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In-depth Bob Katz K-System Tutorial
Old 13th August 2015
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In-depth Bob Katz K-System Tutorial

Recommendation: Skip the K-system and use the playfully titled "T-System (click me)" instead, which is much easier to set up and gives you a lot more digital headroom, and still allows you to be compliant with the Movie/TV industry if you have that requirement.

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Original Post:

This is a guide for the incredibly useful K-System, and how to calibrate your speakers properly. It gives you better mixes with greater clarity and dynamic range easier than ever before. Unfortunately it's a bit tough to get into, so I wanted to help people out with a tutorial.


Step 1: Get an accurate SPL meter.

To use the K-System you're first going to need an SPL meter. If you have an iPhone, don't waste time buying a physical meter, since iPhones have shown themselves to be extremely accurate at measuring volume.

There was a great study on iPhone SPL meters, at CDC - NIOSH Science Blog – So How Accurate Are These Smartphone Sound Measurement Apps?. The two winners were SoundMeter and SPLnFFT. The study found that Android phones cannot be used for SPL measurement because the wide array of phone manufacturers and different phone-microphones made standardized calibrations impossible. But iPhone users are in luck.

So which to choose? Well, I realized that the difference was mainly that the $20 SoundMeter had a bit better calibration out-of-the-box (whereas SPLnFFT was +/- 2 dB off). That was a year and a half ago. SPLnFFT has improved its pre-bundled calibrations since then. It's also just $3.99 and is by far a better price and has more features.

The difference in results between the two apps was really just a case of one app being a bit better aware of the iPhone's microphone sensitivity, but they've clearly worked a lot on SPLnFFT over the years and adjusted its built-in calibration. At first startup (or under the "Mic. : Mic Gain: Set" tab), it will ask you to find a quiet room, set your output volume (speaker) to maximum, and then let it run a test. It plays a tone and listens to its own tone to calibrate the volume to what it should be hearing. So it knows what the volume *should* be of that tone, and will be able to calibrate itself to it. Oh and you can actually calibrate it using a known-volume signal generator if you've got one, and can even use an external measurement mic, so you can make it extremely accurate if you want to. The app is really techy and it's clear the author is an expert at audio level measurement. SPLnFFT is great!

When you go into the "Conf" page, remember that you can actually scroll the pane (it's not immediately obvious). And to set the response to slow (averaged), you have to tap the "Fast" text at the top left of the meter.

One last thing: It doesn't matter if your SPL meter is permanently a few dBs too high or low compared to the real volume, unless you want to collaborate with other studios that use calibrated K-metering volume references. What truly matters is that you get the exact same reading for both speakers so that they're calibrated relative to each other.


Step 2: Calibrating your speakers for K-20.

To calibrate a speaker's volume, set your SPL meter to Slow response + dB(C) weighting.

Next, set your speaker's trim pot (at its back) to the lowest value.

Set your audio output device to 100% volume via your physical master volume knob (or if you've got a "-X dB, 0 dB, +X dB" knob, then set it to the middle "0 dB" point). This is important.

Set your DAW and soundcard (digitally) to 0 dB (unity gain).

Next, from your DAW you're going to want to generate pink noise. I suggest using band-limited noise filtered to 500hz-2000hz to avoid bass and high frequencies and thereby taking most of the room's reflections out of the volume equation. Instead of trying to set up your own proper 500hz/2khz filters and correctly configuring the RMS and stuff, just get Bob Katz' calibrated "-20 dBFS RMS pink noise 500-2k" left and right versions from here: Downloads - General - Digital Domain: CD Mastering | Mastered for iTunes | Audio Mastering | Blu-Ray Mastering

Now place the iPhone in the normal listening sweetspot, with the microphone at ear level and aimed at the ceiling. When you measure SPL, you always aim the microphone at the ceiling to eliminate the risk of bias towards any of the speakers.

Adjust the speaker's trim pot so that you get 83 dBC on the meter. That number comes from the movie industry where they discovered that it's the loudest average listening level in a big theater/control room that's useful for loud/forte sections but isn't uncomfortably loud. During a convention, they asked 1000 audio engineers if they thought the 83 dBC "comfortably loud" volume was too loud, and only 4 said yes. And nobody thought it was too quiet. Everyone agreed that it was a great reference for how loud a "normal" portion of a song/movie should be. That proves how effective the 83 dBC point is. (PS: In older documentation, the movie standard was called 85 dBC, but that was wrong - better measurements have revealed that it's actually 83 dBC. Many outdated posts still quote the old number. Do NOT use that!)

Quick note: I will constantly refer to the number 83 dBC as your calibration, but people in smaller rooms or with nearfield monitors need to calibrate to lower volumes due to the reflections of smaller rooms making 83 dBC sound way too loud. See Appendix A at the bottom of this post. If your room is smaller and therefore uses a lower reference volume, then just replace all instances of "83 dBC" below with the number you chose instead, and whenever there's math involved, subtract the number from the reference volume you chose rather than from 83.

When you've adjusted both speakers to *individually* (*one* at a time) be extremely close to 83 dBC at the exact same listening position (without moving the iPhone *whatsoever*), then you've now got the "K-20" scale (meaning: the pink noise currently playing at -20 dB RMS on the digital scale resulted in 83 dBC output in the physical world).

K-20 means that the "comfortably loud" 83 dBC pink noise is -20 dB RMS under digital 0. That "-20 dB RMS on the digital scale" is actually your new "virtual 0" reference point in the K-System. So, if your physical master volume knob is now at 100%, and you output a finished, mastered song that's around 12 dB RMS average volume, then you're actually playing at "+8 dB" (above your calibrated "comfortable" volume) on the K-20 scale, which would be EXTREMELY bad for your ears and speakers. So always WATCH OUT for that when mixing using the K-System! Keep your DAW levels very low! The scale is *completely* designed to give you *headroom* for mixing and mastering and to help you map "20 dB of headroom" to a comfortable physical level. The K-System ensures that you've got digital headroom *while mixing*, *and* that you're mixing with the best possible loudness reference (83 dBC, or the equivalent for smaller rooms). You are now supposed to aim at an average RMS level (on your DAWs output channel) of LESS than -20 dB. The -20 dB RMS is the "virtual 0" mark of the K-20 scale, and having your average song volume going over it by any more than "+4" or so should be treated almost as badly as "clipping" in the digital realm.

