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Headphones at 8 hz


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I just played a music sample from the "Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ" that has a real 64-foot pipe, which plays at 8 hz. That's too low to hear the fundamental tone in the tonal sense, but it's not too low to feel the weight of that note on a headphone with good bass extension.

 

So how did my headphones do? On a scale of 1 (weakest or most breakup) to 10 (best weight and lack of breakup distortion):

 

B&O H6 - 10.

B&W P7 - 7.

Thinksound ON1 - 5.

Shure 1540 - 5.

v-moda M80 - 4.

Beyer T51p - 3.

Harman Soho - 3.

 

If anyone doubts that 8 hz is a working fundamental on a headphone, just try the H6. The general sensation I got from the Boardwalk organ on the sound clip at Wikipedia was similar in some segments to a helicopter flying close overhead. The sound did seem to change quite a bit during the 54-second clip, which indicates that harmonics were much more noticeable** in some segments.

 

**Harmonics of 8 hz might be "audible" if they're a couple of octaves higher, but those harmonics don't carry the weight of the fundamental tone.

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I just played a music sample from the "Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ" that has a real 64-foot pipe, which plays at 8 hz. That's too low to hear the fundamental tone in the tonal sense, but it's not too low to feel the weight of that note on a headphone with good bass extension.

 

So how did my headphones do? On a scale of 1 (weakest or most breakup) to 10 (best weight and lack of breakup distortion):

 

B&O H6 - 10.

B&W P7 - 7.

Thinksound ON1 - 5.

Shure 1540 - 5.

v-moda M80 - 4.

Beyer T51p - 3.

Harman Soho - 3.

 

If anyone doubts that 8 hz is a working fundamental on a headphone, just try the H6. The general sensation I got from the Boardwalk organ on the sound clip at Wikipedia was similar in some segments to a helicopter flying close overhead. The sound did seem to change quite a bit during the 54-second clip, which indicates that harmonics were much more noticeable** in some segments.

 

**Harmonics of 8 hz might be "audible" if they're a couple of octaves higher, but those harmonics don't carry the weight of the fundamental tone.

 

Do you have a link? I don't see any sound clips on that page.

 

PS - One of my fondest memories is performing at Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago on one of the coldest nights in Chicago history (January 12, 1982, -26F). The chapel (cathedral-sized) has a pretty stunning Skinner organ with max 32' pipes. The inside of the chapel was so cold, I don't think more than about half the pipes on the organ were actually working ;) but our guest artist organist played the Weaver Toccata - when the 32' pipes kicked in, they were sounding about ¼ second after all the rest of the organ (when they worked at all!) LOL

John Walker - IT Executive

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Do you have a link? I don't see any sound clips on that page. PS - One of my fondest memories is performing at Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago on one of the coldest nights in Chicago history (January 12, 1982, -26F). The chapel (cathedral-sized) has a pretty stunning Skinner organ with max 32' pipes. The inside of the chapel was so cold, I don't think more than about half the pipes on the organ were actually working ;) but our guest artist organist played the Weaver Toccata - when the 32' pipes kicked in, they were sounding about ¼ second after all the rest of the organ (when they worked at all!) LOL

 

Here's the page - scroll down to "Notable Organ Stops" and there are 2 links there - the Boardwalk is the second and most sonically interesting I think.

 

I can just imagine a few brave souls listening when the temp is -26 and the wind is howling outside, and someone asks "Is that the wind or the organ....?"

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Here's a more musically relevant pipe - especially for headphones, a 32-footer that produces a 16 hz tone. Note the boominess late in the track. This boominess was a point of discussion in the organ stops pages - the need to prevent such things in design or practice.

 

http://www.organstops.org/_sounds/KelloggAuditorium/Ped_Resultant_arp.mp3

 

And the 8 hz tone from the 64-foot pipe:

 

http://www.die-orgelseite.de/audio/atlanticcity_64ft.mp3

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It's much easier for a headphone to pull off the low frequencies since it isn't pushing much air at those SPLs, but a lot of people still say they prefer headphones with a real subwoofer to "feel" the chest thumping" bass.

 

My best experience with loudspeaker bass was in a large room that didn't have resonances at 16 to 32 hz where the real goodies are. That was not a chest-thumping experience, and unless it included bass drum et al, I wouldn't expect that sort of thumping.

 

But, what I did experience with the HQD system, with those 24 inch Hartley woofers, was akin to standing on the ground in L.A. during a Richter 7x earthquake, from playing the opening organ pedal from the Pasadena Symphony's Also Sprach Zarathustra circa 1993.

 

That kind of experience costs a lot of money with loudspeakers, not to mention getting the large room with walls that can support those huge waves. But a good headphone can bring a lot of that to the listener when they're aware of what is possible.

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I just played a music sample from the "Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ" that has a real 64-foot pipe, which plays at 8 hz. That's too low to hear the fundamental tone in the tonal sense, but it's not too low to feel the weight of that note on a headphone with good bass extension.

 

So how did my headphones do? On a scale of 1 (weakest or most breakup) to 10 (best weight and lack of breakup distortion):

 

B&O H6 - 10.

B&W P7 - 7.

Thinksound ON1 - 5.

Shure 1540 - 5.

v-moda M80 - 4.

Beyer T51p - 3.

