Adventures In Audio

Sine wave frequencies - Can you hear them all?

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The range of human hearing goes from 20 Hz all the way to 20,000 Hz. But can you hear all of the low frequencies and all of the high? This video will test your speakers and your hearing. How many frequencies can YOU hear?

Automated transcript

Some of my most popular videos are about sine waves so here's a video about sine waves I'm going to play you some sine waves all the way from 20 Hertz up to 20 kilohertz the question is can you hear them all



I'm guessing that you couldn't hear them all so why is this firstly let's listen to some low frequencies


it depends on what speakers you're using but I'm guessing you started to hear something around fifty to sixty Hertz the reason you didn't hear anything at frequencies lower than that is because your speakers can't reproduce those frequencies if you're listening on laptop speakers maybe you didn't hear anything at all but if you're listening on studio-quality headphones perhaps you heard everything lucky you but what about the high frequencies well that depends how old you are high frequency perception decreases with age when you're really young like 10 or under you can probably hear all of the frequencies all the way up to 20 kilohertz and maybe you could hear even higher than that but we normally think of 20 kilohertz as the limit of the audio band as you get into your teens and 20s your high frequency perception gets worse maybe only up to 15 kilohertz or so reach the age of 40 and perhaps you can only hear up to 12 kilohertz by the time you're 60 or so your upper limit could be somewhere around 10 kilohertz so let's listen to those high frequencies again and you can compare what you hear with your age

so if you can't hear all those frequencies don't worry it's normal and if you want reassurance perhaps you can consider consulting an audiologist so let's listen to all of those frequencies again



I'm David Mellor course director of audio master class thank you for listening

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your average m1n0r replies to Audio Masterclass: it doesnt depend on how old you are it depends on how loud your life was

Scudmaster11 replies to Audio Masterclass: 16 kHz I couldn't hear... thats where I ended

Priyankar Jana:  my headphones can play from 25Hz to 16KHz

Wolfstanus:  I can hear them all lmao

Irie Misstxkes:  I’m an audio engineer and I can hear 20Hz to 16k

Roadburner4:  31 hertz to 10 khertz

tgc:  Bro, those 20 dollar Walmart off brand AirPods get that 25hz

Audio Masterclass replies to tgc: Or you might be hearing distortion. DM

D1 Sky:  Your sound is sine waves 🤣

Audio Masterclass replies to D1 Sky: Correct. DM

Let's Ride Illinois:  There's no sound after 12khz. I suspect that you exported the audio at a low bitrate then uploaded it and when it transcoded it created some compound compression.

Audio Masterclass replies to Let's Ride Illinois: It's louder. I measure roughly -20 dBFS on the spectrogram where mine is - 40 dBFS roughly. That doesn't answer the question why mine has dropped in level compared to the other frequencies but I'd have to go back to square one to trace this anomaly. I'll try to keep this in mind for the next time I run a similar test. DM

Let's Ride Illinois replies to Let's Ride Illinois: @Audio Masterclass this one

Heard it with my $35 studio headphones through a DAC.

Audio Masterclass replies to Let's Ride Illinois: If you can point me to a YouTube video where you can hear above 12 kHz I'll take a look. DM

Let's Ride Illinois replies to Let's Ride Illinois: @Audio Masterclass in other tests I'm able to hear the 20khz signal albeit faintly.

Audio Masterclass replies to Let's Ride Illinois: Thank you for your comment. The original audio was WAV 24-bit, 192 kHz and the video was uploaded with that - no encoding. Of course YouTube has encoded the audio for playback. I can't hear anything above 10 kHz due to my age. However if I record the audio from YouTube (in Chrome) using Audio Hijack and then look at the spectrogram in iZotope RX, I can see all of the frequencies right up to 20 kHz clearly, although 20 kHz is down in level. If you're judging this on what you hear, then it's perfectly possible that it's down to your hearing. If you're measuring it in some other way, then that opens up other questions. I would expect RX not to be wrong but I'm open to comments on that. DM

Timothy Walker:  I could hear the lowest sound at about 25 Hz and the highest sound at or between 12 and 16 and I’m over 50

GULZAR ALI:  I can't hear 16 khz 😣

danix30001:  0:22 if you just want the test

RaniWasACyborg:  160 Hz was the lowest I could hear. No idea if it's to do with my speakers or the fact that I have Ménière's disease, which is partly characterised by some unique hearing loss in the lower frequencies!

