A Comment & a Favor - When is bass not bass? - diyAudio
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Old 3rd September 2014, 01:38 AM   #1
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Default A Comment & a Favor - When is bass not bass?

For a long time I have been wondering - When is bass no longer bass?

What I mean is, as the frequency goes up, at what frequency do I no longer perceive Bass and instead start to hearing Midrange?

Equally, when to I stop hearing Midrange and start hearing Treble?

Then, how can this help us in the design of crossovers?

Eventually I decided to test it, so I started playing Test Tone on my computer, which has a mid-priced consumer grade stereo attached to it. I found that around 300hz, I lost all sense of bass in the tone. Then as I continued to step upward, I lost all sense of Midrange around 3khz.

Then I tried something similar on my considerably larger main stereo system and got similar results.

So, in summary, I heard the transition from Bass to Mid at about 320hz, and I heard the transition from Mid to High at about 3200hz.

But I really don't have enough data to determine if this is a constant, or just something that randomly happened to me.

So, while it is an imposition, I wondered of others could run the same test and give me THEIR impression of where they heard the transition. Of course, the amp and speakers you used would help frame this in perspective. And perhaps the room size.

Finding 1/3rd or 1/6th Octave test tone collections is not difficult. You can find them posted all over the Internet.

You findings don't have to match mine. They are what they are. But I though if we collected a few diverse samples, we might start to see a pattern.

If we see a somewhat consistent patter of when people hear the transition from Bass/Mid and Mid/High, that might lead us to give it more consideration when speakers are designed.

We seem to have a wide enough range of drivers available today, that if we fond a pattern, then we could design speakers using that information.

Today, Low-Bass/Mid-Bass/Tweeter seem far more common that the old fashioned Woofer/Midrange/Tweeter of the days of old. Are we naturally moving in the direction I suggest, or is that just coincidence?

Again, an imposition, but if we collected the impressions of a few people, like I said, we might see a pattern emerge, or we might see the idea of a pattern completely denied by the data.

However, if we could find a common range in which people perceive this transition, ...to me at least..., that implies we are finding the ideal places to cross speakers.

Just a thought.

Steve/bluewizard

Last edited by BlueWizard; 3rd September 2014 at 01:46 AM.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 03:47 AM   #2
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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My guess is that the signal you test with will influence your choice.
Pink Noise, pure tones, music?

That said, your idea of 1/3 octave bands is a good start.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 03:54 AM   #3
Mr. dB is offline Mr. dB  United States
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Middle C is 262Hz, and that is not a bass note.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 04:03 AM   #4
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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It's a tenor note.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 04:33 AM   #5
GM is offline GM  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWizard View Post
So, in summary, I heard the transition from Bass to Mid at about 320hz, and I heard the transition from Mid to High at about 3200hz.
Real close, the telephone BW is strictly mids and it's the 300-3 kHz decade.

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Old 3rd September 2014, 06:19 AM   #6
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Mathematically, the 1/3 and 2/3 points between 20 Hz and 20KHz are 200Hz and 2,000Hz. Which is only about .68 of an octave off from your subjective measurements. Fairly close.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 07:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pano View Post
My guess is that the signal you test with will influence your choice.
Pink Noise, pure tones, music?

That said, your idea of 1/3 octave bands is a good start.
As I mentioned, I have both 1/3rd Octave and 1/6th Octave. It works out about the same either way. So, I used test tone, and stepped through them until I heard what I perceived as a transition in the general character of the sound.

There are several place on the internet to get these test tones, just search Google. Though if you happen to be lucky enough to have a signal generator, so much the better.

Steve/bluewizard
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Old 3rd September 2014, 07:08 AM   #8
RAndyB is offline RAndyB  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pano View Post
It's a tenor note.
Not cheap.

There is a point when the basses stop sounding separately, and become part of the chord. I have disposed of my scores (I know I'm not an asset to a choir any longer), but from memory it is around C below middle C.

The same goes for organ pedal notes and to double basses in a string orchestra.

It happens when listening live as well as on recordings. Must take note next time I'm in a modern concert hall to work out whether it's room acoustics, or the way we hear music, e.g. Symphony hall
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Old 3rd September 2014, 07:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mr. dB View Post
Middle C is 262Hz, and that is not a bass note.
Tricky business I'm engaged in here. I'm not interested in what some textbook tells me what is and isn't a bass note. I can find the frequency response of various instruments, human voice, the general perception of music by frequency ranges.

What I'm interested in is when and where the human ear hears a shift in the character of the Test Tone. As I stepped up the frequencies I could hear a characteristic of the tone shifting, at about 300hz, that characteristic that I perceived as bass was gone. Yes, it had been fading, but at about 300hz, I perceived it as gone, and I start to hear a new characteristic that I perceived as Midrange.

Here is an interactive Frequency Chart for various instruments. According to them, if you mouse over the graph -

Interactive Frequency Chart - Independent Recording Network

Sub-Bass is 16hz to 60hz
Bass is 60hz to 250hz
Midrange is 250hz to 2khz
High Midrange is 2khz to 4khz
High Frequencies are 6khz to 20khz

I'm not sure what happened to the frequencies between 4khz and 6khz. Maybe that is no-man's land. Though I suspect one or the other is a typo. I suspect High-Mid should go up to 6khz.

I don't disagree with this chart, but I'm more interested in what my ears tell me, and what the ears of other people tell them.

If I had to re-classify the above, I would say, regarding single generally full range speakers, that -

30hz to 200hz is low-bass, 200hz to 800hz is Mid-Bass, 800hz to 5khz is midrange, and above 5khz is high frequency. Though even that has its admitted flaws.

So, the point is, I can find various references that tell me what bass is and what bass is not, but I'm interested in what people's ears tell them.

I'm not really in a rush, I don't expect everyone to run out and do this tomorrow, but if it is enough to get your curiosity up, give it a try and tell us what you think.

Modern speaker designs seem to be leaning more toward Low-Bass, Mid-Bass, rather than the older Woofer, Midrange arrangement. I can see why that is, but is there an ideal place to crossover in a Low-Bas/Mid-Bass/Tweeter design?

Do I just try to match the crossovers to the drivers I have, or do I try to find drivers that fit what I perceive as ideal crossover location?

I do have a design in mind, but I doubt I will ever have the money or the tools to built it. Still a guy can dream.

For what it is worth.

Steve/bluewizard
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Old 3rd September 2014, 07:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelticwizard View Post
Mathematically, the 1/3 and 2/3 points between 20 Hz and 20KHz are 200Hz and 2,000Hz. Which is only about .68 of an octave off from your subjective measurements. Fairly close.
Given that years of cobwebs drifting into my mind have made me mathematically challenged, could you possible tell me what the 1/3rd and 2/3rd points are if we start at 30hz instead of 20?

I know if I step upward in octave from 20hz vs doing the same starting at 30hz, the octave boundaries shift substantially.

The 3 octave boundaries for 20hz are 160hz and 1280hz then 10240hz.

If we start at 30hz, the 3 octave boundaries are 240hz, 960hz, and 15360hz.

If we assume 3 octaves bass, 3 octaves mid, and 4 octaves high, these would be the boundaries. Since in a single cabinet speaker system, 20hz is somewhat unrealistic, if we start at 30hz, we would cross at Low-Bass =< 240hz, and Mid-Bass =< 960hz, whether that realistically allows a crossover to high frequencies at > 960hz is difficult with anything but a large horn. Still, it might have potential. It is not that hard to find Mid-Bass drivers that are clean up to 1khz, the problem is finding a tweeter to serve this hypothetical design.

Thanks for the info.

Steve/bluewizard
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