Mama’s tone controls

General principle

CurvyMama’s tone controls are original circuits, working in the frequency ranges that cause the roundness and clarity of the sound : Low mids between 150 and 250Hz, and the medium / trebles articulation between 1 and 3 kHz …
Traditional circuits seldom operate on these specific frequencies, but rather on bands that are easy to spot but not so substantial on  the musical wise.

So, setting the tone of CurvyMama may seem less obvious than keeping bound to the broad categories Low / Medium / Treble. This is much like adjusting sound colors, more subtle nuances. It can be very intuitive. Musicians have ears, right?

Bandeau medium rouge - L15 - Tonalité

CurvyMama, a preamp/overdrive for harp. Special Tone controls.

The controls of CurvyMama, Harp version.

The tone controls


• Sets the level of upper bass and low mids. (100 to 250Hz). This setting gives the thigh to the harps and somme curves to the guitars, without bringing unnecessary bass.
• Almost neutral effect in 12 o’clock position.


• Balances the overall balance of the mid-high range (500-2000Hz).
• Almost neutral effect in 12 o’clock position.
Turned left : filters to a darker, softer tone.
Turned right : filters to a clearer and more biting tone …
• Very interactive with the Contour setting.


• Contour sculpts the medium / high frequencies that Biting has globally set.
• It treats together and symmetrically the medium to 600Hz and treble to 3000Hz.
Turned left : attenuate the treble AND draws a slight medium hump.
Turned right : hollows the medium AND boosts the treble.
• Almost neutral effect in 12 o’clock position.

Specific switches of the Harp version

The Less Mids switch straightens the bandwidth in case of excessive mid frequencies.
It notches the tone to 1.5kHz. It’s good for the ear, especially in the case of crystal bullet mikes that sound often harsh. Just as useful, it reduces the risk of feedback.

The Invert Phase switch don’t change the tone, but reverses the phase of the output signal.
This can be very useful to minimize feedback. For a given position of the musician on stage, there is always one of the two positions that alleviates the problem.

Bandeau medium rouge - L15 - Tonalité

Useful benchmarks

The Bottom, Biting and Contour settings are neutral when they are set at 12 o’clock.
It is convenient to quickly recover a sound reference and then work its color.

• Knobs all turned in the same way give a sound of low interest, and sometimes just an increased volume.
One get richer sounds with controls set on different positions.

What setting order ?

It is better to start with the most general settings, then go to the most special settings, and finally set the nuances …

1. Bottom. Starting with bass and low medium, one gets immediately the roots of the sound, where the fundamentals are … The general level and the grain will depend on this first setting

2. Biting. One can then set the sweet / biting balance. This is important because guitar and harp are instruments that can be easily aggressive to the ear.

3. Contour. Finally we specify the mid / high zone:
denser and hot on the left, more hollowed out and pointed on the right …
This leads to differentiate and carve into the sound.

4. Play with the Biting / Contour interaction :
Biting and Contour each operate in their own way in the same medium-high range.
• General principle: Biting ensures a global balance while Contour carves détails…
• They are cumulative if they are turned in the same direction :
dark on the left, sharp on the right.
• They draw nuanced sound profiles when they are operated in opposite directions :
for example, one is turned to 10:00 am when the other is turned to 14:00, and vice versa …

5. Think of adjusting the texture by setting the Drive (Gain) :
Drive allows you to dose the grain of the sound, from a smooth texture to the appearance of a grain, then to the overdrive on loud passages or in the entire musical game.
• The overdrive is very related to the tone controls settings because they work upstream of the saturating stage, like on vintage amps.
• In particular, Drive and Bottom are almost always jointly settled.

Good finds!

Guitar Poppa

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