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Why make headphones with <20Hz & >22KHz if human ears can't hear them?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I'm a newbie in this field and just starting to explore the audiophile headphones.

 

1. What is the reason headphone makers keep producing headsets with frequency response below 20Hz and above 22KHz if humans (normal humans anyway :ksc75smile: ) can't hear them?

 

     I also read in some threads that you can't hear them but some can "feel" them (the <20Hz waves)....?

 

2. Why headphone sets with a wider Frequency Response do not directly translate to better sounding ones?

 

3. Shouldn't a headset with a lower frequency response produce deeper bass? Isn't that the practical outcome?

 

 

Thanks for any information.  

post #2 of 6

TBH I don't think the actual numbers are important. When people talk about frequency extension, it has more to do with whether you can actually hear the super low or high notes in various songs. Obviously some headphones do this a lot better than others, regardless of their reported frequency range. Favorite example is the K272HD- it's advertised as reaching as low as 16Hz, but it has absolutely no sub-bass.

post #3 of 6

1) it makes a good marketing case. Audiophile headphone companies don't usually aim to make their headphones sound good above 15khz, but if the headphone somehow ends up producing those sounds, why not list it? But yes, anything over 10khz is mostly useless. As for sub bass frequencies, they're hard to hear, but really easy to feel. Unfortunately headphones are not the correct medium if sub bass is important. Only subwoofers can do them any real justice.

 

2)Linearity within the audible range (20hz - 10khz or higher) is better than end to end extension.

 

3) technically yes. However, even though companies list their headphones as being able to go that deep,they don't mention that the sound is reduced by a few decibels at that frequency. 

 

Now, to introduce you to a better way of looking at frequency response.... enter the frequency graphs! 

Just for fun, i included some really well balanced world-class headphones (lcd2, hd800), a bang/buck bass heavy headphone (vmoda m100), and a lower tier grado headphone (i don't usually like grados, but just to show you what bright and sub-bass deficient headphones look like).

 

The higher the line on the left side is, the heavier the bass, the higher the line on the left is (however, don't bother looking past 10khz), the brighter the headphone are. The reason i don't usually like grados is because the grado house sound usually lacks subbass, and are bright. The lcd2 and hd800 are balanced, but as you can see on the graph, the hd800 will be noticably brighter since it has more treble.

 

Another site that has many graphs is innerfidelity.

 

While frequency graphs can't tell you how a headphone will exactly sound like, the more headphones you actually hear while being able to look at their graph, the better you will get at guessing a headphone's overall sound signature just by looking at the graph.

post #4 of 6
Because idiots will buy a headphone simply because it says that the frequency response goes above 20hz. biggrin.gif

But seriously, probably just some headphone drivers just happen to have higher response, so they list it because idiots will buy because it says that wink.gif

Anyway, frequency response specs from manufacturers are misleading because there may or may not be useable response. Thus in speaker audio, manufacturers have started supplying frequency response with a +/-3db range to let one know through what range they are linear. Because headphones are not often linear, headphone manufacturers aren't going to want to do this.

So the best you can "believe" of stated frequency responses by manufacturers is that it's probably definitely not going to reproduce sound below the lowest stated frequency, but you can't count on it to work well down to that frequency.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks, and thanks for that graph link. It sure makes understanding the capability of the headphones easier.

 

EDIT : I can see from that graph why the HD800 is so good!


Edited by malibd - 4/6/14 at 9:18pm
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by malibd View Post
 

Thanks, and thanks for that graph link. It sure makes understanding the capability of the headphones easier.

 

EDIT : I can see from that graph why the HD800 is so good!

Yeah, it is. And if you look at distortion measurements and the like, you'll see the hd800 is veeery good.

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