K-Meters are now "Dynamic Range Meters"?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
Compyfox
KVRAF
14247 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:46 am

Double-U Teh Eff... seriously. Why reinvent the wheel again, if we have the K-System already. Now it seems like it's called "Dynamic Range System Metering"?

The concept is the same, the inventor somebody else. What the hell?
Read for yourself, it's only confusing people!

http://www.kvraudio.com/get/3714.html


I say, get a proper K-Meter (I recommend InspectorXL), go no higher than K-12 (-12dB RMS with a weighted VU, 600MS response, that most plugins with the K-System have already) if you need to and be gone with it. But with THIS - it's the whole thing turned upside down once again, and not even properly tagged either. DR-8 resembles the full amber zone of K-12, which is -8dB RMS, and is to some ears way too loud already (most loudest production I know is -4,5dB RMS, that's almost twice as much volume!)


Will definitely test/compare that one. But it sure confuses the heck out of the users. The whole loudness race thing and "we have to do something against it" is getting more ridiculus by each day. Especially coming from engineers who wrote such a "novel" for this thing.
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David Else
KVRist
424 posts since 9 Nov, 2004

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:21 am

this is very different to the k meter system. there is much more to it, please check the web site for their stated aims and read the manual that comes with the meter.

Here is the answer to your question straight from their web site:

"Is the K-System compatible with the DYNAMIC RANGE System?

Yes, and very much so! The K-System is perfectly suited for giving modern productions more dynamics in the production and mixing phases. The K-System involves calibrating the studio monitors with calibrated pink noise to a specific loudness (SPL) level which is then marked onto the volume control. If you calibrate your control room to the K-14 standard, your corresponding K-14 loudness metering shows how much the average loudness can vary with reference to a 0 line.

The decisive concept is a specified listening level. As soon as you compress the music too much, the control room becomes too loud. Instead of lowering the loudness knob on the studio monitors, simply compress a little less. The loudness knob stays at the reference position. This idea is based on the Dolby standard as used in the film industry, which also uses a fixed monitoring level.

Read more on this at: www.digido.com"

http://www.dynamicrange.de/en/k-system- ... nge-system

bob katz, inventor of the k-system, said about it:

"I've been in touch with the designer and expressed my support, but not yet joined for a couple of reasons that we're discussing and I'm confident the issues will be dealt with and soon I'll be a member, too."

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/masterin ... -seen.html

it is a whole system to stop the loudness war by easily giving music a DR number to show how compressed it is. this number can be put on the album art and raise awareness for the consumer as to what is going on. you can download DR number value artwork from their site and all sorts of info.

please download the meter and check it out! its free and works as a great metering system regardless of if you are using the DR information.

Shy
KVRAF
5168 posts since 27 Jun, 2004

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:22 am

Bob Katz is not the first and not the last person to propose audio metering standards. There are SMPTE and EBU standards for metering among others, and there is no reason at all to call any meter a Katz Meter (K-Meter). It may all be confusing, but everyone prefers different methods and defines different or sometimes similar but not identical values and ways to perform the metering.

mauseoleum
KVRAF
1907 posts since 29 Oct, 2003

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:29 am

You're both wrong. This thing measures the dyMANIC range.

IOW, if you're nuts enough, you score well.

eduardo_b
KVRAF
11857 posts since 23 Nov, 2004 from west of east

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:42 am

Compyfox wrote:Double-U Teh Eff... seriously. Why reinvent the wheel again, if we have the K-System already. Now it seems like it's called "Dynamic Range System Metering"?
Just another approach to the same goal, I think. And for some, dynamic range might be more useful in understanding what's wrong with the loudness thing.
We escape the trap of our own subjectivity by
perceiving neither black nor white but shades of grey

nuffink
KVRAF
6519 posts since 13 Mar, 2002 from UK

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:50 am

thermal wrote:it is a whole system to stop the loudness war by easily giving music a DR number to show how compressed it is. this number can be put on the album art and raise awareness for the consumer as to what is going on. you can download DR number value artwork from their site and all sorts of info.


