Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins 2022

Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins | integraudio.com

Are you looking for alternatives to the ones offered by your DAW at the Gain Staging of your mix? We have compiled a list of the Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins for 2022, both free and paid.

Gain staging refers to the practice of ensuring that the audio is set to the following processor in the chain at the correct level to minimize noise.  You can achieve the finest sound for your recording by staging via your analog and digital devices. It’s vital to understand that “optimal” in this context refers to volume levels that are loud enough to mask a recording’s inherent noise without being too loud to immediately produce distortion when they contact the following processor in a chain. 

In 1939, Bell Telephone created the VU Meter in association with CBS and NBC. It was the standard up to the introduction of digital and is intended to indicate the volume of the audio signal. However, they are still employed in modern machinery, and you may naturally find them on vintage consoles.

We switched from measuring level in volume units to dB Full Scale after the advent of DAWs. In contrast to the VU meters, the DAW meters are full-scale meters that genuinely reflect a separate level. The primary distinction is that a VU meter displays an instrument’s average volume as opposed to our DAW’s full-scale meters, which display an instrument’s volume moment by moment.

What are the finest possibilities for 2022, then? Let’s find out together.

Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins 2022

1. Process Audio Decibel (Metering Toolkit With VU Meters)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins | integraudio.com

The flexible tool Process Audio Decibel, which also functions on your phone or tablet, provides you with a very effective metering system.

Decibel is a versatile measuring platform used as a plugin or independent program. Additionally, it has a unique audio driver that enables you to pass any program’s audio to the standalone application, guaranteeing almost complete compatibility with all production tools. Markings on the semicircle indicate goal and peak levels, while quantitative monitoring systems in the screen’s center give integrated current, TrueDyn, and real max levels.

Decibel would be considered a very good metering system if it were the only thing it could handle. But Decibel has something much wiser up its sleeve: the meter panels you design with Decibel can be transferred to a mobile device for display, whether a phone or tablet running iOS or Android. This frees up your computer’s screen so you can focus on recording and editing.

Key Features:

  • Multiple Meters
    The plugin offers a variety of views and may hold numerous counters in a single instance. Most of them are aesthetically pleasing but typical examples of their kind, such as authentic frequency analyzers, VU meters, and max level meters in the bar and point styles. The reading from the Numeric Box, which you may use to display a numerical reading from numerous measurement sources, is less prevalent.
  • Super Meter
    The Super Meter is, without a doubt, the most remarkable and inventive of Decibel’s indicators. A single, bold, semi-circular readout visualizes several LUFS volume readings. The semicircle’s bands display the combined and quick LUFS readings. The accompanying “TrueDyn” value, a dynamic range measurement generated from LUFS readings, is highlighted by additional indicators.
  • User Interface
    Decibel alone determines which meters show and how they appear. However, even after closing and restarting the plugin and the app, You will have no trouble initiating the connection between Decibel and Decibel Display. Layout creation can be a little challenging, but it’s not hard, and once you’ve achieved the desired appearance, you can store it as a preset.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only) and als is running iOS or Android. It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

Decibel is unquestionably a great measuring platform, however, there is potential for enhancement in the form of more measurement possibilities.

The Super Meter is great, the aesthetics are clever and lovely, and being able to view your meters on a portable device easily is a game-changer. Process Audio has produced a work of art.

Related Reading:

Top 5 Audio Metering Plugins 2022 (LUFS, RMS, LRA, True Peak)

2. Klanghelm VUMT Deluxe (Advanced Gain Staging /VU Meter)

More Info & Price – Deluxe or Normal (Trial Available For Both)

Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins | integraudio.com

It is an analog-style VU and PPM meter ballistics-emulating metering plugin. There are options for counter and ballistic calibration, and the plugin also functions in a separate K-System calibrated RMS mode.

Klanghelm VUMT Deluxe provides a wealth of information about what you’re hearing and aids in your efforts to optimize every aspect of your pay structure, from the recording to the finish of mastering. The Klanghelm VUMT also has the appearance and feel of a superb set of VU or PPM meters.

