Why and how are you using VU meter plugins?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
Thavma
Banned
310 posts since 29 Apr, 2014

Post Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:16 pm

Hey, I am a bit lost I think, just saw the Klanghelm VU meter
https://klanghelm.com/contents/products/VUMT/VUMT.php

I remember you use VU meters to gain stage in 0 dB or something like analog so that plugins work better?
But with all these RMS and VU and all these settings I am lost!

Can anyone explain whats it used for?

Thanks!

cprompt
KVRian
853 posts since 17 Nov, 2010 from UK

Re: Why and how are you using VU meter plugins?

Post Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:03 am

In your mix, you ideally want each track being hit with a -18dB RMS signal. If you buss multiple tracks together, you want those to hit the buss at the same -18dB RMS. Likewise, you want the master buss also being hit with a -18dB RMS signal. Why, when modern DAWs can cope with levels in the theoretical 100s of dBs? Because a) sooner or later you have to bring the signal down to the normal range that we listen to and b) although a purely digital plugin can cope with those ridiculous levels (it's just maths) the "emulation" plugins are designed to be hit with a level similar to the level that the hardware would be hit.

So bottom line, put a VU meter (don't ask about the difference between VU and RMS) at the start of each track that you are feeding a signal and adjust to around -18dB RMS before you start hitting any plugins. BTW PPM is a peak reading whereas RMS is an average over a period of time, so momentary peaks don't really count.

I'm probably wrong but this works for me anyway.

The Klanghelm VUI meter plugin is excellent and I use it all the time.

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Igro
KVRAF
4145 posts since 26 Apr, 2007 from Noosphere

Re: Why and how are you using VU meter plugins?

Post Thu Oct 17, 2019 2:19 am

Good answer cpromt!

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Halonmusic
KVRAF
2939 posts since 13 Nov, 2015 from Norway

Re: Why and how are you using VU meter plugins?

Post Thu Oct 17, 2019 2:26 pm

Don't be a Sheep. :borg: | Opinions matters :evil:

Thavma
Banned
310 posts since 29 Apr, 2014

Re: Why and how are you using VU meter plugins?

Post Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:40 pm

cprompt wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:03 am
In your mix, you ideally want each track being hit with a -18dB RMS signal. If you buss multiple tracks together, you want those to hit the buss at the same -18dB RMS. Likewise, you want the master buss also being hit with a -18dB RMS signal. Why, when modern DAWs can cope with levels in the theoretical 100s of dBs? Because a) sooner or later you have to bring the signal down to the normal range that we listen to and b) although a purely digital plugin can cope with those ridiculous levels (it's just maths) the "emulation" plugins are designed to be hit with a level similar to the level that the hardware would be hit.

So bottom line, put a VU meter (don't ask about the difference between VU and RMS) at the start of each track that you are feeding a signal and adjust to around -18dB RMS before you start hitting any plugins. BTW PPM is a peak reading whereas RMS is an average over a period of time, so momentary peaks don't really count.

I'm probably wrong but this works for me anyway.

The Klanghelm VUI meter plugin is excellent and I use it all the time.
Thanks a lot man! this looks very clear now! :)

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plexuss
KVRAF
3437 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Re: Why and how are you using VU meter plugins?

Post Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:18 am

I question this -18 dB RMS practice for plugins, even those that emulate analogue UNLESS the plugin docs specifically state this. I have not seen any evidence that devs code their plugins for a -18 RMS signal level where anything higher causes problems. The only plugin I've seen that documents to use -18 is Acustica Aquamarine. I have also had no issues with plugins operating higher than -18 RMS and if I do, then I turn it down. YMMV

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Googly Smythe
KVRAF
2555 posts since 12 May, 2011 from Not where I was just now.

Re: Why and how are you using VU meter plugins?

Post Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:29 am

I found this article to be informative.
https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advi ... -vu-meters

VU and PPM are virtually irrelevant in software systems (pun intended). But they do look nice. And yes, I put Klanghelm's meter on the master bus, too.
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reggie1979
KVRAF
1834 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: Why and how are you using VU meter plugins?

Post Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:00 am

Just in case someone misses it, SOME have controls as to what DB you want to use. If you are questioning the results this might be a reason.

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plexuss
KVRAF
3437 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Re: Why and how are you using VU meter plugins?

Post Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:16 pm

Googly Smythe wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:29 am
I found this article to be informative.
https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advi ... -vu-meters

VU and PPM are virtually irrelevant in software systems (pun intended). But they do look nice. And yes, I put Klanghelm's meter on the master bus, too.
This is a good point - meters are just there to measure signals. VU was just a standardized way to measure signals with analogue meters. I've moved away from these kinds of meters because they don't really convey anything meaningful. I now use loudness/perception based meters and of course peak metering.

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