Audio Frequency Range: Everything You Need to Know


Sound travels through vibrations that resonate within people’s ears. The vibrant sound can range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, constituting the audible spectrum perceivable by humans. Understanding audio frequency is crucial for appreciating the nuances of sound.

Music engineers and audiophiles may be experts in this domain, but average listeners may find themselves less familiar with this stuff. This article will give you a detailed explanation of audio frequency and you’ll know better about terms like “frequency response”, “sub-bass”, and “midrange”.

What is Audio Frequency Range?

An audio frequency, also known as audible frequency, refers to the rate at which sound waves vibrate in the air. These frequencies carry pitch and tone, which are perceived and interpreted by the human brain as sound. Audio frequency is often measured in Hertz (Hz) or Kilohertz (kHz).

Human audio frequency ranges from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Typically, the higher the frequency, the higher the pitch reaches individuals. Frequencies below 20 Hz are categorized as Infrasonic, while those above 20,000 Hz are referred to as Ultrasonic, and most people cannot hear beyond this 20 Hz to 20 kHz range. However, hearing capability varies among individuals based on factors such as age and hearing acuity, particularly in sensing high frequency.

When a sound is produced, it generates the fundamental frequencies, which is the lowest audible frequency. Additionally, it also produces higher frequencies known as harmonic frequencies. The harmonic frequency contributes to the overall brightness and richness of the sound.

7 Audio Frequency Ranges

The audio frequency can be broken down into seven frequency bands, each with its distinct characteristics.

audio frequency range


Sub-bass roughly ranges from 20 Hz to 60 Hz, which is the lowest audible frequency that humans can hear. In fact, your ears have decreased sensitivity to frequencies below 100 Hz, sub-bass is more felt than heard. It is characterized by the deepest sound. Sub-bass can be produced by some bass-heavy instruments such as bass guitars, bass drums, and harps. A piano or pedal keyboard on pipe organs can also reach the range of sub-bass. Sub-bass is very popular in dance music, dubstep music, hip-hop, and rap songs.  


Bass, also referred to as the bottom end, is the basic tone in the rhythm ranging from 60 Hz to 250 Hz. Bass is the normal speaking frequency. Many instruments can produce bass frequencies including bass trumpets, violins, saxophones, and flutes. Bass is popularly used in modern music, adding a sound depth, fullness, and richness. The 250 Hz frequency can make modern music between 90 Hz and 200 Hz more soft and warm, but excessive bass can make the sound boomy.  

Low Mids

Low mids or lower midrange spans from 250 Hz to 500 Hz. This is the range where much of solid sound is found. Lower midrange can be produced in most instruments such as mid-woodwinds, alto saxes, and clarinets. It can also be easily produced by males or females. Low mids will become a thin sound if it is not paired with other ranges. The 300 Hz low mids can improve the clarity of the sound, but excessive 500 Hz frequencies can make the sound muffled.    


Midrange, ranging from 500 Hz to 2000 Hz, is the fundamental frequency produced by most musical instruments, such as the violin and piccolo. Midrange can often create a textured and balanced sound. 700-900 Hz can improve the clarity without mixing up the low end, but too many 1000-2000 Hz midrange frequencies can lead to listener fatigue. 

High Mids

High mid frequencies, typically defined as ranging from 2000 Hz to 4000 Hz, contain the higher harmonics of musical instruments and greatly impact their clarity and brightness. This range is particularly important for the percussive and rhythmic instruments, enhancing their attack sounds. Human hearing is sensitive to this range, and you should be careful when boosting 3000-3500 Hz frequencies to avoid harsh sound. 


Presence, ranging from 4000 Hz to 6000 Hz, adds clarity and high-end texture to a sound. It also makes the sound feel more present and immediate. It controls the detail and clarity of a sound, and most home stereos control their treble in this range. These frequencies help instruments cut through the mix, providing definition and prominence. However, excessive presence can make a sharp sound. Musical instruments like violin and snare drum can produce these frequencies.


Brilliance is the highest frequency in the audible frequency spectrum. This is the area from 6000 Hz to 20000 Hz that completely contains the harmonics. It is not about the loudness but refers to the airiness of a sound, which means that the sound is more like a wind. A boost in 7500-10000 Hz can add air, texture, and detail to the sound or music; while the 12000 Hz frequency range can enhance a Hi-Fi environment for recording. However, an excessive 12000 Hz frequency can make a harsh sound.


Frequency Range


20 Hz to 60 Hz


60 Hz to 250 Hz

Low Mids

250 Hz to 500 Hz


500 Hz to 2000 Hz

High Mids

2000 Hz to 4000 Hz


4000 Hz to 6000 Hz


6000 Hz to 20000 Hz

Frequency Response Explained

Now that you know different audio frequency ranges, there are also other factors affecting your audio experience like frequency response. The frequency response of the devices you use to produce or listen to music is crucial for accurately reproducing all frequencies, ensuring optimal performance and sound quality.

What is Frequency Response?

The frequency response is a measure of how accurately a device responds to different ranges of audio frequencies. It is usually represented in the form of a line graph or chart with the X-axis indicating frequency in Hertz (Hz) and the Y-axis showing amplitude in decibels (dB) or sound pressure level (SPL). dB usually means the change in sound pressure level, representing the loudness of the sound. Frequency response is considered an important factor when choosing audio devices such as microphones, buzzers, and speakers. Among these audio devices, loudspeakers generally have the widest range of audio frequencies. 

Notes: What is a flat frequency response?

A flat frequency response is usually a flat curve on the frequency response graph. A flat frequency response reproduces sound accurately with no or little boosts or cuts. Ideally, such a response controls lower frequency, prevents the midrange from being too harsh, and maintains the higher frequency clear without too much shrillness.

Speakers and Microphones Design

Different designs of audio devices can affect audio devices’ response to different audio frequency ranges. Read on for more information.

  • Size: Many handy speakers are preferred by audiophiles. Thanks to their lightness, they can produce higher frequencies without causing harmonics. Smaller speakers can be paired with smaller enclosures, which is cost-effective in terms of materials and spaces. In contrast, larger speakers are suitable for reproducing lower frequencies due to their large diaphragms.   
  • Material: To keep the balance of flexibility and stability, the diaphragms of speakers are typically made of paper and mylar due to their lightness and robustness. Rubber is often used to connect diaphragms and frames thanks to their strength and flexibility. Electret microphones are durable and handle lower frequencies, while ribbon microphones are more suitable for higher frequencies with less durability. 


Understanding and effectively managing these frequency ranges not only enhances your audio experience but also helps you better manage the mix or choose the right audio equipment in music production. 


What is normal audio Hz?

The standard frequency ranges from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

What is the difference between radio frequency and audio frequency?

Audio frequency refers to the range of sound waves that human ears can detect, typically ranging from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. In contrast, radio frequency typically starts from 3kHz (3000 Hz) to 300GHz, and it is primarily used for wireless communication.

Does higher Hz mean better quality audio?

No, both higher and lower Hz are important for audio quality.

For more information on this topic, you can keep up on our blogs. While VCELINK offers general and basic information for our customers and other visitors to the website, it’s not professional advice.

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