Key numbers as a roadmap for our ears


in these blog posts : the significance of 632 Hz (part 1) and the significance of 632 Hz (part 2), the author proposes a map of the frequency spectrum by dividing it in equal logarithmic parts.
very handy to use an eq efficiently.


That’s kind of interesting, but I wonder if the “mathematical” approach is useful at all in this capacity. Since the 20-20k thing is not exactly real or consistent. So it’s more a theoretical average more than anything else.

Not to mention our perceptual faculty is pretty non-linear in a bunch of other stupid ways too.

And there are also the bark bands, which are psychoacoustically based.


Based on the title of the thread, I thought this was going to be about:


@jasonw22 : ha ! yes i understand the title can be confusing now.
the NNS system looks very similar to the cadence notation for western classical music analysis.
i used a similar system for jazz tunes analysis.

@Rodrigo : what do you mean by ‘real or consistent’ ?

i think its point is to give a convenient trick to easily remember where you are in the spectrum in a mixing or mastering context, eg : what is high-mid in terms of Hz.[quote=“Rodrigo, post:2, topic:6469”]
So it’s more a theoretical average more than anything else
i agree.
he puts this range because he argues that below and above, we don’t hear sounds. well it’s a little more complex than that of course : there are specialized cells in the skin to allow hearing sounds from +/- 300 Hz to 0 Hz. (see Claude-Henri Chouard ‘l’oreille musicienne’, i’m sorry it’s a french book but if it’s translated in english it’s very interesting : it’s about the phisiology of hearing) and waves above 20 kHz have an impact in mixing console circuitries for instance.

i wonder if it exists an eq (or any mixing tool) based on the bark bands.


Well in the sense that nobody has 20-20k hearing, all just approximations of that that change over time. And that at the bottom end, specifically, things are complicated too. Like we can hear down to 0.000001hz with certain waveshapes (sawtooth for example), it’s just not “pitch” anymore. It’s rhythm. Somewhere between 18-25hz our brains will fuse the regular pulses into “pitch”, and where that happens varies from person to person, and from material to material. So the 20hz thing is real mushy on what that means.
Up top is weird as well, but in a different way.

You would think so. Actually, aren’t typical frequency displays in EQs based on bark bands? Dunno.

Only had a quick look through the wiki, but what’s the difference between the Nashville system and traditional Roman Numeral analysis? (other than being numbers (4) instead of letters (IV)?


(yes these systems look pretty close…)

i didn’t know about the sawtooth properties. thanks. this is very interesting.
do you have any resources about this subject you can point me to ? (or anyone ?)

out of curiosity, how weird is our hearing up top ?


It’s a real easy thing to test in Max (the hearing range vs waveforms). I do a similar test in a general DAW/music technology class I teach, to show how weird the 20-20k thing is. Most people top out around 17k, only had one person in a few years of doing it that could hear up to 19k. A few in each year group top out around 15-16k.

The top is ‘weird’ in how randomly it varies in people, and over time/age. As well as the fact that we kind of lose our ability to perceive things on the high end of the spectrum (whereas on the bottom, we don’t ‘lose’ it, it just breaks down into pitch fusion). So at one end (bottom) we still hear it, it’s just no longer pitch/sound, and at the other end, those frequencies may as well not exist as we don’t have the ability to sense them. Or plainer put, one end is physiological and the other psychological.

I don’t have any specific resources to point you towards, but have a google at psychoacoustics. Lots of tasty shit out there.


don’t forget fletcher munson also


ah yes ! i’ve heard that some people are putting ‘anti-youth’ devices : it outputs a high freq. that only young people hear to annoy them and to make them leave the place !

@tehn : this map helped me to insulate my apartment from my neighbor’s apartment !


Same thing I believe.

I think so yes. Mark Verbos called his recently introduced filter a Bark Filter. Somewhat reminiscent of the Buchla 296e spectral processor.


Bumping this, because I really enjoyed finding it and trust someone else will - I was looking to see if anyone had posted the links in the OP because I liked those too.

I’d never thought about different people having different thresholds for when beats become pitches. That’s cool!