Should Equalizers make a comeback?

Some like warm, some like bright, some like neutral. Should hardware equalizers make a comeback? Basically aren't Marantz and Rotel amps just rolled off a tiny bit in upper end? In the recording world, you can buy a one box Focusrite mic preamp emulator that seeks to recreate the classics from the past (I'm sure it lacks in pure sound quality from the originals). Would something like this work for audiophiles?
I guess in some equipment they have taken it a step further with Auto Room Correction. I personnaly like tone controls but my surrent pre-amp doesn't have it. I had a McIntosh that did and on some recordings I wish I could attentuate the treble. So maybe an EQ would be a nice way to provide that.
Yes! I use the EQ in iTunes(mac mini server & dac)and it's got me thinking about buying one. My room is bright. I've used the eq to tune the room. A good equalizer will be cheaper than acoustic treatments, even if I make them myself.
I do not see how the iTunes EQ can possibly "tune the room." It cannot do what proper acoustical treatments can do not can it do what a DSP-based room EQ can do.

That said it can be useful for implementing personal preferences and patching the balance of problematic recordings. A good tone control.

Kr4, I stand corrected. I've tuned my system to better perform in my bright room.
Why would you want to pollute your sound?
That is what I need to do, raise the noise floor and add distortion.
Any types of "tone controls" have been eschewed since the early 80's, when I first got involved. Personally, I think the bass contour on the Leben amps is nice to balance out a bass-shy or bass-heavy tune. There are a lot of bad recordings out there. I believe Luxman also offers tone controls. Unfortunately, I think that many manufacturers believe that including tone controls will make many potential buyers shy away. I believe that audiophiles think that once these are included in the circuit, they can never truly be bypassed. I don't know whether this is actually true.
I am starting to think that tone control circuitry and potentiometers have traditionally not been of very good quality. This may be the reason that they have been avoided. I also think an industry arose to accomplish the same ends. In many ways tone control has been replaced in various ways by adding levels of complexity to make a system "synergize." I will be the first to plead guilty to having done this. I rolled tubes, made many cabling switches, even more fundamentally I have bought different speakers, amps, preamps, phono stages achieve a system I like. I think we all can that different systems do in fact sound different.
That said in defense of those who think tone control is anathema, I must agree it can be dreadful. For instance I tried a mid fi parametric equalizer from the late 70s or early 80s and it absolutely flattened the soundstage, muddied the sound and simply made a good system sound terrible. The possibilty of introducing useful tone control arose when using a computer based equalization program popped up and demanded to know what type of sound I preferred. After trying numerous presets I made a custom scheme. I found it improved the sound (obviously a matter of my taste vs the 0+- line.)
With current advances in understanding the target audience, I now think it is realistic that hardware engineered for critical listening proximal to the source with digital data clearly, can compensate for recordings that are not well made or you just want to sound the way you like it. As mentioned if Leben can achieve high quality with bass contour AKA "loudness button" then amplification circuitry by others should be able to as well.
I can understand noise etc that goes with placing something in the signal chain. If we knock EQ's, then are we saying that we just trust the mastering engineers speakers, eq's etc? Even if the mastering engineers speakers/room are far from the same sound characteristics of ours? We trust the engineer has hearing similar to ours? I think eq/tone controls are quite useful
Are treble adjustments on speakers also forbidden?

What I miss is the variable loudness control of my old Yamaha and Vector Research receivers of MANY years ago. Worked GREAT for a little bass boost for low level listening. The Leben mentioned above has a similar feature but it is fixed to one level. Variable loudness was/is a much better way to go ... just do not forget to turn it DOWN as you turn the volume UP or you may over tax your speakers.

