Best Free VU Meter Plugins

Best Free VU Meter Plugins Best Free VU Meter Plugins

Nothing spells "the good old days" as "VU meter" does! :)

Yeah, mixing in general was unimaginable without an analog VU meter back in the day. However, that's not to say that proper gain staging today differs in the digital age really.

VU meters step in as indispensable here, especially for stereo tracks (along with Peak meters of course).

But since the market isn't really flooded with VU meter variants, it's best that we first answer the questions:

What is a VU Meter Plugin? What's It Used For?

Well, "VU meter" stands for "volume units meter". A VU meter plugin is used for measuring and displaying the intensity (level) of an audio signal.

The purpose is to measure the overall intensity, as opposed to paying close attention to every transient coming through. Because of this, a delay within the response is introduced. The default is 300 milliseconds.

The above in turn means that short and punchy sounds' dynamics will be sort of "under-represented". But then again, this is only natural, as our own ears respond in a similar fashion anyway.

While exceptionally important, VU meters aren't the whole story alone. The accuracy of RMS and PPM measurements also refine your understanding of the audio's dynamics.

We'll bring forward a few of the best free VU meter plugins. A few will be left out due to what I'll be briefly noting next.

Which Free VU Meter Plugins Will We Be Considering?

Basically only those which have versions compatible with both Windows and Mac will be considered. Along with that, the below listed VU meters all have a VST version.

This is important due to VST's cross-platform compatibility, as noted in my article on the best free limiter plugin .

So, whether using Logic Pro, FL Studio, Ableton Live or any DAW under the sun; whether on Windows or a Mac - we've got you covered!

Let's Bring Them On Then!

Just a note in passing that what follows isn't a countdown. We'll just mention a few VST free VU meter plugin options here.

This is only logical cause the differences between the options they offer aren't extensive, generally speaking.

PreSonus VU Meter

In the realm of music production, achieving a clearer mix is the ultimate goal. Careful attention to mixing levels is thus essential. Meet the PreSonus VU Meter!

On the one hand, it provides accurate visualizations of both its VU meters. Yet on the other, it also offers precise control over MS balance and peak levels. This all ensures that your audio reaches optimal clarity without sacrificing vital headroom.

Achieving sufficient headroom is key at every point in your production process, and the meters simply guide you in doing so.

Whether you're working on intricate mixes or refining the sound waves of your productions, this VU plugin will make a remarkable difference on your master bus! It's an exceptionally fine helper in achieving polished and well-balanced waves.


Looking to enhance your mixing experience while keeping things simple? Well, this VU plugin is a fantastic tool to consider.

Simple and vintage layout, yet plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of your (especially stereo) audio signals.

With advancements in the digital domain, the integration of such VU meter plugins has revolutionized the way we manage audio levels.

Its straightforward install process and seamless integration into the DAWs make it a breeze to link into your existing workflow.

By accurately gauging gain through it, achieving optimal audio levels becomes more intuitive; more precise. This ultimately contributes to a more professional and polished solutions.

mvMeter 2

In the art of audio engineering, understanding the intricacies of your signal is paramount! Especially when honing in on the mid frequencies within a mix.

This is where mvMeter 2 comes into play, serving as your guide through the complex landscape of waves and loudness. Assuming a corresponding preset management, it's a valuable free addition to your home (or even professional studio) setup.

Luckily, this powerful free plugin is equipped with precise meters, tailored to analyze and manipulate sound waves down to the finest bit. It features delay and reference level controls (for the latter, see the section titled "A Line For The Geeky Reader" at the bottom of this article).

Not only does it aid in achieving proper gain staging but also ensures that your signal remains well-balanced. Adds elegance, making the mixing process pristine throughout.

By harnessing the capabilities of this plugin, you can effectively manage both the peak and VU meters. Nuanced adjustments are facilitated, resulting in a harmonious and professionally calibrated audio mix.

Youlean Loudness Meter

For those diving into the world of audio production for film or theatre, having access to free and reliable tools is indeed crucial. (Let's face it: most things related are... well... costly..!).

Bearing in mind the options it features, this plugin's UI isn't overly complicated. In fact, one could only hope for a simpler one in this regard.

It features various meter modes that allow you to assess different aspects of your mix. Anywhere from overall volume to specific track contributions - you name it!

Whether you're aiming for punchy transients or consistent loudness, the meters offer an invaluable tool set, elevating your audio endeavours.

The peak meter ensures that the input levels stay within a safe range, guarding against unwanted distortion. Meanwhile, the VU meters provide insight into the loudness levels of your stereo mix.


Speaking of the power of audio enhancement with a versatile free plugin, this one seems designed to revolutionize your mixing experience.

Its innovative design serves as your vigilant monitor, as it provides real-time display of critical metrics. This helps you achieve optimal levels across your track.

The monitor displays the entire spectrum as split in subsections, so you can confidently shape your sound. In the digital audio world size doesn't matter, but cross-spectral loudness levels do!

Whether it's precision in monitoring your audio or calibrating your mix through precise meter readings, this free plugin empowers you to master the art of sonic perfection.

Honourable Mention: The Waves VU Meter

Though it's a commercial plugin, the Waves VU Meter plugin deserves a honourable mention even in the context of free VU meter plugins. In fact, before being officially launched for the first time, it actually was a free plugin for a while.

In the context of classic VU meter simulation, the Waves VU Meter plugin takes the cake. Aside from that, you may want to just monitor the peaks, using it as a peak meter. Or just as you would your standard free VU meter plugin, looking at the level meters. Its options, simple or otherwise, are quite limitless.

A Line For The Geeky Reader

Be it a commercial or a free VU meter plugin, VST or other, it'll show a value of 0 when sine waves are run through it, at -18db. This is known as a "reference level" and is an industry standard.

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