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Two Band Versus Three Band EQ?

Telfer

Member
Messages
228
I have only treble and bass controls on my Fender amp...and when I turn both to zero the sound becomes very dull and sterile.

This is NOT what happens when you turn off everything but the center band through a graphic equalizer. The center band ONLY will give you an interesting nasal tone.

So, obviously the treble/bass controls remove far more than just bass and treble...they are each removing half of the middle frequencies as well.

Is there any reason why Fender has to configure it this way?
 

makerdp

Member
Messages
617
Tone controls on amps are never really what most people think they are, or at least what they think they should be. They are generally very wide in their frequency response and they are generally very interactive. In other words, the position of one knob affects how the other reacts.

Graphic EQ's are typically very fixed and thus very predictable in their response. Each band is specifically tuned to not interact with the other bands at all - or at least minimally.

If you want a good idea of the way amp tone stacks interact and what frequencies they cover, there is a Duncan Tone Stack Calculator program that you can download and play with to see how different tone stacks respond to their different settings.
 

Telfer

Member
Messages
228
Tone controls on amps are never really what most people think they are, or at least what they think they should be. They are generally very wide in their frequency response and they are generally very interactive. In other words, the position of one knob affects how the other reacts.

Graphic EQ's are typically very fixed and thus very predictable in their response. Each band is specifically tuned to not interact with the other bands at all - or at least minimally.
Yes, this confirms what I hear...but the question is why dont amp companies configure their tone controls more like a graphic equalizer? Is there any reason why they cant?

When I roll off the treble on my Fender some of the mids disappear as well, which is exactly what I dont want.
 

Avatar Tech

Member
Messages
455
I think it comes down to simplicity and expense. You can build a circuit that would behave more like a graphic EQ, but it would be more complex, requiring more parts, space, and money. Plus, a lot (most?) of us guitarists are simply accustomed to using either a 2 or 3 band EQ because we've been using them for years and years. The typical Fender 2 band EQ is actually much more versatile than it appears because the controls are so interactive. I was skeptical of using Fender amps because I felt like the 2 band EQ would suck, but I have come to really appreciate it over the last couple years. Just my own perspective :)
 

makerdp

Member
Messages
617
There is no reason they _can't_ but it would dramatically increase the cost of their amps for sure. A graphical EQ is an active "boost/cut" design so each band needs its own amplifier. Your overwhelming majority of amp tone controls are passive cut-only circuits... they can't add bass or treble or mids, only take them away.

Getting to know your amp's EQ circuit is simply a matter of spending a lot of time with it... deliberately having a method to trying different EQ curves until you find what you want, or at least what you can live with. If you can't find exactly the amount of mids you want, well then there is nothing stopping you from throwing a graphic EQ pedal in front of it to fine-tune your tone.

A tech with higher-than-average knowledge about actual tube circuit design can mod your amp to change the character of the tone stack too.

Of course Mesa Boogie and Carvin have both used graphic EQ's in their amps extensively but if including them were really "the bee's knees" everyone would be doing it on all their amps.
 

Telfer

Member
Messages
228
There is no reason they _can't_ but it would dramatically increase the cost of their amps for sure. A graphical EQ is an active "boost/cut" design so each band needs its own amplifier. Your overwhelming majority of amp tone controls are passive cut-only circuits... they can't add bass or treble or mids, only take them away.
I'd be happy with an integrated 7-band EQ that only cuts.

Currently I do use an external EQ to roll off both extreme spikey highs and flubby lows for clean tones. The controls on my amp cant do it.

When in drive mode...I roll off everything but the entire mid spectrum.
 
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makerdp

Member
Messages
617
What amp are you using? There are very simple mods to get rid of spikey highs and flubby lows. Any decent tech could easily do them within a one-hour minimum fee.
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
My take on the 3 band Fender amps I've owned, or the 2 band I've added the mid control to: I end up with the middle control in one spot and don't adjust it anyway. As mentioned they are very interactive controls.
This may be why fender used 2 band on most amps, maybe they felt they should add "something more" for higher end amps in their lineup and added the mid control on the Twin and Super?
The easy answer for you is get an EQ pedal.
My take on the BF/SF Fender circuit is that the bass control doesn't add much bass over 4 or 5 on the dial, but adds distortion... Especially on the lower wattage amps.
 

wyatt

Member
Messages
4,169
I'd be happy with an integrated 7-band EQ that only cuts.

Currently I do use an external EQ to roll off both extreme spikey highs and flubby lows for clean tones. The controls on my amp cant do it.

When in drive mode...I roll off everything but the entire mid spectrum.
You need an amp with an active EQ, and there are a few with Graphic EQ's for one channel.

Carvin X amps have both.
 

Avatar Tech

Member
Messages
455
I have only treble and bass controls on my Fender amp..
...I roll off everything but the entire mid spectrum.
Fender circuits tend to have a scooped midrange compared to Marshall. You might find that a different amp altogether will give you a tone that you're happier with. Consider trying a Marshall, or one of the earlier mentioned Mesa or Carvin amps that have active multiband EQ.
 

Telfer

Member
Messages
228
This may be why fender used 2 band on most amps, maybe they felt they should add "something more" for higher end amps in their lineup and added the mid control on the Twin and Super? The easy answer for you is get an EQ pedal.
I do use a EQ pedal...thats first on my board, followed by an overdrive, followed by a TC reverb pedal.
 
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