Sound can be divided into 2 kinds: Simple and Complex. Imagine a simple tone as a sine wave that comprises of one single frequency, which in fact is the simplest oscillation that can occur in nature. This means, that it cannot be further analyzed in simpler oscillations. The complex sound, on the other hand, consists of a fundamental frequency (which is the lowest one and usually carries most of the intensity) and of some other called overtones. When these overtones are integer multiples of the fundamental (including the fundamental), then we talk about harmonic overtones.
Let’s now examine the qualities of sound. The characteristics of sound can be classified into two categories: Objective and Subjective qualities. Objective qualities are related to the physical properties of sound, such as intensity, frequency and frequency spectrum, which can be measured by the use of specific instrumentation. On the other hand, the term ‘subjective’ refers to the ...
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...r sound pressure level) are the same. The so-called Fletcher & Munson curves show that.
These curves are based on the work of Fletcher and Munson at Bell labs in the 30’s, or better, we could say that they are refinements made more recently by Robinson and Dadson. These were made by asking people to judge when pure tones of two different frequencies were the same loudness. Because of the fact that this is a very difficult judgement to make, and the curves are the average results from many subjects, they should be considered as general indicators rather than a prescription as to what a single individual might hear. As you can see in the following chart, the 60 phons curve crosses the dB scale at 60 for 1KHz. For us to perceive e.g. 40Hz as the same volume as 1KHz, it will need approximately 20dB more power (the 60 phons curve meets 40 Hz at about 82 on the Y-axis).
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