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Music experts and enthusiasts often talk about high, mid, and low-frequency waves when they talk about sound. Sound waves are air molecule movements that human ears interpret as sound, and frequency refers to the number of cycles these waves complete in a second. But what are low, mid, and high-frequency sounds?
The audio that we hear is broadly classified into 3 parts – Low, Mid, and High Frequencies.
Here is the breakdown:
Lows or Bass: Bass frequencies are low frequencies in the range of 0Hz-256Hz. These frequencies are the ones that make a room vibrate and are produced by woofers and subwoofers.
Mids: The mid range is frequencies in the region of roughly 250Hz to 2000Hz. This frequency range is very important for the natural presentation of sound including vocals.
Highs or Treble: The higher end of the frequency range begins at 2.048KHz and ends at the hearing limit of the human ear at 20.000LHz (most adults humans cannot hear sounds beyond 16 KHz – check out our guide on noise levels to learn more). The high frequencies add a lot of clarity and details to your sound. However, too much high frequencies can be exhausting and fatiguing.
To be more specific in terms of sub frequencies, check out the frequency ranges below:
Sub-bass = 15-50 Hz
Bass = 50-200 Hz
Mid-bass = 200-400Hz
Lower mids 400-900Hz
Upper mids = 900-4.000Hz
Treble – 4.000-20.000Hz
What Are Lows?
The bass or low range frequencies are most often the lowest notes you hear in a song. The most well-known instruments in this range are beats (probably of an EDM song) or drums in general.
In terms of music, this is the foundation upon which all other sounds are built. Several ingredients are required for music to sound whole and complete, and the bass is unquestionably one of them.
What Are Mids?
This is perhaps the most important frequency range as most audible sounds, such as musical instruments and the human voice, are produced in this range:
Mid-frequency sounds can be subdivided into two which are:
- Lower Mid-Range: A bass guitar is the best example of an instrument that produces sounds in this range. It can also be called a lower mid-range instrument. Bass guitars generally sound low. For example, the opening notes of Queen’s legendary ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ are mostly bass guitar and belong to the mid-bass frequency band. Male vocalists, cellos, and those amazing Dubstep drops are some other good examples of lower mid-range sounds.
- Mid-Range and Higher Mid-Range: This is the most well-known audio bandwidth. Here you’ll find the majority of vocals, as well as guitar and other popular instruments. You get the meat of the most clearly known frequency here. For the major part of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller, ‘sound production was mostly in the mid and higher mid-range.
What Are Highs?
High Frequency, commonly known as Treble, is the harsh and sharp edge of the musical spectrum that cuts across everything else. This is the upper end of the frequency spectrum.
This is the most audible music frequency range. This range includes flutes, bells and whistles, chimes, and occasionally vocalists who can hit extremely high notes. Future’s ‘Mask Off,’ which features snappy flute music, is a great example of highs.
What Are Mids And Highs In Speakers?
Loudspeakers include woofers, mid-range speakers, and tweeters. All three types of speakers are commonly found in a single enclosure, but they can also be found in separate enclosures. Let’s look at how they work in more detail.
We classify speakers based on the frequency range they produce. Some speakers are referred to as full-range because they aim to output all of the frequencies that are transmitted to them.
The problem is that the size of these full-range speakers usually limits their sound quality. Small full-range speakers can’t get enough bass, while larger speakers struggle with the higher frequencies.
Other speakers are more focused on specific ranges. Notably,
- Woofers handle the lowest frequencies (20 Hz up to 2,000 Hz)
- Mid-range speakers output the middle frequencies (500 Hz-4 kHz), and
- Tweeters handle the highest frequencies.
When you combine these separate speakers, you get a considerably fuller, more accurate sound than you would with a single full-range speaker.
Best Frequency For Mids And Highs
Mid-frequency sounds are those that fall between 200Hz and 5000 Hz. This is the frequency at which human speech can be intelligently deduced. This range of sound has a tiny or horn-like character to it.
High-frequency sounds start at above 5000 Hz. People often argue that sound at 2000 Hz commands “presence”, especially for speech, making it sound more real. Sounds like crashing cymbals and singing birds can be heard at about 10,000 Hz.
Human hearing can register sounds with frequencies ranging from around 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, depending on the efficiency of the hearing system of the listener.
Hearing loss affects people’s ability to hear noises in the higher frequency range. The frequency range of speech is normally between 100Hz and 8000 Hz.
Headphones With Good Mids and Highs
Sony’s WH series has always set the bar for timing and dynamics, and the XM4s maintain that tradition. The headphones express dynamic alterations, such as transitions from quiet to loud, with ease.
Their ability to get into the rhythm of a song and stick to it means they can entertain you with the most basic of beats and then seamlessly transition to more complicated arrangements.
These Y400s are an excellent affordable wireless option. They’re incredibly comfortable and portable, well-made, and feature an energizing, broad sound that sets a new bar at this price point.
Grado hasn’t torn up its own rulebook and reinvented its illustrious headphones because it doesn’t need to. However, the SR80x’s improvements have boosted its worth in the right direction.
The SR80 model remains the best on the market for this price and given its dominance in this area, we wouldn’t be shocked if this remained true for as long as wired headphones exist.
Are Vocals Mids Or Highs?
Obviously, this varies depending on the singer’s voice, but it’s normal to for most vocals to be at a frequency over 100 Hz.
Male vocals have their primary frequencies in the range of 100–300 Hz, while female vocals have fundamental frequencies in the range of 200–400 Hz, although there are exceptions.
Voices and vocals generally fall within the lower mid-range and headphones that have a dysfunctional or abnormal midrange may sound “off” or make vocals sound “distant.” In most cases, vocals can be heavily filtered in the lowest frequency band.
Low vs. Mid vs. High Frequency
It may be helpful to think of musical notes in terms of low, middle, and high-frequency sound. The lowest note on musical instruments such as organs, tubas, pianos, and cellos is in the 5-70 Hz range.
The human ear perceives low-frequency sound waves as “lower.” When you turn up the bass on your stereo, you’re boosting the lower frequency range. These are “rumbly” noises that you can both hear and feel.
Mid-frequency audio are those that fall between 500 and 2000 Hz, which is where human speech can be intelligently deduced. There is a vast spectrum of audible sound in the upper 2000 Hz range, which is where high-frequency sounds begin.
As a relatable comparison, note that the Middle C on the piano is a medium sound frequency sound just above 500 Hz. The highest note on a flute is at 2100 Hz, which is near the bottom end of the high-frequency spectrum, whereas the highest note on a typical piano is just over 4000 Hz.
Pay attention to any music you listen to now that you have a better knowledge of the many frequencies in audio, how they interact with other frequencies, and how people perceive them. Test your ability to distinguish between the various ranges. Keep in mind that all frequencies must be in balance with one another for your music to sound right. It helps to keep the volume between medium and loud, or at a respectable level while listening to a song. Isolate one instrument and try to keep track of it throughout the music. This will improve your listening abilities and help you grow as an audiophile as well.