What happened to tone controls? - Page 3
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  1. #21
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Speaking of tone controls, I just added my vintage Luxman CL40 preamp back into my main system to see how it compared to the Backert Labs Rhumba Extreme w/my new speakers... vintage tube pre with tone controls versus modern technology. I actually preferred setting the bass up one click and the treble up 2 clicks on the CL40. The CL40 has a sound that is hard to describe, a very "GOLDEN" tone to it that shimmers in a way I haven't been able to replicate with other gear.

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    PRIMARY 2 CH SYSTEM: Backert Labs Rhumba Extreme preamp w/Mazda Cifte 12AU7 tubes; (2) Luxman MQ-88uSE monoblock config; Innuos Zen MK III; Chord Hugo M Scaler; Chord Hugo TT2; Volti Audio Rivals; Triode Wire Labs American Speaker cables; WireWorld ethernet, USB, BNC, interconnects, Transparent High Performance power cables; IsoTek EVO3 Corvus conditioner
    OFFICE 2 CH SYSTEM: Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II w/Cifte 12AU7 preamp tube; Luxman DA-06 DAC; Klipsch La Scala II; JL Audio e112; Auralic Aries
    LUXMAN EYECANDY COLLECTION: Luxman CL-40 Valve Preamp; Luxman C1010 preamp; Luxman M2000

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  3. #22
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Quote Originally Posted by AJ Soundfield View Post
    Not based on evidence, like trust ears/just listen variety. Only conjecture, based on poor designs, as you mentioned.


    And for all other recordings, aka 99.99999999999% of music based on what I posted previously?
    Your ported box speakers don't excite any room modes Ralph?
    No conjecture- I've measured plenty of preamps and amps with tone controls and this sort of thing is common. A 'good' design is one that uses rotary switches as seen in the Citation 1 preamp; that sort of thing is pretty rare IME. Plus you simply have to have a tone control driver circuit and it will be adding noise, distortion and limiting bandwidth, so this really can't be a point of debate. So 99% of the time if you see tone controls you're looking at a lower performance product.

    The speakers really don't seem to excite any nodes in my new listening room, nor did they in my old room. But the new room has a standing wave that is right at the primary listening position that kills bass- no amount of tone controls will make it right. So I will be adding a couple of small subs to break it up. Other recordings I've made come off fine on them without tone controls as well. having the master tapes and master files goes a long way towards helping establish a reference. So I have to assume that all the recordings are doing well- they certainly sound that way and its nice to be hear how well or how poorly a recording has been made although usually I'm just playing a particular cut because I like it.

  4. #23
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    I think it’s fair to say that many audiophiles see tone controls as unwanted and unnecessary. As Ralph points out they add circuitry and noise.

    As for me, I really like my “loudness” button. For low level listening my ears are surprisingly insensitive to bass.
    Borresen Acoustics Loudspeakers, Borresen Model 01 Compact monitor loudspeakers with Ansuz Darkz T2s Supreme resonance control, Audio Video Manufaktur GmbH (AVM) Inspiration amplifier & streamer, Innuos Zen MKII music server, Ansuz Acoustics cables & accessories. Please visit my system thread hosted on Audioshark for more details. Disclosure: The author is materially connected to Ansuz, Aavik & Borresen Acoustics via friendship with an owner.

  5. #24
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Quote Originally Posted by atmasphere View Post
    No conjecture- I've measured plenty of preamps and amps with tone controls and this sort of thing is common. A 'good' design is one that uses rotary switches as seen in the Citation 1 preamp; that sort of thing is pretty rare IME. Plus you simply have to have a tone control driver circuit and it will be adding noise, distortion and limiting bandwidth, so this really can't be a point of debate. So 99% of the time if you see tone controls you're looking at a lower performance product.
    That is pure conjecture. No data has been presented. I'm sure you've measure a poor example or two of old/pathological/audiophile etc examples Ralph, but that is meaningless without perspective. You couldnt possible have measured all or even most controls out there. It only takes a single example to refute the notion of your conjecture:
    Parasound Halo

    -3db 100kHz is good enough for bats, much less old guys..

