and treble controls on your amplifier? They probably offer at least 10 dB of boost and cut. That’s a lot of boost at 20 Hz and 20 kHz. If you play your music loudly, I would caution that speaker damage may possibly ensue.
 

willem

Well-known member
This is, of course, not at all the neutrality of a straight wire with gain. You are shaping the sound to what you want it to be, rather than to what it was in the recording studio. It is a free world, but you are taking the seat of the musicians and their recording engineer.
 

mattykyuss

New member
witwald said:
That seems to be a trifle excessive! Have you seen the frequency response curves associated with the bass and treble controls on your amplifier? They probably offer at least 10 dB Of boos and cut. That’s a lot of boost at 20 Hz and. 20 kHz. If you play your music loudly, I would caution that speaker damage may possibly ensue.
You are correct,and as a other member suggested,put the controls,bass,treble back to zero.Tried some other music for a few hours today,perfect,im realy not sure why thought it all sounded beeter the weekend with bass and treble pushed foward,my ears,mind must have been realy playing tricks,and im so glad i dont use a lot of volume,last thing i want is to damage my p3 esr.Cant realy work out that i was so correct in the tone controls needing to be nearly on full,then today zero.ah well thanks for replies,mat
 

willem

Well-known member
The answer is probably that you should have increased the volume somewhat rather than mess with the tone controls.
 
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