Adding bass & treble controls

Stompboxes circuits published in magazines, books or on DIY electronics websites.
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ichilton
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Post by ichilton »

Hi,

How could I add bass, treble and even mid controls to say a tubescreamer or klon circuit to replace the "tone" control?

Thanks,

Ian

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Nocentelli
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Post by Nocentelli »

Check out Paul Cochrane's Timmy overdrive for a nice implementation of bass and treble controls on an opamp + clippers pedal. The bass control varies resistance between vref and the inverting input of the clipping stage via a large-ish (1uF) cap, the treble control varies the series resistance between the clipping and buffer stage with a small-ish (10nF) cap to ground on the input of the buffer. They're both "cut" controls, but as you wind up the gain, the bass can become muddy and the clipping adds lots of trebly harmonics, so it works really well.

The Baxandall bass+treble stack also works well, but I've not tried it in a TS type circuit.

For a mid control, I'm not sure what to suggest. Phatt (member here) has an active (op amp) version of the hiwatt TMB tonestack which apparently works well. Otherwise, you're looking at the FMV (fender marshall vox) style three knob tonestack, which all have large losses, three highly interactive controls, and all apply their own distinctive "voicing" to your overdrive sound.

As far as I know, there's no easy way to do a middle control that gives a satisfactory cut and boost function: Bass and treble is easier, since you can just make the drive sound a bit too bassy and trebly and use the two controls to trim the highs and lows by an appropriate amount.
modman wrote: Let's hope it's not a hit, because soldering up the same pedal everyday, is a sad life. It's that same ole devilish double bind again...

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TheLemon
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Post by TheLemon »

I like to add a simple low pass filter near the end of the circuit for treble, with usually a high resistor value around 100k and a small cap to ground like .0022 or .0047 with a B50 pot to ground to form the filter.

For bass, I usually like a pot that goes between .01 and .068 near the beginning of the circuit. If I need a really tight rhythm sound, I'll lower it the .01 to .001 but at that point it'd probably be a different circuit.

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phatt
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Post by phatt »

Did some one mention PhAbbTone? lol

Thanks for the thumbs up Nocentelli. :hug:

Yes I've had a lot of success with the PhAbbTone circuit as most of those distortion circuits try every trick in the book at implimenting tone shaping which might be technically clever but judging by the constant flow of new circuits claiming better tone from reverse wound diodes or some other slick wordy BS ,, well few seem to deliver. :hmmm:
IME, Distortion and tone wrapped around one opamp just don't work that well and it will frustrate you.

@ ichilton,
Save the pain build a dedicated separate tone circuit.

I've found you can't beat a dedicated tone circuit either implemented before or after the TS9 units. My best results came from PhAbbTone in front and a GEQ after distortion. But most will likely want the slight increase in power transfer if inserted After dist but watch out it will likely get harsh. (this will depend on many other factors which would take forever to explain here)

FWIW, The Hiwatt tone has the deepest mid cut of any of the common tone circuits found. And yes I've simulated and built most of them. [smilie=a_makeitstop.gif]

The Fender type tone tree only dips the mid but HiWatt actually pulls a deep notch much like a fixed parametric mid cut. This really does a fab job of controlling distortion units.
I own an Alesis Micro EQ and although it was useful it could not pull the same deep 400Hz notch. A lot of players want heaps of mid which might sound kool in the bedroom but it actually clutters the sonic effect way to much and you end up with cheap fuzz box over cluttered mud when you play at loud gig levels which is fine if all you do is play power chords but leaves little note definition for the more articulate player.
PhAbbTone
PhAbbTone
Hi-ZPhAbbTone3-5.PNG (10.91 KiB) Viewed 2370 times
The PhAbbTone will give you tones you never knew possible from most of those diode distortion units. If you insert the PhAbbTone at the front of the signal chain it will magically wipe of extreme top end which for some players will be heaven but others might like the more edgy sound if inserted After distortion.
Because it's passive input there is a signal to noise penalty because tone stacks like this have massive insertion loss so it is less aggressive used in front. (You pick)

You can of course build it all in one box but keeping it as a separate tone circuit box does allow you to swap out many brands of distortion units and allows you to swap around the signal chain.

Distortion design is not the problem the real trick is tone shaping of the gear you have to work with.

If you have very bright sounding gear you will need to lower the Slope Resistor otherwise it may have to much topend. The circuit shown uses R1 =68k but that can be changed to 47k. Any lower the deep mid notch will suffer.

Also a word of advice regarding tone circuits found in some big name distortion units,,Don't hang passive tone circuits off the end and run directly to output with no buffer stage.
Yes it works if the cable is only 100mm from the grid of your uber marshall Valve rig but over a long cord it suffers great energy loss and tone knobs become much less effective.
Hope it helps you on your tone journey, Phil. :thumbsup
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estragon
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Post by estragon »

Phil, I've noticed you have mentioned more than once the importance of having a deep notch at 400 Hz. I have the following questions:

1) When you mean your Phabb tone can cut up to 35 dB at 400 Hz, is this with relation to the high frequencies (which may be a few dB down already) or is this with respect to 0 dB ?

