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Tezza

How high can you actually hear?

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I took this test this morning to see how high I can actually hear and it appeared to top out at about 13,768khz for me.  I was a bit shocked. Does this mean everything I edit has a whole load of high frequency stuff that I cannot even hear? or is it my laptop sound card? aaarghh!

If you choose to take the test, be prepared to turn the volume down as you go through the mid frequencies and do not turn the volume up loud when you can no longer hear the signal.

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Hearing Test in HD quality. Sinusoidal wave starting at 20 Hz frequency and going up to 20 kHz frequency. It's recommended that you listen to this using headphones.

If you can't hear anything above 16000 Hertz it's probably because Youtube's audio compression cut off frequencies above 16kHz. Try watching in HD to get better audio quality. Update: Youtube no longer seems to cut of frequencies above 16kHz at least when encoding as opus audio stream. There is still lossy compression and there are visible distortions at high end of the spectrum (high frequencies).

If you don't hear low frequencies it's your hardware! Most decent headphones should be able to play low frequencies, for loudspeakers check their specification. They could have frequency range (min) starting at 40Hz or 80Hz or in case of build in laptop/tablet speakers 120Hz or higher. For other end of the spectrum (high frequencies) it's more sophisticated. Again, it's best to listen using headphones, but you also need good Digital to Analog Converter (DAC). If your soundcard uses DSP processor it is best to turn it off and switch to "Stereo Direct" mode (if it offers such possibility). Also disable any modification to the original signal like equalizers or "bass boost" in your hardware/software. All these features modify original signal and might distort it to the point that high frequency components will be lost. If you have quality DAC and headphones/speakers and can't hear above certain frequency, then it's most likely your hearing. To be 100% sure ask someone with better hearing (someone younger). Generally, if children can hear it on the same hardware and you can't, it's above your hearing threshold.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, Tezza said:

I took this test this morning to see how high I can actually hear and it appeared to top out at about 13,768khz for me.  I was a bit shocked. Does this mean everything I edit has a whole load of high frequency stuff that I cannot even hear? or is it my laptop sound card? aaarghh!

If you choose to take the test, be prepared to turn the volume down as you go through the mid frequencies and do not turn the volume up loud when you can no longer hear the signal.

Depending on how old you are that's pretty good. The last time I did one of these home based tests I couldn't hear anything below 80Hz or above 12kHz at normal listening levels. It's dangerous to raise volume levels with home hearing tests. Once those little tiny hair like cells in your inner ear get knocked down from loud sounds they don't come back up and there's no way to get them up. That's the main cause of tinnitus and hearing loss and why subwoofers are so bad. You never even hear it comin'.

That said, no, I don't think it effects your mixing and mastering that much unless you have complete missing pockets of certain frequencies. Take for instance a cymbal ride. It covers quite a wide range of frequencies but you really can't actually discern those higher ones even though they are there. What's the saying, the magic is in the midrange?

I examined a lot of audio recordings on 1st edition CD's before the loudness wars started. What I found interesting was across the board on all the albums I checked on several different genres, rock, country, and classical was the low end rapidly rolled off at 100Hz and the high end rapidly rolled off at 10kHz.

The only way to really tell what's going on with your hearing is to go to an ENT and have a proper test done where they hook up sensors behind your ears to check the auditory bones and play white noise along with tones to see if you have nerve damage. I have severe nerve damage from chronic inner ear infections. If someone is talking to me and they rustle a piece of paper or scuff their feet while walking everything becomes muffled and I can't comprehend what they are saying.

Edited by Shane_B.
Fixed typo.
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2 hours ago, Tezza said:

I took this test this morning to see how high I can actually hear and it appeared to top out at about 13,768khz for me.  I was a bit shocked. Does this mean everything I edit has a whole load of high frequency stuff that I cannot even hear? or is it my laptop sound card? aaarghh!

If you choose to take the test, be prepared to turn the volume down as you go through the mid frequencies and do not turn the volume up loud when you can no longer hear the signal.

---------------------------------------

Hearing Test in HD quality. Sinusoidal wave starting at 20 Hz frequency and going up to 20 kHz frequency. It's recommended that you listen to this using headphones.

If you can't hear anything above 16000 Hertz it's probably because Youtube's audio compression cut off frequencies above 16kHz. Try watching in HD to get better audio quality. Update: Youtube no longer seems to cut of frequencies above 16kHz at least when encoding as opus audio stream. There is still lossy compression and there are visible distortions at high end of the spectrum (high frequencies).

If you don't hear low frequencies it's your hardware! Most decent headphones should be able to play low frequencies, for loudspeakers check their specification. They could have frequency range (min) starting at 40Hz or 80Hz or in case of build in laptop/tablet speakers 120Hz or higher. For other end of the spectrum (high frequencies) it's more sophisticated. Again, it's best to listen using headphones, but you also need good Digital to Analog Converter (DAC). If your soundcard uses DSP processor it is best to turn it off and switch to "Stereo Direct" mode (if it offers such possibility). Also disable any modification to the original signal like equalizers or "bass boost" in your hardware/software. All these features modify original signal and might distort it to the point that high frequency components will be lost. If you have quality DAC and headphones/speakers and can't hear above certain frequency, then it's most likely your hearing. To be 100% sure ask someone with better hearing (someone younger). Generally, if children can hear it on the same hardware and you can't, it's above your hearing threshold.

