Treble and Bass functions


treble and bass???
Unregistered guest
Is there any consequence for turning up the treble and bass functions/knobs on my HK 7200 at 100% all the time? It shouldn't affect longevity at all, should it?

Why is there a bass knob on the receiver anyway? It seems like a pretty rudemenary method for controlling bass levels on such a sophosticated receiver. Is there a better way to regulate bass?


Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 1425
Registered: Dec-03
No. Longevity will not be affected.

How else do you want to regulate bass? There are variable crossovers, frequency cut off, Bass management, etc.

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
By boosting the bass to the full extent of your control's range you are asking the amp to perform at an increased level of wattage for the volume you percieve in the midrange. If you look in your Owner's Manual you can find the amount of boost that the controls give to the frequency ranges they control. A bass control usually adds 10 or 12Db of boost at maximum rotation. This is the equivalent of asking your amplifier to produce 10 times the amount of power at the low frequencies against flat response. That means if you have a 100 watt amp when all controls are set to their flat position, when you add 10dB boost at the lowest frequencies (which already are what eat up most of the power from the amp) you will have a 10 watt amp to drive your speakers. The numbers are in the "defintions and descriptions" section under "speakers" on this forum. The treble control adds another 10dB but is not as critical since there is normally quite a bit less wattage required to drive the high frequencies. If you were to add the loudness control into this mix you would overdrive the amp almost instantaneously. As is when you boost the bass 10dB you are going to overwork the amp even at moderate volume. This will cause the amp to overheat and heat is the enemy of electronic components. If the amp doesn't try to protect itself by shutting down it will start to create puffs of smoke and your room will fill with the wonderful smell of burning electronic components. The amp will also be clipping when it has reached a few watts into the midrange because the majority of its power is now directed to the bass boost. Clipping an amp will cause damage to your speakers, most often blowing out a tweeter. But with 10dB of boost at the bass end you are asking the woofer to make enormous excursion that it was not design to produce. This will cause extremely high distrotion in your woofer, which is already the source of the highest level of distortion in your entire system. Distortion causes heat and will, left as is, eventually blow the woofer. So now you are left with a dead amp and blown speakers. If you don't consider that affecting longevity then the answer is no, go ahead.
If your system doesn't produce the sound you like you should look for a different system.

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 1429
Registered: Dec-03
Wow, that is very interesting. I haven't experienced that type of death in a receiver before, but it sure makes sense.
Does anybody really drive their receivers that hard and is it for any extended periods of time? I used to have a 30 year old Harman Kardon that had the Treble and Bass knobs turned all the way up and had never seen the lower side of boost and it never really died on me. It died from drowning, though...I loved that receiver, sniff!!

Bronze Member
Username: Sound_advice

Post Number: 15
Registered: Sep-04
Nice!, I agree with J.Vigne on this one, I couldn't have said it better :-)

I personnaly always leave all the settings at flat. The people that record these CDs, Tapes, DVDs do all that work for you, why alter the sound you will only introduce distortion and all the bad stuff...I would look to upgrading your system if you're not happy with the results...

The HK is not a bad performer, but it does seem to sound a little too laid back and dry for "my" liking...

Your system sound will only be as good as your weakess link (Receiver,CD,DVD,Wires,Speakers,Environment...)

What speakers are you using?

Bronze Member
Username: Bleustar

Pensacola, Florida

Post Number: 54
Registered: Jul-04
If you like the treble all the way up and love that bright sound, you may want to buy some bright speakers or a brighter amp so your bass and treble control can be set closer to flat.

I have the Harman Kardon 3480 receiver and depending on the recording I adjust the bass or treble to my liking, but I rarely have the treble or bass all the way up. To be honest I don't think it matters unless you are really cranking up the volume, because like the others have stated, it is the heat and overdriving the system that will cause the problems.

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
You asked about why there are bass and treble controls and how rudimentary they are and you are correct there in your assessment. Bass and treble are hold overs from ancient times in audio. They are considered necessary on most consumer gear and often more controls (midrange, variable turn over points, etc.) are a selling point on many mass market amps. Once you get to the higher end audio gear these controls disapppear and the user is encouraged to listen to the sound "flat". If you haven't made it to the point where you want to listen "flat" you can use the controls but be judicious in how much boost you add. If you hear distortion or the woofer's voice coil jumping out of its gap, turn something down. The biggest problem with tone controls is the amount of area they cover in the frequency bandwith. If you look in your Owner's Manual you will see the range where the bass control starts to take affect. This is most often around 500 Hz, which is into the midrange and tends to just muddy up the sound more than help. If you like the sound of the controls turned all the way up you do have the wrong system and should probably go to a shop that sells PA/DJ systems. In case you don't know, you can increase the amount of bass you get out of your speakers with placement. The most bass booost from the room can be had by placing the speakers into a corner on the floor. This gives three intersecting surfaces that will add bass with the bass control set to "flat". If you don't have your speakers in this spot try it and then see how much bass boost you still think you need.

origina post
Unregistered guest
i'm the original post on this string.

i have jbl studios all around and the pb12 woofer.

the sound quality isn't good enough for me without the treble and bass up all the way or near the max. is it possible that the crossovers are set wrong or some other function?

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 1471
Registered: Dec-03
It could also mean that those are just your listening preferrences.
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