Motherof Angels:  80 Hz to 2.5 kHs was it for me. That's what I get for always forgetting ear plugs when I was in Army, and 1/2 the time when I go to shooting range and working at the mill.

D1 Sky:  my specker 3 hz low


Best replies to UT_FAN: Meet u in hell

Mobius Whitetalon:  I started hearing it at 25, and at 16k, it stopped. I'm using decent grade headphones, and am in the late 30s.

Cherry Jello:  I can hear up to 20 in Bluetooth headphones on both sides.

Ohcanada28:  12.5 is what I hear 24/7. Thankfully it does not bother me.

Balala:  2:30 When it hit 16 kHz, I didn't hear it anymore, but i still felt it. I'm guessing it's my brain picking up vibrations or something. Same with lower frequencies.

PatoLol:  i can only hear since 180hz

Endslayer6130 aka knightking93:  My ears hurt it’s loud even at the top one I can hear 90000hz at least so that hurts my ears

♦️Møchi Bear♦️:  I could hear all of them. My ears are dead :<

zeus':  Listening on my phone with my Moondrop IEMs I heard everything except the 20kHz step, there my phone seems to have a software cutoff (probably at around 18kHz) though I did hear a very obvious dip at 16kHz, as expected with these IEMs.
At 20Hz I may not have heard much, but there certainly was a very distinct sound. It's only at around 26Hz that the volume is relatively normal and the sound gets easily recognizable.

TerseMath:  I prefer this song:

Sharada Wishwadeepa:  My earphone plays 20hz extremely well... I'm impressed ..😲

Grump replies to Sharada Wishwadeepa: We found our CIA spy guys.

WhritLe:  80hz - 16khz

NotGartificial:  i started hearing at 40hz then stopped at 20khz

GbrlPlayer:  I always dislike staying near old TVs, theres always a sound that nobody hears that I can clear listen to it even from far away, did some other tests and I can listen to about 18.5khz on the left ear, and 19.1khz on the right one, 24 year sold.

Rgzgrt Music:  I heard all of them but I'm feeling sick now... I don't know why.
Edit: 10 khz, 12 khz hurt my ears and 17khz sounds so weak but It still hurts my ears and it calmed down at 20khz

Infradragon:  I have Sony whxb910n and I can hear 20-16000hz, I have never been able to hear more than ~17000 hz on any headphone at age 15

Gabriel Cochran:  I couldn't hear anything past 16

Bruce Halford:  80 Hz to 8 kHz only

Experts Say:  What notes are you playing?

Audio Masterclass replies to Experts Say: The frequencies are given in the video. You can find the corresponding notes using the converter at DM

Brad Lucid:  Thank you for another great video Audio Masterclass

Audio Masterclass replies to Brad Lucid: You're welcome. DM

Brad Lucid:  The progression intervals remind me of the dragon stages ( "*"- 4 ) in 8-bit Super Mario

psy-k-loan replies to Brad Lucid: It's literally basic sine wave btw music in super Mario Bros was mostly made by square wave synthesizers

Draco:  used skullcandy earbuds, could hear all except around 20khz

Audio Masterclass replies to Draco: That's good going, and YouTube seems to filter out 20 kHz anyway. DM

Toosiya Brandt:  Sine waves are harmonics like when you run your finger around the wet rim of a crystal glass.

psy-k-loan replies to Toosiya Brandt: Every wave is harmonic imo from square to sine

Straell:  Used a Corsair gaming headset for this. Could barely hear at 20 Hz, but I started to hear fine at around 31 Hz. 20 kHz was also audible to me. I'm 20 years old and I feel like my hearing is complete garbage sometimes, but I don't know why.

EliMCGamerGuy replies to Straell: all same here, except I can't hear from 20 Hz, 25 Hz, and 20 kHz

nojz:  63-6.3k for me...and my monitor speakers....on my headphones 25-16k ... i am 47 and i dont use "q-tips"...once every 2-3 weeks i use water pressure to clean the ear wax ....much of the "old person deaf rate" is due to over use of cotton swaps in the ear and compressing the wax rather than actually removing it headphones just recorded static early and nothing later.... if speaker were better maybe i could hear more

Audio Masterclass replies to nojz: I'm not an audiologist so you can't take anything I say about hearing as accurate, but I do know something about loudspeakers and I have to wonder whether your tweeters are working. DM

Sina Qadri:  yes 19 khz

Mythical_Lobster:  i got 20hz to 12.5khz at age 15, bearing in mind that i also have mild hearing loss in one ear and severe in the other ear

Hey There replies to Mythical_Lobster: Dont use headphones

Sina Qadri replies to Mythical_Lobster: me = 19khz :D

Junhyeok Sound Engineer:  hey guys, YouTube cuts out all sounds over 16khz in the video. haha

Audio Masterclass replies to Junhyeok Sound Engineer: Which is why the test goes above 16 kHz.