You see, that "virtual 0" is the point which is supposed to be comfortably loud, during normal passages of your music. Most of the time your average level should hit the "0" point on the K-System scale, and your loud portions will naturally end up around +1 to +3, and your softer portions may be as quiet as -6 or so. Only during loud passages/climaxes will you ever hover go above that 0 point of the scale.

This picture sums it up:
http://www.digido.com/images/K-20_Close.gif

But the beauty of the K-System is that you won't actually have to look at your digital meters anymore, and you won't have to look for something like "-20dB average digital RMS" on the scale. Thanks to your calibrated speaker volume and your physical master volume knob position, you simply have to close your eyes and mix anything that sounds like a comfortable volume to your ear! The K-System ensures that you've got a *lot* of headroom for transients above your average music level while mixing! Fantastic!


Step 3: Calibrating the other K-System reference points.

Well, we're not done yet! There are more K-scales than just K-20!

Next up... with your iPhone in the exact same position, you're going to want to lower the *physical* master volume knob until you get a 77 dBC reading. That's your K-14 metering position, which is the transient headroom intended for modern pop music of audiophile quality. How does that "77 dBC" number work? Simple: K-20 minus K-14 = 6 dB difference. So if K-20's reference is 83 dB at 100% knob position, then K-14's reference (which is 6dB closer to digital 0) is going to be 83 dB at a *lower* physical volume knob position to compensate for the higher digital volume. But it would be tedious (and loud...) to raise the digital pink noise to -14 dB RMS and then lowering the physical volume knob until we get 83 dB again. So to find the point where a -14 dB pink noise *would* be playing at 83 dBC, we simply have to lower the physical master volume knob position until we find the location where our -20 dB pink noise plays 6 dB quieter than 83 dBC; in other words we need to find 77 dBC to find the K-14 position on the physical master volume knob!

The K-14 scale basically reduces your available transient-headroom by moving the real 83 dBC point higher up on the digital scale. So now with K-14, your 83 dBC is at -14 on the digital scale. You've now "only" got 14 dB of headroom for transients/peaks. That's less headroom, but still a *lot*, and allows you to create moderately loud, audiophile-quality pop and electronic - and remember that this is only about the additional headroom for transients! The actual volume of the music content lives down at -14 dB RMS. So when it's time to release the music, you are allowed to further boost the volume a bit (and limit the transients with a limiter) to get it up to competitive levels in your particular genre. Many modern genres are as loud as -6 dB to -10 dB RMS!

Well, there's one more K-System reference, which is 2 dB louder on the digital scale! So, finally, with the iPhone in the exact same position, lower the physical volume master knob until you get a 75 dBC reading. That's your K-12 scale, which Bob Katz thinks is for "broadcast" (mainly radio) music/material, but it turns out to be a very competitive loudness level in a lot of modern music.

Mark those K-14 and K-12 positions on your physical volume knob, using tape or something.


Step 4: Time to use the system!

You're done calibrating! Now you no longer need any fancy meters inside your DAW, and you *never* need to touch your physical volume knob again while mixing!

You just decide what type of music you want to mix:
- Movies/classical/audiophile music with lots of transient headroom? Set the physical volume knob to 100% to use the K-20 scale and get 20 dB of transient headroom.
- Pop/electronic/modern music? Set the physical volume to 80% (just an example; your real position is the one you found during the measurements above) to use the K-14 scale and get 14 dB of transient headroom. You can further boost the volume of the material later if you need to get it even louder for a particular genre.
- Broadcast/radio/highly compressed material? Set the physical volume to something like 60% (again just an example), to use the K-12 scale and get 12 dB of transient headroom.
- If you have your own particular genre such as some electronic genre that always hovers around "-8 dB RMS", then feel free to create your own "K-8" volume position, using the same calibration method we used for the others above.

You choose the appropriate scale based on how much potential transient headroom/dynamic range you want between the loudest possible transients and the average volume in your music. Even if you're intending to always release in a genre that has something as loud and overcompressed as "-8 dB RMS", I still suggest *always* using the K-14 monitor position for mixing and mastering, since it allows your transients to breathe, and you can simply boost the volume further (with a limiter to chop the transients) when it's time for release within your final delivery system.

Now, with the appropriate "scale" selected via your physical master volume knob, you're ready to mix/master with a *fixed* physical master volume knob position! Do NOT move it anymore, unless you want to do some non-critical work at a softer volume for a while, or if you want to play it louder to hear more detail sometimes. But most of the time it should be at the reference volume, so that you become used to working with that exact loudness level always corresponding to X dB of digital headroom (the headroom of your chosen K-scale).

Just create/mix/master music and don't even think about physical knob volumes, digital peaks or digital average volumes or *anything* anymore; instead, simply *create music* and mix it so that the volume sounds comfortable for you to listen to at your chosen K-Scale knob position. You will then *automatically* get the digital transient headroom amount you selected, and it will be *much* easier to balance elements in the mix since they won't all be pushed up against digital 0 anymore.

Always aim to have your music's average RMS somewhere around -6 (very soft) to 0 (normal portions of the song) to +3 (loud) on the new "virtual 0" reference of your chosen K-System; if your monitors were properly calibrated, then it will sound like a perfect volume both for normal portions of the song and for loud portions. Most music will have climaxes that reach perhaps +0 to rarely +2 on the K-System's scale. If the loud portions of your music constantly end up louder than that on the chosen K-System scale then your monitors were not properly volume-calibrated to 83 dBC (or lower if your room was smaller, as covered in the appendix)!

Everything over +4 is known as the "red zone" and is the "ear damaging" zone. Your average volume should never be there! That area is only for the transients!


Step 5: When you're done mixing, it's time to prepare the song for release.

So you've mixed a song at K-14... but what do you do with all that extra headroom? Well, if you're releasing the music for audiophiles, you're done. They know how to turn the volume knob up to enjoy all of those punchy transients and the headroom.

But most music isn't for audiophiles, so our finished mix is going to be somewhat quiet when played back next to a normal "K-8" (-8 dB RMS) or similar song. Well, we're simply going to have to raise the volume of the entire mix by putting it through a limiter and raising the mix until it hits the desired RMS compared to other commercial music. It's a bit of a shame to boost the volume and chop some of the transient clarity away, but good limiters like FabFilter Pro-L will do a good job of it. And your mix is usually so well-balanced thanks to the K-System's extra headroom, that you won't really miss the loudest peaks of those transients! They're called transients for a reason, and they can often be shaved quite a bit without losing the punch and clarity.

