I don't know if they're excellent, but Quad's pres have unique tone controls.
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I know what your looking for..
An Accuphase C-200 preamp,it even has 3 sets of outs!!!
Very good tone controls.
There's not a dam thing wrong with tone controls.....I own amps with them and without them,(tube and SS), all this talk about "no tone control pre's sound better", is pure Rubbish.
They are wonderful pre's $400 to $600 used.
I own 2, good luck!
I highly recommend the NAD 118 digital pre. It was unique: besides having the typical Bass and Trebel controls, it also has a Mid frequency control.It has an onboard DAC and all adjusting of the sound was done in the digital domain, which eliminated distortion. The pre has a bypass switch if you do not wish to have tone controls within the signal path. The sound of this pre. rivals many of the expensive higher end units out there. It's rare to find one here, about two a year. They have sold for around $400, not bad for what you get for the price - brand new they sold for $1600.
May I offer one other suggestion? You're overlooking the most popular tone controls on earth. They have an entire section devoted to them on the 'gon. They're called "Cables". ;)
Sorry, couldn't resist.
About 15 years ago I had a 12-band equalizer that actually helped my system quite a bit. I think it was by Panasonic but I'm not sure.
Good luck in your pursuit!
Tone controls do not serve the same purpose as an equalizer. Tone controls are good for quick and easy improvement of a particular recording. An equalizer is used to compensate for room and speaker deficiencies. Setting up an equalizer takes the better part of a day (unless your unit has an automatic equalization function, like the Behringer DEQ2496).