september 10, 2014

Metering – K System

Here’s a superb, if a little bit technical, article based on silverback engineer Bob Katz’s ideas about mixing, metering and mastering. Here he is discussing it.

Katz’s view is that, over the past 10 years, mastered tracks have been getting louder and louder until all the dynamic range has been splattered out of them. He wants to see a standardised approach to mixing and mastering, where the engineer mixes so that s/he always hears the body of the track – where most of the energy lies, rather than the peaks – at the same, comfortable listening level, with plenty of headroom left for occasional peaks.

He’s called it the K system.
At the moment I don’t even have consistent access to monitor speakers, but – according to Reaper power-user Billy Buck (PDF version here) – Reaper lets you get quite close to K-style monitoring. Billy’s even uploaded a sample project to the Reaper Stash so you can get going with K20 just by callibrating your speakers.

So I’d like to set my default Reaper project so that I’m mixing sort-of close to the K-20 standard, which means that my mixes should be controllable and consistent in use. I can always splatterate the master out with some crazy dynamics processing if I want to hear it loud. Callibrating my monitors – indeed, finding somewhere other than my baby daughter’s room to store them – can come later.

Errol Lem