What is Frequency Response in Headphones & What Is A Good Range?

When you are going to buy any headphone, it is important to know how to understand headphones specification. You can see, every headphones or earbuds tell its frequency response. But What is frequency response in headphones? And what is a good range of frequency response? 

what is frequency response in headphones
what is frequency response in headphones

We all know that sound is produced by audio waves of varying frequencies. Only sounds that fall within the fixed frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz can be heard by human ears. Anything below or above the audible frequency range is inaudible to humans. Depending on their frequency sensitivity, various animal, bird, and insect species can hear it. But how does a frequency response of the same magnitude affect the audio quality of headphones?

When we say that a pair of headphones have a good frequency response, what exactly do we mean? Do high-frequency headphones perform better than lower-frequency headphones?

What is frequency?

Frequency is a term that refers to the number of waves that pass through a fixed point in a specified amount of time. Thus, if the wavelength of a wave is 1/2 second, the frequency is 2 per second. If 1/100 of an hour is required, the frequency is 100 per hour.

What is frequency
What is frequency

Typically, frequency is expressed in hertz units, named after German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz in the nineteenth century. The hertz measurement, abbreviated Hz, is the frequency at which waves pass per second. For instance, a “A” note on a violin string vibrates at a frequency of approximately 440 Hz (440 vibrations per second).

Source: qrg.northwestern.edu

What is Frequency Response in Headphones or Earbuds?

Frequency Response is the range of audio producing ability of any headphones or earbuds that is measured by the frequency of audio. When you say 20 Hz to 20 kHz is the frequency response of a headphone, it means that headphone can produce audio in between 20 Hz and 20 kilohertz. It cannot produce any sounds that have a frequency below 20 Hz and above 20000 Hz.

Which frequency response of audio can be heard by a human?

The audible range of human hearing is thought to be between 20 and 20,000 Hz. Many people, however, may have a limited range due to aging, damage, or a less-than-ideal sense of hearing.

Theoretically human born with the power of hearing the sound of 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency.  This implies that any speaker should be able to produce sound which has the frequency of above 20 Hz till 20000 Hz. However our capability to hear may differ from person to person.

Specially, mid age person can’t hear this wider range. They can hear about 25 Hz to 18 kHz. Old aged person hear more narrow range of frequency.

What is the good range of frequency response of headphones and earbuds?

Since humans can’t hear below 20Hz and above 20 kHz, there is no advantage if any headphone can produce below 20Hz and above 20 kHz sounds. So, the good range of frequency response of headphones and earbuds is 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

But you should remember, in the real world, we’ve got products with less power, as the specification says. So, if a headphone company says it can produce 20 Hz to 20 kHz, then you should think it is the highest or best performance of those headphones or earbuds. It may not produce  20Hz sound maximum time and also same for 20 kHz. 

How to measure frequency response of headphones?

See this video to understand how to determine frequency responds of headphones and earbuds.

And this is not for all. A normal user can’t do it without proper setup. So, for safety please don’t buy any earbuds or headphones that can’t cover frequency response rage 20 – 200000 Hz.

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