Audio frequencies are measured in Hertz (Hz) – or Kilohertz (kHz), where 1 kHz is equal to 1000 Hz. The frequency response relates to the distortion factor- or how accurately the speakers will reproduce the original sound.
The frequency range that humans can detect is between 20Hz and 20kHz. Infants can detect higher frequencies, but as we grow old, the top limit goes down to 17 or even 15 kHz.
So, how important is frequency response in speakers?
In a nutshell, the frequency response is the range of sound that the speaker can produce.
You may understand this better if I explain this in a real-life example. Imagine you are a singer and can sing very low tones like Barry White, and at the same time, you can sing very high tones like Celine Dione.
That would be cool, right? It’s the same with speakers; the broader the frequency range they can cover, the better.
Does frequency response affect loudness?
What is good to know is that how loud your speakers will go is not measured by the frequency, it is expressed in decibels (dB).
So, let’s say that the speakers have a frequency of 40 Hz-20 kHz ±3dB. That would be considered that you’ll get a good sound quality. On the other hand, if it’s without dB, don’t go for it.
These two determine how loud the speakers can go and what sound range they have.
The importance of good frequency response for speakers is inevitable. How the tones – low, middle, and highs – are accurate and in reasonable proportion to each other, while reproducing, will show you if or not you’ll get rich and vibrant sound.
What is an example of a good speaker?
An ideal speaker should play a sound at all frequencies equally. In other words, some of them should not be louder than the others. So, the frequency response should be as “even” as possible – which means that the speaker should reproduce frequencies at the same volume as they were recorded.
Otherwise, it may result in some of them sounding louder or quieter than the others. To summarize, you can notice bad speakers quickly. If frequency (and the sound) changes while turning up the volume, that means the drivers aren’t that good.
What’s the ideal frequency response in speakers?
To answer this question, let’s compare 3 different types of speakers.
The Enigma Veyron EV1 at $1,5 million has a frequency range of 37 – 90 kHz.
The frequency range here is fantastic, but after all, these are the most expensive loudspeakers in the world.
The Strauss Elektroakustik SE MF 2 at $70 000 has a frequency range between 23 – 26 kHz.
Not so wide range as the Enigma Veyron, but still pretty good. Don’t forget the price of the speaker doesn’t depend upon frequency response only.
Average hi-fi speakers
The Elac Debut B5.2 at $289 has a frequency range between 46-35k Hz
Before purchase, I suggest checking the overall sound because except for frequency range, there are couple more things to look after:
- Built quality
- Value for money
- Number and quality of drivers
What is also good to know is a frequency response chart. It displays the decibel variations all across the spectrum of the frequency.
That chart shows you where exactly – and by how much – the speaker reduces or boosts frequencies. Mainly, it describes how the speaker will change the tone of the input signal.
Information to have in mind is that the things that significantly affect sound quality are a type of speaker, frequency response, and amplifier class.
That being said, if you use the specifications and frequency response data to eliminate loudspeakers that will not satisfy you, you’re on a good path – if you care about perfect sound.
Once you take them out of the way, you can make a better decision on what to buy.