K-System and ITU-R BS.1770

Bob Katz Leave a Comment

Sindre Saebo wrote:
Hi! I just read your book “Mastering Audio” with great interest, and plan to implement monitoring with the K-system in my project studio. Just wondering: How does the K-system relate to the new standard ITU-R BS.1770? I understand both are based on average metering, do they behave very differently in use? 

Hi, Sindre. Good question!  I hope you enjoyed my book.

In use the current K-System meter is LESS ACCURATE as a loudness meter than ITU-R BS.1770. But no one has yet implemented an exact ITU version of the K-System. Depending on the amount of bass in the music, how much compression you use and other factors you will see more or less correlation to actual loudness in the standard K-System meter, as much as 2 or 3 dB difference. The size of the loudspeakers you use may affect the “absolute loudness” part of the K-System , but ITU will help on relative loudness if you are comparing one program you master to another. If you find a company you like who produces a K-System meter, please encourage them to add an ITU compatibility mode.  Regardless, the K-System meter is still far more useful than a simple peak meter.

I recommend ITU meters now that have a variable 0 LU, such as the TC Radar meter and the Grimm LevelView. It’s a new world and we may no longer have need for the K-System, for many reasons. I’ll have a lot more to say about that in the near future.

I hope this helps,


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