You might have seen the words bass, treble, or mid, while setting on your speaker system, guitar amplifier, television, or mobile phone.
You might know what it does, but not exactly what it means.
And whether you are wondering what treble, bass, and mid is, or how to set them to get the best sound, you have arrived at the right place.
In this simple guide we go through what these words means and what they’re is used for, as well as how to set bass, mid, and treble for the best sound possible.
We also provide a simple explanation of audio frequencies and the audio spectrum.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
What Is Treble On A Speaker?
Treble refers to the higher frequencies of sound, collectively.
More specifically: the frequency range from 4000 hertz to 20,000 hertz. (Don’t worry about hertz for now, as we explain these later.)
Treble is a setting common on sound systems, guitar and bass amplifiers, and other music hardware, in addition to televisions, mobile phones, and music software.
If you have fiddled around with treble before, you will have noticed that it increases or decreases the “brightness” of the sound being played.
By reducing treble numerically, or turning a treble knob anti-clockwise, you are decreasing a sound’s brightness.
By increasing treble numerically, or turning a treble knob clockwise, you are increasing a sound’s brightness.
What Is Bass?
Unlike treble, bass is a pretty common word. We all know what bass is, which collectively refers to the lower frequencies of sound.
Specifically, bass is attributed to sound frequencies between 20 hertz and 250 hertz.
Similar to treble, bass is a common setting on speaker systems and amplifiers, and can also be found as a setting on televisions, mobile phones, and certain music applications.
This goes without saying: by reducing bass numerically, or by turning a bass knob anti-clockwise, you are decreasing the bass of a sound or speaker in volume.
By increasing bass numerically, or turning a bass knob clockwise, you are increasing the level of bass.
What Is Mid?
Now we know what bass and treble are, it is obvious what mid is.
Mid is short for midrange and refers to sound, or audio frequencies, that are not bass and not treble. In other words: the frequencies that fit in between treble and bass.
Specifically, mid refers to the audio frequencies between 250 hertz and 4000 hertz.
If you played around with the mid settings on your speaker system or television, you will have noticed that it can make the music sound more “boxy”, or more “empty”.
Midrange frequencies are typically associated with the sound of the human voice, as well as guitars, saxophones, tom-tom drums, and so on.
Mid, as a setting, can be used to reduce a “boxy-sounding” sound system or blend the balance of treble and bass in music.
What Should Bass, Mid, And Treble Be Set At?
What is the best bass, mid and treble setting?
The simple answer to this question is that it depends; it depends on the music or sounds being played, as well as the speakers from which the sound is coming.
No song or piece of music is the same, and neither are all speaker systems the same.
Music is also entirely different from the sound production of a movie.
At the same time, everyone has different preferences for how bass, mid, and treble should be set.
Some people prefer more bass when listening to music, while others prefer more “brightness” that comes with increased treble.
The best bass, mid, and treble setting is the one that pleases the listener, improves the sound of the speakers, and complements the room (acoustics) where the sound is being played.
What Is An Audio Frequency?
Audio frequency is a specific measure of pitch caused by vibration.
Audio frequencies are measured on an audio spectrum, or frequency spectrum, in hertz (Hz).
We know what treble, mid, and bass are, but frequencies – specifically frequency bands – are a more accurate way of processing sound tonality, as well as understanding sound in terms of its pitch on a scale from low to high.
The audio spectrum can be split up into seven main frequency bands: sub-bass, bass, low midrange, midrange, high midrange, presence, and brilliance.
As for their respective frequencies:
- Sub-bass is frequencies between 20 Hz and 60 Hz.
- Bass is frequencies between 60 Hz and 250 Hz.
- Low midrange is frequencies between 250 Hz and 500 Hz.
- Midrange is frequencies between 500 Hz and 2000 Hz.
- High midrange is frequencies between 2000 and 4000 Hz.
- Presence is frequencies between 4000 and 6000 Hz.
- Brilliance is frequencies between 6000 Hz and 20,000 Hz.
What Is An EQ In Music?
Just like bass, mid, and treble, you might have seen EQ settings on your television or mobile phone, on music hardware, or within a music software program.
EQ stands for equalizer or equalization (both are the same thing).
Equalizers are used to process sound by increasing or decreasing the volume of audio frequency bands – which can be anything from the seven main frequency bands to up to 30 bands.
In other words, EQs are advanced bass, mid, and treble controls, offering greater control over how music, or a sound, sounds in terms of its tone.
EQs are typically used for music production, as well as among audiophiles.
EQs can be music hardware, such as parametric EQs and guitar pedals, as well as software programs used within a digital audio workstation (DAW).
Professional EQs can even offer a live visual display of the sound on the audio spectrum as it is being played in real-time.
What Is The Best Equalizer Setting For Music?
Again, just like the question of what is the best bass, mid, and treble setting, the best equalizer setting for music (casual listening) is subjective.
It will also depend on the speakers on which the sound is being played, the room acoustics, and the music itself.
The best EQ setting will change depending on the song, simply because not all music is the same.
For example, a piece of classical music sounds different to a modern EDM track. Therefore, the same equalizer settings will not complement both tracks.
At the same time, everyone has different tastes when it comes to how much bass and treble sounds ideal.
Room acoustics are also a big factor when it comes to equalizer settings, as large bass frequencies do not fit in small rooms.
Higher frequencies can also be more prominent in rooms with lots of reflective surfaces. As a result, different rooms can require different EQ settings when it comes to music listening.
In short: treble in music refers to the higher frequencies of sound.
Treble is a common setting on speaker systems, guitar and bass amplifiers, televisions, and music software.
By adjusting the treble, you are increasing or decreasing how “bright” music, or a specific sound, sounds.
Treble is attributed to the frequencies between 4000 hertz and 20,000 hertz.
On the other end of the audio spectrum is bass. Mid is the audio range between treble and bass – collectively all sound frequencies between 250 hertz and 4000 hertz.
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.