Key Features:

  • PPM Meters
    The level reaching the preamp will fluctuate when you increase the input gain and lower the output, but the level hitting the converters and reading on the VUMT won’t change. When a signal is distorted, its dynamics are reduced, which causes the peak values to decrease and the average value to rise. After adjusting the volume, listen and adjust the preamp’s position until you hear what you want.
  • User Interface
    You may resize GUI, and you can choose from 6 GUI dimensions. You have the option to choose your skin type, making it possible to narrow your search to anybody. Furthermore, you can hide all orders while only affiancing accounts.
    This application also exists in a standalone version. For the independent version to advance levels, physical contact is required. Therefore, if you want to use it with a media player, you may do so with the aid of a virtual audio cable.
  • Meters
    More meters are included in the deluxe VAUMT version than the basic version. VU Metering RMS Metering Nordic (Type I), DIN (Type I), BBC (Type IIa), and EBU are all included in this (Type IIb). There are several possibilities available in it.
  • Channel Tools
    You may weight all the curves using each channel’s frequency weighting in RMS mode. As a result, for each channel, there are choices such as Mute, Polarity Reverse, and Monitor Section, where you may choose whether to monitor only the Left, Right, Mid, or Side channels or to reverse the Left and Right channels’ polarity
  • Additional Panel
    An additional panel with extra signal processing facilities can be concealed from the GUI when not required. With varying steepness of HighPass and LowPass filters. A signal band dynamic EQ with adjustable filter types for de-essing or removing resonances. Each skin in the VUMT Deluxe edition features an extra contrasting meter-GUI with Mono Maker for restricting the stereo picture below a specific frequency.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

VUMT is a dependable analog-style VU metering plugin for tracking, mixing, and mastering applications. I’ve used VUMT for a long time, so I was eager to learn about the most recent upgrade and see what the Deluxe version offered. It’s a plugin that provides real-time measures for a reasonable price, and it will undoubtedly be helpful to you when mixing.

Related Reading:

Top 6 Spectrum Analyzer VST Plugins 2022 – Spectral Analysis

3. Waves VU Meter (Classic VU)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

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Utilize the industry-standard Waves VU Meter when mixing and tracking in your DAW to help you get the best levels, headroom, and a crisper mix.

Current standard and free combine infrequently, but the Waves VU Meter plugin guarantees it. Here are all of the Waves’ specifics. Across various musical genres and platforms, VU meters have been a tried-and-true industry standard for decades, assisting engineers in establishing correct recording and mixing levels with adequate Headroom and well-balanced gain.

Key Features:

  • Headroom Adjustment
    You can adjust the VU meter’s calibration to the DAW’s reference level. 0 dB VU will be measured per foot. Consequently, space and digital clipping will be present. Click and swipe vertically over the little up/down arrows to pick it up and lower the Headroom setting. Double-clicking the current amount will also take you directly to the free space settings.
  • Meter Scales
    The reference level of the signal when the Reference Trim is correctly adjusted is shown by 0 dB on the full scale, which uses dB units. The volume units on the bottom scale represent the signal intensity as a percentage.
  • Controls and Displays
    We may choose Display Size, Reference Adjustment, and Graphic Delay Adjustment from the top menu. Like all traditional VU meters, the measuring portion has three parts: a Clip Indicator, a dB Scale, and a VU Scale.
    In the mono component, we have a VU Meter; in stereo, there are obviously two meters. They provide small, medium, and big display sizes. And even if separate buses have varying latencies, meters can be delayed so that they seem synchronized in time.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

The plugin Waves VU Meter is beneficial and appreciated. Younger mixers learning to incorporate an appropriate gain stage into their sessions may find the VU meter plugin greatly helpful.

They will be able to grasp why their recordings are distorted in ways that are difficult to comprehend with only a DAW meter, for example. In addition, it will help us keep track of our levels while providing a feeling of familiarity for seasoned veterans.