Brandon Reeves:  My cat does not like this game.

Aggressive Combo:  25hz-16khz (on headphones) (13yr) (20hz is really faint) [up to 19.5khz on other tests... hmm]

Audio Masterclass replies to Aggressive Combo: Thank you for your input. If you can't hear above 16 kHz in this test it's probably YouTube that has low-pass filtered the audio, so nothing to worry about.

Thomas Kent:  32 Hz up to 8 KHz. My speakers are Logitech X-530 5.1 surround speakers (now discontinued, but they have newer models)
The stated frequency response is 40 Hz to 20 KHz, but I can hear the 32 Hz waveform with them.

Audio Masterclass replies to Thomas Kent: Thank you for your input. The woofer seems a bit small to produce much bass so 32 Hz is good going, unless of course what you're hearing is distortion, which is a possibility. DM

Valientlink:  27 and can't hear 16kHz
my tinnitus rings at 12kHz, does that mean I won't be able to hear that ring when I get older lol.. that would be pretty cool

Hey There replies to Valientlink: He said this websites cuts off 16hz actually , so it’s not your hearing . Tinnitus can be accompanied with hearing loss and can get worse over time .
Don’t blast music over 70 dbs. Don’t be really close to loud sounds. Eq stuff to be more mid and bass heavy and. Not soo much high frequencies which are piercing . Don’t be afraid to use earplugs or sleep with them if your ears are bothering you. That will give them some recovery time

nojz replies to Valientlink: i dont think that is how tinnitus works... the deafing of getting older is caused in many circumstances due to over compression of the ear wax and many times can be fixed with a "proper" cleaning of the ears

Paragon Seeker:  Depends on your Headphones response..... Like..... lol

Audio Masterclass replies to Paragon Seeker: Not quite sure what you mean here, but for clarity I'll say that we often get responses such as 'I can't hear the bass' or 'I can't hear above 5 kHz' and then they say there's something wrong with the video. On further exploration we find they have been listening on their laptop, tablet, or even their phone, or $5 earbuds from eBay. So it's a common thing in Audio Masterclass videos to advise that listeners use studio-quality monitors or headphones. DM

Mr. Volinski:  white shark gh-1841 lion - Stupid cheap headphones but my boys... it trades blows in clarity with my he400se planar and beats it in bass. I hear everything, 20 k tho is a bit weird, probably can't hear it fully, only partially.

Emily Campbell:  I'm 38yo cannot hear lower register til 125hz but can here nearly all the way to the top 16khz

Emily Campbell replies to Emily Campbell: Now with Bose headphones on and could hear nearly all of it ☺️ Phew I was worried I was going deaf

Audio Masterclass replies to Emily Campbell: 16 kHz is good at the high end. 125 Hz at the low end is almost certainly down to your headphones or speakers. That's not really low enough for accurate monitoring although it would be useful to check the 'small speaker' sound of your mix. DM

Sherlock:  31 to 8khz. 😁

Sherlock replies to Sherlock: @Audio Masterclass well I have to confess my range can go up too 100,000 sorry I got lost!!! Let see who can beat that!!!!!!!! 😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁 you cannot run away from me I track you down!!!!

But 10,000 is a range someone has. Bit short.

Audio Masterclass replies to Sherlock: @Sherlock 8 kHz isn't high enough to hear the full audio range which is normally considered to be up to 20 kHz, although few people can hear above 15-16 kHz or so. If you look down the comments you'll see the typical ranges others hear.

Sherlock replies to Sherlock: @Audio Masterclass oh so 8khz is not low enough? Some here getting full range so back in the mud.😔

Audio Masterclass replies to Sherlock: 31 Hz is good at the low end, which is usually determined by the speakers or headphones. 8 kHz is a little low at the high end, but there's not much musically useful above that. An audiologist would provide a qualified opinion. DM

Wug:  I got 80hz -16khz

Audio Masterclass replies to Wug: Well done. The lower limit is probably due to your equipment, not your hearing.

