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Tone Controls on Speakers...Can Someone Explain?
Old 30th July 2005
Lives for gear
oceantracks's Avatar

Tone Controls on Speakers...Can Someone Explain?

I was noticing how the Adams had tweeter level, etc, controls on the front.

Now, I know this sounds dumb, but....if we are changing the freq response of the playback speaker, why are we getting them in the first place? I really don't get read reviews and feedback from people on speakers, and some mention ("Well, such and such sounds more open....") well....yeah, maybe "such and such" had the tweeter level cranked....I don't know, but how is a novice (i.e., non-acoustical expert) supposed to know where to set these controls in his project studio? Until they "sound good"?

I guess I thought the best monitors would not have "tone controls" on them, even if this is overstating the case slightly.

What is the best way to set these properly in a given environment?

Old 30th July 2005
Gear Maniac
aevan's Avatar

The Genelec guys here in Aus come out and analyze your room to find the best placement and setting for the tone dip switches. Don't know about others.
If you've got a reference cd you can listen and adjust to suit the room. It's best if this is a disc of stuff you've recorded, because you know what it sounded like at the time. Failing that get a bunch of cds you know well and tweek away till you're happy.
Old 30th July 2005 | Show parent
Gear Head

They have tone controls to compensate for the acoustics in the room. If your room had a huge low end build up right where you mix then you would be able to roll off some of the low end on the speaker to compensate.
A good way to test for the best settings would be to set up a real time frequency analyser where you mix and then adjust the tone controls on the speaker until the response is as flat as possible.
Another (more time consuming) option would just be to mix on them and then check on other systems for any problems. For example if your mixes sound overly bright on most systems then turn the high end up on you speaker.
And about your thought that the "best" monitors wouldnt have tone controls, there are speaker companies that will actually custom build speakers specifically to work well in a particular room and therefore they don't need tone controls because the adjustments have already been built into the speaker. That's a VEEERRRRRYYYYYY expensive thing to do though.

Hope that helps,
Old 30th July 2005 | Show parent
Lives for gear

This is an interesting topic. Years ago when I was setting up my room, I put a 30 band stereo eq in-line with my monitors and did a real time analizer test to sound out the room and get a flat response out of my monitors , to compensate for the room....Awhile back, I had mentioned this on another forum, and caught all kinds of flack for doing this, as they said I should go for a straight out of the box sound, so as not to color my mixes, by having the eq in-line with the monitors. They said it would effect the ability of my mixes to transfer well to other systems, and I'd get a false sound out of my monitors to exactly what was happening in the box.

Anyhow, I removed the eq, as the adjustments I did make were so minor it had hardly any effect anyway.
Old 30th July 2005 | Show parent
Lives for gear
7 Hz's Avatar
The adjustments on active speakers, where you are basicaly turning up and down each driver. By putting a 30 band graphic over the monitor line out of the desk, you are introducing all kinds of horrible phase shifts to your signal.
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