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45 SET.. Do I need a preamp


Flevoman

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Well..the problem here is that I apparently need an EQ to solve my issue around the 100Hz-150Hz area 🙄

Thank you for all the tips and help guys. 

Currently, two things are ongoing for me. I'm also experimenting with the DSpeaker, which might solve my Hz bump issue. Depending on the results, a preamp + EQ (room corrector) might be the best solution for me.

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18 hours ago, henry4841 said:

Tone controls and EQ is for the masses and not audiophiles serious about sound reproduction.

 

IMG_5751.thumb.jpeg.c6c866c57190952869a75ac5a5f113cc.jpeg

 

 

In the real world the “Circle Of Confusion - Floyd Toole” is rampant and to use tools (ie: EQ and Tone Controls) to compensate (ie: even correct in some circumstances) doesn’t make you a “non-audiophile” and a member of the masses as you describe.

 

The better your system and the more revealing the system the more obvious the differences are in recordings and proper use of Tone Controls and EQ is a valid choice.

 

Do all recordings sound perfect to you? 

If not then what do you do when they don’t? Do you not listen to them and only listen to “perfect recordings” ?

 

Well designed equipment like my McIntosh C50 pre-amp has 8-band Tone Controls that can be bypassed on really good recordings and engaged when less than ideal recordings are played and this allow me to enjoy a wider range of recordings that otherwise I couldn’t.

 

miketn

 

IMG_5750.thumb.jpeg.ba61335c34bed15d19000f3b51bee203.jpeg

 

 

 

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If your system needs help I have no problem with using tone controls. More systems need help than those that do not. I do not want any more parts between the source and my speakers than absolutely necessary. Always has been two different point of views when talking tone controls that are used to distort the audio signal from the original source. 

 

Again not rocket science. If one likes playing with controls it is an entertainment hobby. One should use what sounds best to them and not listen to what others say. But when you call what I say bullshit you are calling a lot of talented people bullshitters. Nelson Pass for one. 

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8 minutes ago, henry4841 said:

 tone controls that distort the audio signal from the original source. 

 

a quality preamp does the contrary  ,  technology marches on ,   high end  preamps with Tone Controls are now mainstream  

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I don’t consider shaping of frequency response to be a non-audiophile endeavor.  There is a reason why the high quality, now vintage, amps and preamps had tone controls.  For years I have included an “ear bleed filter” in all my designs to allow the high frequency response to be altered to suit individual taste.  Besides, many consider all tube amps to be nothing more than tone controls with gain.

 

Maynard

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1 hour ago, OO1 said:

a quality preamp does the contrary  ,  technology marches on ,   high end  preamps with Tone Controls are now mainstream  

 

Mcintosh and Luxman are two that I can think of. Hardly mainstream or the norm.

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9 minutes ago, Shakeydeal said:

 

Show me two. I can think of one. Luxman.

 

3 hours ago, mikebse2a3 said:

 

 

Well designed equipment like my McIntosh C50 pre-amp has 8-band Tone Controls that can be bypassed on really good recordings and engaged when less than ideal recordings are played and this allow me to enjoy a wider range of recordings that otherwise I couldn’t.

 

miketn

 

IMG_5750.thumb.jpeg.ba61335c34bed15d19000f3b51bee203.jpeg

 

 

 

 

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I am in the camp of less is more when it comes to electronic parts in an audio component. In a piece of audio gear if a part can be taken out it should be because every part will degrade the sound to some extent. The last thing I want to do after working hard to achieve excellence in an amplifier or pre is throw in extra parts that make a circuit as tone controls do to degrade the sound. Tone controls should be left to the the sound engineer on the mixer board achieving the sound he is looking for. A lot can depend on what one can hear, or be trained to hear, and the kind of music they enjoy. 