Is it backed by Tipper Gore?
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BASSDRIVE
KVRian
965 posts since 14 Jun, 2003 from USA

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:03 pm

So what's a good Dynamic Range # to shoot for then?

There's D4-D20. Anything inbetween, I suppose?

nuffink
KVRAF
6519 posts since 13 Mar, 2002 from UK

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:08 pm

DR0 baby. Proud to be loud.
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herodotus
KVRAF
5468 posts since 8 Dec, 2004 from The Twin Cities

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:15 pm

All of our most recent recordings (some of which you can hear on our Taxi page) appear to have a 'DR' value of between 11 and 14. According to the manual, this is the ideal range.

HA!

BASSDRIVE
KVRian
965 posts since 14 Jun, 2003 from USA

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:24 pm

Some of my hiphop beats I tested range around 12-17.

My EDM tracks, 4-8. :hihi:

camsr
KVRAF
6859 posts since 17 Feb, 2005

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:53 pm

D10-D9.
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Compyfox
KVRAF
14247 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:50 pm

I just read myself through the bulk of information. It turns out that this is a joint-forces organisation starting from Germany (the CEO is actually Friedemann Tischmeyer, known from his tutorials for Steinberg's Wavelab), working hand in Hand with the Fraunhofer Institute (Erlangen, not far from my place) with SPL and brainworx in the backpocket in terms of porting over to RTAS and AU.

What I get from it, it's actually doing the same as the K-System concept, but a but turned upside down. What the K-System always lacked, was the fact that you didn't have a logo standard to "watermark" your CDs. Of course you could write in the credits "this one was mastered in the K-<number> standard" (did that three times), but I guess this DR-Dynamic Range concept is a bit more like putting guns on a chest.


Actually it does work like a K-System. Only that you don't see "okay, the RMS level goes so far over the 'system average specs'" (in terms of K-12, the amber zone for mezzoforte passages), but how many dynamic in relation to the maximum peak is left. Acutally something that the Wavelab analyzer did, only that this one wasn't K-System calibrated.


A couple of things to think about though:
The concept itself is not bad, but the approach is it. Within a year, those people try to enforce a system that took years to went out of hand (with Fraunhofer's MP3 format being the root of most evil after the encoding). It's as if you're trying to slim down 20kg in 1 year - which is definitely unhealty (been there, trust me).

The thing that disturbs me the most is:
Phase 2 begins on June 30, 2010. At that time, all record companies which have agreed to Commitment 2 will release albums with a minimum dynamic range of DR14. Less dynamic CDs will be given an appropriate amount of headroom and will be labeled with the dynamic range they contain.

For example, if an album with DR8 is released, it will also be labeled with DR8 and given 6 dB of headroom, so that it will be as loud as DR14 releases. In this way, different releases will have the same loudness when played. Producers and record companies have an incentive to really use the available dynamic range in the next release.


I crosschecked this with old K-System material I had, and I must say, that without turning the headroom down, you need to master in K-20 - all the time (which is like 3 times more quiet than K-12 without using the amber zone for mezzoforte passages).


The negative sideeffects on K-20:
- Uber-Dynamic material - sounds not agressive (which is sometimes wanted), which is not bad per se, but doesn't work on pop and rock music.

- Peak NEVER reaches -0,3dBFS (and since the DR-Meters analyze in relation between the maximum peak and the overall loudness, you're barely getting D-14, if ever)

- Program Material is suitable for DVD/Blueray, but still a bit too quiet for radio stations (they will prevent playing it)

- Customers will turn away from the material, since it's too quiet

- Even if mastered in K-14, the amber zone for mezzoforte passages is eating up on the "Dynamic Range" (changes are the loudest tracks are then K-12), which will get a new DR-Indication and the headroom will be adjusted down, which is then creating a dynamic loss once again.