Yes, just one more thing that should be in every goners tool kit. Lets you explore better sound.
I use a Behringer DEQ and can't imagine not having it. I actually tried to go without it for a while and went back. My room has a couple of nasty "peaks and valleys" that the DEQ can smooth out for me, not completely, but a little. I send a digital signal into the Behringer and then a digital signal out, to a PS Audio Link DAC III. I'm very pleased with what it does.
I use a Cello Audio Palette which is a preamp /equalizer.I could not be without it.Some CD recording are truly poor with the proper equalization they can improve.I will now recall my first experience with the Cello.I was auditioning a rather pricey pair of speakers ,$50,000 in 1983,was a lot of money.I first listened to the speakers with store demo CDs sounded great.But I insisted on listening to my own CDs ,they sounded awful.At which point a Cello Audio Palette was brought out ,and my CDs were now played using the Cello adjusting the sound.Results were fantastic,at which point I got hooked to the Audio Palette.I have 2 of them,one for each system.They are expensive and hard to find but a much better investment than cables.
I think for many a high quality eq would make a heck of a lot more sense than the hit or miss attempts that are made with cables, tubes, etc.. Others might not need them. I suspect that more people would probably benefit from room correction, and then perhaps with that base line, eq's could be used more appropriately for individual recordings and tastes.
My Mac preamp has bass and treble. I leave it flat. My JL Audio has automatic room compensation. Someone above said he misses the LOUDNESS COMPENSATION on his old YAMAHA. I had a YAMAHA with one in the day and did not like it. My Mac preamp has one and I never use it either. But it is for low volumne and I don't think it is ever low.
Mac's had equalizers on many of their preamps, and still do, nammely the C42 and C46. I have the 5-band on my C37, and although I don't use it, it's nice to know it's there if I need to use it. Same with the loudness control, never use it either.
Every room is acoustically different. Speakers have different radiation patterns etc. Who actually thinks that he is hearing the same thing in his room that the recording engineer heard in his? Many "straight wire with gain" folks roll tubes, change wires, even components, in order to get their desired results of "no equalization". Room equalization is a necessity to accomplish the "purest" goal, much less personal taste.
You would think the "straight wire" crowd would be discussing the systems of the various mastering engineers. Every component injects some "eq" naturally. Some components are "biased" a little warmer (Marantz comes to mind). Many people pick components (mostly) for their particular sound. So really, it's the same as using an EQ
Every time I use tone controls to tame highs or boomy bass,
something sounds fundamentally wrong. As soon as I take the preamp tone controls out via the defeat switch, a level of distortion just disappears. The same thing happened when I used a high-end digital equalizer at one time. This happened with various speakers and headphones. I avoid them whenever possible. They sound good in theory (and I use them on my integrated amp to cut the treble on for my TV, but that's just TV, so who cares), but it seems like a false hope to me.
My great expectations for equalization have always been dashed.
I sympathize with Rgs92. Realizing equalization that does more good than harm is difficult using the products currently available. The market simply has no interest in the subject. It would be fairly easy to design a module which would measure the in-room response at the listening position and then correct it. The problem is simply that the market for such features is too small to spread the R+D costs sufficiently. Some HT receivers do a fair job (HK) of gain matching using a mike in the remote control. A little more development could include low frequency equalization as well. Mid and upper bands are very tricky as masking effects, etc. come into play.
"So really, it's the same as using an EQ"

No it isn't. EQ involves additional stages, capacitors in signal path etc. (some form of signal processing) Let just say that it doesn't add to clarity.

Deficiency of recording is usually much more complex than simple tone controls that would perhaps do more harm than good. Imagine that you listen to Jazz trio and acoustic bass was recorded a little too strong. How can you correct it without affecting sound of the piano's lower registers?
That was just a trio - imagine complexity of an orchestra.

If the problem is room acoustics then fix it. If recording is made poorly don't buy it. If system lacks something - find better match/synergy.

I also suspect that the need to correct is somehow related to lack of system's transparency/clarity. With inexpensive receiver and speakers, I had once, I often used tone controls to get better clarity (unmask). With transparent amplifier and speakers now I don't need it anymore - everything sounds about right. Market confirms my findings - all cheap amplifiers have tone control (often EQ) all or most of expensive don't.

If the music has particular sound then I assume it was intended to sound that way. When I am at the concert I don't climb the stage to adjust their amps or PA system.
I run two CD players through my main system. One of the Players runs through a Equalizer first.

I put all high quality recordings through deck one and the lesser recordings through the second deck.

