What happened to tone controls?
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  1. #1
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    What happened to tone controls?

    It's kind of slow around here so here goes...I remember my first time around as an audiophile in the mid to late '60s, '70s, and '80s. Almost all integrated amps and receivers had tone controls. About the only thing without tone controls were power amps.

    Fast forward to today. Compared to the time period mentioned above there are relatively few amps in high end home audio with tone controls. Some preamps don't even have tone controls. What happened to tone controls?

    Not only did most integrated amps and receivers have tone controls but a significant number of systems had graphic or parametric equalizers. Tonal flexibility and control-ability were highly desirable.

    Heck, even the integrated amp I'll be purchasing in January has no tone controls. Is it because more controls "dirty up" the signal path? I'm not sure that argument holds water as there are some really impressive sounding amps with tone controls (Luxman and Accuphase to mention a couple). Is having no tone controls more of a purist approach to high end audio? I know this has been discussed before but as far as I can determine, it's been awhile. Are you a tone control or no tone control audiophile? Why?

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  3. #2
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Yeah, I find that odd as well but it is a game of cumulative points to achieve the best sound one can manage.

    Some view tone controls as messing with the recording source affecting the sound as intended by the artist.

    Tone controls work in conjunction with the signal path in the preamp.

    Every system I have owned has included tone controls, and I would not have it any other way.

    As I’m using an interim turn table until my new one arrives, tone controls are a blessing.




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  4. #3
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    I had tone controls on my Burmester integrated.
    They surely helped me in our then untreated room, with also speakers not so well dialed in.
    The room is optimised now, my Hegel is (absolutely) not bass shy.
    I have no need for tone controls anymore.
    Vivid Audio - Burmester - Hegel - Marantz - Oppo - Pioneer 60" - Wireworld

  5. #4
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    I have not had Tone Controls on my main system for at least 15 years. Still planning on that Luxman which does have them so we shall see how much use they get.

    After the post above and realizing that if the Dan D'Agostino gear has them, they must not be all that bad. My guess is Money, and they told us it was to have a shorter path, which saves Money.
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  6. #5
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Tone controls just more tools for the audiophile. A good thing in my opinion.
    Chris

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  7. #6
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Back in the day I did have some equipment with tone controls; McIntosh Pre-amp for example. I never did use them and preferred when there was a tone control by pass. However, when I got what I considered my best sounding pre back then (Dayton Wright if I recall) it was as basic as you get. An input selector and a volume control. And that was the way I preferred it.

    Since jumping back in I have not had a piece with tone controls (as far as I recall) and honestly do not care.

    In the car it is a little different. With my Burmester system I do use some slight tone control adjustments .
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  8. #7
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Supposedly, tone controls cause phase shift. I haven't missed them.
    Bud
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  9. #8
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    here in the 21st century, digital signal processing [DSP] is new tone controls -- for a digital source anyway. provides the desired effect but keeps the signal chain short and direct.

    firmly residing in the 20th century, i do prefer the knobs. however, i am also currently a purist as my amp has only volume and input selector controls.

    kanjiroba yak + roon rock > t+a dac8 dsd > almarro a318b > viking acoustics berlin r mk2 | alp-tone audio analog cables

  10. #9
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    For room bass modes, bass loading of speakers due to boundaries proximity/room size, bright recordings, dull recordings, bass heavy, bass light recordings, etc, etc, etc, tone controls make perfect sense.
    Which is why they were banished from audiophile "purist" equipment. Unpure tools of the devil. Never mind 100,000 rounds of tone shaping took place during the creation of the recordings being played back. Pain and suffering from said modes, recordings, etc are all good.
    Here are the wildly varying frequency responses of various recording studios:



    http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2009/1...confusion.html

    Can you guess which one "the artist intended" for you?? Use as much imagination as needed when sitting in your own, very different acoustics room/speaker setup, distances, objects, etc, etc, etc. playing back recordings.

    cheers,

    AJ
    Attached Images Attached Images

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  12. #10
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    What A. J. said.

 

 
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