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markus111

"Sibilance region" and other audio terms?

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I remember reading somewhere that 8khz was the "sibilance" region. Is there a document that describes in laymans terms how different frequency ranges correspond to different colorations of the sound? I would imagine this is the kind of thing that any self-respecting sound engineer or recording techician could spew in his sleep.

Mark

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I think the best way to answer your question is to ask why do you want to know, or for what application do you plan to apply the information? There are no real rules for EQ, but there all sorts of concepts can be learned to help the process.

That said, here are some frequencies and how I correlate them to what I hear:

12kHz : the "ssssssssssssssssss" sound that snakes make (sibilance)

8kHz : the same sibilance sound, but more grainy or harsh in nature

(aka, this will control the level of harshness)

3kHz : brightness, midrange nasaly region...the most important region of voice (also the most sensitive region to our ears)

1kHz : similar to 8kHz with the grainy harsh nature, but occurs with the midrange

800Hz : lower mid-range, towards the lower end of female vocals (depends on female of course)

500Hz : Muddy control, too much and it sounds like it's in a box, too little and it sounds hollow

100Hz : absolute bottom end of most vocals...the poppy thud range when a singer spits or blows air hard into the mic. Controls how throaty it sounds

60-80Hz : region for that deep radio voice, only sounds good when the original voice goes this low

For the record, these observations are very different for different people, but I tried to provide a basic all around concept. The Q of the filters also plays a huge role as to how the different frequency ranges affect the sound. Come to think of it, I've mixed for well over 200 voices just this last year! 50 of which were visiting pastors (since we had no pastor for a while we had to have different people fill in for us). The reason I mention this though is because we (the guys in the booth) couldn't believe how varied the EQ would be from week to week with the same mic in the same room. It was also interesting how we could use like 2 or 3, sometimes 4 drastically different EQ approaches and they'd all sound very similar (same voice, same day, same everything but the EQ).

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My recall was that sibilance was in the range of 3500 Hz, which is just where our hearing is most acute to low levels.

I looked around the web and see that "de-essing" filters cover a much wider range. Perhaps this is because the sound is more noise than narrow band limited pitch.

Just as an experiment you can do at home, I note that the S sound noise is higher than the TH sound. Note how the tongue is moved to different positions against the teeth.

I'd think you'll find more about this in sites devoted to hearing loss. People with problems lose the ability to hear their own sibilance and therefore do not use it. When kids mimic an old person's speech they naturally cut out the sibilance.

A somewhat related issue is vowel pitch. I wish I knew more. If you say A-E-I-O-U you can hear the pitch change.

My understanding is that vowel pitch has much to do with American regional accents.

I still have a slight New York accent after decades in the mid-west. I thought it was slight. But Sgt Andy during one of our meeting razzed me on it. Of course his ear is from Texas - Oklahoma. Naturally his hearing is very sensitive to Yankee talk. (And we probably don't want to know what Trey thinks!)

Smile,

Gil

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----------------

On 5/6/2005 4:30:32 AM DrWho wrote:

I think the best way to answer your question is to ask why do you want to know, or for what application do you plan to apply the information?

----------------

Dr. Who,

Thanks for the detailed response. Actually, that's exactly the type of info I'm looking for. As for how I'd use it, really just to gain a more objective understanding of what I'm hearing when I listen to music and evaluating my system. I don't have an equalizer in my system, just because I've not yet heard one that improved the sound. However, I wouldn't batt an eyelash at changing a tube, or a capacitor value in my amp or crossover to get just the sound I want. I know that sounds like driving a tack with a sledgehammer, but I like building and tweaking tube amps. I have a spectrum analyzer, but sometimes the trace of the sound which is coming from the speakers appears almost identical when in fact the sound is not. It would be nice to say, "the sound of this female voice seems harsh in the upper range - I should look a little harder at the range from 3-4khz." Of course, it could be Stevie Nicks, in which case the whole range is harsh 11.gif But seriously, I would just like to be able to evaluate sound in the same way a chef evaluates cooking, and to be able to speak about it in more precise and objective terms.

Mark

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Ya know, if you got decent speakers hooked up to your pc, I could show you to a free program with a decent graphic EQ that you could play with to get a hands on understanding of the different frequency ranges.

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Guys,

Here's a paper on the subject.

The big thing to understand is that it is NOT casued by the speaker or the crossover network. It's a natural thing and is recorded on CDs. Listen to a recording with quality headphones directly off your CD player and you will hear it!

Al k.

Sibil.pdf

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I used to refer to 300Hz as the "cardboard" in a kick drum.

Dave Moulton put together a superb ear training package called Golden Ears, IIRC. We did drills on the big ole Ureis in the live room at Fredonia. Time very well spent.

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