Best of all worlds.
Oddly, even white noise can improve intelligibility. One reason so little progress is made is that people have a tendency to accept logic rather than to experiment.

"EQ involves additional stages, capacitors in signal path etc. (some form of signal processing) Let just say that it doesn't add to clarity."

If one is in the digital domain this simply is not true. The digital amplifier simply runs a program and provides gain. Whether the output reflects the input accurately or is modified has no bearing on the quality of the output. A modification can improve or diminish clarity depending on a myriad of factors. I have been experimenting with equalization for years. Trial and error trump theory for most of us at this point, but some bright guy or gal will develop the correct algorithm.
NOOOOOOOO! Buy at least a Behringer 24/96 with it's calibrated mike, get the REAL frequency response at your listening position, and only after that can you use an equalizer accurately! Don't guess!!!
Nooooo. I will give away my Beringer.
Parametric EQ is useful in the bass to help tame room modes. Otherwise I think tone controls are all that is needed at home - and then only used sparingly to tweak for the room and setup.
I finally used an EQ that I can live with. It's the EQ that comes with the Amarra pro music software. This is professional and very transparent. I've been deadset against EQ for at least 20 years, and this one not only works, it sounds great. A big improvement if you tweak it right. I have a spectrum analyzer and decent mike to do the analysis.

A BIG advantage of using a computer as a source, not to mention the Hi-res file capabiliity.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Aberyclar, I will answer your question with a question. Do you want to listen to music the way you want to listen to it or the way you think the engineer who cut the CD/Album want you to listen to it? I don't own an EQ but my choice is the first one. I like listening to music the way I want to listen to it. Sorry but I have tons of recordings (CD, LP, Digital downloads) that don't sound good. Years ago I visited Cello (Mark Levinson) and listen to some of my recordings though the Audio Palette. Man if I could have only been able to afford that thing!
I hate tone controls , but I like what they do .
Audioengr, thanks for the information about Amarra pro music software. It may may replace iTunes, I just hate paying for software.

Shadorne, I agree a 100 percent. A little goes a long way.
As I stated in another forum, I have not owned amplification equipment for well over 20 yrs that had either balance or tone controls. In my advancing years, though, my hearing accuity has deteriorated making it necessary to either start wearing hearing aids (I've tried this twice), buy amplification that does have these controls or add an equalizer. I don't like the aids and the amps I'm interested in don't have these controls, so I added EQ's which I know is an affront to the sensibilities of many audiophiles.

It's the best single choice I've made in quite a few years; I can now accommodate, at least to some extent, challenging listening room issues as well as correct for my hearing loss which mostly occurs above 3500Hz.

Relatively few of us hobbyists have ideally designed listening rooms and, with age, many of us will experience some level of hearing loss so, yes, IMO, the use of good EQ's is appropriate, even important, for some applications.
They already have. Well, at least in non high end audio circles. Except now they are digital not analog, done with software, not hardware and bundled into various devices.

For example My desktop PC has more elaborate equalization and sound processing functionality built into its software than most people have ever owned.

Digital changes the game when it comes to potential for signal processing applications, good old fashioned equalization being just one of the more recognizable ones. When applied appropriately and done well, it should be all up side and virtually no down. Its like the ultimate Swiss Army knife for audio. Could greatly reduce the need for other kinds of tweaks that audiophiles are historically fond of, if properly mastered.
Here's One,Crestron PSPHD ProCise Preamp.
I owned amps years ago which, indeed, had balance and tone controls but these were single button controllers which allow only for adjustment of both channels together. For control of the kind that one needs for accommodating room acoustics or, in cases like mine, hearing deficiencies, more latitude is needed especially for adjustment of relatively specific frequencies for each channel independently. I'm writing, btw, in reference to the use of graphic equalizers in two channel applications as this is the only experience I have.
I'm currently using (digital parametric) EQ in an active, tri-amped setup. While no EQ has zero negative influence on the sound, I usually find that the sonic advantages very often outweigh the sonic disadvantages...and below roughly a 100hz or so those sonic disadvantages seem to evaporate.