1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

Why does it matter if headphones have a frequency range below 20Hz and above 20kHz?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by keyboardwarrior, Nov 29, 2011.
1 2
4 5 6
  1. Blue Boat
    I don't know either.
    But at some point, the bass tone seems to start getting softer. This is roll-off, I believe.
    As I decreased the frequency of the wave, the drivers start to rattle. I think this is distortion.
    It's hard (for me) to pinpoint when it stops producing the actual bass tone... 
  2. anetode
    It's fairly easy to get a headphone to make audible noise while feeding it infrasonic frequencies. Running a signal to a D7000 through a Little Dot tube amp, I get all sorts of warbles from the harmonics.
    Even so, hearing 15hz doesn't necessarily mean that you're full of it; it's not that far away along the normal distribution. I doubt there's anything below 15hz, though there have been interesting experiments conducted on the effect of exposure to infrasonic frequencies. If for whatever reason you're listening so low, prepare for a good chance of queasiness and anxiety.
    Or you can buy a contraption that claims to sync with your brainwaves and imagine all sorts of sounds and effects.
    Claritas likes this.
  3. Blue Boat


    What do you mean by subsonic? Slower than the speed of sound?
  4. nick_charles Contributor

  5. anetode


    [​IMG] typo, i meant infrasonic

    I meant "anything that one could hear" rather than any sound sources that generate those frequencies. Though I bet elephants would dig that pipe organ.
  6. JohnRichard
    As one who goes out of his way to collect gear that accurately reproduces the full frequency spectrum, from lab testing I have to say:
    But isn't it part of the experience?
    I'm a working musician.  I experience things outside of the 20-20 range every day.   Part of the appeal of Pipe Organs is their ability to represent different instruments/voices in a clear sound field along with everything else.  When Bach designed organs, he refer ed to some having thunderous bass.  We know today, that those bass pipes went down below 10Hz all the time.   It's part of the experience of the Pipe Organ.   Some of the Mixture stops have pipes that scream above 20kHz, and people tune them by tuning the harmonics they produce that we can hear... talk about voodoo magic...
    The point is, humans may not be able to register something above 20,000 cycles per second, but if we walked around with a filter on our ears, I guarantee people would state something was missing.   I say all that to say this:  It DOES matter.  Watch an RTA (that can read up above 40,000Hz), and see just what happens up there.   Do blind tests.  I bet you will be able to tell a difference.
    An argument for it Does NOT matter:
    The hard part is going to be finding equipment that doesn't cut frequencies, or just roll off anything other than 20-20... which I hate.
    Then, think about your source material.  CD's go to 22kHz or so.   How is a 24/96 recording going to sound better than a CD, if it was made from the CD master.  If it was made from an analogue master, perhaps.  If it was made from a digital recording?  It's likely already 24/96 and the publisher just put it in a format you can hear.
    And then, was the source recorded on mics that can actually hear up past 40kHz?  You got to have very sensitive recording equipment to do that. 
    In the end, pay attention to what your SOURCE is.  If you are lissening to CD's, MP3's, FLAC... better check to see that there is actually sound info in those registers before you buy a headset that can do 1000000000Hz.
  7. liamstrain
    Just a quick correction - It takes a 32 foot pipe, to generate 16hz. There are only a few 64' pipe organs generating 8hz or lower - and are hardly common (less so even in Bach's day - even with combined pedal stops, and are usually a stopped 32'). These are more felt than heard - which given the amount of air they move - makes sense. 
    Interesting note - I was once photographing Westminster Abbey while the sanctuary was closed to the public. Only an organist was practicing in the space. I have a few photographs when he apparently opened up the big pipes. Everything in the photograph is tack sharp - except the pipe casings which are blurred madly from those big vibrations. 
    Claritas likes this.
  8. HiFiMarx
    Usually the average human hearing range is about 20Hz-20Khz. So theoretically the frequency response range does not matter as long as it is 20Hz-20Khz.
    However, If you want to feel the bass or have the headphones wobble against your ears you will need headphones with the approximate frequency range of 8Hz-23Khz.
    This would be best. Also there are a cheap pair of headphones from JVC called the Xtreme Xplosives, or more specifically the HA-M55X. These are priced around $50.00. They are pretty decent. There are others as well.
  9. squallkiercosa
  10. mark_h Contributor
    Hello...Paging Dr. Head-Fi? Are there any cognitive neuroscientists, (specializing in frequency dispersion in the basilar membrane) attending in the house? :wink:
  11. Trae
    Thou thread has risen from the depths of the deepwebz [​IMG]
    Anyways, every headphone/iem/speaker can go as low as 1Hz if you use a tone generator (with the exception of crossfaders changing the frequency band). For my headphones, I can feel all the way down to 2Hz, no joke. My headphones have an IEM-like seal around my ears, and the pressure changes within that sealed area are very noticeable. I did the same test to some old bose cube speakers, and they could do 1Hz too. 
    Really, you shouldn't care about frequency ranges on headphones, unless they're really bad or something. I'm thinking that on some headphones that don't have a wide frequency range (take some IEMs, for instance) are rated under 20 kHz because the electromagnetic field that is generated from the magnet that moves the voice coil isn't strong and dense enough to properly control the coil at super low or super high frequencies. The denser the magnet is, and the stronger the electromagnetic field is around the voice coil, the more accurate it's able to move that driver around. So, headphones can get down to super low hz ranges, and possibly up to very high ranges, but mechanical distortion and frequency reproduction inaccuracies may be prone to influencing the quality of the sound made from the drivers, especially when the sound is being produced at a loud volume level. That's just my guess. Could be wrong. 
    I would talk about sources and whatnot, but I think JohnRichard did a good job explaining that already.
  12. bigshot
    The balance of the frequencies you can actually hear is MUCH more important than the existence of ones you can't hear.
    higbvuyb likes this.
  13. hankypanky2
    Can u reword this please, thanks.
  14. bigshot
    The sound you can hear matters a lot more than the sound you can't.
  15. SilentFrequency
    Is it true then that the frequencies you can't hear, you can sometimes feel?
1 2
4 5 6

Share This Page