Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › What exactly are "highs" "mids" "treble" "roll off"?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What exactly are "highs" "mids" "treble" "roll off"? - Page 2

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by In Over My Head View Post
 

Yes, but not exactly. To my understanding (and I'm no expert), pitch refers to the fundamental frequency of a musical note (i.e. the lowest frequency of the note). However that is only one of many frequency that is generated when you say press a key on a piano or pick a guitar string. There are also a multitude of higher frequencies generated (harmonic frequencies). 

 

Lets say for example that you press the lowest note on a piano. The pitch of this note is 'A'. This will generate a fundamental frequency of 27.5 Hz (almost at lowest audible threshold), and multiple harmonic frequencies up to say (for illustration purposes) up to 20 Hz. Not all of the frequencies generated will have an equal amount of energy. Generally the higher harmonics will have less energy. For instance, you may not be able to detect frequencies above 10 Hz, either because they are not loud enough, or they are 'drowned out'.

 

If you record and playback this note, it will not sound exactly like it did when you played it live. Recording and reproduction equipment is not perfect, but lets say that is a very good reproduction. You can alter the sound via a graphic equalizer so as to emphasise or de-emphasise selected frequencies. The frequencies on a graphic equalizer are somewhat arbitrarily grouped in to low, mid, and high frequencies.

 

By manipulating the lows, mids, or highs on the EQ, you are changing the energy of those frequencies, and thereby emphasising the sound characteristics, which may be characterised as bassy, middy, trebly etc. But you are not affecting the pitch, it is still an 'A' note. 

 

As playback equipment is not perfect, it will emphasise/ de-emphasise certain frequencies. Different manufactures and models will have different characteristics. It is sort of like they have applied their own EQ to the product. The 'better' gear will typically have less (or more subtle) 'E.Q.', but they will still have a characteristic 'sound signature'. This is where people generally describe the signature in terms of lows, mids, and highs.

 

Treble 'roll off' just refers to the point (frequency) where treble energy starts to diminish, or cease to exist above a certain frequency. Mids don't 'roll off' as such, but are often described as neutral, recessed (de-emphasised), or forward (emphasised), pretty much like applying E.Q.

 

Playing around with E.Q. is good way to familiarise yourself with these sound characteristics and find your preferred sound signature without having to spend money on gear (you should always lower E.Q. bands rater than boosting them, as this can introduce distortion). But E.Q. can only compensate so much for the characteristics design and limitations of the equipment. For example, headphones with bass roll of at 100 Hz will undoubtedly distort and 'drown out' other frequencies (i.e. mids and highs) if you apply enough E.Q. to try to bring out frequencies below 100 Hz.

 

I hope this helps.  

 

So basically, as i understand from your post, an equipment, such as a headphone, would "tune" the frequencies of a particular note.  For e.g an "A" note will always be of the same pitch (that is A), but different headphones would bring out different characteristics of the "A" note.  A headphone would bring out the "bassiness" nature of the "A" note more, while another would make the "A" note sound just a little higher or more forward

 

Does amp do the same thing?.  

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukien View Post
 

 

So basically, as i understand from your post, an equipment, such as a headphone, would "tune" the frequencies of a particular note.  For e.g an "A" note will always be of the same pitch (that is A), but different headphones would bring out different characteristics of the "A" note.  A headphone would bring out the "bassiness" nature of the "A" note more, while another would make the "A" note sound just a little higher or more forward

 

Does amp do the same thing?.  

Yeah that's pretty much it. Amps can also have a sound signature, but there tends to be less differences between different (decent quality) amps compared to different headphones.

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by In Over My Head View Post
 

Yeah that's pretty much it. Amps can also have a sound signature, but there tends to be less differences between different (decent quality) amps compared to different headphones.

 

Well if amps have the same function as headphones, why is there a need for them? How much does a decent amp cost? I mean why would you go to the hassle of buying an inferior pair of headphones and upgrade it with an amp instead of just going out to buy a higher end headphone.

 

This is probably off topic, but since we are at it, must as well..or we can continue the discussion in this thread.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/618097/what-does-an-amp-do#post_9852639

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukien View Post
 

 

Well if amps have the same function as headphones, why is there a need for them? How much does a decent amp cost? I mean why would you go to the hassle of buying an inferior pair of headphones and upgrade it with an amp instead of just going out to buy a higher end headphone.

 

This is probably off topic, but since we are at it, must as well..or we can continue the discussion in this thread.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/618097/what-does-an-amp-do#post_9852639

In an ideal world, all equipment would be neutral (i.e. reproduce all frequencies equally). Due to current technological limitations, no neutral headphones (or speakers) exist. The purpose of an amp is just to supply power to the headphones. Current amp technology is much better than headphones, and well performing amps can be had fairly cheap (i.e. Objective 2). . Indeed, many people would say that the O2 is as good (or better) (i.e. more neutral) than any amp at any price (there are numerous {somewhat heated, and funny} threads in the sound science forums about this).

 

The general rule to go buy is to spend most of your gear budget on headphones (that you like the sound of), then get an amp/ dac if you cant get them to play at a satisfying volume out of your current player (i.e. DAP, Laptop, Soundcard etc). Different sets of excellent headphones may sound very different, bust most (sensible) amps should sound pretty similar (despite the hype and price differences).

 

I find that the Sound Science forum on head-fi is the best place to go for good info about audio and equipment. Much better to learn the basics over there than in the consumer driven main forums.

 

The sound science guys don't usually offer the 'Welcome to head-fi, sorry about your wallet' spiel, their knowledge can save you money, or at least get you the best bang for your buck.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › What exactly are "highs" "mids" "treble" "roll off"?