 

But music is entertainment and if you like manipulating the audio signal the sound engineer worked hard to produce and or you have inherent problems in your system you may like or need tone controls. They were and are most always included in amplifiers for the masses. Even considered necessary. It is in high end audio where they are emitted. Nelson Pass in his designs will take out a single resistor if he can and certainly will not install an unnecessary bunch of parts to put in tone controls. Just more components to degrade the sound.  But most will or cannot hear the difference. His products are for those that can. I am in his camp. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, henry4841 said:

It is in high end audio where they are emitted. Nelson Pass in his designs will take out a single resistor if he can and certainly will not install an unnecessary bunch of parts to put in tone controls. Just more components to degrade the sound.  But most will or cannot hear the difference. His products are for those that can. I am in his camp. 

 

I’m in his camp also and I can hear the difference and I also own the First Watt F3 and when using it with my La Scala AL5 it’s great and maybe(its very close) my favorite even over my Cary CAD 2A3 amps with the La Scala but it doesn’t solve less than ideal recordings or other issues that Tone Controls and  DSP all when properly used can compensate for.  Combine them both and my music sounds even more natural and realistic. 🙂

 

No point in continuing down this road since it’s like trying to change someone’s religion where you believe what you want and I’ll do the same but I just don’t care for how easily some people want to judge what is right or wrong and basically say those who use Tone Controls and DSP aren’t discerning listeners. ( ie: BS)

 

miketn🙂

 

 

 

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Just now, mikebse2a3 said:

 

 

No point in continuing down this road since it’s like trying to change someone’s religion where you believe what you want and I’ll do the same but I just don’t care for how easily some people want to judge what is right or wrong and basically say those who use Tone Controls and DSP aren’t discerning listeners. ( ie: BS)

 

miketn🙂

 

 

 

I never said right or wrong. I said our hobby is entertainment and use whatever you like in so many words. Why get so offensive? 

 

The fact is in high end audio tone controls are a no, no. Just giving my experience of 50 or more years in this hobby for those that can accept it Mike. You are the one who got rude saying BS when what you say is BS in high end audio. 

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If one likes tone controls I have no problem with them using them. Makes no difference to me I was just repeating what I have found in my lifetime when it comes to what the best in the audio field say. Passing on my limited experience while I am still around. Saying BS was rude and uncalled for in my opinion but not everyone is nice on this forum. Mike could have just said I disagree and like my tone controls and went on to explain why instead of post BS to what I have learned in my lifetime. 

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Guys I probably did not give a good explanation behind the reasoning of emitting tone controls. It was certainly not my intention to offend anyone that does have and use tone controls or an equalizer in their sound system. 

 

You do not find tone controls on SET tube amplifiers, at least those that I have seen. This is the after all the tube section.The majority of people that buy a SET will hook up the source directly to the amplifier. In my opinion using a quality SET amplifier is the purist and cheapest way to hear high end audio where the audio signal is being kept as pure as possible and just amplified to enable the driving of the speaker system. 

 

The majority of receivers, preamps and equalizers have a switch bypassing the tone controls for a reason. It is there for those that do not need and do not want the audio signal manipulated in any way. When I am talking high end audio it is those that spend $38K for a Passlabs XP-32 preamplifier.   https://www.usatubeaudio.com/product/amplification/preamps/pass-labs-xs-preamp/?gad_source=1&gclid=Cj0KCQiAnfmsBhDfARIsAM7MKi2l0vTLqpjM4NO28d0C4cLn0O6Uk16oQjalyn5FzJorvQQgAecPQLMaAtK5EALw_wcB

 

Or even the less expensive Passlabs XP-22 preamplifier for $10K or the Passlabs XP12 preamplifier for $6K where you do not see tone controls or an equalizer. There are other makers of high end audio products just as good and many may consider better than Passlabs products as well. For instance at $19K a Mark Levinson No-52 preamplifier. Passlabs is just an example. It is in a niche of high end audio where many would not think of manipulating the audio signal in any way keeping it as pure as possible from the source being used. 

 

My apology to Mike and anyone else who may have been offended in my futile attempt in giving the reasoning behind omitting tone controls.  

