The best metering plugins

  • by Marco Biraghi

What is a meter?

A meter is a tool that allows you to get metrics out of an audio file. However, audio has plenty of values to analyze, and that makes it quite difficult to find a tool that satisfies all of the possible needs.
There’s plenty of tools that include one or more features, and we hope this list can help you find the tool(s) you need to analyze your tracks inside out.

 

Free

These plug-ins are all available for free. However, this doesn’t make them not worthy of your attention.

 

Voxengo SPAN

Probably, this is the plugin that started entire generations of music producers.
It includes a frequency spectrum visualizer, a Peak meter, an RMS meter, True Peak metering, a correlation meter, and also a Max CREST Factor meter.

 

s(M)exoscope

The best oscilloscope around the web, and it’s free! It’s a bit tricky to set the speed setting at first, especially if you want to monitor different frequency ranges, but you’ll get used to it quickly.

 

iZotope Ozone Imager

A stereo imager that comes with a nice lissajous view and a correlation meter. A nice place to start for free.

 

MLoudnessAnalyzer

It contains a peak meter, momentary, short-term and integrated loudness meters and a loudness range meter. While the GUI might not be exciting as other alternatives, it’s definitely a well-rounded tool to get started with loudness metering.

 

YouLean Loudness Meter

LUFS, True Peak, Dynamics, and one of the best UI around make it one of the best free alternatives ever!

Drag & Drop file analysis, A/B comparison for different measurements, and PDF/PNG exports are huge pluses in the paid version.


Budget

These plug-ins are all for sale. We can say that they’re all worth more than what they cost. If you want to commit to some expenses, this is the place to start from.


Klanghelm VUMT

VU Metering is highly underrated nowadays that the focus is all on LUFS. This didn’t stop Klanghelm from delivering a really nice tool!

The GUI is simple and also offers eight different skins to match your mood and your DAW setup.

It contains three metering modes: VU, RMS, and PPM DIN (Type I).

You can choose between L/R and M/S metering, use the Trim knobs and the Link function to analyze loudness with ease.

 

Waves WLM

It’s a nice meter for loudness, it’s plenty of options like filters and trim fader. The only con about it is that it looks way more complex than what it actually is.

 

Levels

One of the most advanced and comprehensive meters on this list.

The home display has six sections labeled PEAK, STEREO FIELD, LUFS, LRA, DYNAMIC RANGE, and BASS SPACE.

While Peak, Stereo Field, and LUFS are common to most mixers, the others are quite rare to see.

LRA stands for Loudness Range, which tells you the statistical measure of loudness variation of your entire track.

Bass Space identifies if any channels within your mix are outputting unwanted low frequencies. You will only be able to use Bass Space on a stem master (music bounced into groups with kick and bass separated), not on a stereo master (just one audio file).

Dynamic Range consists of an oscilloscope showing how dynamics change in real-time.
Levels also offer M/S, L/R, and Mono listening.
The presets allow for targeted metering for different applications.

 

Expose

Take your finished track and drop it inside this incredible tool!
You will get an instant overview of how your mix is in terms of loudness, dynamics, stereo image, and phase correlation.

Also, you can analyze multiple files at once, and you can use the presets to see if your masters are fitting the selected standard.
If you bother playing your master inside the DAW and look at the meters moving, this is the tool for you!

 

Top Tier

These are the elite of the digital realm. They require some commitment to your wallet, but the number of features and the quality of performance they offer is among the very best you can find around nowadays.

All these tools will make your life easier in one way or another. They don’t have the magic of doing the job for you, but they will definitely help you understand what’s going on with your mixes and masters.

 

TBProAudio dpMeterXT

This plugin is all about metering loudness. However, it’s too narrow in terms of features for its price. It does its job very well, but the best plugins around the same price range offer a wider array of visuals and insights.

 

T-racks Metering

This plugin is a well-rounded metering suite. It comes with a full set of Peak, RMS, LUFS, Correlation, Frequency Spectrum, Spectrogram, Stereo Image, and, last but not least, an L/R and M/S VU meter.

The latter one is quite an important inclusion as VU metering often comes individually, and being able to compare it with other types of metering, all in one window, is highly appreciated.

 

Insight 2

Undoubtedly one of the best options available right now. It offers loudness metering, Peak and RMS meters, a stereo image visualizer, a spectrum analyzer, a spectrogram, a history panel, and an Intelligibility feature.

The latter feature helps a lot when mixing dialogues over music sources.

The UI is the best one among all the plugins in this list, minimal but not poor-looking.

 

FabFilter Pro-L 2

Not really born as a meter, but it can do that as well. It’s one of the greatest limiters around, and it also comes with a nice and clean Peak, RMS, LUFS meter, plus a nice visual panel.

Don’t buy this just for the sake of metering. Instead, consider buying it as a state-of-the-art limiter with additional metering features.

 

ADPTR MetricAB

A great frequency spectrum, a multi-band correlation meter, a stereo image visualizer, a dynamics meter, and a loudness meter, all packed together.

One of the most complete and advanced tools comes with the huge advantage of offering A/B metering among different files, making it a true swiss knife.

Whether you're studying professional mixes or you’re comparing two versions of your work, this plugin may be the thing you need.

 

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