One of the greatest advantages that the K-System gave you was that during mixing, you were able to create music that had a *lot* of dynamic range and you didn't run into constant issues of having to re-balance digital mixer levels or changing your physical volume knob, and you did so at an extremely good 83 dBC "comfortable average loudness" reference listening level which is great for mixing/mastering music for extended periods of time. And after you've applied your final compression/limiting to get the *peaks* up to where they're supposed to be (digital full scale), you've now got your music at a competitive volume level *AND* with all of the beautiful clarity and dynamic range that the selected K-scale gave you.

Now, a little warning: Bob Katz designed this system because he noticed that musicians tended to mix/master music that was at its loudest portions whenever it played at the 0 dB point on the digital scale. He realized that it's better if we create a lower, "virtual 0 dB" on the digital scale (the K-System) that has a known reference physical volume (in this case 83 dBC, which is the best, "most comfortable" volume for extended listening). That gives the mixing/mastering engineer a lot of digital headroom to balance tracks without constantly battling digital 0 clipping. It also encourages experimentation with having lots of dynamic range, since you're no longer clipping anything. But as I mentioned above, the idea is to raise the entire volume *afterwards* to make the peaks hit 0 dBFS. So while your monitors are set to the K-System volumes, you *cannot* listen to commercial, released music that has a higher RMS. They'll be WAY too loud. For listening to released music, you'll simply want to lower your physical master volume knob to whatever is comfortable for finished, limited/compressed music instead. And if you want to compare your K-System-mixed music to theirs, you'll simply have to raise *your* music's volume *digitally* during the mastering stage so that the transients hit 0 dB (or above with a limiter). You will then retain all of the clarity and dynamic range you got from the K-System, but your music will be commercially loud.

The K-System liberates you from having to adjust physical volumes or reading digital meters, and lets you mix comfortably using your ears. You're a winner!


Step 6: Some great tips to make it easy to work with the system.

If you're using the K-System at the scales with lots of headroom (K-14 and K-20), you will notice that you'll often be pushing your DAW's digital fader very far down for every track so that they're not too loud. And that's terrible because it means all of your digital faders will be in the lower 25% range of the fader, where they become harder to control with a smaller useful range and less resolution.

Therefore, I suggest that you insert a gain/trim plugin on your master output bus and set it to something like -8 dB. The result is as if you had applied a gain reduction to every channel in your project, and it allows your individual channel mixer faders to be higher up again.

Now just mix as usual and make your music sound comfortably loud. Then when you're done with your mixing, you would put a compressor on the real master output and use that for flavor/glue/effect purposes. Then when your music sounds great, dynamic and punchy at your K-14 reference level, you'll simply have one more step left; preparing it for the consumer.

First lower your *physical* volume knob to a range useful for listening to commercially released modern music, and then slap a limiter on your 0dB unity-gain output of your project. Now simply gently raise the volume until it's competitive in that music genre.

You're done! Your music will now have both the loudness, *and* the clarity you got from mixing with more headroom!


Another tip while you're new to the system: Get a digital K-System meter for your DAW, such as Brainworx bx_meter or iZotope insight. Set it to the K-scale you're using (such as K-14), then set your physical master volume knob to the same one. Now you know that when your music-in-progress shows as "0" on your digital K-System meter will correspond to 83 dBC physically, which is supposed to the be the "comfortably loud average volume passages", and you know that your music's louder passages should be somewhere around +1 to +3 on the K-System meter. But after a while you'll learn what that 83 dBC volume "sounds like" and won't need any digital K-System meter at all, and can simply set your monitor position and then mix based on the "comfortable volume" you hear. You'll know that you will always have been within the proper ranges when it's time for final volume raising/limiting.


Step 7: Couldn't I just...

So... you might perhaps have read all of this and say: "Wait a minute? Couldn't I just ignore the K-System, raise my physical speaker volumes, lower my mix channel volumes, work at a lower digital volume (to have lots of digital headroom), and then limit/compress the final result to get back to competitive digital volume levels".

The answer is "kinda". Doing that simpler method would only give you more digital headroom while mixing; it wouldn't give you all the other benefits. The point of the K-System is that it also *calibrates* your speakers and teaches you the magical 83 dBC "comfortably loud" reference volume used in broadcast studios, which is a perfect volume range for hearing the effects of compression, limiting, etc. It also ensures that *all* of your mixes are created with 83 dBC as the reference, which makes level-matching/processing them very easy since they'll all be the exact same relative loudness. Furthermore, it gives you the ability to use digital K-System meters to effortlessly see your loudness relative to the "virtual 0" on your chosen headroom scale.

The most important thing to learn from this is that you should lower your digital levels, have calibrated monitors that are at 83 dBC as your reference of what should be "comfortably loud", and then mix using your ears instead of constantly battling the digital faders. This effortlessly gives you a lovely dynamic range!


Appendix A: When 83 dBC is way too loud...

The number of 83 dBC was chosen because it's optimal in relation to the Fletcher-Munson curves. Human hearing is *not* flat. But it is at its flattest around the 80 dB range. And that also happens to be the range where sound is still comfortably loud without hurting your ears. That is why 83 dBC is such a great sound pressure reference level when mixing.

However, that "83 dBC = comfortably loud" standard relates to the listening experience in a big control room or movie theater. With such a big room, the 83 decibels sound "just right". But in a small home studio or smaller control room, the early reflections from the surrounding walls will psychoacoustically amplify the *perceived* loudness of the audio. So even though your monitors *are* calibrated to 83 dBC, they will *seem* to be something like 90 dBC in your ears, and that's going to be way too loud.

The 83 dBC calibration volume is only recommended for wide-open, well-treated control rooms with midfield or farfield monitors.

Smaller rooms and home studios need to use a lower reference level to compensate. If your room is acoustically treated, and you use midfield/farfield monitors, you can use the official reference levels for smaller rooms. Simplify multiply the width, height and length of your room to get the cubic size. You can use either meters or feet, and then just look up the resulting reference level, as follows:

(if these room size numbers seem biased towards perfectly even feet measurements, that's because they were set by the american film industry, hehe)
Room Size (m3), Room Size (ft3), Reference Level (dBC)
>566 m3 / >20,000 ft3, 83 dBC
284-566 m3 / 10,000-20,000 ft3, 80 dBC
143-283 m3 / 5,000-10,000 ft3, 78 dBC
42-142 m3 / 1,500-5,000 ft3, 76 dBC
<42 m3 / < 1,500 ft, 74 dBC

If your room is not acoustically treated, or your speaker placement is sub-optimal, then you will need to measure your room yourself to find a comfortable listening level, but you will no longer be compliant with the standardized loudness levels. But that's usually not a problem whatsoever for home producers, though, since you won't be collaborating with other studios that work at exact reference levels.