    Quote Originally Posted by atmasphere View Post
    The speakers really don't seem to excite any nodes in my new listening room, nor did they in my old room. But the new room has a standing wave that is right at the primary listening position that kills bass- no amount of tone controls will make it right. So I will be adding a couple of small subs to break it up. Other recordings I've made come off fine on them without tone controls as well. having the master tapes and master files goes a long way towards helping establish a reference. So I have to assume that all the recordings are doing well- they certainly sound that way and its nice to be hear how well or how poorly a recording has been made although usually I'm just playing a particular cut because I like it.
    Measurements would show exactly, but ok, you've been extremely lucky. Most audiophile rooms I've measured have been real horror show, bass "quality" follows. LF EQ is superior, but even a basic shelving filter bass knob would have been better than none.
    What instrument do you play? Usually, stage perspective is quite different from audience. And recording quality is all over the place. That's why sensible design use to include tone controls, prior to the puritans.

    cheers,

    AJ
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  6. #25
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Quote Originally Posted by JSQT View Post
    Speaking of tone controls, I just added my vintage Luxman CL40 preamp back into my main system to see how it compared to the Backert Labs Rhumba Extreme w/my new speakers... vintage tube pre with tone controls versus modern technology. I actually preferred setting the bass up one click and the treble up 2 clicks on the CL40. The CL40 has a sound that is hard to describe, a very "GOLDEN" tone to it that shimmers in a way I haven't been able to replicate with other gear.
    Well, did the BL hold it's own, or are you saying the Luxman was as good?
    -----------------
    Brian

    Main System -
    Rotel 1072 CDP / Rega P3 > Luxman 505UX Mark II > Dynaudio Audience 82s > Synergistic Cables

    Secondary - OPPO 93 > VAC CLA 1 MKII Pre > Odyssey Stratos > JM Labs Tantal 509s > Tara Labs Cables


  7. #26
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowfax View Post
    Well, did the BL hold it's own, or are you saying the Luxman was as good?
    They are two very different profiles... For now I am enjoying the more "golden" tone of the CL40 with the new Volti speakers as opposed to the somewhat more detailed & faster (transients) Rhumba Extreme. It is remarkable that a 37 year old Japanese valve preamp can hold its own with a state of the art Rhumba Extreme though - says tons about the Luxman and takes nothing away from Backert Labs.

    I'm going to keep alternating between the two for a while... There are plusses and minuses for both for sure!
    PRIMARY 2 CH SYSTEM: Backert Labs Rhumba Extreme preamp w/Mazda Cifte 12AU7 tubes; (2) Luxman MQ-88uSE monoblock config; Innuos Zen MK III; Chord Hugo M Scaler; Chord Hugo TT2; Volti Audio Rivals; Triode Wire Labs American Speaker cables; WireWorld ethernet, USB, BNC, interconnects, Transparent High Performance power cables; IsoTek EVO3 Corvus conditioner
    OFFICE 2 CH SYSTEM: Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II w/Cifte 12AU7 preamp tube; Luxman DA-06 DAC; Klipsch La Scala II; JL Audio e112; Auralic Aries
    LUXMAN EYECANDY COLLECTION: Luxman CL-40 Valve Preamp; Luxman C1010 preamp; Luxman M2000

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  9. #27
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Quote Originally Posted by AJ Soundfield View Post
    That is pure conjecture. No data has been presented. I'm sure you've measure a poor example or two of old/pathological/audiophile etc examples Ralph, but that is meaningless without perspective. You couldnt possible have measured all or even most controls out there. It only takes a single example to refute the notion of your conjecture:
    Parasound Halo

    -3db 100kHz is good enough for bats, much less old guys..

    AJ
    Your graph above makes my point.

    The ear doesn't do well with minor FR errors, but when the error covers a spectrum it can detect it pretty easily. Like my comments about the effects of tone controls even when set flat, this is well-known. We can see in the above graph an excellent example of the problem- if no tone controls the graph would be a straight line. Again, not conjecture- this is well-known. I see no point in presenting well-known data to someone uninterested and my lack of reaction isn't proof of its non-existence- but if you really want to know about this its not hard to find.

