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Difficulty hearing lower frequencies

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by wednesdayagain, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. wednesdayagain


    Sep 28, 2012
    On all my basses I have noticed that when playing the open e string, I hear more of the harmonic overtones, and find it hard to pick out the fundamental (both acoustically and plugged in). I ignored it for a few years. Recently it started to bug me, so I read up about the experiences of others on this matter and it all seemed to have to do with setting up the bass right. I didn't think I had been doing anything wrong all this while, but decided just to check anyway. No immediate solution was found, but I discovered that when I tuned the string sharp, the problem disappeared.

    Just now, I decided to listen to some songs which had a low e in their bassline, taking particular note of them. Only then did I realise I couldn't hear them too well either. I wonder how I had lived through so many years without ever noticing this. The way I was distinguishing the e was that it sounded lower than the f. I was unable to assign it a pitch, if you get my gist. So I concluded that my ears perhaps aren't that good with hearing notes below f.

    I don't suppose there is a way to remedy this, but it has given me some relief in knowing that my basses are all fine, unless somebody proves to me otherwise.
  2. Hi.

    There's a very few systems that can actually reproduce the E (~40Hz) accurately and with authority around.

    Coupled with the fact that in a regular bass instrument with regular PU's, the fundamental is a good deal lower in level compared with the first harmonic. Look up the waterfall plots thread, lots of good info there.

    It's also pretty easy to test if You actually have a hearing defect by running a signal generator (a software based like in the WinISD is perfectly fine) through the system.

    I'd bet that that's just the nature of things and Your ears just behave like the 99% of our ears behave ;).

  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    What T said. Most people don't actually "hear" a low E. One TBer described it in a way that stuck with me once. He said that we don't actually hear that low. We hear the overtones and feel the vibrations and our brains fill in the blanks. Easy fix. Go get your ears checked by (oh I don't know) and ear doctor maybe? Then at least you'll know for sure. Most people don't ask them about frequencies, but you certainly can. Just ask them what the lowest frequency you heard during the "raise your finger when you hear a pitch" test.
  4. wednesdayagain


    Sep 28, 2012
    Thanks for the replies. The waterfall plots sure were interesting

    Went to this website which allows me to play a tone. http://onlinetonegenerator.com/
    I can assign pitches down to around 50 hz. Below that, I only hear a boomy rumble kind of sound, and from 35 hz and under, I can't hear a thing. For the high frequencies, my limit is somewhere between 16000 and 17000.

    Oh well. I don't think it's that important to hear such low or high pitches anyway.
  5. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Guess what, you've rediscovered why most bass cabs don't go below 50Hz :D . Yah, it's all about the harmonics and not the fundamental below that :cool: .
  6. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    And only one amp builder makes an amp that doesn't bother reproducing those freq's
    thereby making your speakers perceptably louder/safer .[TC Electronics]
  7. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    The GB stuff has really nice HPF's and http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/fdecks-hpf-865291/?highlight=hpf is available to those of us "in the know" ;) .
  8. Right, but what kind of speakers were you listening to the tones on that website with? Very few speakers can accurately generate tones at 35 Hz, you're usually only hearing harmonics then because the speaker itself can't hang with the fundamental.

    Also google "Fletcher-Munsun" and see that indeed the avg person's hearing can't discern those low freqs well, and we all rely on a psycho-acoustic effect (based on the harmonic series), to a greater or lessor degree, to 'build' the fundamental low tones in our minds.