The Best VU Meter Plugin

The Best VU Meter Plugin

A VU meter plugin allows you to quickly make those important adjustments to the volume of your tracks, and having the best VU meter plugin will help you achieve that more efficiently, with useful graphs and knobs to play with, all according to modern standards. So in this article, let’s help you do that like a pro with some of the best options available on the market.

Quick answer:

iZotope Insight – though on the pricy side, it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a reliable, feature-packed VU meter that supports all of the modern broadcasting and music standards.

Waves Audio VU Meter – a great choice if you’re looking for an industry-standard VU meter that’s also very affordable.

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Table of Contents


About Our Top Choices

iZotope Insight

iZotope Insight
See price @ Plugin Boutique / @ Sweetwater

More details…

iZotope Insight can be rightfully named the best VU meter VST since it certainly has a wealth of useful features, among which are Intelligibility Meter, Layouts for every stage of music production, Relay, and support for the modern loudness standards.

Pros
  • 7 visualization modes
  • Follows current loudness standards
  • Resizable and customizable
  • 2D/3D spectrogram and spectrum analyzer
Cons
  • Is a bit expensive for just a VU meter

Waves Audio VU Meter

Waves Audio VU Meter
See price @ Waves Audio / @ Sweetwater

More details…

Waves Audio VU Meter is amazingly affordable and has only the essential features you need in your everyday professional life. When using this plugin, you, for sure, will benefit from a hardware-accurate ballistic response and unparalleled smoothness.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Industry-standard
  • Headroom calibration: 4 to 26 dB
  • Accurate ballistic response
  • Vintage design
Cons
  • None

Top 5 Best VU Meter Plugin

  1. iZotope Insight
  2. Waves Audio VU Meter
  3. PSP Audioware TripleMeter VU, RMS and PPM Meter
  4. PROCESS.AUDIO Decibel
  5. Klanghelm VUMT & VUMT deluxe

Best VU Meter Plugin Reviews


iZotope Insight

iZotope Insight

Pros
  • 7 visualization modes
  • Follows current loudness standards
  • Resizable and customizable
  • 2D/3D spectrogram and spectrum analyzer
Cons
  • Is a bit expensive for just a VU meter
See price @ Plugin Boutique / @ Sweetwater

iZotope Insight can be rightfully named the best VU meter VST because it sure has a wealth of useful features, among which are Intelligibility Meter, Layouts for every stage of music production, Relay, support for the modern loudness standards.

Best features and specs

iZotope Insight offers you a ton of new cool features such as Intelligibility Meter that helps you with adjusting the dialog levels, Relay that increases your overall flexibility while giving you access to all Insight tools, supporting multi-channel audio up to Dolby Atmos 7.1.2. and all modern broadcasting and music standards.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with iZotope Insight because it’s an intuitive, reliable, and incredibly easy-to-use plugin. Users say that using Insight has pushed them to explore new things and dive deep into what they already know. Also, users note that they absolutely like that the most important features are visually more easy to catch of and meters have color that indicates when you’re exceeding the limit or drifting away from the desired target.

What we think

What we like about iZotope Insight is that it has a resizable and completely redesigned UI that is a real joy to work with. It’s really easy to adjust the window with the plugin and still clearly see all of the important features. Also, the fact that meters change their colors when the signal goes way up or has even the slightest change from its course is very convenient indeed.

Bottomline

iZotope Insight is a great choice for someone who is looking for a reliable, feature-packed VU meter that supports all of the modern broadcasting and music standards. It offers a lot of options for customization, yet it’s a bit unreasonably priced in terms of being just a VU meter.


Waves Audio VU Meter

Waves Audio VU Meter

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Industry-standard
  • Headroom calibration: 4 to 26 dB
  • Accurate ballistic response
  • Vintage design
Cons
  • Might feel too simple to some
See price @ Waves Audio / @ Sweetwater

Waves Audio VU Meter is amazingly affordable and has only the essential features you need in your everyday professional life. When using this plugin, you, for sure, will benefit from a hardware-accurate ballistic response and unparalleled smoothness.

Best features and specs

When you place Waves Audio VU Meter right in your DAW, you get generous headroom with a well-balanced gain. Also, a high refresh rate allows the needle movement to accurately reproduce the action of an analog VU meter.

User impressions

Users like Waves Audio VU Meter for being as straightforward as it can be and yet doing its job quite alright. Users add that they like its vintage interface that looks like that from the analog mixing consoles. Also, this plugin is very affordable and is made by a well-respected manufacturer.

