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When will manufacturers wise up about "enhance"?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Eric Cioe, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    I've been reading a lot here, and I'm very interested to see people lambasting "enhance" or "contour" circuits. I have one on my GK400RB-III head (a knob) and on my GK200MB combo (a button). The amps sounds so good with them off, and you turn them on, and the tone leaves. Instead, you get this awful scooped sound that is totally without use, except in the bedroom for practice.

    Why are manufacturers still putting these things on amps? Who uses them? And why can't people that use these things just do the same thing with eq, and maybe make a frequency swtich be standard instead of the mid-cut only enhance? That way, those that like that effect could get it by cutting mids at 250hz or wherever enhance is generally centered, and those that actually like mids could make use of the extra control.
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I find the enhance control one of the most useful controls out there. The mistake players make IMO is using too extreme of a setting. Having the enhance control on an Eden or Thunderfunk just slightly engaged (one or two 'clicks') can really warm up a tone IMO.

    However, I agree with you... these controls are many times misused and not understood. I was recently in a music store where the sales person believed that the enhance control was 'flat' at 12 o'clock on the amp... versus the reality of the control being 'flat' when off.

    So, I think it's more misuse or extreme settings that give these controls a bad rap.
  3. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    What, are they not described well in the manuals? If they are, it's a user error and not the fault of the manufacturer.

    I figure the best circuit would be something that fits the Fletcher-Munson curve and would be useful for playing at various levels (higher settings for quieter practicing, etc) - like the LOUDNESS/CONTOUR on some home playback equipment. AND then use the EQ section for any tonal shaping and use the ENHANCE only for the ear sensitivity compensation.
  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    From what I understand, that describes the new Eden405 and 1205 pre's... with a Fletcher-Munson 'loudness' type circuit that can be engaged, along with the traditional Enhance control.

    +1 on user error on the enhance... however, there's a lot of players out there who don't understand how EQ works at all, and therefore the description of the enhance control might not make much sense IMO.
  5. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    I used to have a couple of processors from Peavey that had a crossover and voltage-sensing feedback linking through an extra zip-cord speaker cable to whatever box was supplying the low-band material. They did loudness contouring automatically and also compensated for overextension by moving a high-pass cutoff filter between 40 Hz and 60 Hz depending on how much low frequency info was present (voltage actually).

    Matched properly to speaker cab specs, they were awesome. Had one on PA, and one in my bass rig. Then they got ripped off. Bummed me bigtime.
  6. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I love my contour control on my GK. I have it at about 10 o'clock right now, and run it anywhere from there to off. Above that, I just fiddle with it at home.
  7. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    One of the reasons I sold my SWR Grand Prix was that I could never find a setting of the "Aural Enhancer" knob that sounded good with the rest of my gear. It may work for others, but it didn't for me.
  8. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    I agree the problem with these controls are extreme settings. I really like the Eden enhance control, but ONLY at 10 oclock or LESS. The FiEldYesque wankers that sit in their bedroom and crank it all the way clockwise are actually the problem, not the knob itself.
  9. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1 I found the SWR 'Aural Enhancer' a particularly poor execution of an 'enhance' type circuit... it seemed to do 'too much' to the tone, vs. for example, the Eden, GK or Thunderfunk circuit.
  10. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    They're still there because the Awesome Knob sells amps. When people stand around in GC testing out gear they are naturally attracted to the magic knob which controls how much "awesome" is blended in with the tone. And of course it sounds good in GC, and just as good when the amp is sitting in the bedroom and the new owner is rocking out to their CD collection.

    If I were an amp manufacturer I'd hate including it, but there's no way I'd get rid of it.
  11. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    countour, enhance, presence. are there any specific definitions of the knobs with these labels? like is enhance always a mid scoop?
  12. I don't find the contour and resulting sound on my GK useless as stated in the original post. At extreme settings it does scoop out too much mid range, which most of us know is what let's us cut through when playing onstage. I do find it useful at lower settings to dial in the right amount of punch and hi end for slap style playing. It's like any kind of eq, you should add small amounts and see what it does for your sound , trying to stand out in front of the amp to get a better idea of your true sound. The old style contour , like the 800RB used was more of a gimmick that sounded great by yourself, but in a live band was not as helpful because it was too extreme.

    When it comes to e.q.'ing, much like bass playing, sometime less is way better.:bassist:
  13. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    My current homebrew preamp has a "BEARING" knob that goes from "Teddy" to "Grizzly." :)

    I'm working on the next rev of the preamp now, and I'm toying with adding a "SUCK" knob. Probably keep that one turned all the way down just like others do with "Enhance"... but if I'm having a bad night I can at least turn it up and then have an excuse later. ;)

    "Hey, sorry I was so off tonight... didn't realize I bumped the knobs during setup and SUCK was dimed..."

  14. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    But I think that the same thing could be achieved with a bit of bass and treble boost, and a mid cut. Now, if the mids were voiced differently than they tend to be in the enhaunce circuits, a mid switch could be added instead of the enhance, and it would be useful both to people who like it and those who don't.
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Great minds think alike!:D

    For years I have called that the Guitar Center knob. Because it only sounds good there, or in your living room.

    If you don't like being heard at a gig, by all means, crank that puppy up!
  16. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    i must agree;these knobs aren't hugely necessary. this is a bigger problem when chording, you just can't hear the note separation when the mids are cut.

    i'm the opposite, when i play at church i like to BOOST the low and high mids and CUT the bass. just so i get some more definition.
  17. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    If you don't like it, don't use it. I'm not trying to be snippy, just matter-of-fact. :) I love my mids, but earlier tonight at rehearsal I noticed that my Fender was sounding a little too burpy through my SVP-Pro. The solution was to engage the Ultra Lo (mid-scoop) switch, and boost low mids. Wahlah: lovely tone, nicely voiced for the mix. I sometimes do similarly with my IOD: bump up mids and enhance at the same time.

    My theory: mid scoop alone gives a U shape curve, while mid scoop plus mid boost is like a W shape curve.

    Anyway, a lot depends on gear. A friend of mine uses a hard V shape curve on his graphic EQ, but his tone is excellent: surprisingly, it doesn't disappear in the mix.
  18. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I have to add: we all know how popular Sadowsky basses are 'round these parts. They have 2-band boost-only EQ. So, turning up both knobs results in a mid scoop... i.e., "enhance". That seems to work just fine for people!
  19. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I've heard on the Eden if you set it around "9" it changes the impedence on your speaker cabs!:D
  20. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    We also need the proverbial "SUCK" knob, which is flat at five o'clock so there's plenty of room to turn it down (cut only).