if my stereo has treble and bass knobs and I set the bass at 9 and the treble at 8, how is that different then if I set the bass at 10 and the treble at 9?
The bass and treble controls only affect the low and high parts of the frequency spectrum respectively.
So by boosting bass and treble you leave a “gap” in the middle frequencies. With bass on 10 and treble on 9 both the lows and highs will be louder compared to the midrange, than what you would have with bass 9 and treble 8.
Since how it’s exactly implemented varies from stereo to stereo, let’s just think of each knob as going from min 0% to max 100% for each frequency range they control.
– 9 bass 8 treble would be like 90% of max bass and 80% of max treble
– 10 bass 9 treble would be like 100% of max bass and 90% of max treble
What you hear is the “summation” of your setting for treble and bass and not necessarily the difference between treble and bass.
Another way to visualize it would be like having ‘coins’ for treble and bass. 9 bass coins and 8 treble coins is not the same as having 10 bass coins and 9 treble coins. You can ‘buy’ up to 10 of each bass or treble, but your preference will dictate how much of each (and not necessarily the difference between them) you actually want.
imagine a knob for ‘midrange’ that is always set at 5.
your bass and treble curves move up more, midrange stays at 5.
yes the music will be a bit brighter, and at low volume levels will be similar to a ‘loudness’ switch that older equipment had. vocals/mids would be muted somewhat.
play around with the knobs and spend some time listening!
Something not mentioned is that the knobs are creating smooth eq curves and as you increase them one of two things will happen. The frequencies around the center of the range the knob affects will get further from each other in volume OR the number of frequencies will expand to include more of the spectrum so it is less drastic of a curve. The term for this is bandwidth. If the bandwidth doesnt change you will have a sharp, narrow curve if it does you will have a broad, smooth curve. Which one is happening can really only be determined through technical measuring or asking the manufacturer.
Here is a picture. (Note in audio engineering the term used is “Q”)