Low note on No Scrubs

In another thread, someone asks what everyone tests their new headphones on. One of the songs I check is No Scrubs, by TLC. It has an extremely low note at around the 1:52 mark of this video (cued up to 1:51):

The only system that I can hear that clearly on is my main stereo with a subwoofer, and even then it has to be kinda loud. None of my earbuds or my computer system can really play it, and neither can my various car sound systems.

On my computer speakers (with small subwoofer), I can tell there’s something there, but I don’t really hear it.

Can you hear it on anything?

  • Yes, I can hear that crazy low note, device in the comments
  • No, I can’t hear that crazy low note

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I can hear it very well on my home theater setup with subwoofer. I didn’t listen to the entire song, but it happens more than once.

It’s low enough that I’m not surprised that nothing but a subwoofer could play it.

Low like a low E (or whatever) around ~40 Hz? Or like really low?

I think it only shows up twice. It’s really low – I think I once figured out it was 28 Hz? Is the regular low note around 56?

More like 10-15 Hz.

I think you’d only be able to feel it, not hear it, at those frequencies.

If the regular low note that goes throughout the song is 58 Hz, I think the note I’m talking about is an octave lower, 28 Hz.

I (think I) can hear/feel some sort of rumbly note but it may be more methodical to look at an actual spectrogram…

It’s E an octave below open E (41 Hz) on electric bass. That makes it about 20 Hz.

The tune is in A flat.

20 Hz! That’s about as low as it gets. Thanks for checking it out.

The other time that the note shows up is around 10 seconds earlier on that video, around 1:41.

Yep. Unhooked everyday computer speakers, plugged in audio lines to amp and Yamaha floor-standing speakers. Sort of a low passing note

Try this one: https://global.discourse-cdn.com/straightdope/original/2X/4/42b992a0154808afbef4d13f936c0064de62e87d.mp3

E (probably diminished 7) passing to the Dominant E flat 7.

I can hear the initial low note, or at least the harmonics that are fooling me into thinking I hear it, on my computer speakers.

I think the “problem” with the TLC note is that it’s a pretty clean sound, with few or no harmonics, so you can’t even imply the note from those.

I can definitely hear something [in the original video], especially with a subwoofer and turning up the bass, but I am still not convinced the E is there, or maybe it is just not coming through the Youtube version? Zooming in on the waveform, there is definitely a peak around B-flat (between 28–30 Hz, not sure how their tuning is supposed to be), but nothing obviously lower.

It’s there. Whether anything makes it from the source to your eardrum depends on all the in-between items. My ear buds will get it to my ears if I listen through my phone (Google Pixel 3A), and my iPod will deliver it through my earbuds or my car, but not through my employer-provided laptop PC, which probably doesn’t include top-of-the-line audio-processing capabilities.

Other songs with very low bass content include “Evacuating London” from the soundtrack of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The low content starts at 1:03, and gets as low as an F0 (21.8 Hz) at 1:25:

Also, this Cincinnati Pops rendition of the Star Wars Throne Room & End Title:

The low content runs from 3:15 to to 3:37, and another stretch from 3:56 to 4:15, at points getting as low as an F0 (21.8 Hz).

The above content doesn’t reach my ears when I’m playing it through my laptop, but my phone makes it happen.

I think I hear it. I just have a normal portable JBL Charge speaker here. I checked out a few 20 Hz - 30 Hz test tones on Youtube, and I hear those just fine on this speaker.

This is pretty surprising! Can a speaker that small even pass that kind of wave form?

I might be hearing overtones or something. It doesn’t really make sense to me.

ETA: JBL claims 65hz on the low end, so I must be hearing something else.

Try this:

The displayed numbers aren’t quite right, e.g. when it says 50 Hz it’s more like a concert B-flat at 58.3 Hz. I don’t get good clean bass from my laptop until that video is showing around 70 Hz, but I do get something - as you say, maybe overtones. But from my phone, the bass note is clear and clean all the way from the start of the sweep.

You misunderstand. I do not hear nothing. I hear something. It simply does not seem “that” low. But why trust my ears? Zooming in at 1:52 reveals a peak around 29–30 Hz, but nothing lower. That is what I am wondering about.

Your “Evacuating London”, on the other hand, does show an obvious signal at 21.8 Hz.

yeah, 29-30 Hz (a concert B0) sounds about like what I’m hearing there too.