So within a year we are "forced" to either remaster out stuff (that was already in K-20 while producing and then pushed to K-14 while mastering), or we can master as we're used to, but the peeks will look something like this video here (comparision "Death Magnetic" in Guitar Hero and on CD)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRyIACDCc1I


While I do support the idea of the K-System metering and to go back to a more dynamic listening pleasure, I do not agree how this is going down at the moment. I can adjust to going down to K-14, but definitely not down to K-20.

Looks like several longer discussion coming up with those people.



EDIT:
My most recent mastered Album, "macera - Mitschnitt", is featuring a Dynamic range of DR-8, mastered in the K-System (K-12), using up the amber zone (4dB RMS) for mezzo forte passages.

According to the Pleasurize Music Foundation - that is way too loud.

*not to mention that I didn't find a suitable chart for this declaration*
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tonAP
KVRian
528 posts since 10 Oct, 2006

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:21 pm

Do they calculate the RMS in AES-17 "standard"?
K-system "standard" should be "true" RMS (isn't it?)
So TT Meter = +3 RMS, or better: -3 dynamic range, or crest factor, or..
lets see the "next standard".

Compyfox
KVRAF
14247 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:01 pm

No, "true" RMS Standar dis non adjusted. The TT Meter is +3dB RMS adjusted and a test with a -20dB RMS K-System pink noise testfile (from Mr Katz) showed, that both meters (in my case TT Meter and InspectorXL) showed the same readings, but the dynamic range was (hold your horses): DR8 - however this seems to show the crest factor.

A test with the standalone tool showed: DR7

Something's seriously messed up here, and this particular system or standard, however you want to call it, definitely still needs some adjustments. Putting the gun on the chest of us engineers is definitely the wrong way (also aimed at the thing with "adjusting the headroom after mastering").

Else, I pretty much support the idea of finally having a logo. But there are just too many quirks with this thing. And I don't like to be forced to master in K-20 (which is just not appropriate for Pop/Rock/Electronic) - period.


I wrote the developers already, if I get an answer, I'll write them about the K-System Testfile readouts, too. If not, I'll definitely bug them at Musikmesse 2009 - if they're there.

If they keep their course, I guess I'm the first to boycott them, since it's the other way around of what the loudness race did, and is in no way better IMO.



EDIT (5:20am):
Just tested this system with a file (-2dB Headroom) from a postproduction by a colluegue that I mastered in K-20. It still gave me DR12 with a headroom of -6dB peak.



EDIT (5:45am):
Just tested this with another demo I once produced. This file was originally just a beat, a bass and a synth. So no vocals, not really compression in the demo itself (other than on the loops). It was basically a demo with Synth1, V-Station and Stylus RMX. That song was rendered with a headroom of -2dB from Cubase.

I then ported it over to Wavelab, turned down the volume (normalize) by -6dB, added an exciter for kicks and an EQ (shaped the harmonics), then limited it to K-14 (more like K-12 but not touching the amber zone, in K-12 it was mostly -0,24dB RMS). After the render I put it into DR Offline and I got: DR14. If I had turned up the bass just a decibel more (as this track screamed for it): DR12

And what if I have Vocals in it? DR9? No matter if it's K-14, K-20 or K-20... Huh?! And then adjusting the volume afterwards (as stated on their page)



Summary (as of 20th march 2009, short before 6am):
Clearly: this standard is bollocks. Especially for remastering.

If the dynamic range is really DR8 and the volume is adjusted (without my agreement to do so!) to reflect "DR14" in terms of loudness (so that really no volume tweaking is needed), it's still sounding more quiet due to the missing transients.

I won't sign any petition just for this purpose. It's definitely getting ridiculus in the loudness race by each day.
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P.T.
KVRAF
3441 posts since 15 Mar, 2003

Post Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:24 pm

I'm still not certain what we need a system for.
People are also talking about sound pressure meters to calibrate your monitors to a K system.

Why can't we just set our finalized waves to a certain RMS value that is reasonable like around -14db and peaks just short of 0db?

What is the system for?

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