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Treble vs bass

9 March 2017

Treble and Bass controls allow you to boost or cut certain frequencies of sound from your speaker, but what does that mean?

Any natural sound is made up of an almost infinite number of ‘frequencies’ – this is the number of times air moves back and forth each second; literally vibrations in the air that are picked up by your eardrums, and interpreted as sounds that you hear.

Bass

Bass corresponds to anything up to 150Hz, or 150 oscillations per second. These are ‘low’ sounds that when loud you can feel. They are normally produced by a subwoofer in an Orbitsound speaker. The Bass control will cause your speaker to boost or cut these frequencies in what you are listening to. It’s important to realise that a bass boost is not creating new sound, but instead it is boosting the sensitivity of the speaker. If listening to music, you will hear a louder bass drum (or beat). Other sounds that are made up of lower frequencies will also be boosted.

Hint: If you want to watch TV or a film, but maybe have children asleep upstairs, try lowering the bass. This will reduce the ‘boominess’ of what you are watching. It is mainly bass frequencies that travel through walls and floors.

Treble

Treble is the opposite end of the spectrum. Treble corresponds to frequencies from 6KHz (6000 oscillations per second) upwards to the limit of hearing (approximately 20KHz). Sounds in this band are ‘bright’ or ‘sparkly’. The Treble control changes the sensitivity of the system to these higher frequencies, so turning the treble up makes things sound brighter and more detailed. Turning them down will make them sound more mellow.

Middle

The middle (mid) band, from 200Hz-5KHz is less easy to pick out as a frequency band by ear, which is why there is not normally a middle frequency control. However, these are the frequencies that cover speech intelligibility. So, whilst you can’t change the mid frequency band with a control on an Orbitsound product, it is helpful to understand it. Mid frequencies are strong for things like guitars, vocals, piano etc. You can control the mid by changing the bass and treble. Increasing the bass and treble will leave the mid frequencies reduced. Reducing the treble and bass will effectively mean the mid frequencies are boosted.

Hint: Speech for TV requires good mid frequency playback. If you are finding speech hard to hear, try turning down the treble and bass, and increasing the overall volume. This will boost speech without deafening you!

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