Scharey:  31hz to 16khz

Audio Masterclass replies to Scharey: Well done - you can hear everything you could possibly need. DM

Taivis Ureia:  speaker might not be able to play too low frequency 😂

Audio Masterclass replies to Taivis Ureia: That is correct. It's part of the test. DM

Proxxon PD250/E:  40years old and i can listen until 12,5khz, bad very bad

-Azure-:  i started hearing at 40 hz

Alzer replies to -Azure-: This is most likely not your hearing but rather your listening equipment. A lot of speakers/headphones can not reproduce these frequencies so you will not hear them.

Audio Masterclass replies to -Azure-: Not bad, there isn't much below 40 Hz that's musically useful.

Dantei.:  All the bands from 20Hz to 16kHz for me. (From other test I know my hearing upper limit is somewhere between 16,5kHz and 17kHz) I'm 25 yrs old and for the test I've used AKG k712Pro + Sonarworks Reference 4 with average profile for my headphones.

Dantei. replies to Dantei.: More and more people claiming it's 16k. Damn, might be a "my bad" type of situation for me then. But knowing this fact now, I can finally rest peacefully. AND above all else, knowing this fact, now I can choose to believe my truth that it actually is 18k Hz with peace of mind. :D EMAZING!

Dantei. replies to Dantei.: @xRAINB0W DASHx It doesn't really matter though.
Remember that lossy compression algorhythm is about to wreak havoc on every single phookin' part of the tune (I mean, silences as well, especially those)
Adding obviously noise artifacts and other distortions where it previously was uninterrupted, perfect silence. It will now low level (bout -55 to -60dBFS) white noise whether you want it or not. Everywhere. On 20k, 22k and beyond. People will think they have superhuman hearning of 30k Hz xDDDDDDDDDDDDD
And it's only...
That god damned YouTube compression distortions XD
The only way to finish is with some lethal puenta:
For all those HEARING THINGS above 30kHZ
Idk. but you guys must be liek dem bats.
With that echolocation.
Or something.
I don't know how would I explain it any other way...
The only think I do in ultrasounds
Is from time to time - fart.
Then it's the deadliest.
That ninja XDD
I mean.
All those "mehhs" are from people who know all too well what I'm on about!

Dantei. replies to Dantei.: @xRAINB0W DASHx 18k

xRAINB0W DASHx replies to Dantei.: Actually I believe youtube clips freq above 16k

Audio Masterclass replies to Dantei.: Thank you for your input. It's very interesting to have these comparisons.

nobody:  Im 30 years and i could hear from 25 hz - 12.5 khz (maybe higher but to me the sound seemed to disappear at 16 khz :P (edit: on a logitech g933 gaming headset)

nobody replies to nobody: @Audio Masterclass That chair looks really comfortable, not gonna lie :D
I just got my pair of Sennheiser HD-280 pro, so to correct myself I can hear 20hz - 15 Khz :D

Audio Masterclass replies to nobody: This is an interesting test but it works better with raw sine waves rather than YouTube's processed audio, so 25 Hz to 12.5 kHz should be fine although only an audiologist could confirm this individually. But you raise an interesting issue regarding gaming. What might be a good frequency response for gaming, including the chair? This - - looks like it would be a fun experience.

Matt Hoskins:  This was fun...
I had the benefit of trying this with with both a fairly decent "Gaming" Headphones set and some Sennheisers' which I use for my Audio/Daw stuff...
As a middle aged guy, 20Hz to 12.5 kHz for me.

Audio Masterclass replies to Matt Hoskins: 12.5 kHz - Good going.

Mitchell Forrest:  20Hz to 12.5kHz for me

Audio Masterclass replies to Mitchell Forrest: If you're listening on speakers, 20 Hz is a good result.

EgoShredder:  Immediately at 40Hz to 16KHz using speakers. My age = 49

EgoShredder replies to EgoShredder: @Audio Masterclass Haha! Thanks (I think?) although I was not using my best monitors on your video (Quested S7 pair), just some cheap bookshelf active speakers. I could hear just a fraction below 16Khz before I reached my limit.

Audio Masterclass replies to EgoShredder: Well done - both you and your speakers.

Adrian Eriksson:  Thank you now i can find another sine wave test

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Thursday March 10, 2022

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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