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Tezza

How high can you actually hear?

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I'm wondering about the validity of performing such a test with a YouTube video, given that we know YT never presents audio without modification. Using an oscillator plugin such as MOscillator (one of the freebies in the Melda fee pack) might be more trustworthy.

I think we obsess over hearing range because a) it's easily measurable, and b) it's something we all fear losing with age. The question that never gets asked: how much high end do you need to hear in order to create a nice-sounding mix?

If your kneejerk response is "as close to 20 KHz as possible", that does not reflect reality. If you listen to MP3s, the upper end has been lopped off (IIRC, at 18 KHz). Same for other lossy compression algorithms. If you listen to FM radio, it's limited to 15 KHz. Your guitar amp likely tops out at around 12 KHz. Hammond organs often occupy the upper end of a mix, but a classic Leslie horn only goes up to about 10 KHz. Truth is, we listen to band-limited audio all the time and rarely notice.

The real question is where musical frequencies live. Quick, what's the fundamental frequency of the highest note on a piano? How about a piccolo? Think either one goes above 12 KHz? Think again. Sure, there are overtones that are multiples of the fundamental that can run up into the hearing range of bats. But humans can't hear them. But can you tell when they're not there?

Try this experiment. Play the highest note on the highest virtual instrument you have on hand. Pipe organ, for example. Nothing goes higher than a pipe organ, AFAIK. Insert SPAN and note where the fundamental frequency is, and where its harmonics lie. Now add a low-pass filter and start cutting those harmonics until you can distinguish a tonal difference. Find some six-year-olds and repeat the experiment with them.

When mixing, by far the most important frequencies are the ones everyone can hear with ease, between ~1KHz and ~5KHz. This is why band-limited speakers have long been used by mix engineers; if it sounds good on speakers that don't go much above 8-10 KHz or below 100 Hz, it'll sound good on a full-range system.

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Posted (edited)

I just turned 60 - I think I top out at about 6k. ( the you tube test posted above - I got to about 7.5K.)    Gets better when I cup my hands around my ears. I'm sure it looks worse than it sounds. That's with sine wave sweeps. I use Span to actually band cut high and low - and these days the visuals actually do matter.

Edited by RBH
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Posted (edited)
20 hours 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.

I didn't take the test, but I have been tested by Audiologists half a dozen times.  I have a graph that actually is charted showing me where my hearing has suffered some loss.   My loss is probably due to my youth, a combination of working in a very loud factory environment and an over abundance of shooting fire arms.  My Dad was an extreme outdoors man and we shot a lot while I was a teen into my early 20's.  The graph pretty much depicts this, with a huge dip in the high mids.  I seem to hear lower and low mids well; also not too bad in the higher range.   I am 59 closing down on 60.

Just this year during the pandemic, I decided to try hearing aids.  Women's voices can be a challenge sometimes, even discounting selective hearing.  🙂   Being trapped in the home for over a year, with my wife having to deal with me, I gave in and have been wearing them religiously for the last 9 months.  Ed, I understand you comment about the distraction completely.  Things that I don't necessarily want to hear are elevated and can become a distraction.  Sometimes now my wife will say, I don't think those things are working because you seem to not hear me that well.  In which I will reply, I'm sorry but that bird over there is out producing you.  Overall, however, I hear much more of what she says and can hear other voices much better in that high mid range.    They are terrible for playing guitar, however.  Nothing sounds even close to natural.  The Audiologist even has programmed several custom settings for me to use while playing guitar, in an effort to make the tone more natural.  They are better, but still don't sound great.  I have been using them while mixing, that seems OK.  I treat them as another system to check audio mixes.  I will take them out to hear the mix and put them back in to see what the mix sounds like; similar to testing on different speakers and systems.  

Edited by michaelhanson
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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, bitflipper said:

I'm wondering about the validity of performing such a test with a YouTube video, given that we know YT never presents audio without modification. Using an oscillator plugin such as MOscillator (one of the freebies in the Melda fee pack) might be more trustworthy.

I think we obsess over hearing range because a) it's easily measurable, and b) it's something we all fear losing with age. The question that never gets asked: how much high end do you need to hear in order to create a nice-sounding mix?

