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Best VU Meter Plugins to Achieve Better Gain Staging

Having a clear even mix is obviously the goal of every audio engineer. That being said, how do you get there? The best way to succeed is to set yourself up for success at the very beginning stages. With a VU Meter, you can even out all of your levels across the board, opening up space for editing, compression, and more. Some people would think, “How do you do this?” I found an excellent explanation and example on how to use a VU Meter on individual tracks from the Youtube channel Green Light Sound that you can watch here.

Now is this the only way you can use a VU Meter? No, you can take it and use it to level out your mix and master busses to provide an even tone all the way through. 

Best VU Meters to Add to Your Plugin Library

What To Look For When Choosing a VU Meter Plugin

You do not need to be super picky when you are looking for the best VU Meter Plugin. However, you do not want to just buy the first one you see without knowing about it. To help you be more meticulous in your decision making, we put together a list of features to look into when you are buying a VU Meter plugin. 

Pricing

VU Meters will be one of the cheapest plugins that you will use regularly. The general pricing of a meter will be fairly low, depending on if it has any additional tools built into it. 

Compatibility – System Requirements

Compatibility shouldn’t be an issue beyond the DAW. VU Meters do not require much cpu power and are easy to use and understand. 

DAW Compatibility

You only need one or 2 VU Meters depending on their differences, so you want to make sure that you purchase one that will work on every platform you are using. 

Frequency of Use

If gain staging is important to you when working on your tracks (as it should be), a VU Meter will be a tool you pull out time and time again. 

Skill Level

The skill level is not something that needs to be considered when you are looking at VU Meters. They are a very basic plugin that will not affect audio without additional parameters. The only aspect you will want to learn is the different meter types that are included and what they mean. 

5 Best VU Meter Plugins

Here are our picks for the best VU Meter Plugins available. 

1. MV Meter – TB Pro Audio

MV Meter
MV Meter – TB Pro Audio

This is the simplest and easiest to understand meter that you will ever find. It is the basic current meter that has no parameters or settings to mess with beyond the basic gain level and meter style.

  • Who’s it for? All Skill Levels
  • Price: Free
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Logic

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory4 GB RAM4 GB RAM
Operating System10.12.6-10.15Windows 10 64 bit

2. VUMT Deluxe – Klanghelm

VUMT Deluxe
VUMT Deluxe – Klanghelm

The Customization even beyond the bare audio capabilities is perfect. You can change both the color and name of each plugin so you can keep your organization and sanity. You can also handle the left and right channels individually or linked together with their own parameters, and it even allows you to hear what it would sound like in a sort of fake “mono.”

  • Who’s it for? Intermediate and above
  • Price: $25.72
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Cubase

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory4 GB RAM4 GB RAM
Operating System10.12.6-10.15Windows 10 64 bit

3. VU Meter – Waves

VU Meter
VU Meter – Waves

This is another super simple meter. Literally, all it does is show you levels; it has no other functions available.

  • Who’s it for? All levels
  • Price: $49
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Pro Tools

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive
Operating System10.12.6-10.15Windows 10 64 bit

4. K-Meter – Meter Plugs

K-Meter
K-Meter – Meter Plugs

This meter is a little different than the average conventional meter on this list. It has multiple scales and settings to match different styles of music. If you want to know what the designs and settings were intended for, check out this video.

  • Who’s it for? Intermediate and above
  • Price: $49
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for FL Studio

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory4 GB RAM4 GB RAM
Operating System10.7 or laterWindows XP, Vista, 7, 8

5. Dorrough Stereo – Waves

Dorrough Stereo
Dorrough Stereo – Waves

The Dorrough Stereo Meter looks different than the average meter available, but it does all of the basics with a few additions. It allows you to use the meter in stereo and mono as well as monitor the peak of your audio in different ways.

  • Who’s it for? Intermediate and above
  • Price: $199
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Reason

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive
Operating System10.12.6-10.15Windows 10 64 bit

Monitor your Growth

One thing I like to try when I get a new plugin is listen to the difference between my old mixes and new mixes to see if it makes a difference. When using meters, I noticed a tremendous difference when it came to the clarity of my final products. It’s always nice when you find a new tool to enhance your abilities making your services more marketable to clients. 

If you would like to learn more about other plugins that could help you improve your mixes and edits, click here.

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