Tone controls to get bass from small speakers?

Have you ever thought you'd like to have tone controls at your disposal to do a good job of extending the bass of small speakers? (aw, c'mon, admit it).

Anyway, it seems that whenever a product (usually a budget product) actually does have tone controls, it is set to boost bass around the 100 hz level, and this seems fairly useless. In the past, however, I had an astounding little system consisting of Spica TC-50's, a Marantz CD63, and an AMC 3030 integrated.

The Spicas weren't exactly Jurassic Park dinosaur stompers, but the really cool thing about the AMC was that it boosted bass around 50 hz, not 100 hz. This gave the apparent effect of giving the Spicas real, extended bass.

Do you know of any combination of small speakers and amplification-with-tone-controls that can pull a thirty foot organ pipe out of a hat?

Thanks guys.
This is nothing new. If you bought a graphic equalizer as was popular in the 1980s you could just adjust the low bass and leave the rest neutral. The problem is tone controls are in the way of the signal path and degrade the sound. I actually have an audiophile quality power amp I use occassionally that has a subsonic bass tone control (Creek A52SE). I had a techie disconnected and bypass it. The bass was better after it was removed, than it ever was before it was removed, on any of the settings.
My Linn Classik has tone controls, and they do help some. I tilted the bass up a notch or two with my ProAc Tablette 2000's and there was audible benefit in doing so. Bear in mind, this system is used in a 8 x 10 room with the music played at low levels so fiddling with the tone controls makes sense. Having a system in your office at work means compromises but certainly worthwhile. I'm not sure I'd use tone controls if the system was played at "normal" levels in a larger room. Trust your ears!
get a audio control phase coupled activator which sub synthesises bass below 50 and lowers its frequency in half,in other words 50 is25 40 is 20 etc, this works great with small speakr amp systems ,way better than tone controls or eqs, has gain control so you can adjust blend . regards mike
If I recall correctly, in the old days Radio Shack sold an Optimus(?) line of amp-speaker systems that were designed in just this way, with the amp compensating for the speakers' weaknesses. The current NAD all-in-one system also has a bass boost tailored, I presume, to the PSB Alpha Minis that it is often marketed with. It's heresy at the high end, of course, but in the low- to mid-fi ranges, it may well be the most logical way to go.

Now that I think about it, if I were a manufacturer, I might be tempted to hide an equalizer inside my powered speakers, to achieve just the effect you're describing. I could get better bass response from smaller speakers, and the audiophiles would never know!
Hotrod, DBX was the first on the market with that type of device. It was called a "Sub-Harmonic Synthesizer". It halved the frequency and then boosted output of that signal. While this can help out bass shy recordings or speakers, it can also EASILY overload small vented speakers if played too loudly. The end result would be massive "doubling" ( mega-distortion ) and possible driver damage. As such, care with any type of tone control should be excercised.

If you're going to attempt such a thing, sealed speakers respond best since they have the shallowest bass roll-off after resonance. Phil Marchand makes such a device for this very purpose called the "Basis". Only thing is that sealed speakers are also power suckers, so you could run into too much draw from a small amp. Sean
A very "fun" piece of equipment is the Peavey Kozmos. Go to the site for more info. Once you put one in your system it will be hard to take it out.
please tell me more about the kozmos. Thanks.
Go to the miscellaneous thread snake oil and fun- I tell it all there - the site also gives you the lowdown (no pun intended).
1. Anyone who still thinks tone controls degrade the sound has not heard the Z-Systems digital equalization units. (Unfortunately, the one I use cost $5K new.)

2. A "small" speaker can only do so much, no matter what you do with a "tone controller." Man, in this situation you have to have a subwoofer if you want the organ pedals. If you let the subs larger driver do the bass work, your monitors/small speakers will do a better job on the mids. (Don't ask a boy to do a man's job!)

Good luck, Charlie.
This is easy. Just chase a used NAD 7100, 7400 or 7600 receiver.
They had a Bass EQ switch that pumped up the bass from 35-80 Hz or so, with a steep drop below 30Hz. This is pretty effective with WELL-DESIGNED 5 or 6 1/2" two-ways that don't have noisy ports (that as well are tuned below 60Hz or so). Gives good extension WITHOUT the excess warmth of a regular tone control. You have to start with a decent speaker, though. The other nice thing is that you could leave this EQ in and still bypass the other controls for a cleaner signal. Yet the preamp as a whole was the weakness of these receivers...the FM tuners the highlight. Still using my 7400 in the HT/second system.
Simple, you want enhanced bottom end, well, start at the source, your cd player can push out lots of bottom end and then there are cd players that are bass shy, same with needles and tonearms. find a source that hits the bottom end hard. The new music fidelity dac which is coming out in may I think, I have the prototype, you'll be amazed on the bass that comes out!!!! find a neutral transport for it, it can be a cheap pioneer or an expensive wadia, listen to this dac, and you'll hear it. Oh, and good solid state amp would help just as much, like Bryston amplifier for example, I don't think you'll need anymore bass than when you listen to one of their amps, especially the new 14B, ha. your cables help, speaker cable, experiment, this way all your bass is natural and in full detail, and trust me, with this combination, you'll have all the bass you can handle or want. I have bookshelf speakers that produce more bottom end, not to mention better bottom end than many floor standing speakers. The stands helped incredibly, my stands are so heavy being filled that it takes two guys to carry one speaker stand.
Again, thanks for your insights. I'm doing a lot of web surfing with all this great information!
Before you spend big bucks try putting some vibrapods between Spicas and stands, you will be amazed at the increase in bass response.

If you try this with larger floor standing speakers it will often produce too much bass, but small two way monitors respond very well to vibrapod decoupling from stand.
I've had my 3030 in for upgrades, one being tube sockets, which allow me to change tubes. However, the bass on this integrated amp is solid state. I think this amp will show more with a better source and cables. I run a Rotel 955AX with a set of solid copper Lindsey Guyer intercoonects, which gives a hint of bass through my 1Bs. I'd hook up an analog source and see if the bass response is better. This amp needs a well matched source to show its best.
My take on your situation is :
TC50s are great .. I have Spica Angelus and the mids/imaging are to die for. Bass is also lean on the Angelus, which is peculiar for such a huge speaker.

I thought about tone controls. Old Quad amps have a cool bass control called tilt and lift (I think). It worked wonders on a friend's LS3/5 (which have similar bass to the Spica Tc50s). So you COULD try an old Quad pre/power combo ... probably cost about $500 used. I wouldn't do this, though.

However in the end I have to agree with danvect ... a small cabinet will only do so much. I'd add to this that to force the Tc-50 to make huge woofer excursions so you can shake your neighbour's house with organ music is probably going to either damage the tc50s or destroy their mid range (which the same drivers are trying to produce).

In the end I bought a subwoofer. A REL. Coupled with the Spicas it sounds amazing. Dynamics, grunt and detail and imaging. Plus it's more versatile .... sub is placed for best bass response and spicas are placed for imaging (well away from the walls, where thir bass response is at the least).

Don't mess with half-measures ... pony up the money for a quality sub and I think you'll be very pleased.