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Old 18th November 2011, 07:39 AM   #1
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Default How Low Can We Really Hear???

If played at a loud enough SPL, what is the lowest frequency that can be heard (as opposed to being felt and as opposed to just rattling things without making any directly audible sounds)?

I'd greatly appreciate hearing about anyone's personal listening experiences regarding the lowest frequencies they have ever heard.

Thanks very much.
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Old 18th November 2011, 08:10 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by acousticimpact View Post
If played at a loud enough SPL, what is the lowest frequency that can be heard (as opposed to being felt and as opposed to just rattling things without making any directly audible sounds)?

I'd greatly appreciate hearing about anyone's personal listening experiences regarding the lowest frequencies they have ever heard.

Thanks very much.
Some pipe organs get down to 17 Hz which I have heard in person and on recordings. First Congregational Church in LA has a 64 foot stop in their organ that goes down to 8 Hz. I have yet to experience that.

G
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Old 18th November 2011, 08:10 AM   #3
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In my mind it would depend on what you meant by "hear". All audio frequency information we perceive is interpreted by the brain from all senses ... it does not necessarily differentiate between what came directly from the ear and what came from other nerve information; it just gives us the "answer".

That answer may also depend on interaction so it may be that if one sense is impaired the others might be also less useful, or it also may be there is compensation by increasing sensitivity in one nerve system to a degree that normally isn't required for "normal hearing".

Most LF info is a combination so it's hard to say where one begins and the other ends. If you're interested in knowing what the ear alone can perceive, I'd be looking at peer-reviewed research papers myself ... that's probably the only place where they have the ability to separate the three or possibly more sensory inputs before the brain interprets them.

At a minimum we can sense pressure along with vibration and sound waves but there could be more ... maybe the ocular nerves react to LF energy by sensing your eyeballs vibrating and that vibration shows up as sight information we're not always consciously aware of (just conjecture, but it illustrates the possible inputs the brian might call upon).

The same information might also come from more than one area ... for example we are clearly sensitive to vibration from bone transmission which is interpreted as "hearing" (tons of research in this area shows it to be true and consistent) but we are also using the skin and those nerves to sense vibration.

You will get debate running the gamut from outright dismissal to what could be characterized as near religious belief on whether this is important in Mid and HF reproduction, but nobody will argue it's happening with LF sound ... it's just too obvious to everyone, even someone who knows nothing about sound.

Really, all "sound" comes from the brain. So I think you have do tell us where you want the line drawn.
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Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 18th November 2011 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 18th November 2011, 08:17 AM   #4
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If you're interested in knowing what the ear alone can perceive, I'd be looking at peer-reviewed research papers myself ...
I might add:
...by audiologists, not audiophiles.
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Old 18th November 2011, 08:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by stratus46 View Post
Some pipe organs get down to 17 Hz which I have heard in person and on recordings. First Congregational Church in LA has a 64 foot stop in their organ that goes down to 8 Hz. I have yet to experience that.

G
Whenever I visit a new city I always check out which Churches have pipe organs (they're all basically custom manufacture and installs and each is unique) and visit on a Sunday, but I'm not thinking about the "how", I just enjoy the music.
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Old 18th November 2011, 08:48 AM   #6
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I tryed one of those frequency generators if the test is valid im def below 16 and beyond 17.500hz
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Old 18th November 2011, 08:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by sofaspud View Post
I might add:
...by audiologists, not audiophiles.
One can be both; just like once could also be an audiologist and a baseball fan. ;-)

But mostly I was thinking of pure researchers, audiologists are journeymen. You can usually access the relevant journals at a University Library taking advantage of the College's site licenses; for the most part they're not available on the 'net without shelling out $$.
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Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 18th November 2011 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 18th November 2011, 09:21 AM   #8
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But mostly I was thinking of pure researchers, audiologists are journeymen.
Would you want a surgeon who's good with a pen, or good with a scalpel?
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Old 18th November 2011, 09:39 AM   #9
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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what was the precise frequency for the so called 'brown note' again?
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Old 18th November 2011, 09:41 AM   #10
Francec is offline Francec  Australia
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Sorry spud, I can't see the point of your last two posts either. Being an "audiophile" means you have an interest in audio but it does not confer any special "powers" of either perception or the ear. It simply means you have an interest in audio, ie, listening to music on quality gear but I am also assuming the latter given some people's preference for the bizarre esoteric.
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