+1 on both counts. I downloaded the audio from one of these (possibly this one) and made a video of the response curves on the old forums. The low frequency was definitely not accurate as a "number" since the curve is so wide on the low end that there was content stretching well above 50Hz when the number was reading below 20Hz (the crux of that post was someone saying they can easily hear below 20Hz). The high end was off as well, IIRC, but I cannot find that post. Interestingly, I found another oddity with MOscillator when this thread posted running it through the Realtek chip (and forget which host); above 12KHz the frequency began to oscillate and never went above 16KHz, and "20KHz" landed around 13KHz for some reason (i.e., hardware matters). I need to revisit that at some point and see what was really going on (and should have recorded it in the first place since it could have easily been a host blip). Last time I did this with MOscillator on proper equipment I was around 14KHz in my left ear, and 16KHz in my right.

Regarding the high end... A fun game to play on folks is to use a good EQ that has a steep slope and lower the frequency of a HPF starting as high as it goes on a commercial track until a song can be identified. It will need to go a lot lower than you expect. In many cases, the content over 10K isn't contributing as much as people suspect, but you have to isolate that part and hear it for yourself to get a feel for it (try it on commercial tracks you know well).

Bottom line, I wouldn't get too worked up about high end hearing, since it is much more often used to determine hearing loss. Content below 8K is what matters the most. The important part is to protect your hearing properly so that you get the most use from it for as long as you can (especially musicians). I walked out of a convenience store the other day and could hear the loose metal rattling on one kid's car (was louder than the bass), rolled my eyes and thought, "That poor ***** is going to have tinnitus before he is 25..."

Edited by mettelus
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I only ever had one experience playing live on stage while under the influence of drugs and it was such a terrible experience I never did it again. I looked down at my guitar and all I saw was a dogs paw moving up and down wire on a tree trunk with no knowledge of what the guitar was or how to play it. The band had to stop playing because I couldn't play a single chord. The other guitarist was similarly affected since we had both imbibed the same substance. Thankfully, it was an encore as we had played our full set and had been called back out to play a couple more songs. It was after we played our set that we indulged, not expecting to have to go back out there.

The audience took it well, when it was broadcast over the PA that we couldn't go on because we were all stoned, some were on the floor in laughter, listening to the dirge.

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On 3/13/2021 at 11:04 PM, Tezza said:

I only ever had one experience playing live on stage while under the influence of drugs and it was such a terrible experience I never did it again. I looked down at my guitar and all I saw was a dogs paw moving up and down wire on a tree trunk with no knowledge of what the guitar was or how to play it. The band had to stop playing because I couldn't play a single chord. The other guitarist was similarly affected since we had both imbibed the same substance. Thankfully, it was an encore as we had played our full set and had been called back out to play a couple more songs. It was after we played our set that we indulged, not expecting to have to go back out there.

The audience took it well, when it was broadcast over the PA that we couldn't go on because we were all stoned, some were on the floor in laughter, listening to the dirge.

will carruthers, bass player for spacemen 3, named his autobiography "playing the bass with three left hands" - -apparently the real one is usually the middle one lol

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53 minutes ago, Gswitz said:

This whole thread just serves to upset me.

Obviously you need to get high. 😆

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34 minutes ago, craigb said:

Obviously you need to get high. 😆

Virginia just legalized it. Who knew? 

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Posted (edited)

Thread Reported!!!

 

Keep in mind, with the forums population primarily being made up of mostly 5 year olds or there about, I think all this drug talk is inappropriate.

John, John!!

V4eEZG7.jpg%C2%A0%C2%A0%C2%A0%C2%A0

Remember . . .

Quote

                                                                                                                     Posts will inappropriately be removed.

 

Edited by Fret Flintstone

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You should consider being a mod Fret!  They also have the tendency to misunderstand what's going on.  😜

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, craigb said:

You should consider being a mod Fret!  They also have the tendency to misunderstand what's going on.  😜

 

I resemble that statement!!

Edited by Fret Flintstone

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On 3/9/2021 at 12:50 PM, Tezza said:

How high can you actually hear?

They say no one can you scream in space. So in answer to your question I would say until you reach space. That is if you can avoid first being burnt to dust in the upper atmosphere...

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The inescapable truth of these tests is that there’s a bunch of old farts in the Coffee House. 
 

Psstt!

Did you hear the one about... Oh, that’s right, you can’t hear... fade to silence. 

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