Furthermore, if you're using nearfield monitors (which you should never be doing for mixing or mastering), then those kinds of monitors exaggerate the bass and high end (thus seeming a lot louder) and the stereo image, and you'll find yourself needing *even lower* reference levels to compensate.

Well, no matter what your situation is, most people will be in the "home studio / needs to find their own reference level" camp. I have developed a very useful technique for finding your particular room's "additional perceived loudness" offset, while still remaining reasonably accurate compared to the standardized reference levels used in professional studios.

1. Start out by finding your room size in the chart above, to get a good initial "starting point". If you're in a regular sized room in a home studio, you'll perhaps be aiming at 78 dBC or so. Consult the chart! In all examples below, we'll assume "78 dBC" was chosen.

2. Now play the 500Hz-2kHz -20 dB RMS pink noise in your room at 100% physical master volume knob position, and tweak the trim on the back of the speaker until you get 78 dBC. The perceived loudness of the bandpassed pink noise works extremely well regardless of what your room looks like, since it cuts out the bass and high frequencies, whose reflections are the worst contributors to the reflection-induced "perceived loudness" boosts in humans.

If you look at the Fletcher-Munson curves, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lindos4.svg, you will see that human hearing is at its flattest in the 500Hz-2kHz range. That's why early reflections of those frequencies don't add much to the perceived loudness; whereas reflected bass and high frequencies would have added a *lot* to our perceived loudness (and that's why actual music at an 83 dBC calibration would have been too loud in a small room).

You've now got your "78 dBC" reference loudness. You now know how loud that should sound.

3. The next step is to discover the *perceived* loudness of -20 dB RMS music in your particular room. In other words, fullband material whose bass and treble will be reflecting off your walls and therefore seem psychoacoustically louder.

Take some well-mixed music with a good frequency balance and dynamic range (I suggest picking something from Bob Katz' dynamic range honor rolls, at http://www.digido.com/media/honor-roll.html).

Put that song on a DAW track, and split it from stereo into two separate mono channels. Mute/delete one of the channels, so that you've only got a single speaker playing.

Loop a portion of the song that's playing a consistent, "most common loudness" for that song. Do not use a louder climax or a quiet beginning. You need the average loudness portion (what would be the "0 point" on the K-System scale).

Put a digital K-System meter on the master output, configure it to K-20, and lower the digital volume of your chosen song until the looped "most common loudness" portion of the track consistently plays at the "0" mark on the K-20 scale. The reason you're using a K-System meter is that they've got a standardized RMS response time and so on. But you could use another RMS meter if you take time to calibrate it properly (I'm not gonna cover that).

Now, you've got two tracks in your DAW: One is the -20 dB RMS pre-calibrated "500Hz-2kHz" pink noise test tone. The other is your looped song which has been adjusted to average around "0" on the K-20 scale.

4. Your next job is to sit down in the listening position and switch back and forth between playing the pink noise or the song. Just keep adjusting the volume of the song (NOT the noise) downwards via your DAW's track slider until the perceived loudness of the song *in your head* matches what you hear as the perceived loudness of the noise. If you want to be extra-accurate (but that would be pretty pointless for a small home studio), then repeat the process with more than 1 reference song.

When you've matched the average perceived loudness of the song to the calibrated noise, then you've got a reasonable representation of your room's loudness offset due to reflections.

Now just look at the digital K-System meter, and check what the average position on the meter says. It'll probably be something like "-3" on the K-meter. Your exact number depends on the room. Let's use "-3" in this hypothetical example.

Alright, you're almost done! You now know how much *perceived* loudness was added by your room when a full-band (bass + highs) track was playing and being reflected by your walls.

5. If your number was "-3" in the volume matching exercise above, then you know that your room adds 3 dB of perceived loudness to the 78 dBC calibration (the example reference level we picked for our hypothetical room). So, now you need to adjust the math in all calibrations, and re-do your pink noise calibration.

To set up the K-20 metering point, you would set your physical master volume knob to 100% and then adjust the trim on the back of the speakers until you get 75 dBC (the 78 roomsize value minus the 3 dB of perceived additional loudness) on your SPL meter when playing the pink noise again; it's going to seem quieter with just that pink noise (due to the lack of full-band reflections in that noise, and the fact that we're only playing from a single speaker), but it's going to be just-perfect when playing actual music.

When you're done, you've found your "83 dBC equivalent" value in your particular room. You may find that your monitor's volume control at the back doesn't go low enough to get the lower volume you need, so in that case you'll have to lower the physical master volume knob instead of the monitors, and then mark the "K-20" spot on the knob (instead of using 100% physical volume as the K-20 spot).

Next, to set up the K-14 metering point, you know that K-14 is 6 dB lower than K-20 (20-14=6). So you'd reduce your physical master volume knob until you get 75 (your adjusted K-20 reference volume) - 6 (the K-14 difference) = 69 dBC, and then mark that spot on your volume control as the "K-14" spot.

Finally, for K-12 metering, you know it's 8 dB lower than K-20, so you're aiming for 75 (your adjusted K-20 reference volume) - 6 (the K-12 difference) = 67 dBC, which you'd mark on your volume control as the K-12 spot.

Now you've got calibrated broadcast listening levels for your studio!


I hope this clears things up for everyone who has been curious about the K-System.

Have fun with your music!

PS: If you thought this tutorial was long, try reading the rambling original document by Bob Katz. http://www.digido.com/how-to-make-be...gs-part-2.html
Old 13th August 2015
  #2
Gear Nut
 

Leave some headroom and calibrate your avg. playback volume to heathy levels. This is some serious innovation in digital audio.
Is this patented?
Old 13th August 2015
  #3
Lives for gear
 
sdbmastering's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Who really cares about it anyway? What's the point? K-System is as useless as DR measurements or even RMS. When it comes to music production they mean nothing.
Old 13th August 2015
  #4
Deleted e461f65
Guest
it's so irrelevant nowadays
Old 13th August 2015
  #5
Deleted 691ca21
Guest
Best article I've read on calibrated monitoring (without enforcing the out-of-date Katz scheme) is here:

https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may...monitoring.htm

Self calibrated monitoring is great. Forcing it into some kind of standard is not, IMO.
Old 13th August 2015
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Temptin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by got_degree View Post
Leave some headroom and calibrate your avg. playback volume to heathy levels. This is some serious innovation in digital audio.
Is this patented?
The innovation isn't to lower your digital levels to get digital headroom and then calibrating your output levels. The innovation is to standardize music production around the cinema loudness standard, and to provide new ("K-System") digital metering products that represent that RMS scale digitally so that you know that all of your tracks should average around 0 on the chosen K-System scale's digital meter, in order to have an equal loudness.

