The voice can be one of the most complicated parts of audio to get right. Our hearing system has evolved to keep us alive and thriving, and while listening out for predators and prey has been essential, hearing and understanding our fellow human beings is absolutely crucial. Because of this, our hearing system is so expert at paying attention to the human voice, it’s quite obvious to us when something’s amiss.

The Human Voice’s Fundamental Frequency

The lowest frequency of any voice signal is called the Fundamental Frequency. As well as being the lowest, it also conveys a lot of the information about the pitch of the voice at any given point, and therefore about the overall intonation of speech. 

The average fundamental frequency for a male voice is 125Hz; for a female voice it’s 200Hz; and for a child’s voice, 300Hz. Remember, as the speaking changes the pitch of their words, this frequency will change too, so think of fundamental frequency as a range, rather than an absolute value. These differences are due to the speed of movement of a speaker’s vocal folds (aka vocal cords), as well as their size, and how they’re used.