What we think

It’s always a pleasure to get to work with any plugins that Waves Audio produce, as they all are known to be an industry standard. Waves Audio VU Meter has that classic analog look with the most tried-and-true metering that you can ever find. We like that it doesn’t really matter where you will put this VU meter on individual tracks or master bus, the graphic display adjustment will synchronize in time meters on different buses even if they show different latencies.

Bottomline

Waves Audio VU Meter is a great choice for someone who is looking for an industry-standard VU meter that is made by a well-known and respected manufacturer. It’s affordable, easy to use, and has true analog vintage looks. What not to like?


PSP Audioware TripleMeter VU, RMS and PPM Meter

PSP Audioware TripleMeter VU, RMS and PPM Meter

Pros
  • Affordable
  • VU, PPM, and RMS meter
  • Calibration
  • Switchable L/R or M/S monitoring
Cons
  • Requires an iLok account for activation
See price @ Sweetwater

PSP Audioware TripleMeter VU, RMS, and PPM Meter offer you the convenience of having 3 meters in one package. VU meter has analog-like ballistics, the PPM meter shows how much your track is peaking, and the RMS meter assesses the average volume of your track.

Best features and specs

PSP Audioware TripleMeter offers you the possibility to calibrate it as you see fit, and they all include such useful features as mid-side monitoring, filter, label strip, and faders.

User impressions

Users say that it is really convenient that PSP Audioware TripleMeter includes 3 different meters that can be calibrated and all share the same features as trim faders, label strip, and filters. Also, users like that they can instantly switch between all of the meters just by clicking on one button.

What we think

What we really like about PSP Audioware TripleMeter is that it’s incredibly easy to use because it has a very straightforward design. When you open those meters in your DAW, you don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out which switch does what. Also, TripleMeter has really stylish analog looks that will satisfy even the pickiest audio engineers.

Bottomline

PSP Audioware TripleMeter is a great choice for someone who is looking for a 3-in-1 VU meter plugin that is highly versatile and very affordable. It has analog looks and is really easy to use. Note that it requires an iLok account for activation.


PROCESS.AUDIO Decibel

PROCESS.AUDIO Decibel

Pros
  • Free companion app for iOS and Android
  • Versatile
  • Customizable
  • Unique TrueDyn technology
  • High-Speed Analysis
  • Stereo Cloud feature
  • Super and LUFS Meters
Cons
  • 64-bit only
  • Requires iLok account for authorization
  • Does not have an RMS level meter
See price @ Plugin Boutique

PROCESS.AUDIO Decibel offers you state-of-the-art Super Meter, True Peak meter, LUFS, and TrueDyn measurements as well as fully customizable Super Meter, Phase Scope, Spectrum Analyzer, and other modules that give vital audio monitoring information.

Best features and specs

PROCESS.AUDIO Decibel is compatible with all of the main DAWs, iOS version 13 and up, and Android version 7 and up. It supports all plugin formats (64 bits) AU, VST3, AAX, and standalone. Also, it supports all of the modern broadcasting standards, including TSC A/85 and EBU R128, NETFLIX & DVD BLUE-RAY.

User impressions

Users like PROCESS.AUDIO Decibel for being feature-packed and having stylish looks. Users find it extremely convenient that Decibel is compatible with a huge variety of DAWs and even iOS and Android. Also, this plugin is mighty enough to host multiple meters at once and it has a bunch of visualization to offer. But some users were surprised that an RMS level meter isn’t included despite there being a numeric RMS reading.

What we think

We certainly like when a plugin has a lot to offer, including cool looks and brand-new features, yet sometimes a simple task requires a simple solution without any excessive features. PROCESS.AUDIO Decibel is a great tool for those sound engineers who value convenience and compatibility at the same level as a lot of features that are tightly packed into one thing. Those who seek just a VU meter might be a bit overwhelmed by the diversity of features in this case.

Bottomline

PROCESS.AUDIO Decibel is a great choice for someone who is looking for a mighty beast in terms of the VU meter plugin that offers you a variety of brand-new features, is versatile, and is compatible with almost any DAW of your choice. It also offers you convenience while being compatible with iOS version 13 and up and Android version 7 and up. Note that it requires 64-bit only and iLok account for authorization. Also, it does not have an RMS level meter.


