What Is Frequency Response, It’s important to note that frequency response is a very relative term, as there tend to be a number of factors at play in the way that it makes its presence known.
For example; even if two pairs of headphones sound elegantly similar on paper, their relative sound frequencies may render one pair of headphones preferable to the other depending on your preferences for the types of music you listen to. Does that make sense? Ok. Let’s get into the specifics now before we lose you.
Basically, the frequency response is the term used to describe how your headphones sound. Some sound signature types are balanced and have a well-rounded quality, while others may emphasize lower or higher frequencies.
This is why some pairs of headphones produce a much stronger bass that makes your skull rumble. For example, Beats do this in part by adding low-end signal amplification using the heavily criticized “Boom” setting option. Others reproduce the audio waves in a way that spreads the frequencies out more evenly.
Regardless of what kind of music you listen to and whether you are listening to it with headphones while on the train or with a standalone set, chances are good that you’ve experienced varying amounts of distortion in your mixes.
As such, we want to discuss when it comes to playback devices as well as situations in which one can expect not only sound quality inconsistencies but also distorted sound in general.
What Is Frequency Response? & Our Ears
Within each person’s ear, there is a range of decibels that can be represented as an audio graphic.
Sound waves are pretty incredible and can even be used to distract people in order to force them off their paths.
You can see how powerful the spoken word is. Did you know that the human voice is capable of generating even more power, however?
More specifically, in a live setting, a diva singing with full force can generate 150dB- enough power to make your eardrums vibrate, Now that’s what we call true power and here’s everything you – or at least your ears – need to know about it.
Frequencies At 20 Hz
When it comes to headphones, you don’t have to worry about something as rare as being affected by water with each of your senses in the same way as our interviewees at the top of this post.
Though this is a rare occurrence, we thought it worthwhile to include it toward the end if only because it’s so fascinating. But what are some everyday objects that happen to affect our senses on a more regular basis?
Infrasounds are always something which we don’t normally hear but can feel and it can be experienced. But some people claim to hear them.
So you might be wondering to know more about infrasonic sounds, so let’s describe what they are, how they are produced and why some people listen to them.
Frequency ranges through the use of sound are also used by scientists to study how our hearts and bodies work as well as the movement of rock formations.
Since there are already plenty of good examples of sounds at the -20 Hz frequency level, I’ve decided to go for something a little different. These are some examples of noises that you could hear at a frequency below 20 cycles per second:
- infrasonic elephant sounds (around 14-16 Hz)
- the sound of our heartbeat (usually between 14-150 Hz)
Frequencies At 20 kHz
Here are some examples of sounds that are heard in the 20 kHz range:
- the “mosquito tone”
- the sound a CRT TV makes while running (most of us probably don’t have one of these anymore)
Frequencies Above 20 kHz
The sounds that bats emit when using echolocation are between 45 and 50 kHz, which is well outside of the range that we can detect hearing. That’s why we need special equipment to pick up signals from bats. (It also makes for some pretty awesome superhero ideas.)
What Happens As We Get Older?
By the time we get older, our hearing starts to deteriorate. The higher pitches often become less and less audible as the years roll by. (It’s all part of the natural progression, we could rarely ever communicate with bats anyways, right?)
It’s normal for this to happen to most of us, usually starting around 25 years old. Depending on how loud you listen to music or if you’re a musician who uses earbuds while performing your artistry, it could also begin to happen earlier than that.
How Does This Affect Your Headphones?
Audio waves are measured by a unit called Hertz (Hz). There are many different types of headphones in the market that produce sound at different frequencies. Let’s see how these frequencies affect your listening experience.
One of the most common myths regarding any audio system is that their treble, mid and bass drivers can reproduce sound that’s beyond our hearing spectrum. That’s simply not true.
The reality is generally you won’t hear as well as some people, because most people hopefully have at least average hearing, but this probably isn’t a huge factor within the overall experience.
As someone with normal hearing, the chance of being unable to hear an extremely low-frequency sound is fairly slim unless it’s completely inaudible to everyone else within the auditorium.
In this case, you may not be able to pick it up as effectively but at least there will still be some sound coming from that direction which may sound more like a vibration than anything else.
This is where it might be worth a few extra dollars and research to invest in a more expensive pair with a wider response.
Where Does It Really Matter?
All of these things matter, but no more than the variety of genres you like to listen to. It’s important that you decide when thinking about your personal and specific music-listening habits.
For example, I usually use different pairs of earphones for different kinds of music because my preference changes with each genre.
When a new album is released that I’m pretty pumped about, I like to listen to it on vinyl. A lot of times, the same song will have a completely different feel when played on vinyl than it does on digital or CD.
I’m not sure if it’s the recording or just my imagination, but there is definitely something about hearing a song this way that makes me want to play air guitar along with every single track.
Will Using A Headphone Amp Boost My Frequency Response?
When you start adding additional components to your personal audio setup, like a portable headphone amp, they enable your audio response to be even further enhanced.
This is why for just a fraction of what some smartphones charge for headphones alone you can take an already elite listening experience to the next level by bringing all the added clarity, crispness, and overall sound quality benefits that result from connecting quality headphones via your device’s standard headphone jack.
If you already own a good pair of ‘phones, like Grado’s SR60e for example, then you can actually feel the difference that adding an amp will make to your listening experience.
Before it would just be slight rumblings around where the ear cups would sit – now it feels like a much stronger reverberation that will blow your mind.
How Do You Know What Your Headphones Can Handle?
Should you wish to find out about a new pair of headphones on the market before parting with your cash, then simply Google “frequencies response” followed by the name of the brand/model of said pair.
And, also don’t forget to check whether that specific model has what you need in terms of Bluetooth connectivity too.
Although it’s a case of personal preference, if you want to be truly immersed in your music and optimize your listening experience, we recommend making sure you keep the genre and type of sound in mind before making your decision.
In general, I recommend that you look for a pair in the 20Hz – 20kHz (or greater) range. When listening to most genres with headphones in this range, most songs/genres will sound great.
When it comes to finding the right speakers for your needs, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind. First and foremost is whether you want to be wired or wireless speakers, followed by what type of sound quality you’re looking for.
If you’re not an audiophile but would rather just listen to the music that moves you, then stick with simple specifications like volume, bass and treble control.
If you appreciate subtle variations in tones and vibrations like bass-heads do or if high fidelity surround sound is your thing, feel free to explore more complex options like frequency range.
Did You Catch The Wave?
Did you know that there is an entire practice devoted to finding the right frequency response in headphones? This illustrates how specifically important this is to the overall audio experience.
When this part of your search begins, you should have a lot of information you can use to help assist in making the big decision.
If a bat-like device could be invented then perhaps it could extend the human ear’s audio range, and we would be able to interact with bats more directly.
Until that time, however, we will do our research on what’s available to us at the moment and categorize our choices based on budget and specific needs so that we know where exactly to begin.
Thanks so much for stopping by and tuning in, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. If you’d like to ask a question or share your opinion, please leave a comment below.