I have a friend that gets so high I doubt he's hearing anything... 😁

But, seriously, I appeared to top out at exactly the same spot that you did and that just seems a bit too coincidental to me.  Oh well...

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On my monitors with no sub bass I am hearing 28-13182.
I am 57 years old.

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I'm 50 in a few months - I can definitely hear up to 16.5Khz. Above that and up to about 18Khz it's more of a perception... I know something is "there" but can't really hear it. In other words, I can hear the difference if I turn the sound off.  Above 18Khz I hear nothing.... but is a great way to get the cat out of the room 😁

I'm generating a sine wave using MOscillator going through my Edirol MA-5A speakers.

I couldn't find a low frequency I couldn't hear... even 10Hz - 20Hz was audible, which was surprising on such small speakers, although to be fair the level was much lower than 50Hz and above.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, garybrun said:

On my monitors with no sub bass I am hearing 28-13182.
I am 57 years old.

Heh, pretty much the same (both sentences!).

I also wanted to add that, after listening all the way up, when I went back to lower frequencies to retest areas, I would still hear a tone even with the video paused as if the ramp up was causing a bit of tinnitus.   I thought that was interesting!

Edited by craigb

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It's easy to cheat and engage in hopefulness by turning up the volume as the high frequency fades and listening to the hiss of your sound card.

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6 hours ago, craigb said:

I have a friend that gets so high I doubt he's hearing anything... 😁

But, seriously, I appeared to top out at exactly the same spot that you did and that just seems a bit too coincidental to me.  Oh well...

We must be on the same wavelength....

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6 hours ago, Tezza said:

We must be on the same wavelength....

I see what you did there.

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31 - 3K

I'm 68 and had serious genetic inner ear damage in my left ear in the 80s (Doc said I should be stone deaf and it's a miracle I can hear anything there). Right ear has been failing for over 10 years now. 10 years ago I could hear up 6K pretty clearly. Hearing aids help but on the flip side when I wear them I hear even the whisp of a leave in the wind to major distraction.

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3 minutes ago, Bapu said:

31 - 3K

I'm 68 and had serious genetic inner ear damage in my left ear in the 80s (Doc said I should be stone deaf and it's a miracle I can hear anything there). Right ear has been failing for over 10 years now. 10 years ago I could hear up 6K pretty clearly. Hearing aids help but on the flip side when I wear them I hear even the whisp of a leave in the wind to major distraction.

So thats why your mixes are crap??  🙂
English sarcastic humour!!  lol

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12 minutes ago, Bapu said:

31 - 3K

I'm 68 and had serious genetic inner ear damage in my left ear in the 80s (Doc said I should be stone deaf and it's a miracle I can hear anything there). Right ear has been failing for over 10 years now. 10 years ago I could hear up 6K pretty clearly. Hearing aids help but on the flip side when I wear them I hear even the whisp of a leave in the wind to major distraction.

Without going OT (we all know that never happens here), how the h e double hockey sticks are your mixes so good? I guess I was right when I said the magic is in the midrange eh? Do you strictly use meters, have a someone else double check? Pay Craigb to do it for you? 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Shane_B. said:

Without going OT (we all know that never happens here), how the h e double hockey sticks are your mixes so good? I guess I was right when I said the magic is in the midrange eh? Do you strictly use meters, have a someone else double check? Pay Craigb to do it for you? 

Well, I do have other people double check and make use of forum comments.

I've never used meters (SPAN and such) much. It's all instinct and using the same techniques that worked in the past.

Oh yeah, I mainly mix in headphones and crank those suckers up to 11.

Edited by Bapu
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1 hour ago, Bapu said:

31 - 3K

I'm 68 and had serious genetic inner ear damage in my left ear in the 80s (Doc said I should be stone deaf and it's a miracle I can hear anything there). Right ear has been failing for over 10 years now. 10 years ago I could hear up 6K pretty clearly. Hearing aids help but on the flip side when I wear them I hear even the whisp of a leave in the wind to major distraction.

You should consider playing bass then Ed! 😜

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, craigb said:

You should consider playing bass then Ed! 😜

How many strings does a bass have? I only have so many fingers to go around.

Edited by Bapu

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38 minutes ago, craigb said:

You should consider playing bass then Ed! 😜

What's a good brand of bass to buy?

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38 minutes ago, craigb said:

You should consider playing bass then Ed! 😜

 

1 minute ago, Bapu said:

How many strings does a bass have? I only have so many fingers to go around.

Strings??!  I thought they just had scales!  😮

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Just now, Bapu said:

What's a good brand of bass to buy?

Well, I've heard of C bass.  I wonder if there's such a thing as Am bass? 🤔

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I'll play. I'm 55. I used MOscillator in Cakewalk to generate tones. My ears tell me that anything above 13kHz might as well not be there.

That's depressing, but not news to me.

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Posted (edited)

Stood on a church steeple once. It was windy, couldn't hear much, but yeah, that's the highest for me.

 

Edited by marc williams
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