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Enhance / Timbre / Tone & Room Balance Controls

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Blue, Sep 27, 2004.

  1. Blue


    Jun 19, 2004
    Central NC
    I'm reading up on all the Enhance / Timbre / Tone Balance / Room Balance / etc., controls and have several questions:

    How much are they used?
    Do you move them a lot, and when / why?
    If you set and forget, where do they get set to?
    Do you find one more useful than the other?
    Are Fenders' controls and "better" or "worse" than Edens', or the other ones?

    They seem to all do about the same thing, and there are a lot of amps that don't have them. Should I look seriously for an amp because it has these, and pass one that doesn't?

    How useful are they and what are they used for?
  2. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    almost all of the circuits you described are different on each amp
    swr's aural enhancer supposedly boosts fundamentals and highs, edens enhance knob is a "global tone control" which boosts highs and lows and cuts lower mids, a lot of amps have tone shaping buttons which give you a mid cut or mid boost. Tone balance knobs usually divide the signal into highs and lows and let you adjustthe overall balance, but some are a bit different.
    all are usefull to a degree in getting a particular sound without having to adjust a bunch of eq knobs.
    There's really no right or wrong answer, if you like them, great, if you don't just dont use them. I would be more concerned on how i liked the overall "flat" sound of an amp rather than if the amp had a feature like that or not.
  3. I coulden't agree more. Do alot of a/b tests in your local GC or wearever, and see which amp has the tone you want with all eq and "enhance" settings running flat. Thats the only way to see what it sounds like.

    Then once you have a "Your" sound, play with the knobs a little to see if you can dial in the "tone "you want. You shoulden't have to fool with it to much.

    On my eden I run it everything at 12:00 and nudge the enhance a little when I want to get funky. Thats the tone I want so thats the rig I bought. Others like different so they get different. Dont get an Eden if you want the Ampeg sound, all the fooling with eq ,ain't gonna get you there. And vice versa.

    Hope this helps
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I'd add that ALL tone controls have to be approached on an amp by amp basis.

    Just because a knob is marked "bass" or "treble" doesn't mean that what it does to sculpt the sound will be the same on two different amps. The frequencies they act at, the bandwidth, the amount of boost and/or cut available, etc. all can vary quite a bit.

    The most classic example is that on old Fender tube amps the bass and treble boost only and mid cuts only while old Ampegs used boost/cut controls instead.
  5. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Does anyone know how the Eden "Enhance" circuit differs from the AMP or Thunderfunk (or other) circuits labelled "Enhance?" I would suspect them to be somewhat similar, as they all appear to be cutting some lower mids and boosting highs (and lows?), but at least by comparing the Thunderfunk to the Eden "Enhance" controls, they sounded different to my ears. On the Thunderfunk, I don't recall the Enhance being very dramatic, while the Timbre was much more noticeable (and BTW, I really like the Timbre control on the Thunderfunk head!). And as I recall, I seemed to prefer the Enhance on the Thunderfunk basically off or at least mostly off. On my Navigator, though, I like to have the Enhance set to about 12 o'clock, which I suppose is about 50% "on." Are they tweaking different frequencies, or different Q's, or different amounts of cut/boost? Or are they just "different?" Or, for that matter, am I the one who is "different", and they are actually identical circuits?

    To your question, Blue, I find the Enhance on my Eden useful, as well as the Timbre on the Thunderfunk. Both are good features, and I wouldn't mind having both. I would probably tend towards "set and forget" on these types of controls (and very well may leave them "off"), and for adjustments to a given room, cabs, or instrument, I'd be more inclined to use a parametric EQ. That said, with the exception of the Enhance on my Navigator, I tend to run most of my amps set basically flat, and to this end, it is nice to be able to bypass as much of the tone controls as possible if you prefer the "pure" sound of your instruments (and cabs). While it's nice to have some of these tone shaping tools to address a given situation and given need, it's also nice to get them out of the signal when you don't need them.

    Good luck, Tom.
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Sometimes it's better not to know... let your ears decide what sounds good. :) Heck, I'm not even sure what's going on with the "Emphasis" control on my Read Purity preamp. According to the manual, it boosts a broad range of midrange frequencies to help with "mid-shy instruments". But my ears can't tell if it's one broad hump or a multiple smaller ones. All I know is, in some conditions (particular room, particular bass, particular speaker cab) it sounds better to use it, in others it's better to leave it off.

    Bottom line: I agree that it's safer to stay as flat as possible, but I think more tweakability is a good thing even if it isn't used. The Purity also has an EQ bypass switch. As with Emphasis, sometimes my tone is better with everything bypassed, sometimes it isn't. The main issue I have to deal with when gigging is extreme variance in acoustics. But sometimes I'll find a particular EQ curve that suits my fancy. At one jam where I was using a flatwound-strung bass, I cranked mids and gain and got a very 70's R&B/funk vibe. For modern rock I'll go for grit, presence, lows, and a bit of mid scoop. Anything that supports the song is good, whether it's the "natural" tone of my bass or not.