The rest of the system is just about various chosen headroom amounts, and is pretty arbitrary. That is why I suggest only caring about K-14, which is 14 dB of transient/peak-headroom above the average RMS, or perhaps K-20 if you want a lot more headroom for easier mixing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdbmastering View Post
Who really cares about it anyway? What's the point? K-System is as useless as DR measurements or even RMS. When it comes to music production they mean nothing.
This guy simply does not understand the value of calibrating listening level to the Fletcher-Munson curves of human hearing *and* also giving yourself a consistent digital headroom at the same time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Odeon-Mastering View Post
it's so irrelevant nowadays
Only someone who doesn't know what they're doing would call a ~80 dB-range Fletcher-Munson reference level "irrelevant". That's the level that your human ear is the most flat at, which gives you the best mix decisions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
Best article I've read on calibrated monitoring (without enforcing the out-of-date Katz scheme) is here:

https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may...monitoring.htm

Self calibrated monitoring is great. Forcing it into some kind of standard is not, IMO.
I just finished reading that entire article, and it's funny you call the K-System "out of date" (which it's absolutely *not*, by the way; but it *is* very misunderstood), since that article goes through K-20 calibration from top to bottom. They're calibrating to the movie industry's headroom standard (having 20 dB of digital headroom above an 83 dBC average loudness reference).

You could mix all of your music at K-20 (what that article sets up), and you'd simply have to raise the volume even more in your output limiter. Or you can use K-14, which is a good amount of transient headroom while mixing and much closer to finished audio levels.

And when you use the K-system, you get the benefit of the existence of digital, calibrated K-14 meters which can show you when your music is around the correct average level (0 on the K-scale). That ensures that *all* of your songs use the same reference loudness, and are therefore compatible with each other when it comes to things like saving mastering presets (pretty much the same thresholds will work for all songs, etc, since they've got the same average loudness). The K-meters are better than regular RMS meters, because they establish a standardized RMS as the "0 point" and then show you green under that, yellow in the +1 to +4 range over that, and red in the even higher ranges (where your music should never be, and the only reason it would sit there is if you've miscalibrated your monitor levels).

The *only* thing the Dreamer (Bob Katz) did "wrong" is that he wished that all consumers would calibrate their systems too, so that limiting/raising the volume would no longer be necessary. But that's not going to happen; so we as producers simply have to increase the output volume again after we're done mixing in K-14. And the benefit of K-14 remains: You know that 0 on the K-scale = 83 dBC in your room, which is the *best* (see Fletcher-Munson curves) volume to monitor at when making mix decisions, since your *ears* are the flattest at that volume. So you simply pick K-14 on your volume knob, K-14 in your digital meter, and ensure that your song sits around ~0 and you'll know that you're monitoring at the correct level, without having to bring up a physical SPL meter constantly. And furthermore, you know that *all* of your songs are the same average loudness and dynamic range and therefore extremely easy to make a "cohesive loudness" album out of.
Old 13th August 2015
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Temptin View Post
This guy simply does not understand the value of calibrating listening level to the Fletcher-Munson curves of human hearing *and* giving also yourself a consistent digital headroom at the same time. Opinion discarded.
No, you're right, I don't understand it. Calibrated listening levels are useless unless you're targeting a known playback system (ie, cinemas). So I don't understand how those can be relevant in music production, I never did. To me the whole K-System, DR or RMS measuring thing is useless and pointless.

Plus, listening levels are subjective and there's no such thing as flat / ideal level for everyone to listen to music at. That's just a myth.

And if you are here just to disregard other folks opinions then what's the point in even starting a discussion?
Old 13th August 2015
  #8
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I'm glad I'm not the only one that doesn't see the need for this.

I have a Crane Song Avocet and powered monitors. I feed my Avocet a digital AES input, and have the powered monitors connected and set to +4.

What more is there to do? The Avocet has a big green level control that I adjust to taste depending on what I'm working on, and how loud I want to hear it.

Maybe it's more useful for guys with analog/passive everything...but the digital inputs of the Avocet make calibration incredibly simple.

Last edited by Justin P.; 13th August 2015 at 06:13 PM..
Old 13th August 2015
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdbmastering View Post
listening levels are subjective and there's no such thing as flat / ideal level everyone
Agree!

------

No one is saying listening levels aren't critical to the quality of your work, and that's it's not a good idea to understand the K-system ...and throw it out the window.

It's just it's far from a standard. I know guys who make great records with the monitors cranked so loudly I can't walk into the room, if it works, who am I to critisize.

I personally find knowing how the volume I'm monitoring at will effect my work a great tool, but I'd never venture to pretend I could possible know what works for others. I've just seen too many things that seem illogical to me, work well for others over the years.

Last edited by Broyhillio; 13th August 2015 at 09:35 PM..
Old 13th August 2015
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temptin View Post
:
This guy simply does not understand the value of calibrating listening level to the Fletcher-Munson curves of human hearing *and* giving also yourself a consistent digital headroom at the same time. Opinion discarded.
opinion discarded? how old are you? before stating who understands what you might wanna take a look at some of the people's studios, credits ... you might learn something. and read a few GS posts ...this has been discussed to death. now you deserve a
Old 13th August 2015
  #11
Deleted e461f65
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temptin View Post



Only someone who doesn't know what they're doing would call a ~80 dB-range Fletcher-Munson reference level "irrelevant". That's the level that your human ear is the most flat at, which gives you the best mix decisions.


I was not refering to 80 dB-range Fletcher-Munson reference level.

The K-system is irrelevant since most of us do not use peak meters anyway and also work at a standard level .
I mean it was irrelevant when we only had VUmeters to watch, but now with LUFS meters it is even more irrelevant.

