You don't need tone controls, 98% of high-end preamps don't have them.
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Adding to Dill's: You don't need tone controls if all your CD and vinyl recordings are perfect.
Just to let you know, the majority (like 98%) is not always right. Personally, I love them since they are out of the circuit when not in use - at least in McIntoshes. I find satisfaction in having the best of both worlds.
Blub definitely go for the tone controls.
Most equipment used to have tone controls, but a lot of marginally designed equipment had them & was so compromised; those filters just weren't very good.
Better designed equipment still has them available, & they're certainly great to have when you need them (there are still many compromised recordings) & there is typically a tone-bypass button which keeps them out of circuit when unneeded. Just to name a couple that I know of, there are defeatable Eq controls on Cello & Accuphase, & Luxman product which are very good. There are some theoretical phase disadvantages & some frequency overlaps when active in-circuit, but if the control makes a marginal source sound better to you then is it indeed actually worse? Of course not, if it's more pleasurable then it's not worse than nothing. Don't let the purists inexperienced arguments dissuade you. Elimination of Eq is just an excuse in justifying the cheaper way out.
Buy a preamp with a processor loop. You can insert whatever type of signal processor ( analogue parametric EQ, analogue graphic EQ, digital room correction / tone control, etc... ) into the circuit as you desire. This is FAR more precise and FAR more versatile than most of the simple tone controls found on even "high end" preamps. This option gives you purity or pleasure at the flip of a switch. Which one you choose is your option. Sean
Get them if you like, but just be aware that they will always lend somewhat the same signature to any program material you try to use them on, since as Sean says they are not very flexible in their action. And I would skip them altogether if there's no way to take them completely out of the circuit. As my own system improved over time, I found I no longer needed or missed tone controls for the great majority of recordings, FWIW.
I mostly agree with you but not here, I'm afraid.
The vast majority of tone controls incur noise. Even the Cello Palette is not free from it.
In most cases, I would suggest experimenting with different signal cables, unless you want to control the 'color' of the sound of particular pressings and accept the fact that some noise come through.
In what I believe to be your price range, tone controls are a big no-no. There may be some megakilo-buck pres that can get them right, but for under $2K I wouldn't do it. With the Stratos you will not need/want tone controls anyways. Aside from the Tempest, the Musical Fidelity A3cr and A3.2cr would be my suggestions for the Odyssey Amp, a very synergistic match and I don't think that you'll not find better for the money. From my experience, I would avoid like the plague passive and tube preamps with this amp, however. I've gone though about a dozen preamps with that amp, good SS pres where the only ones to do its superb transparency, among other wonderful qualities, due justice. Some people say a passive or tube pre sounds ok in their Odyssey systems, however, I suspect they have not heard what a really good SS pre will do in comparison.
Hey Blub, there is obviously various opinions on this subject. However, most would agree that a simpler audio path is preferable. Adding tone controls or an Equalizer add to this path, not to mention added interconnect cables. There are alternative ways to control equalization problems, such as moving the speakers, adding diffusers and such. If you do opt for tone controls, I would suggest one that have a 'defeat' switch to bypass it if not needed.
As for your new Stratus, congradulations! A wonderful amp which I have owned. I too was interested in the Tempest, but held back because I could not find any kind of feedback about it. My personal preferance would be to add a tube preamp. A tube pre and SS amp makes for a great combo in my opinion.
Good luck, Paul
A significant portion of my extensive classical CD collection sounded rather poorly till I introduced the Cello Palette preamp.I only use the cello equalization with the tape output to the Meridian 861V3 processor and for red book CDs only. The resulting sound is excellent.Recording studios equipment and taste of the recording engineer are not necessarily compatible with every one's home system.I highly recommend that particular equalizer.