    What you don't know about me is that I've been servicing consumer electronics for decades (started at the Allied Radio service center in 1974; this is how I put myself thru engineering school and I still service consumer gear simply because I enjoy it) and I've seen the effects of tone controls in hundreds of products on the bench when I run FR sweeps. I can count on one hand those that are actually flat when so set. Some of the better setups of course have/had a bypass switch, which works great until you realize that the switch is usually pretty cheap. You'd think the switch would be fairly innocuous, but they fail due to corrosion, and I've seen units only a year or two old with this problem: introducing audible distortion or knocking out one or both channels entirely. The mere presence of the switch is responsible for stray capacitance which reduces bandwidth. While it may not seem that going past 50KHz is important, if you want to minimize the effects of phase shift over a spectrum then you need bandwidth to 10X either side of the base frequency band to be amplified. Stuart Hegeman recognized this over 60 years ago and facts like that don't go away with time, although are often forgotten or ignored.

    From a designer perspective, its a simple fact that any additional circuitry that isn't needed reduces bandwidth, raises the noise floor and adds distortion- even if the tone controls were to be perfectly flat this is still an issue. IOW it simply can't be as neutral; your graphs above show that pretty well.

  10. #28
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Quote Originally Posted by atmasphere View Post

    Some of the better setups of course have/had a bypass switch, which works great until you realize that the switch is usually pretty cheap. You'd think the switch would be fairly innocuous, but they fail due to corrosion, and I've seen units only a year or two old with this problem: introducing audible distortion or knocking out one or both channels entirely.
    You just described the problem I am having with my Hafler 945 Pre Amp. One channel drops out and when I toggle the Tone In-Tone Out button a few times, it comes back....for a while, then drops out again. It does seem to stay with both channels after 30-60 minutes of being on. I started to take the unit apart hoping I could resolve it with De Oxit but have not exposed the button yet. Am I on the right track?
    -----------------
    Brian

    Main System -
    Rotel 1072 CDP / Rega P3 > Luxman 505UX Mark II > Dynaudio Audience 82s > Synergistic Cables

    Secondary - OPPO 93 > VAC CLA 1 MKII Pre > Odyssey Stratos > JM Labs Tantal 509s > Tara Labs Cables


  11. #29
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    I like tone controls and wish my BAT had defeatable tone controls. I have some music (mostly older CD's and poorly recorded music) that is too hot in the high end and it would be great to be able to turn the treble down so I can listen to it in my reference system.
    My Gear- Mains System-Pass X250 amp, BAT VK-51se preamp, Luxman DA-06 DAC, Magnepan 1.6's, Thorens TD-145 TT, Dual Martin Logan Subs, Vintage Luxman T-110 Tuner, Other systems- Parasound A21 amp,Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid tube DAC and Preamp, Magnepan MMG's, Monitor Audio S1's, PSB B6's, Def Tech Pro Monitor 1000's, Velodyne sub, Adcom GFR-700 AVR, Music Hall 25.2 modified CDP, Cables by Cardas Parsec, AQ Columbia DBS 72v, Wire World.

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  13. #30
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    Re: What happened to tone controls?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowfax View Post
    You just described the problem I am having with my Hafler 945 Pre Amp. One channel drops out and when I toggle the Tone In-Tone Out button a few times, it comes back....for a while, then drops out again. It does seem to stay with both channels after 30-60 minutes of being on. I started to take the unit apart hoping I could resolve it with De Oxit but have not exposed the button yet. Am I on the right track?
    Yes. Use the Deoxit spray in the green and black can. This will leave a lubricant deposit which will prevent damage to the switch, which has a lubricant installed. The latter may get ejected from the switch during the contact cleaning process. Use the least amount of spray you can manage, and if possible directly into any opening in the switch you can find. Then work the switch vigorously to allow the cleaner to do its job. You may want to add a second dose and work the switch a second time. If I were you I would consider cleaning other switches in the unit as they are probably similar construction and quality; so its reasonable to expect them to have similar amounts of corrosion. Don't be surprised if the preamp seems to sound better after this is done. A word of caution- the Deoxit is the strongest chemical you want to apply to the insides of any electronic product. Don't overuse it- always use the least amount you can. Try to avoid getting it on associated wiring and circuit boards. Use a cloth and Q-tips to clean up any excess.

    Good Luck!

 

 
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