***most of the people who replied know a thing or two and also practise mastering full time...it would be a wise man's choise not to attack them and maybe consider their opinions (even if you decide to disregard them at the end)

Last edited by Deleted e461f65; 13th August 2015 at 09:24 PM..
Old 13th August 2015
  #12
SPL Meters

Hi all,

I really appreciated this post.

Most importantly, I think the SPL-meter iPhone apps were a wonderful suggestion by the OP.

The post was well-written, easy-to-follow, and now I got myself a handy app to check my volume levels (as they creep upwards during tracking)!

Kind regards,
Phil
Old 13th August 2015
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Temptin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Odeon-Mastering View Post
I mean it was irrelevant when we only had VUmeters to watch, but now with LUFS meters it is even more irrelevant.
If you use an LUFS meter (and I do; the iZotope Insight one is fantastic), then yes you see the relative loudness of your song expressed as a number that's much more accurate than the "outdated" RMS system.

But let's say you *exclusively* use LUFS. What you'd do then, is that you target each of your mixes at a certain LUFS loudness, and you then use your physical master volume knob to monitor at any volume you feel like at that moment.

That's fine, but you're losing something very useful: The K-System (which really isn't his system to begin with; it was a standardized headroom and reference volume invented by the movie industry) forces you to listen to a single volume. You're not allowed to touch it except for brief checks at different volumes. This quickly leads to learning what "that loudness" (K-14's -14 dB RMS for instance) sounds like. After that, you don't *need* any LUFS meters or RMS meters or peak meters or *anything* in the DAW.

There is one thing I dislike with Bob Katz; that's his insistence on putting K's before everything he touches. Like when he created a Haas effect for stereo widening and named it "K-Stereo" ........... Or the fact that the K-System is basically stolen from broadcasting. He does add his own innovative twist on things (like the K-14 and K-12 offsets for modern music, the standardized metering colors, reaction times and labels for the K-System scales, and the great controls in his K-Stereo plugin), but he does steal credit a lot, doesn't he?
Old 13th August 2015
  #14
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Verified Member
FWIW, Bob now highly recommends LUFS in his latest book.
Old 13th August 2015
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Temptin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
FWIW, Bob now highly recommends LUFS in his latest book.
Ah, I've only got the 2nd edition. I heard that he released the new one in late 2013.

So did he change the K-System's metering over to LUFS? In that case, do you know which LUFS values he is using that corresponds to the old K-12, K-14 and K-20 RMS headrooms? Using the exact same values in LUFS (-12, -14 and -20) would differ a tiny bit from RMS due to the different loudness algorithms, so I wonder if he revised the scale during the switch to LUFS, or perhaps added additional points such as "K-16 for iTunes SoundCheck"?
Old 14th August 2015
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temptin View Post
The innovation isn't to lower your digital levels to get digital headroom and then calibrating your output levels. The innovation is to standardize music production around the cinema loudness standard, and to provide new ("K-System") digital metering products that represent that RMS scale digitally so that you know that all of your tracks should average around 0 on the chosen K-System scale's digital meter, in order to have an equal loudness
You can facepalm as much as you want, since noone is complying to any kind of loudness standardisation, the whole whatever-system thing is pointless. unless you live in your own little K-world, where only your music and the music of your K-friends is played.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temptin View Post
to provide new ("K-System") digital metering products
I assume that in order to sell such a K-system meter product, you'll have to buy a K-license, right?
Old 14th August 2015
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Temptin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by got_degree View Post
You can facepalm as much as you want, since noone is complying to any kind of loudness standardisation, the whole K-system thing is pointless. unless you live in your own little K-world, where only your music and the music of your K-friends is played.
The idea of standardizing the reference volume has to do with midfield monitors in a big control room, and is intended to allow you to easily send pre-mastered tracks between studios and be able to hear them at exactly the same volume in every studio in the chain. It is also intended to ensure that you never create "too loud" or "too quiet" material. He chose the movie/broadcast industry's reference volume and did *not* try to invent his own. Nothing wrong with that. *But* I agree that the standardized volume is the most complicated part of the K-System.

As for the K-System (at least v1) using RMS instead of LU (discussed above); that's no big deal, they're pretty similar except that RMS reacts more strongly to bass and not enough to treble.


Quote:
Originally Posted by got_degree View Post
I assume that in order to sell such a K-system meter product, you'll have to buy a K-license, right?
Nope. He puts his childish "K" tag on a lot of the things he proposes to the audio world, but he never does it to make money, and he does *not* do it to everything he releases (he's released countless whitepapers). He's a bit of a peculiar man, that Mr. Katz. Like a lot of clever people, his mind seems to work in about 10 directions at once (just try reading his original K-System specification), and he doesn't really perceive when things he does seems a bit egotistical. Like the "K" tag, which he puts on what he feels is significant. And it really was; the K-System didn't just say "monitor at this volume"; it specified a reference volume, a reference mix level, and a *METERING SYSTEM* -- THAT last point was the important innovation. It was, and still is, a great way to monitor music. But I thought about it for a bit and decided to write up a tutorial that skips the strict monitoring volume, uses LUFS instead, and has a fixed headroom amount (so that you only need a single system instead of K-this and K-that).

The strict monitoring volume of the K-System was useful since it complies with the TV/Cinema standard and therefore you know exactly how loud your mix will be in the sweetspot of a cinema. But then again, how much of our music is played in cinemas? So it's easier to just set your own reference volume.

I playfully titled it the "T-System". You can find it in this forum.
Old 14th August 2015
  #18
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FabienTDR's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdbmastering View Post
To me the whole K-System, DR or RMS measuring thing is useless and pointless.
I found that 3 stickers on my preamp do the trick as well: "soft" "med" "loud". 3 arbitrary but fixed monitoring levels.

It helps me to immediately feel if everything's where it should be, or not. Be it spectral balance, dynamics, loudness or whatever.
Old 14th August 2015
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
Temptin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
I found that 3 stickers on my preamp do the trick as well: "soft" "med" "loud". 3 arbitrary but fixed monitoring levels.

It helps me to immediately feel if everything's where it should be, or not. Be it spectral balance, dynamics, loudness or whatever.
Have you found any advantage to having 3 pre-determined spots?

