Speaker Frequency vs Audio Frequency

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Audio Frequency

What do you need to know about music frequency to make better speaker choices?

Quality speakers generally have an audio frequency range specification. For instance, subwoofers are designed to reproduce the lowest portion of the frequency range and would have a spec such as 20hz - 130hz. Speakers come in midrange and/or tweeters to reproduce the mid and high frequencies. When combined, the entire audible range of frequencies can be reproduced to reflect any type of music.

So what Is Frequency?

Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. An audio frequency, or audible frequency, is characterized as a periodic vibration whose frequency is audible to the average human. It is the property of sound that most determines pitch and is measured in hertz (Hz) (vibrations per second).

The generally accepted standard range of human hearing is 20 to 20,000 Hz, although the range of frequencies a person can hear is greatly influenced by environmental factors. These are the low notes (low audible frequencies) to the high notes (high audible frequencies). Frequencies below 20 Hz are generally felt rather than heard, assuming the amplitude of the vibration is great enough. Frequencies above 20,000 Hz can sometimes be sensed by young people. Most music tops out around 5000 hertz as figured by the note being played.

What are Music Frequencies?

But instruments including the human voice are made up of harmonics, combinations of frequencies that give the sound it's personality. That is why a piano playing middle C sounds different than our tone generator playing that specific frequency. A bass drum is not tuned to a specific frequency, although they hover around 50 hertz in general. So speaker systems are designed to reporduce the entire human hearing range, so the entire listening experience is recreated acurately.

Here are some sample frequency tones that might give you a better feel of different frequencies...

Example Music Frequencies (Lowest Notes)

Pipe Organ 8 hz
Organ, Tuba 16 hz
Bass Guitar 30.868 hz
Piano (88 key) 32.7 hz
Bass Drum 50 hz (varies)
Male Voice 65 hz
Middle C 261.63 hz
Female Voice Highest Note 1046.5 hz
Piano Highest Note (88 key) 4186 hz
  10,000 hz
  20,000 hz

This video reproduces the 20-20K hz considered to be the human hearing range. (most people cannot hear the extremes) Human Hearing Range

Speaker Frequency Response

MTX speakers specifiy speaker response and are designed to reproduce it accurately. If you choose a speaker with a tweeter and mid range, separate or combined, you can probably ignore the frequency range spec since they are all designed to cover the human hearing range. (Just don't install the tweeter alone with it's 2500hz bottom end and expect to get any midrange quality!)

But notice the low end of the frequency range of many midrange speakers. The lowest frequency is often 75 hz or higher, especially in less expensive stock car audio systems. So we come to see the benefit of adding subwoofers...

How about subwoofers? When we speak of the frequncy response specification for a subwoofer as the typical range of 20hz - 130hz, you can see from the chart that this unit should be able to reproduce notes well below what are played on the piano and likely below human hearing. But you can feel 20hz even if you can't hear it. Feeling the thud of an amplified bass drum for instance is part of the exciting and rich experience of listening to live concerts, so reporoducing this note accurately in a home or car audio system is equally important to us at MTX. You will hear... and feel... the MTX difference.

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