2) Does this mean you often use your control with the MIDS fully cut and BASS and TREBLE rather high?

3) Could you share a typical setting for the tone controls you would recommend ?

Thanks!

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Pruttelherrie
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Post by Pruttelherrie »

phatt wrote: A lot of players want heaps of mid which might sound kool in the bedroom but it actually clutters the sonic effect way to much and you end up with cheap fuzz box over cluttered mud when you play at loud gig levels which is fine if all you do is play power chords but leaves little note definition for the more articulate player.
That's weird, I always thought that those 'metal' mid-scooped sounds* were only useful in the bedroom! Definition is in the mids, if you scoop those out you end up with the effect you describe: a cheap fuzz box over cluttered mud. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're doing?


* Every pedal advertised as being targeted at a metal crowd has a mid-scooped sound. Why?!?!
Listen to some proper metal and realise that mid-scoop only hides bad playing :?

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phatt
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Post by phatt »

estragon wrote:Phil, I've noticed you have mentioned more than once the importance of having a deep notch at 400 Hz. I have the following questions:

1) When you mean your Phabb tone can cut up to 35 dB at 400 Hz, is this with relation to the high frequencies (which may be a few dB down already) or is this with respect to 0 dB ?

2) Does this mean you often use your control with the MIDS fully cut and BASS and TREBLE rather high?

3) Could you share a typical setting for the tone controls you would recommend ?

Thanks!
opps,,Yes a bit oblique. :oops:
To clarify; With mid at 0 and Treb and Bass at 10 the difference is ~35dB.
Here is a screen shot with those settings, The Original HiWatt tone curves and my Mods.
Hiwatt Mywatt shootout
Hiwatt Mywatt shootout
HiWat-MyWatt.jpg (33.32 KiB) Viewed 2292 times
Yes I tend to cut the mids but only down to 9 o'clock.

To help give insight here is what I've experienced;
Most of the famous tone circuits will make the *Treble* the most dominant control while the other two knobs are often vague and often not much use. I guess it depends what you expect from tone control but I've never liked it much.
Well with this idea the MID is now much more dominant and with Mid on 10 the other controls have less effect.

My setting is often
Treble 12~1 O'Clock.
Mid At 9 O'clock.
Bass at 12~2 O'clock.
This gives a big Fender Strat sound with treble (that does not rip your ears off and a big beautiful round bass. :-D

Now if you want the Brit all mid screaming Rock sound ,, just dial the mid full up and back off the bass and treble.
Phil.

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phatt
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Post by phatt »

Pruttelherrie wrote:
phatt wrote: A lot of players want heaps of mid which might sound kool in the bedroom but it actually clutters the sonic effect way to much and you end up with cheap fuzz box over cluttered mud when you play at loud gig levels which is fine if all you do is play power chords but leaves little note definition for the more articulate player.
That's weird, I always thought that those 'metal' mid-scooped sounds* were only useful in the bedroom! Definition is in the mids, if you scoop those out you end up with the effect you describe: a cheap fuzz box over cluttered mud. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're doing?


* Every pedal advertised as being targeted at a metal crowd has a mid-scooped sound. Why?!?!
Listen to some proper metal and realise that mid-scoop only hides bad playing :?

Yes I agree but this is deep narrow *Notch, Not a wide Scoop* 8)

Scoop rips the guts out of the energy passing through so hence your Amp needs to be a much bigger wattage to even hear it.
The beauty of narrow notched CUT is you don't loose so much energy.

The PhAbbTone is not a one box does all wonder,, but used in conjunction with other gear I've found it very useful.

To give a real example; A good mate purchased a brand new 212 Deville a while back and the onboard Tone controls where as expected,, average. [smilie=yawn1.gif]
OK they sort of work but Vague. Did not take long and We plugged in the PhAbbTone and His Eyes lit up,,, His next words where;
"Wow Now it sounds like a Fender Amp" :horsey:
The Bass was big round and warm and the Treble just sparkled. Needless to say He has one of my units. 8)

Having said that I did have a Peavey rig turn up ages back and my tone box could do nothing to help the sound. That rig had so much bass cut that nothing could improve it. Model escapes me now but pre bandit SS rig I recall.
Phil.

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J4mes
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Post by J4mes »

Good evening, I hope you're all well!

I've been flicking through a few of the PhAbb posts for a few days now and there's no audio anywhere on this. I've debated a few, but settle on version 3.5.

I haven't yet tried it to it's full extent, but managed to test it very briefly. I'll report back sound wise tomorrow, but for now, here's a little vero of it.

As Phil says, enjoy.

Please note; I'll verify this tomorrow as it's too late now! 1am in the UK.
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Post by J4mes »

Works perfectly!! thank you, Phil. Enjoy

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