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If my opinion matters here, I don't see anything in your text where you've offended those who appreciate EQ. You clearly advocate for no EQ, stating your opinion without insults. Nothing wrong with that.

Nevertheless, kudos for engaging in self-reflection, @henry4841. I always value your perspective and knowledge; please continue.

 

Regarding EQ, I'm torn. Intuitively, I want to keep the audio signal as pure as possible, considering EQ as signal pollution. This sentiment isn't based on hard facts or experience; it's just my gut feeling. However, with the DSpeaker, I've witnessed the power of correctly applied EQ values, addressing an unpleasant thickening in the Hertz range for me. A high-quality preamp with EQ and a bypass option could be a solution, offering the best of both worlds.

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In my mind the question is what can we do to make poorly mastered recordings sound pleasing?  It reminds me of those with the dreaded 10 db boost at 10 kHz.  Tone controls do allow such recordings to be more listenable.  Years back, if I recall correctly, there was a guy on the forum who remastered his music library to make the recordings sound as he wanted them to.  Is that any different?

 

Maynard

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Tube fanatic shows another point of view of why tone controls. I agree they can be useful to improve the sound of a poorly produced piece of music. I know the majority of members here have and use some form of audio signal manipulation.

 

My point was to show members there is another group of audiophiles who spend outrageous sums of money to listen to  music from only the best sound engineers producing the music they prefer. Call them fanatics, eccentric, snobs or whatever but they are serious audiophiles with the money to spend for the few extra percentage points of excellence in sound reproduction on equipment with no tone controls or equalizers. Many may not be aware of this group of audiophiles. That is all I am trying to say.

 

I am not part of their club because I have always been a blue collar worker who if I missed a couple of days of work might go to jail. I do have the God given ability to build the designs from schematics that have been published from some of the best in the audio industry enabling me hear what they are talking about. I used signal manipulation most of my audio life. It is only for the last decade or so I have not found the need to do so. 

 

There is no right or wrong when deciding to use or not use tone controls. It is an entertainment hobby.

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On 1/7/2024 at 1:55 PM, CWelsh said:

The Marantz is an integrated from 1974, so no remote. The Node feeds into the Aux input on the Marantz which I am using only as a preamp (Marantz Preamp-Out outputs to ACA). The volume control on the Marantz definitely affects the output volume of the system, as does the volume setting of the Node. I don't know how I could do it any other way than daisy chaining.

 

 

The node should at the minimum be turned up half way (all the way up would most likely be best).. set it so that you get from 10:00 to 2:00 usage of the Marantz's main volume control for your normal listening levels. Chances are very good you're better off using the Marantz volume control for everyday adjustments over the Node operating in the digital domain.  

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On 1/9/2024 at 11:31 AM, mikebse2a3 said:

 

IMG_5751.thumb.jpeg.c6c866c57190952869a75ac5a5f113cc.jpeg

 

 

In the real world the “Circle Of Confusion - Floyd Toole” is rampant and to use tools (ie: EQ and Tone Controls) to compensate (ie: even correct in some circumstances) doesn’t make you a “non-audiophile” and a member of the masses as you describe.

 

The better your system and the more revealing the system the more obvious the differences are in recordings and proper use of Tone Controls and EQ is a valid choice.

 

Do all recordings sound perfect to you? 

If not then what do you do when they don’t? Do you not listen to them and only listen to “perfect recordings” ?

 

Well designed equipment like my McIntosh C50 pre-amp has 8-band Tone Controls that can be bypassed on really good recordings and engaged when less than ideal recordings are played and this allow me to enjoy a wider range of recordings that otherwise I couldn’t.

 

miketn

 

IMG_5750.thumb.jpeg.ba61335c34bed15d19000f3b51bee203.jpeg

 

 

 

 

Good Post Mike I commend you on the common sense. I'll never understand the "only one-way, absolute best" attitude by many in this hobby. Or the well (insert your favorite audio reviewer or designer celebrity) says this as a valid end all absolute point. This is hobby of self gratification. All we can share is what gratifies us personally.

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