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Old 27th October 2006, 08:31 PM   #1
spence is offline spence  United States
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Talking Aleph P1.7 Tone Controls - Go ahead and flame

Hello all...

I am in the process of putting together the pieces for a DIY Aleph P1.7 and I want to put in a set of tone controls.

I know... why would I do that to such a piece of engineering art. Well, there are some poor recordings out there that just sound better with a little tweak (maybe Pass Labs should build studio recording equipment)!!

Anyway, I hope to impliment tone controls that have the following attributes:

1) able to be completely bypassed - as if they were never there
2) simplest circuit possible to give good audio quality

I would apreciate any suggestions / flames / schematics.

Thanks in advance, Spence
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Old 27th October 2006, 08:35 PM   #2
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Location: USA
I don't have anything right off hand in the way of schematic, but only wanted to give you a thumbs up! If you want tone controls, you should have them. I plan to use them in my preamp.
Probably the easiest way is a good opamp, and a baxandall type setup. If you want to go low feedback and/or discrete, maybe look at Nelson's article on DIY opamps, and then apply the same circuit around one.
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Old 28th October 2006, 05:09 PM   #3
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Location: San Jose
Give me a few minutes. I'm gassing up my flame thrower now.

Tone controls! That's sacrilegious, Surely you'll smoke a turd in hell for this this!

While my flame thrower is refueling... could I suggest you try adjusting the components in your system to make the material that is bright or harsh sound more natural. The other better recorded material will sound all that much better.

This is the approach I took with great success. Experiment with the interconnects and the brand of resisters in your attenuator. I've tried lots of resisters and found the Vishay/Dales RN55 or 60's work wonders.

Consider changing your DAC. When I upgraded to a cheap and simple Adcom 750 DAC the sound seriously improved. I'm looking to upgrade my DAC once again to a Bel Canto Dac3 or the Lavry DA10.

Personally I'd try and solve the base problem rather than adjust for it with tone controls that color the sound.

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Old 30th October 2006, 03:06 PM   #4
spence is offline spence  United States
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I agree that the best approach is to fix any problems with the system. However, if the recording is poor to begin with, the system is not the problem.

There are some poor recordings of great artists out there... just a tweak of the bass and trebel and they can be transformed from unlistenable, to acceptable.

My favorite example of this are many of the live Grateful Dead albums. Great music, but on many of these the bass guitar is nearly gone without increasing the bass a bit. +2 or +3 dB of bass and they sound great!

On the other hand, if I "adjusted" my system to sound good on an album like this without equalization, it very well may be way too bassy on proper recordings.

Kind regards, Spence

- What sounds good, is good sound.
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Old 30th October 2006, 03:11 PM   #5
spence is offline spence  United States
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: New Jersey
Now... on the topic of the most "zen" embodiement of equalization.

Here is an idea. Rather than add circuitry that adds bass or trebel using active components; would it sound better to remove midrange using a passive filter.

Adjustable center frequency, adjustable Q, adjustable dB of cut. I.e to boost bass by 2 dB, attenuate by 2 dB everyting above 250 Hz, or whatever frequency. The main amplifier then simply turn up the master volume to get the total level to where you want it.

Keep in mind that I am not an EE... so I could be way off base here....

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