Jul 172008

E. Pluribus Gergely and I had a brief but productive discussion earlier today on the correct tone settings for your home stereo. Leaving out fancy EQ settings that no lover of rock ‘n roll really needs to be concerned with, “Plurbie,” as both friends and detractors (often one and the same) have been known to call him, suggested the following:

Balance: center
Treble: 7.5
Bass: near 10

He may be onto something. Before we definitively announce the correct tone settings for your home stereo, we feel it’s important to run this proposal by you. Please share your current settings, as follows:


Remember, leave the fancy-pants, scientific EQ settings for your friends on Audiophile Town Hall.

We look forward to your answers.


  35 Responses to “Rock Town Hall Proposes the Correct Tone Settings for Your Home Stereo”

  1. dbuskirk

    The same, but different:

    Balance: center
    Treble: 5.0
    Bass: near 7.5

    I may make adjustments according to what’s being played (cassettes in particular) but that is the bassline setting here. Do I-Pods offer tone settings? I’ve seen I-Pods but I’ve never actually picked one up to examine.

  2. hrrundivbakshi

    Plurbie is off his rocker. Maybe those settings work for his Realistic SounDesign combo spindle-turntable/receiver thingie, but for the rest of us, it’s:

    Balance: Center
    Treble: 6
    Bass: 6

  3. Balance: Center
    Treble: 6
    Bass: 5

  4. BigSteve

    Balance: center
    Treble: 5
    Bass: 5
    Volume: 11

  5. 2000 Man

    My fancy Yamaha stereo receiver (no .1 channels here) has a loudness dial that’s supposed to do something at low volumes. I’m against low volumes, so I don’t use it. Mine are set like this:

    Loudness: 0

    Bass: +2

    Treble: +2

    Balance: 0

    I also have a fancy button that makes a red light come on that means I’m using Pure Direct, which means even if someone dares touch my stereo and attempts to change my little increases, the controls are defeated. It sounds just about the same, but I have to turn it up for more earth shattering bass. I think too much bass makes drums sound mushy. Then it sounds like a dance club and I don’t like that.

  6. Mr. Moderator

    Any surprises so far, Gergs?

  7. Balance – 0
    Treble – 8
    Bass – 7

  8. Balance: Center
    Treble: 8
    Bass: 6

    I always think about Townsman Sethro’s stereo and the fact his is so hi-end he doesn’t even have tone adjustments

  9. Jimbo,

    No surprises, but that makes sense. Call me tonight for a backslappin’ fest.

    E. Pluribus

  10. Fucking with the tone settings is like salting your food before you taste it. Zeros all the way down the line.

  11. Hardcore, 48, hardcore.

    Balance: Left for side one of Meet the Beatles. When you hear just the Beatles’ backing tracks, they’re flippin’ lousy.


    Balance: Center (duh)

    Treble: Just underneath whenerever the bass is set. The bass should be set just below “speaker busting mud”.


  12. Balance Center
    Treble +2
    Bass +1

    settings run -5 to +5

    By the way, Bass 10 is the standard for my wack job, born again minister, Army Reserve chaplain, fascist brother-in-law. He likes those Moody Blues discs to thunder.

  13. Balance – center
    Treble – 10
    Bass – 6

  14. treble- +1
    bass – flat
    who doesn’t keep their balance in the center?

    In the car, I keep it flat for CD and radio, for iPod, cut the treble boost the bass.

  15. Mr. Moderator

    Plurbie, I think Andyr’s downplaying his bass settings. Unless he’s actually changed. Too bad.

  16. dbuskirk

    Geo says:

    “By the way, Bass 10 is the standard for my wack job, born again minister, Army Reserve chaplain, fascist brother-in-law. He likes those Moody Blues discs to thunder.”

    db says:
    Too bad you can’t get him signed up to RTH. He sounds like a special kind of spice.

  17. I’m with Great 48. Flat all the way across, the EQ “smile” is only allowed in the car.

  18. hrrundivbakshi

    Okay, so this thread has amused you and Plurbs. Now that we’ve danced to your merry jig, you want to let us in on the gag?

    C-6-6, though in general I’m too fucking old to be worrying about that crap anymore

  19. Also, I hope nobody is using any kind of “loudness” button. And in iTunes, tune the “sound enhancer” off!

  20. I meant “turn” not “tune”,btw.

  21. Mr. Moderator

    What’s bugging HVB? Jeez, I thought people would appreciate us trying to reach a definitive setting.

  22. BigSteve

    I don’t actually have ‘receiver’ anymore, so the knob settings I gave before were virtual. I listen only from the computer on nice powered near-field monitors. The eq setting on Itunes is always flat. The only exception is when I’m lying in bed or on my recliner in such a way that my head is very near the wall. These are small rooms, and I’ve discovered that this position unnaturally emphasizes the bass, so I use the ‘bass reducer’ preset on Itunes in those situations. Eq on playback is really supposed to be used to correct acoustical problems, not just add more of what you think you want to hear.

