Yanny or Laurel Debate – What this sound engineer has to “hear” about it

The firestorm that has been diving the internet may never be solved. When this audio clip has been played, some hear the world Laurel, some hear the word Yanny. As an 18 year veteran of both live and studio sound recording, this sound engineer hears it both ways. When I first heard it in the parking lot of the grocery store, on my iPhone 7, I hear the word Yanny as clear as day. No mistaking it. Yet my wife heard y-laurel, a combination of the two.

She was some distance from me and I had done some reading up that the perception of the word has something to do with the listeners ability to perceive frequencies along the spectrum. The conclusion was that those with a diminished hearing in the upper frequencies would hear Laurel, while those with more sensitivity would hear the word Yanny.

So, being the sound nerd that I am, I decided to put this to the test for myself. I went into my studio and put the sound file into my Logic Pro studio software to do some basic analysis. Mind you, this is not a full forensic audio type check, but it allowed me to do some experimenting.

First thing I noticed, I heard the word Laurel. I am not sure why, when I was at home and in the studio I heard Laurel but on my phone I heard Yanny. Then I began to EQ the file where I would remove the high frequencies. I moved the slider till I got to the frequency 1660 Hz with a 48 db roll off per octave. When I played it back for my wife, she heard Laurel with these settings, when I moved the frequency up, the more and more it sounded like some blend of the words Laurel and Yanny. Once we were passed the 3000 Hz mark, it sounded fully like Yanny to her ears.

For me, I heard Yanny in the parking lot on my iPhone 7. When I had it at home on my studio setup it sounded like Laurel. S0, while that may not provide an answer for you, I have included the audio of the raw audio side by side: First you will hear “the word” said twice with the high frequency dropped off, then you will hear “the word” said twice as is, or as it was presented to the world. You be the judge.


EDIT: I have also added a second audio sample that has the same pattern but with the low frequencies removed to see if that impacts your hearing of one word over the other. I did a high pass filter at 1600 Hz with a 48 db per octave roll off.

EQ for Yanny Laurel Debate

Sample with 1600 Hz High Pass filer (only the high frequencies):

Yanny Laurel 1600 hz removal

5 responses to “Yanny or Laurel Debate – What this sound engineer has to “hear” about it”

  1. Can you remove low frequencies (try to isolate yanny)? I heard yanny the first time I was exposed to it, but after the first one or two times, I can only hear laurel.

    • I have added that to the posting. See if that makes a difference to your ears. I still only hear Laurel, but the fans that I used to hear yanny on my phone made me think the same thing.

  2. Kinda sounds like “yelly” to me when done like this. LOL I hear Yanny on my computer and Laurel on my phone with the “real” file (different voice for each).

  3. Am I the only one that doesn’t hear either, and instead hears “Yerry”?

  4. The first audio says Laurel twice then Yanny twice then Laurel twice then Yanny twice, the second audio I just hear Yanny