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bongo1 12th May 2011 02:57 PM

Best chip for digital tone control in high-end preamp ?
i would like do build a new high-end preamp, as the potentiometers of my actual design are going to die now after about 20 years.

as i would like to avoid potentiometers for the new design, i'm looking for the "best solution for high quality tone control" without using potentiometers.

which chip (or circuit) does the best tone control, to be used for high-end audio?


macboy 12th May 2011 04:57 PM

If you are doing analog input to analog output, then why do "digital" tone control? Adding ADC and DAC in the signal path will not do you any good. Stick with an analog circuit, and use digital potentiometers in place of the traditional ones.

If you are already in the digital domain, then consider something like the (now kind of old) TAS3103. This is a DSP that doesn't require writing any DSP code, you just configure the various processing blocks (filters, mixers, etc.). You will still need to do a fair bit of microcontroller coding work.

You may be able to avoid the microcontroller if you choose the analog circuit with digital potentiometers, as you can find some digital pots with step-up and step-down inputs, which you can interface directly to buttons or a suitable rotary encoder.

bongo1 13th May 2011 05:27 AM

Best chip for digitally controlled analog tone control in high-end preamp ?
maybe, the title was misleading!

what i'm looking for is a chip (or a circuit) to be inserted to the analog path (between source selector and volume control) to either do treble/bass correction or equalization.
this has to be done at the best possible quality. therefore i'm not sure if it's the better way to use a fully integrated solution, or a legacy solution with op-amps and filters, replacing the potentiometers with integrated digital potentiometers.

what do you recommend?

the whole thing has to be controlled digitally, as i have a small cpu on the unit anyway.

macboy 13th May 2011 12:26 PM

There are chips that do tone control with digital control, just search for "tone control" at digi-key to find examples. However, they do not have great audio specs. You will probably do better with a traditional circuit using high-grade digitally controlled potentiometers. I don't have specific suggestions for the pots, but several people here have built digitally controlled attenuators, so you can probably find what you need.

shishir 26th December 2012 08:50 AM

this shishir i am looking for best qualitity digital tone control circuit and pcb.

dangus 26th December 2012 09:52 AM

Does anyone actually use the tone controls, except on portable radios and bad car stereos? Maybe just a couple of presets like a "loudness" bass boost or a modest treble cut would be enough; those could be done with a couple of relays.

kouiky 20th January 2013 04:37 AM

People sure do use them, and many would be surprised with who is using them. There is no harm in employing a tone control, as it can alleviate some of the brightness in recordings, or at least tailor the contour to what the listener desires at that time. The issue isn't so much the tone control, but, rather the implementation thereof and the negative effects that lesser circuitry can have on the cumulative fidelity, if we view it in that light. Good tone controls do not turn the highs into fizzy indistinct pink noise, nor do they relegate the low frequency domain into loose mud. Once room treatment has been addressed to the point that the listener can live with it, a tone control can set the final mood~ the tone itself. I think if people put more time into careful design of the tone control circuitry, they could save themselves some money on esoteric concentric ratio silver cabling spun by the fairies, silver & gold in oil capacitors with fancy labeling and valueless audiophile blue-tack tweaks.

ceteras 11th June 2013 10:17 AM

I recommend the old LMC835 Digital Controlled Graphic Equalizer from National Semiconductors.
Semiconductors - Obsolete Family - LMC835 - (Obsolete)
From its datasheet, it seems quite impressive. They can only be found on ebay, as they are no longer in production.

davidsrsb 12th June 2013 11:46 AM

Some of the digitally controlled potentiometers could be used in a Baxendall circuit. We are only talking about a few dB of lift or cut here for fine tuning an already decent system

ceteras 12th June 2013 12:07 PM


Originally Posted by davidsrsb (
Some of the digitally controlled potentiometers could be used in a Baxendall circuit. We are only talking about a few dB of lift or cut here for fine tuning an already decent system

That's how I've got here, I was looking for Baxendall circuits using LM1973 (triple digital pots). I have two of these and I have no clue how to calculate the values for Baxendall parts.

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