    When I had a normal stereo, with a turntable and a CD player, I left the tone knobs centered, but I did use the loudness button for LPs. The CDRs I made from my LPs sound thin still with a flat eq setting, so when I’m playing one of those I use Itunes’ ‘bass booster’ preset.

  23. 2000 Man

    So what’s correct? When I had big speakers with 12 inch woofers I listened with everything flat, but now I have smaller, much more wife friendly speakers. I won’t mind if I’m doing it wrong, but it will be nice to know how wrong I am.

  24. There is no correct! Everyone has different amps, different speakers and most importantly, a different room.

    Speakers in a corner = boomy. Against a wall? Not as boomy, but still… Lift ’em up on some cones, decouple them from the surface they’re on, can make a big difference (guitar amps too, try them off the floor).

    The rule of thumb is it’s better to cut than boost, but that’s a little bit harder to do with the coarse adjustments of only “bass” and “treble”.

  25. saturnismine

    If you’re cutting rather than boosting, all you’re doing is is lowering your overall volume level.

    All that matters is the settings in relation to one another.

    And they don’t work the way fractions and ratios do:

    in other words, treble at 7 and bass at 10 is pretty much the same as treble at 1 and bass at 4. but with the former, you won’t have to turn your volume nob up as high to rattle the windowpanes.

    records are mixed and then mastered with less and less bass, it seems. i’m with e plurbis. turn up the bass.

  26. saturnismine

    oh, and i often don’t keep my balance in the center, because of the way my room is configured.

    the left speaker is much further than the right speaker is from the couch where i lay down to chill out and listen to music.

    so it behooves me to make the left speaker louder. if i don’t, then i hear mostly right speaker.

    there’s no other way i can set this room up, really.

  27. saturnismine

    hey latelydavid: in what way are the beatles backing tracks on Meet the Beatles “flippin’ lousy”? The way they’re recorded, or the actual playing?

  28. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, Sat…

    I luv ya, but, uh… WTF?

    in other words, treble at 7 and bass at 10 is pretty much the same as treble at 1 and bass at 4. but with the former, you won’t have to turn your volume nob up as high to rattle the windowpanes.

    records are mixed and then mastered with less and less bass, it seems. i’m with e plurbis. turn up the bass.

  29. saturnismine

    the post is pretty self explanatory, HVB. You have to give me a little more than “WTF” to get a response from me. What part of what you’ve snipped don’t you agree with or understand?

  30. Mr. Moderator

    Gergs, I’m glad Saturnismine came back at HVB like that. He had it coming.

  31. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, Sat —

    All of it.


    p.s.: come on, man! You know as well as I do that’s simplistic on both fronts (jacked-up bass and treble is the same as low bass and treble at high volume/modern records are mastered with less bass, etc.). *You* need to explain *your*self.

  32. saturnismine

    You’re accusing ME of being simplistic in a thread where peeople are posting their *universal* bass and treble settings (A concept you apparently buy into with your “6” “6” recommendation)? Please.

    Close your eyes, stop looking at the nobs, and listen: I defy you to tell the difference between volume 9, bass 4, treble 1, and volume 7, bass 7, treble 3.

    Bass and treble nobs are volume boosts that are more specific than a volume nob by half. that’s all.

    I don’t need to explain any more than that, because the concept is simple, easily understood, and TRUE.

    apparently, you agree to some extent if you describe it as simplistic instead of describing it as “wrong”. But if you disagree, and you’d like to have an actual discussion about it, that’s fine. But don’t freaking attack me. Let’s talk about it instead.

    Either that or get off my back.

  33. saturnismine

    ….I don’t have to put up with this shit….

  34. BigSteve

    I wrongly guessed that this thread was going to end up being about age, i.e., that those of us who have been around the block and to too many loud gigs over the years have lost a lot of top end in our hearing and were compensating by turning up the treble knobs on our rigs. I’m surprised that turning up the bass seems more common. The only time I might turn up the bass is if I’m listening to dub or dubstep or something that seems to ask for it.

  35. saturnismine

    BigSteve wants to talk about it.

    (HVB’s unelaborated incredulity notwithstanding…) I really do think that, in general, mixing, mastering, and for that matter, the design of speakers has gotten brighter. It stands to reason that people in their late early 40s and up might want to hear rock with more bottom end and are recommending turning up the bass in this thread.

    The other problem with a thread like this is that everybody has different units that require different things.

    Just based on what’s in my house, I would have to give two different answers. I have a stereo downstairs that’s really boomy and also can’t play the upper frequencies so well. So my settings for that unit are the dead opposite of what I was recommending above where I said turn up the bass.

    Latelydavid, I’m really curious as to your thoughts on “meet the beatles”. Don’t worry, I won’t simply cut and paste the things you wrote and say “WTF” or “come on, man!” I promise.

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