I'm not talking about the factor "bass in your stomach", which is an additional perception when you listen to music.

Also on headphones (so no body involved): systems with enhanced bass (from Loudspeakers to Flat Monitor) gives to me "better music".

But this "improvement" is due to what? Am I changing the content (thus the timbre) of the piece/instruments, since I'm manipulating the spectrum via different frequency responses? Or, if the content stay unaltered, what's the reason why I prefer enhanced bass?

1 Answer 1


In short, yes, if you listen to music on enhanced bass setups, you are changing the initial work of the artist.

An audio track goes through several processes (mixing, mastering...) before being released and these processes are supposed to "parameter" the song as the artist wants people to hear it.

Of course, it is very rare to have a sound system that has a perfectly flat response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz so in any case you will slightly modify the spectrum. The point is to modify as less as possible if you want to stick with the artist's work.

Now in your case, on headphones, I think you are referring to the Psychoacoustic Bass Enhancement technology. Since it's hard on headphones to reproduce low frequencies, companies use this phenomenon. For example, it is hard on headphones to generate 25 Hz, but if you generate harmonics (i.e. multiples of 25 Hz) at 50, 75, 100... Hz, and then remove the 25Hz, your brain will still have the feeling to hear the 25Hz.

So you add frequencies, you modify the original track. But this is your personal taste... some people prefer listening to unaltered music.

Some precautions

If you really need to enhance bass frequencies to hear them properly, you should also check if you don't have lost frequencies in your audition. I don't know your listening habits, but people that very often listen to music with headphones tend to higher the volume in time. If someone around you at one meter distance can also hear it, it is a sign that the volume is probably too loud. Then it becomes a viscous circle, "I have a little hear loss, so I increase the volume, so I damage my hear a little more, so I increase the volume etc...". Hear loss doesn't suddenly hurt, it is a small, long term process and when you realize it, it's sometimes too late.

  • Are you saying that I'll always mess the artist intent? Or if I stay within some range, I'll keep the artist messages? That's the point: if the target is get the message or take the piece and shape as you prefer.
    – markzzz
    Nov 29, 2017 at 11:39
  • @markzzz, I suppose if an artist wanted to have enhanced bass, they would have done it themselves in the mix or mastering... that been said, I also think that any listener can do whatever he wants. The main point is to enjoy after all :-), but be careful about not pushing the volume to loud, don't forget that there is no cure for hear loss. Lost hearing hair cells never regenerate.
    – Bebs
    Nov 29, 2017 at 11:49
  • I'm not talking about hearing loss :) But why one should take setup A instead of B when (pratically) the message will come out trought both of them? On what is based the preferences? What matter is the message of a piece. The sound is well-founded constantly change...
    – markzzz
    Nov 29, 2017 at 13:30
  • @markzzz, at the end it depends only on one's personal tastes and criteria. Audio system buyers usually go to the shop with their favourite disc and try different sound systems before buying one.
    – Bebs
    Nov 29, 2017 at 13:51
  • I know. I was looking for motivation. Me also I prefer some systems instead of another, but I'm not able to tell why. That's why I open this question :)
    – markzzz
    Nov 29, 2017 at 13:54

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