I work with 1 spot (the "medium/usual working volume"), and go arbitrarily lower when I'm just arranging the song, and maybe louder during some critical mixing. And then for final listening I use the "reference volume" spot.
Old 14th August 2015
  #20
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Of course. The "optimal" freq balance changes depending on monitoring level (you'll typically want more "smile" at low levels and more flatness at high levels), and being used to those three helps me a lot. I'm used to have all three monitoring levels sounding fine and intelligible. It makes it easy to spot say, a lack of "loudness" EQing for low level playback, or an excess of it. Or to much loudness in "LOUD" monitoring is easy to spot as well, it just becomes painful.

The idea is to find 3 comfortable levels with SOFT and LOUD being chosen in such a manner that any excess becomes uncomfortable.
Old 14th August 2015
  #21
Gear Nut
 

Do you know what your problem is?
You think, because I don't appreciate your loved k-system, I must not have understood it. That's not the case.

I understand the concept.

But I don't think is has any relevance other than to promote another K-thing.

Leave enough headroom and listen at healthy levels is all one needs to know. To me there's zero need for a new insanely innovative "metering system".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temptin View Post
but he never does it to make money
So there was no K-Stereo patent?
Old 14th August 2015
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
Temptin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
Of course. The "optimal" freq balance changes depending on monitoring level (you'll typically want more "smile" at low levels and more flatness at high levels), and being used to those three helps me a lot. I'm used to have all three monitoring levels sounding fine and intelligible. It makes it easy to spot say, a lack of "loudness" EQing for low level playback, or an excess of it. Or to much loudness in "LOUD" monitoring is easy to spot as well, it just becomes painful.

The idea is to find 3 comfortable levels with SOFT and LOUD being chosen in such a manner that any excess becomes uncomfortable.
Hmm. I pretty much automatically go to the same relative loudness offsets whenever I go softer or louder. But I see how it would be useful for someone to decide on those offsets ahead of time, so that they more quickly get used to how they sound. I'll pass that tip on to people.
Old 14th August 2015
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
Temptin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by got_degree View Post
You think, because I don't appreciate your loved k-system, I must not have understood it. That's not the case.
Do you know what the problem is with your sentence above?

The "K-System" that you and many others love to criticise and say is "useless", is not really Bob Katz's system at all.

The -20 dB calibration at 83 dBC is standardized and used by the movie and broadcast industry for decades, as a perfect monitoring volume to ensure that music/content plays at equal loudness in all collaborating studios and in the movie theatre.

K-20 = The broadcast standard. NOT something that Bob Katz "made up".

K-14 / K-12 = Smaller headroom offsets that katz selected that are more appropriate for modern music. And they worked excellently, as the K-System proves.

He also helped give the world a better digital metering system; instead of "0 dBFS" = top, he shifted the 0 point downwards and color coded the ranges so that people stop going above their allotted headroom, and he tweaked the RMS integration time to make it less "jumpy" and more accurate for measuring overall music loudness.

But anyway, the core of what I'm saying is: When people are saying the "K-System" is useless/wrong/outdated/whatever, then you're criticising the exact calibration system used by the entire movie industry for decades all the way until the modern day. The newer LUFS volume measurement/compliance system? That's just a further refinement of the K-20/movie industry calibration.

And why did Katz standardize around their calibration? Because music studios were a lawless land that did not *have* any standardized calibration, so speaker volumes were all over the place. You can't introduce an improved metering system and expect people to follow something like "K-14's 14 dB of headroom" if people listen to K-14 at wildly different physical volumes, since then you haven't solved the problem with digital (people boosting the volume digitally if their speakers are too quiet, or softening it if their speakers are too loud). He HAD TO introduce a calibration level to make sure people actually produce tracks with 14 dB of headroom (so that -14 dB RMS sounds equally loud in any studio using the K-System), and he chose the movie industy's (83 dBC), since theirs already had a proven record of success for decades.

Also, anyone who thinks "83 dBC is too loud! stop trying to force me to listen at that level", have not read "Appendix A: When 83 dBC is way too loud..." at the end of my tutorial above. The movie industry uses other calibrations if you're using nearfields or smaller rooms, and they're all listed there. A properly chosen calibration level will sound *perfect* to any listener (out of 1000 audio engineer listeners in a test performed by the movie industry, 996 agreed that the chosen reference volume was perfect).

That's actually the most common mistake people do with the K-System; they wrongly calibrate their small home studio and their nearfields to 83 dBC (which is only meant for big control rooms and midfield/farfield monitors) and say "my ears bleed!" and then they discard the whole system.



Quote:
Originally Posted by got_degree View Post
Leave enough headroom and listen at healthy levels is all one needs to know. To me there's zero need for a new insanely innovative "metering system".
Correct. If you do not want to set your studio to the broadcast industry's reference volume (if you don't work for the movie industry and don't collaborate with other music studios that have a fixed reference level), then you do not need to calibrate your monitor volume and can listen at any volume you want, and simply give yourself digital headroom. I covered that at the end of the tutorial, in the "Wait... can't I just?" section; where I describe exactly what you just mentioned.


Quote:
Originally Posted by got_degree View Post
So there was no K-Stereo patent?
There was no K-System patent (or at least NOT one that requires licensing fees).

There was a K-Stereo patent, because he tweaked the HAAS effect in clever ways and created a very transparent ambience recovery tool. That's definitely worthy of a patent, and he was indeed awarded one.
Old 14th August 2015
  #24
Deleted e461f65
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temptin View Post
Hmm. I pretty much automatically go to the same relative loudness offsets whenever I go softer or louder. But I see how it would be useful for someone to decide on those offsets ahead of time, so that they more quickly get used to how they sound. I'll pass that tip on to people.
dude most of us have been working like this for years... it is not exactly new knowledge

as got_degree said we fully understand the concept and its advantages...and have been using VU meters and our ears instead of the K-system.

Quote:
And why did Katz standardize around their calibration? Because music studios were a lawless land that did not *have* any standardized calibration, so speaker volumes were all over the place.
not at all...studios were never a lawless land especially when tape is involved.
I have a feeling that the K-system was introduced mainly to help bedroom producers in the DAW era.
Old 14th August 2015
  #25
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lowland's Avatar
 

Verified Member
16 Reviews written
Similar to Fabien, I have a DAC level that suits me most of the time (it corresponds to late 70s-early 80s dB on a sound level meter, but that's fairly academic), and work a few dBs up with classical or very dynamic material (+6 seems to crop up regularly) and down a few dBs when the goal is 'loud'.

I wouldn't try and impose that on anyone else, but in recent years I've been able to set mastered track levels faster and with more confidence than before, and it's helped overall workflow.