Related Reading:

20 Best Waves Plugins 2022 For Mixing, Mastering & Producing

4. TBProAudio mvMeter 2 (VU 2)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

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mvMeter2, a multi-variable meter that supports RMS, EBUR128, VU, and PPM measurement, is made available by TBProAudio.

The mvMeter2 metering plugin from TBProAudio has a vintage VU meter-like appearance. Numerous measurement modalities and practical workflow factors are included. The plugin may be downloaded free at tb-software.com and is offered for Windows and OSX.

Key Features:

  • Top Side
    The reference level is located in the top left corner and is helpful if you desire a specific volume range, such as -14 dB. In addition, you may pause the counter’s visual response right there next to it.
    There is a preset menu with several helpful options in the middle of the top bar. They make adjusting the final mastering limiter quite simple. The RMS standard is also very helpful if you aren’t aiming for a precise loudness range.
  • Visual Features
    You may alter the plugin’s skin just below the top bar, in the top left corner, which is a fantastic choice even if it does not affect the sound. You only need to select the skin once, thanks to the efforts of the team at TBProAudio, who made sure that it didn’t alter as presets loaded. You can alter the FPS, but the default setting works great. 
  • Metering
    You can observe such motions in the primary, or measuring, part. You may change the size of the GUI using the drop-down menu, which is once more located in the upper left corner and should be more than sufficient for most users. You can view the left and right or middle and side signals in the upper right corner of the left display.
    The current and maximum values of the meter are still displayed in the bottom corners of both VU meters, which is also very helpful. There are numerous buttons to control the output volume or reveal and conceal various features, but I’m confident you’ll figure it out on your own.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

A useful tool for checking your loudness is mvMeter2. You only need a few clicks to set it up because it already has Bob Katz’s K-System defaults, and you can utilize all the various measurement modes and other settings anytime you have a particular arrangement in mind.

Related Reading:

Top 17 Utility VST Plugins 2022 For Your Projects

5. PSP TripleMeter (VU Metter Collection)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins | integraudio.com

The addition of an RMS counter is the most evident way that TripleMeter, the follow-up to PSP’s pair of analog measurement plugins, 2Meters, improves on its predecessor.

The PSP TripleMeter package is the replacement for the PSP 2Meters set. It supports three different meters. Meters, with distinct elements like calibration and shared functions like adjustment faders, filters, and a label strip.

They wanted to provide you with various audio measuring tools to choose from while processing audio. For example, a signal’s volume units’ VU measurements may now be checked and compared to peak indications or RMS values with just one click.

Key Features:

  • Meter Reference Levels
    The meter’s reference levels and hold durations may be calibrated. Set up each instance of the meter to operate in session mode, for instance, by connecting to several tracks in your mix or separately.
  • Processing Options 
    You may change the gain and high/low pass filtering for each plug-in using the processing settings available for each meter. Tag strips are another option to help you remember the various components in your mix.
  • Interface
    If you are a beginner, this retro UI may initially seem a little overwhelming. But that’s not how it is! A Reference level is at the top and a Process level with a corresponding fader to its right. In addition, a Hi-pass filter and a Low pass filter are provided for the two stereo VU Meters, which are very helpful for making rapid adjustments.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

It is an effective instrument. The TripleMeter features back panel adjustments for ballistics, reference levels, and hold and fall times while maintaining the originals’ excellent, flawlessly responsive metering.

Related Reading:

Top 9 PSP Audioware Plugins For Music Production 2022

4 Best Free Gain Staging / VU Meter Plugins 2022

1. Sleepy-Time DSP StereoChannel

More Info & Download

Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins | integraudio.com

StereoChannel is a stereo tool and VU meter with basic console channel controls.

Recently, Sleepy-Time DSP’s Dustin Ralston declared that he has ceased working on new VST plugins. The freeware VST plugins produced by this company have been among the greatest ever, therefore, this is bad news for the music production industry. The Sleepy-Time DSP plugins have a stunning aesthetic and are performance-oriented.

