Learning how to measure bass in headphones will give users an idea about the ideal bass performance of a particular headphone.
When buying online, I frequently notice a lot of reviews about a specific product claiming how great the bass of their headphone is.
You might be wondering how such reports can argue that their headphone’s production of bass sound is excellent.
What Is Bass Sound?
If you like music and sound, you might have possibly heard the word bass countless times.
You might have an idea what it is. Bass is a term describing the frequency response with the 20Hz to a 250Hz range which belongs to the low-end spectrum.
Examples of bass sound are kick drums, bass instruments, and other low-frequency sounds.
The further descriptions of bass are high, mid, and low. Testing and measurement can identify the power of each of these descriptions.
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Why Measuring Bass in Headphones Is Important?
The importance of knowing how to measure bass in headphones vary from one person to the other. Determining whether a headphone produces a great bass or not depends on the preference of users themselves. Some people appreciate bass with an over-hyped profile, while others love the under-hyped one.
Some people are satisfied with whatever they hear whether their headphones produce balanced bass performance or not. It depends on the person’s listening activity. Also, there are some people, especially professional musicians, who are extremely particular with the quality of this sound.
Musicians and audiophiles greatly appreciate the importance of bass performance in a headphone. Without bass, the sound will be lifeless, especially in bass-heavy music like dubstep, rock, and hip-hop.
Generally, the well-balanced bass is likable. Also, headphones that can produce perfect and flat bass sound provide the best representations of this sound.
How Is the Bass in Headphones Measured?
The frequency range is the essential factor in bass measurement. Its measurement unit is Hertz. Typically, a standard headphone has a frequency range of 20 Hz to 25 kHz, in which the smallest number (20Hz) is the representation of the bass, and the higher number (25 kHz) is the representation of the treble.
Do take note, however, that a headphone with a lower base range does not mean that it is a good headphone. It only means that it has a better capacity to produce the bass sound, even though not everyone can appreciate it.
The calculation of the lowest frequency if the frequency response extends to -3dB, it is known as the low-frequency extension (LFE). It is the description of how deep or extended the bass is on a headphone.
Headphones with 40Hz LFE is already considered good because the musical information below 20Hz seems not to be audible at all. However, there are electronic genres that can even reach 10Hz LFE which are not loud at all but can be felt.
Headphones with a good seal help in the production of bass sound that is below 40 Hz. It is because the output of the frequency that is below 40 Hz is already difficult for small drivers. Therefore, a good seal helps in the production of sound.
For this reason, a headphone with a good air-tight seal that is capable of producing a frequency lower than 40 Hz is already considered good.
A user also has to know about the standard bass deviation. This is to determine if the bass sound is balanced. It is described as the deviation or standard error in the frequency response of the bass as it is being compared against the target response. It is ideal if you are looking for a headphone with balanced bass performance.
The calculation of the standard bass deviation is the same as the standard formula of the standard deviation that you can find in spreadsheet software.
If you are looking for a headphone that can produce crisp and clear bass sound of kick drums or other low-frequency instruments. You need to know the range of the low bass you need. The low bass describes the average of the under or over-emphasis of the low-frequency response ranging from 20 Hz to 60 Hz.
The value of the low bass can either be positive or negative. Furthermore, the low-bass with a negative value describes the bass that lacks with a thump or low-end sound. The one with the positive value has excessive thump or low-end sound. Determining which of these sounds are right depends on the listener’s preference. However, some listeners prefer one with the positive low-bass value.
What is considered to be an excellent low-bass value is positive or negative 3 decibels.
The bass itself refers to the under or over emphasis of the frequency response ranging from 60 Hz to 120 Hz. If you are looking for a headphone that can produce the punch of the melodic bass clearly, you want to know the measurement of the bass you want.
The measurement or the calculation of the bass is the same with the low bass. It is just that this only refers to the different frequency response range.
The bass that has a positive value perceives to have a higher bass guitar or kick bass sound. On the other hand, the negative value perceives to lack on these sounds. What is considered to a good bass value are positive or negative 3 decibels.
If you are wondering where the three comes from, it merely means that the average of the amplitude of the headphone’s bass that was being test was 93dB, which is the standard for the bass amount being produced by headphones.
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Knowing how to measure bass in headphones can help you pick the right product that will suit your taste. After all, most audiophiles and musicians base the quality of bass sound to determine whether a headphone is good or not.
If you think that bass measurement is complicated and reserved only for sound engineers, you are wrong. You can be knowledgeable of the basics yourself.
All you have to do is to be knowledgeable about the little jargons or technological terms that are mostly used for bass measurement. These terms include the frequency response, low-frequency extension, standard bass deviation, low bass, and bass.
Being knowledgeable with these technological terms, knowing their values that are considered desirable, and knowing how they are measured will help a lot for finding the headphone that will suit your preference.
For example, if you are looking for a headphone that has balanced bass performance, you will want to buy a headphone that has less than 4dB bass standard deviation against the target bass response.
Another example is if you are looking for a headphone that will let you feel the low-frequency sound below 40 Hz, You have to know the low-frequency extension of a headphone. Knowing what the low-frequency extension will let you know the extended capabilities of a headphone for producing bass sounds lower than 40 Hz.