Klanghelm VUMT & VUMT deluxe

Klanghelm VUMT & VUMT deluxe

Pros
  • Affordable
  • 3 VU implementations
  • TRIM controls
  • Resizable
  • 6 meter types in the deluxe version
  • Feature-packed
Cons
  • None
See price @ klanghelm

Klanghelm VUMT & VUMT deluxe offers you versatility, decent recreation of classic VU meters, and the absolutely top behavior. Together with the deluxe version, it offers you 6 various meters, including a VU meter, RMS meter, Nordic (Type I), DIN (Type I), BBC (Type IIa), EBU (Type IIb).

Best features and specs

Klanghelm VUMT & VUMT deluxe offers you switchable and customizable hold the needle and numerical readouts, as well as TRIM controls for mid, side, left, and right channels to make gain staging incredibly easy. Also, you can make the following channel tool visible or not from the GUI as Mute, Polarity Reverse, Monitor Section. As well as, you can hide or make visible signal processing tools such as LowPass and HighPass filters, Dynamic EQ, and Mono Maker.

User impressions

Users agree that Klanghelm VUMT & VUMT deluxe is a totally great choice for anyone who needs a decent VU meter that offers just a few additional features on top. Also, users like that they can calibrate the VU meter. Also, the Deluxe version offers a wider choice of meters that some of the users find extremely useful and convenient. Users say that purchasing this VU meter is a really good idea as it’s a bang for the buck.

What we think

We are fond of Klanghelm VUMT & VUMT deluxe because it offers you the best experience possible and has very useful features on top of being a very decent VU meter. It has a resizable and customizable GUI, which is always a nice touch.

Bottomline

Klanghelm VUMT & VUMT deluxe is a great choice for someone who is looking for an extremely affordable and mighty VU meter that offers a few useful features on top.


VU Meter Plugin Buying Guide

What is VU Meter?

A VU meter is a device that displays a depiction of the level of the signal in audio equipment. VU meter plugin is a plugin that helps to measure the level of loudness of the signal and it does it in real-time.

Why would you need VU Meter?

The answer is really simple, you need a VU meter to estimate the level of loudness of the signal. It is useful in cases when you need to decide which instruments need more compression, save the dynamic of your track, and show what is that you’re missing in your track.

Important features

When choosing a VU meter plugin, you may want to pay attention to its design, accuracy, speed, and calibration.

Design

As we, audio producers and sound engineers, spend a significant amount of time in front of computers, we prefer to look at things that have a stylish design. Despite mostly we prefer things that have sleek and futuristic looks, in the case of VU meters, we tend to choose those that have that gorgeous vintage style.

Accuracy

Whether you’re working on a time-sensitive project or not, still, every plugin that works in your DAW should do its job accurately. Music production isn’t a place for flimsy software.

Speed

VU meter should have a fast reaction on highly dynamic content because the last thing you need is a plugin that works slowly, especially when you have a time-sensitive job.

Calibration

It’s a rather useful feature because each time you mix each of your tracks, you should make it level with 0 on the VU meter, which means that the audio signal at the output of the mixer has a level of -18 dB. Calibration helps you to put more accurately the gain of each track, but if you put the calibration back on 0, then you can set the level of the whole master bus.

How to choose the right one for you?

When choosing the best VU meter plugin, you should pay attention to its design adjusted to your taste, though keep an eye on vintage ones. The fact that the VU meter works fast and accurately as a lot of things depend on the quality of your work. Calibration is a good characteristic to have in your VU meter, so if it’s possible, choose one that has it.


FAQs:

Should I mix with a VU meter?

Yes, you definitely should use a VU meter on a mixing stage. You should put it on each track that is going into the mix and make sure that it coincides with the 0 mark on the VU meter.

How do I use a VU meter plugin?

It’s a pretty straightforward process, as you have to place the VU meter plugin at the end of the mix bus and keep it there while you’re adjusting the volume of the track.

How do you gain stage with a VU meter?

The first thing that you should do is to add a gain plugin at the top of tracks that peak above -6 dB. Then add a VU meter at the beginning of your stereo output and calibrate it to -18 dB. After, solo all loud tracks individually and play their loudest part. Change the volume on the gain stage plugin so that it matches with 0 dB on the VU meter. Do it with all of the instrumental tracks until that moment that you finish balancing your sound.

If some of the channels peak lower than -30 dB, then you should repeat all that is written above with one small change, the volume on the gain should go up.

How loud should vocals be on the VU meter?

Vocals, like any other instrument, should be equal to 0 dB on the VU meter. It’s important to do so because a lot of plugins are set to work perfectly in this range.

Where should the VU meter sit?

On the mixing stage, you should put the VU meter at the end of the mix bus. In the gain stage phase, the VU meter should be put at the beginning of your stereo output.

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