Probably a whole other discussion, but the combined impact of consistent monitoring levels and use of the Trinnov room/speaker correction system (incidentally, I use the Trinnov's monitor control to set where I am relative to 'house zero') has been significant for me.
Old 14th August 2015
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
Temptin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowland View Post
Similar to Fabien, I have a DAC level that suits me most of the time (it corresponds to late 70s-early 80s dB on a sound level meter, but that's fairly academic), and work a few dBs up with classical or very dynamic material (+6 seems to crop up regularly) and down a few dBs when the goal is 'loud'.

I wouldn't try and impose that on anyone else, but in recent years I've been able to set mastered track levels faster and with more confidence than before, and it's helped overall workflow.

Probably a whole other discussion, but the combined impact of consistent monitoring levels and use of the Trinnov room/speaker correction system (incidentally, I use the Trinnov's monitor control to set where I am relative to 'house zero') has been significant for me.
Yeah, the exact dB we monitor at is really not a useful figure to share, since the perceived loudness depends completely on the room. Someone in a home studio with nearfield monitors and one speaker next to a wall and the other one next to a window, and with a bunch of reflective furniture, will find 80+ dB to sound unbearably loud. Whereas someone with a big, acoustically treated room and midfield monitors will find it to be "just right" since the big, treated room absorbs the reflections. Appendix A of my post covers useful recommendations for different room sizes, as well as a tip for people with home studios.

As you note, the benefit is that it's easy to quickly set track levels when you've got a fixed reference point.

By the way, what does the Trinnov sound like? I imagine it uses a measurement mic at the sweetspot and then applies an EQ curve to flatten the response at that point in the room. But that "correction curve" is applied regardless of where you're standing in the room. Doesn't that mean the sound becomes worse when you're not in the exact sweetspot? Although I suppose you could turn it off when someone else is listening in the room, or make them sit in the sweetspot.
Old 14th August 2015
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
I found that 3 stickers on my preamp do the trick as well: "soft" "med" "loud". 3 arbitrary but fixed monitoring levels.

It helps me to immediately feel if everything's where it should be, or not. Be it spectral balance, dynamics, loudness or whatever.
Exactly! thank you Fabien, you beat me to it. geeez, with these people, over analysing everything ... who can't play, coach I guess
Old 14th August 2015
  #28
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lowland's Avatar
 

Verified Member
16 Reviews written
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temptin View Post
By the way, what does the Trinnov sound like? I imagine it uses a measurement mic at the sweetspot and then applies an EQ curve to flatten the response at that point in the room. But that "correction curve" is applied regardless of where you're standing in the room. Doesn't that mean the sound becomes worse when you're not in the exact sweetspot? Although I suppose you could turn it off when someone else is listening in the room, or make them sit in the sweetspot.
I've posted some of this in the past, so apologies to those who've previously seen it. Also OT, please indulge:

By the way, what does the Trinnov sound like?
Neutral with few vices (if you want it set up that way, of course!), I no longer think in terms of sound coming out of the speakers, rather the image laid out in front of me. I was fortunate enough to have the outstanding Grimm LS1 speakers here for review which cost many times more than my own PMC AML1s: the Grimms are probably the best I've heard, but adding the Trinnov to the PMCs has IMO got my system pretty close.

I imagine it uses a measurement mic at the sweetspot and then applies an EQ curve to flatten the response at that point in the room.
That's right, although it also does phase correction so works in both the frequency and time domains. If one already has 'top 5%' speakers and room, use of the phase facility may or may not help, in my case it definitely does with things like the crossover bump disappearing. The mic has four capsules, BTW, and 'listens' to a sphere in a similar way to the Soundfield microphone. I should say that my room was already good to begin with, so the Trinnov wasn't having to work especially hard.

But that "correction curve" is applied regardless of where you're standing in the room. Doesn't that mean the sound becomes worse when you're not in the exact sweetspot? Although I suppose you could turn it off when someone else is listening in the room, or make them sit in the sweetspot.
Yes, the correction is centred on the sweet spot. You can 'shoot' the room in various places such as the client couch and then have that as a memory for better playback in that position; you can also tell the system to use snapshots in ratio - an example might be taking three soundings along the console and making the centre one dominate the left and right. I've chosen not to do that, as 1) the essential nature of what I hear is also heard around the room 2) I work unattended 80% of the time and 3) clients always enjoy a go in the hot seat!

Last edited by lowland; 14th August 2015 at 04:30 PM..
Old 14th August 2015
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
Temptin's Avatar
@ mastervargas : See "Step 7: Can't I just...?", which covers the pros and cons of monitoring at your own selected volume, and Appendix A which explains why so many people incorrectly set up the K-System and then say "oh my god this is LOUD!". A correctly setup volume calibration, using the fixed/pre-determined level, will sound perfect to 99.6% of all people. Those levels were determined by the movie and broadcasting industry to ensure that all studios work with the same "comfortable" volume in their sessions. Out of 1000 audio engineer attendants, 996 agreed that it was "perfect". Only 4 thought it was too loud. Nobody thought it was too quiet.

Every time I see complaints about the K-System, people either say "it's ear-bleedingly loud" or "I don't want someone to force me to use a certain volume which feels wrong for me". Both of those situations are from calibrating using the wrong value. Most commonly, the issue is choosing the 83 dBC calibration (which is for *huge* rooms and midfield/farfield monitors) when you're actually in a small room. Appendix A covers the broadcasting industry's reference levels for smaller rooms. If you use the correct reference calibration, the volume *will* sound perfect to 99.6% of all people.

I don't have time to repeat myself anymore now, so further repetition of things I've already covered will be ignored by me.

Time to relax. Hope you all have a great weekend.
Old 14th August 2015
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
Temptin's Avatar
@ lowland : Thanks a lot for the summary of the Trinnov! I loved the information about its ability to save presets for setting up various sweetspots in the room and toggling between them. That's clever! I also like that it works in the time domain as well, to compensate for the different arrival rates of different frequencies. It sounds like they've been really thorough and that it's not a toy unlike most other room correction (like the awful KRK Ergo). I am going to add one to my list of things to investigate further and possibly add to the studio.

There's also the "Acourate Convolver" room correction software which creates a FIR convolution to correct your room and is extremely transparent (even Mr. Katz uses it), but their measurement software only works on PCs (I'm on a Mac) so I think the Trinnov would be a better solution for me.
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