Use This Handy Chart of Note Frequencies and Instruments to Eliminate Background Noise From Your Mixes

February 15, 2016

 

This article originally appeared on CD Baby's DIY Musician blog, and was written by Alex Andrews of Ten Kettles Inc. .

 

What's the frequency of C, and why should you care?

It's 261.6 Hz. Why would we ever need to know this? Well, there could be a few different reasons, but one has to do with mixing audio. When equalizing (EQing) an audio track, one common challenge is filtering out background noise – especially if the track was recorded with a microphone. Here's what the mic might be picking up:

  • The rumble of a streetcar or truck going by in the distance

  • An accidental knock of the microphone stand

  • A door closing somewhere in your building

Your best route to eliminating background noise is to cut it out at the source, but in many cases (barring time travel) that's just not possible. So we use an equalizer, or EQ, to lend a helping hand.

Take a guitar track, for example. What's the lowest sound you'd expect to come from a guitar? If it's in standard tuning, the lowest string is tuned to E2, which has a frequency of 82.4 Hz (see the table below). This means that any sound below ~80 Hz is not guitar. So, if we filter out everything below that frequency, we cut out the low noise (like the streetcar rumble) but keep all that great guitar sound. Not bad! The name for this kind of filter is a high-pass filter, because it lets all the high frequencies pass, and keeps out the low ones.

Below is a table of all the note frequencies, with the highest and lowest notes of various instruments highlighted. The first column is the octave number. For example, the low E string on a guitar is tuned to E2 – that’s E in the second octave.

 NoteFreq. (Hz)Instrument

0C16.35 

C♯/D♭17.32 

D18.35 

D♯/E♭19.45 

E20.60Approximate lower limit of human hearing
(increases with age)

F21.83 

F♯/G♭23.12 

G24.50 

G♯/A♭25.96 

A27.50 

A♯/B♭29.14 

B30.87Lowest note of a 5-string bass

 

1C32.70 

C♯/D♭34.65 

D36.71 

D♯/E♭38.89 

E41.20Lowest note of a 4-string bass

F43.65 

F♯/G♭46.25 

G49.00 

G♯/A♭51.91 

A55.00 

A♯/B♭58.27 

B61.74 

 

2C65.41 

C♯/D♭69.30 

D73.42 

D♯/E♭77.78 

E82.41Lowest note of a guitar

F87.31 

F♯/G♭92.50 

G98.00Approximate low-end of male vocals
(depends greatly on individual)

G♯/A♭103.8 

A110.0 

A♯/B♭116.5 

B123.5 

 

3C130.8 

C♯/D♭138.6 

D146.8 

D♯/E♭155.6 

E164.8 

F174.6 

F♯/G♭185.0 

G196.0Approximate low-end of female vocals
(depends greatly on individual)

G♯/A♭207.7 

A220.0 

A♯/B♭233.1 

B246.9 

 

4C261.6(Middle C)

C♯/D♭277.2 

D293.7 

D♯/E♭311.1Highest note of a 4 or 5-string bass

E329.6 

F349.2 

F♯/G♭370.0 

G392.0Approximate high-end of male vocals
(depends greatly on individual)

G♯/A♭415.3 

A440.0 

A♯/B♭466.2 

B493.9 

 

5C523.3 

C♯/D♭554.4 

D587.3 

D♯/E♭622.3 

E659.3 

F698.5 

F♯/G♭740.0 

G784.0Approximate high-end of female vocals
(depends greatly on individual)

G♯/A♭830.6 

A880.0 

A♯/B♭932.3 

B987.8 

 

6C1047Highest note of a 20-fret guitar

C♯/D♭1109 

D1175 

D♯/E♭1245 

E1319 

F1397 

F♯/G♭1480 

G1568 

G♯/A♭1661 

A1760 

A♯/B♭1865 

B1976 

 

7C2093 

C♯/D♭2217 

D2349 

D♯/E♭2489 

E2637 

F2794 

F♯/G♭2960 

G3136 

G♯/A♭3322 

A3520 

A♯/B♭3729 

B3951 

 

8C4186 

C♯/D♭4435 

D4699 

D♯/E♭4978 

E5274 

F5588 

F♯/G♭5920 

G6272 

G♯/A♭6645 

A7040 

A♯/B♭7459 

B7902 

 

9C8372 

C♯/D♭8870 

D9397 

D♯/E♭9956 

E10,548 

F11,175 

F♯/G♭11,840 

G12,544 

G♯/A♭13,290 

A14,080 

A♯/B♭14,917 

B15,804 

 

10C16,744 

C♯/D♭17,740 

D18,795 

D♯/E♭19,912Approximate upper limit of human hearing
(decreases with age)

E21,096 

F22,351 

F♯/G♭23,680 

G25,088 

G♯/A♭26,580 

A28,160 

A♯/B♭29,834 

B31,609 

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