Key Features:

  • Mono/Stereo capabilities
    High-quality metering tools Mono and Stereo Channels include standard console channel controls. Using these two freeware programs for VU-meter simulation, balancing, gain management, and stereo phase correlation measurement, you may quickly and effectively establish accurate gain staging in your audio projects.
  • Interface
    Two VU meters that may display stereo or mono sound are located at the top of the plugin. This plugin is helpful since it also allows us to alter the track’s polarity. Additionally, embedded within the home page are balanced choices. Finally, a stereo exchange button is seen to the right of the Nominal Level, which is also present. Additional parameters for this plugin include Led hold, Fade Law, and Phase Timing.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary: 

Put your DAW’s level meters on the master output and monitor the appropriate channel using the solo knob instead of the level meters. You will be astounded by the outcomes, which will alter how you mix. Also, using this as a reference will give you more dB for mastering.

2. PreSonus VU Meter

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins | integraudio.com

PreSonus stated that all digital audio workstations may now use Studio One’s extra plugins. Included in this is the no-cost VU Meter plugin.

The VU Meter plugin provides the best of both worlds for signal-measuring needs: peak meters in the form of LED segments and analog VU meters with clip indications. Peak counters are best for tracking peak signal levels, whereas VU meters display the signal’s overall level. Therefore, you may get a more detailed representation of your signal by referring to both the average and peak levels.

Key Features:

  • Sensitivity
    Adjusts the speed of the VU meter’s needles while keeping an eye out for variations in signal strength. Lower settings provide a broader depiction of the output signal level since the needles move more slowly. Higher settings cause the needles to respond more quickly, providing a more in-depth look at how the signal level varies over time.
  • Scale
    Establishes the digital signal level (in dBFS) that, on VU meters. The two scales are comparable when set to 0. For instance, the VU meter shows 0 dB VU for an input level of 0 dBFS. However, the scale is now adjusted to 6. This VU now equals -6 dBFS, and so forth. You can adjust the meter to fit your preferred space by doing so.
  • Correlation
    This meter displays the stereo signal’s phase relationship. The divergence between the left and right signals increases as the counter gets closer to zero, and if your signal is added to mono later, it might suffer from phase cancellation effects. A correlation value is typically the goal when attempting to avoid phase issues when summing mono.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

It’s a useful plugin. However, additional controls are desired, and VU meters are responsive. Undoubtedly, the fact that it’s free will attract a lot of users and make the gain stage as dynamic as possible.

3. Blue Cat’s Gain Suite

More Info & Download

Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins | integraudio.com

Blue Cat’s Gain Suite is a straightforward plug-in that accomplishes more than you may initially expect, and it repeatedly demonstrates why it is essential.

This plug-in suite is a collection of gain tools that let you instantly adjust the loudness of one or more audio tracks. These plug-ins’ unique qualities are what make them interesting. For example, they have sophisticated MIDI control automation capabilities. Also, you can fully customize all response curves. 

Key Features:

  • Analysis tools
    This plug-in suite is a collection of gain tools that let you instantly adjust the loudness of one or more audio tracks. These plug-ins’ unique qualities are what make them interesting.
    Wherever it is in the signal chain, these plug-ins provide you the ability to remotely control and automate the intensity of each audio channel.
  • Mid/Side processing
    In some circumstances, the more popular Mid/Side registration is preferred over the conventional Left/Right registration. You may find several tutorials on this method by searching for “mid-record.” We won’t go into great depth here; instead, I’d want to clarify how and why mid-side processing occurs.
    You end up with Mid/Side channels due to your recording, though. to the audio stream’s traditional Left/Right channels. The Side channel includes restoring, while the Mid channel contains the signal in the middle of the stereo mix. The Mid channel is sometimes referred to as “Mono” and the Side channel as “Stereo.”
  • Gain Controls
    Unsurprisingly, the dual version has two instructions. They have independent left and right channel controls in normal mode. Consider the screenshot, though. The labels for the two controls are Gain (Mid) and Gain (Side). This is a result of the Mid/Side button above being pressed.
    When using this mode, the input will be transformed from stereo to M/S on input and back to stereo on output. Instead of left and right, mid and side levels can be changed in this mode. This is useful for managing a track’s stereo width.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

Even if the most crucial feature is absent—the inability to link mono instances with dual instances—it is still a valuable strategy and can work well for many combinations.

