K-System Refinements

James Hardiman

Pamela Frangou wrote:

I’m recently delving deep into the K system and studying the honor roll. I have 2 questions:

1. After calibrating my system according to the k system and listening to the CD’s on the page, would Tunes be a good listening platform and should it be set to the loudest volume on the app and playing back through my monitor system with the gain at the written values for each album, hope I’m making myself clear.

2. After testing the SPL on the meter while playing back the music it can hit like 90-100 SPL, would this be correct as I do find it loud since i’m not used to mixing at these levels.

Looking forward to your reply.

Best regards,

Pamela Frangou

Hi, Pamela.

I think you’re on the way to a good understanding of the calibrated monitor and it will help you in all your work. Keeping in mind that loudspeaker distance from the listener and size of room affect the PERCEIVED loudness at the same measured SPL. 

So, for example, a -9 in my room might have to be a -10 or -11 in your room if your speakers are closer to you, even at the same SPL calibration. But after that the relative preferences should hold pretty well. 

It’s the same reason you are probably finding it loud. If your speakers are closer than mine, for the same measured SPL they will seem louder, so you may have to change your preference, but after that all of the relative preferences will probably reflect my relative preferences (reasonably!) and you’ll be able to make judgments about overcompression and amount of compression in any recording without necessarily looking at your meters. I hope this helps,

iTunes is not a good platform for this because its volume control is not marked in decibels. Nor is the Mac’s system volume. You need to have a more professional monitor level control marked in dB.