Harman Soho - 3.

 

If anyone doubts that 8 hz is a working fundamental on a headphone, just try the H6. The general sensation I got from the Boardwalk organ on the sound clip at Wikipedia was similar in some segments to a helicopter flying close overhead. The sound did seem to change quite a bit during the 54-second clip, which indicates that harmonics were much more noticeable** in some segments.

 

**Harmonics of 8 hz might be "audible" if they're a couple of octaves higher, but those harmonics don't carry the weight of the fundamental tone.

 

Many thanks for this. How do you think the HD800 fares in this respect?

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Many thanks for this. How do you think the HD800 fares in this respect?

 

I haven't had the HD800 since mid-2013, and it's difficult to guess. I know the response is slightly reduced at 30 hz and somewhat more at 20 hz, but it's still a good bass extension. I'd guess the HD800 would reproduce the 16 hz fundamental, but not the 8 hz. That would be reasonable for an open headphone, at least because 8 hz isn't musically relevant in my experience. According to the acoustic laws, 8 hz would not reproduce properly on loudspeakers unless the room they were in had a length or width of at least 65-70 feet, and strong walls with very little opening to sustain the acoustic wave. It would be good to know how that works with open and closed headphones, but I don't have any open headphones at the moment.

 

The B&O H6 is reproducing 8 hz to some extent, but I can't be sure how well. One way I can tell that it's 8 hz and not a harmonic with low-freq. "weight" is by comparison to headphones that do well with the 16 hz tone, but drop out at 8 hz. I got quite a bit of experience with low frequencies in L.A., especially in 1981 living near downtown, with helicopters overhead nearly all the time at night. The 5.1 earthquake in Sept. of '81 had a classic rolling wave at about 1 hz, and depending where you were sitting, you might feel it strongly or hardly at all.

 

When the ~7.1 desert quake of 1992 occurred, I was in Ventura, about 60 miles from L.A. and about 120 miles from the epicenter. The house was swaying back and forth slowly, so that wave would have been around 1/2 hz as a guess. In Jan. 1994 I was in Seal Beach about 40 miles from Northridge, and there was considerable shaking then, but I can't relate that shaking to a frequency, since it didn't feel the same at the time. I remember it was difficult to stand up, so there was a strong wave operating there. Driving through the valley a few days later, you could go down streets one direction and see essentially no damage, but turn 90 degrees onto streets that were perpendicular to those and there was considerable damage, so whereas deep bass is said to be omnidirectional in hi-fi systems, it seemed very directional in its effect on 1/17/1994.

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I haven't had the HD800 since mid-2013, and it's difficult to guess. I know the response is slightly reduced at 30 hz and somewhat more at 20 hz, but it's still a good bass extension. I'd guess the HD800 would reproduce the 16 hz fundamental, but not the 8 hz. That would be reasonable for an open headphone, at least because 8 hz isn't musically relevant in my experience. According to the acoustic laws, 8 hz would not reproduce properly on loudspeakers unless the room they were in had a length or width of at least 65-70 feet, and strong walls with very little opening to sustain the acoustic wave. It would be good to know how that works with open and closed headphones, but I don't have any open headphones at the moment.

 

The B&O H6 is reproducing 8 hz to some extent, but I can't be sure how well. One way I can tell that it's 8 hz and not a harmonic with low-freq. "weight" is by comparison to headphones that do well with the 16 hz tone, but drop out at 8 hz. I got quite a bit of experience with low frequencies in L.A., especially in 1981 living near downtown, with helicopters overhead nearly all the time at night. The 5.1 earthquake in Sept. of '81 had a classic rolling wave at about 1 hz, and depending where you were sitting, you might feel it strongly or hardly at all.

 

When the ~7.1 desert quake of 1992 occurred, I was in Ventura, about 60 miles from L.A. and about 120 miles from the epicenter. The house was swaying back and forth slowly, so that wave would have been around 1/2 hz as a guess. In Jan. 1994 I was in Seal Beach about 40 miles from Northridge, and there was considerable shaking then, but I can't relate that shaking to a frequency, since it didn't feel the same at the time. I remember it was difficult to stand up, so there was a strong wave operating there. Driving through the valley a few days later, you could go down streets one direction and see essentially no damage, but turn 90 degrees onto streets that were perpendicular to those and there was considerable damage, so whereas deep bass is said to be omnidirectional in hi-fi systems, it seemed very directional in its effect on 1/17/1994.

 

Many thanks for your detailed response. Your comment that I highlighted gives a lot of food for thought. It may explain why it is so difficult to get good stereo imaging with a 2.1 setup.

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Many thanks for your detailed response. Your comment that I highlighted gives a lot of food for thought. It may explain why it is so difficult to get good stereo imaging with a 2.1 setup.

 

Richard Heyser of Caltech wrote about earthquakes and acoustic waves back in the 1970's in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society. I don't remember whether Heyser ever made reference to Nikola Tesla (at that time Tesla was still regarded largely as a kook), but Tesla was very interested in acoustics and resonances in the ground, and wanted at one time to construct machinery to perform some tests - I suppose those projects died for various reasons.

 

BTW, I think the challenge in good imaging is almost entirely in making the recording - once the horse is out of the barn so to speak, trying to recoup on the playback end is nearly impossible.

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