4. UnplugRed VU

More Info & Download

Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins | integraudio.com

A free plugin that mimics the VU Meter is called UnplugRed VU. It is an excellent plugin with good RMS metering.

We’re all accustomed to checking the built-in volume meters in our DAWs, but a traditional VU meter may occasionally give you a more accurate idea of how your sound is doing.

This straightforward yet efficient plugin has a top-notch LED light, stereo and mono modes, a customizable interface, and stunning visuals. It uses real RMS measurement with a personalized ballistic simulation of the meter.

Key Features:

  • Interface
    Scaling the UI is simple. A traditional VU meter displays the peak level using peak led, and you may find conventional meters in the main interface.
  • True RMS metering
    This plugin has RMS metering, stereo (dual), and mono (single) modes, with customizable reaction speeds. Also, it features an adjustable nominal operation level (NoL).

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

The needle might overshoot, thanks to this plugin’s excessive realism. When it comes to the counter-ballistic model, it is accurate, but if you’re looking for an accurate VU meter, you should look elsewhere.

It’s wonderful that the peak led only functions if the signal is stronger than 0dBFS rather than 0dBVU and that it doesn’t tax your CPU.

Bonus:

Sonimus Satson CS (Gain Staging / Channel Strip)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Top 5 Gain Staging & VU Metter Plugins | integraudio.com

Console multichannel plug-ins, which simulate the EQ and compression found on well-known hardware editing platforms, have been around for a while.

Sonimus, makers of top-notch EQ, workstation, and compressing emulations, has unveiled a new modular channel strip plug-in featuring virtual racks.

Only three phases “preamp” gain stage, a compressor, and an Inductance, are offered in the first iteration, but the rack can hold multiples of each in any combination.

Key Features:

  • Input Preamp
    The input “preamp” has a gain fader, a switch to offset the gain so that it only applies increasing quantities of driving, and quality factor low – and high filters with variable center frequencies. Two knobs control the saturation properties: Saturation is activated by In, and Fat significantly amplifies the action. As a result, the gain stage is really clean when the saturation is off. Several different saturation effects are available, ranging from exceedingly sharp to subtly warming.
  • Compressor
    A “colored” compressor module increases harmonics when the gain reduction increases. It differs greatly from Sonimus’ TuCo compressor, though. The new compressor features calibrated gain, attack, and release settings in addition to three preset ratios, unlike the TuCo, which is based on a variable mu tube circuit and has rather “ qualitative controls.” In addition, a side-chain filter rises, allowing the detecting circuit to only react to high frequencies like cymbals and disregard not only drum and bass but even a voice if you wish.
  • Eq Module
    The EQ module is comparable to Sonimus’ StonEQ 4k, a very accurate imitation of an equalizer akin to SSL. There is no Drive control, unlike StonEQ 4k, but considering the saturation and distortion present in the first two modules, I see no need to add any more. You may also convert the low and high bands to rack mode, and all four EQ bands have changeable Q bell curve gains. 

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

Watson had amazing audio quality and consumed little CPU power. Up to 16x upsampling is possible and can assist in eradicating blurriness at relatively high distortion levels.

Depending on the oversampling level, oversampling also contributes to delay between samples, although Satson normally introduces none. Overall, Sonimus has produced yet another outstanding product.

Related Reading:

Top 7 Channel Strip Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

Conclusion

At the end of the day, we can claim that our gain staging and VU Meter top are extremely comprehensive. Although these capabilities are typically included within your DAW, it is still a good idea to utilize independent ones to guarantee accurate readings.

It should be kept in mind that, in addition to everything else, Gain Staging is the most crucial component of your mix when you wish to perform Top Down Mixing. If you don’t do this, your mix will be severely distorted in the end, and even when you add reverb or delay, they serve to muffle the sound further.

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