A couple of weeks ago we asked you Which Loudness Meter Plug-in Do You Use In Pro Tools? There are a lot of loudness meters out there and we thought it would be interesting to see which ones are in common usage and why. The criteria to be in this poll is that the plug-in must be able to measure loudness in LU or LKFS in Momentary, Short Term and Integrated and must be available as an AAX plug-in so it can be used in Pro Tools.
The Results Showing The Loudness Meter Plug-in For Pro Tools You Use The Most
We asked you to vote for the loudness meter plug-in that you use the most in your daily workflow, whether that is in music, mastering or audio post-production work and these are the results.
Which Loudness Meter Plug-in Do You Use In Pro Tools?
I find it very interesting that iZotope Insight is the most used loudness meter. For me, Insight is looking very dated now and personally, I have never got on with the interface. My biggest concern is the way the histogram works, the window width stays the same and the time axis shrinks as you play through the audio. I much prefer the histogram display on either the TC Electronic radar or the Nugen Audio VisLM 2, but this top slot is testament to iZotope's popularity as a brand.
I am less surprised that WLM Plus has done well, it is cost-effective and the inclusion of a true peak limiter makes it an even better buy.
My personal favourite, the Nugen Audio VisLM 2 in 3rd place. I love the ability to colour code loudness bands and also its ability to instantly update the programmes integrated loudness when you remix just a small section.
I am very surprised the 'Other' category was in 4th place as I thought we had covered every loudness plug-in that can work in Pro Tools and can measure Momentary, Short Term and Integrated Loudness. So I would be curious to hear what plug-iins weren't included in the pol so that you had to select the 'Other' category.
What Do You Think?
Where there any surprises in here for you? How did your prefered loudness meter do? Do share your thoughts and observations in the comments below.
What Were The Loudness Meter Plug-ins On The List?
Here are summaries of each of the loudness meters in the poll in alphabetical order....
Avid Pro Limiter
Although not primarily a loudness meter, its primary role is a true peak limiter plug-in it also includes a fully functional loudness meter with a histogram display. However, it only displays loudness in the EBU R128 standard, so for anyone outside the EBU
Dolby Media Meter
As an AAX plug-in for Avid Pro Tools, the Dolby Media Meter plug-in is designed to measure loudness in real time, allowing you to track levels during the mixing process to help meet network delivery requirements. Real-time versions can simultaneously display short-term and integrated loudness levels with or without Dialogue Intelligence.
Grimm Audio LevelView
LevelView is a real-time loudness meter. Its 'Rainbow meter', based upon the 'Bendy Meter' concept of BBC Research, is designed to give the user continuous insight into recent loudness levels of the program material. The arcs of the rainbow all have different integration times: the outer ring shows loudness of the last 3s, every step inward triples the time span.
HOFA 4U Meter, Fader & MS-Pan
The HOFA plug-in is part of their free 4U Suite, so nothing is going to beat this one on price. Although you can only have one loudness meter in an instance of the plug-in, there is nothing stopping having 3 instances; one with the Integrated, a second with Short Term and a third displaying Momentary.
iZotope’s Insight is a comprehensive metering suite for post production and broadcast applications. Insight provides an extensive set of audio analysis and metering tools, including a loudness section with full history, logging and automation features. Insight, of course, is much more than just a loudness meter with 2D and 3D Spectrograms, True Peak Meters, Stereo Vectorscope, Surround Scope, and Spectrum Analyser as well.
This is a plug-in designed to measure and adjust the loudness similar to the human perception of loudness. Compliant with EBU R 128, ATSC A/85 and more. It is designed to help the user to create initial faders up mixes and to compare with reference tracks on equal loudness.
Mastering The Mix Levels
Metering plug-ins can be really difficult for non-technical people to understand so mastering engineer Tom Frampton from Mastering The Mix teamed up with developers 29 Palms to take a completely different look at a metering plug-in for mixing and mastering that creatives could easily understand and LEVELS is the result.
Melda Production MLoudnessAnalyzer
MLoudnessAnalyzer is a free EBU R128 and ITU-R BS 1770-3 compliant loudness meter. It contains a peak meter, momentary, short-term and integrated loudness meters and a loudness range meter. Supports EBU+9, EBU+18 and EBU+27 scales.
LCAST has been designed to make it easy to take loudness and true-peak measurements. It supports all the major loudness standards and has presets for the most popular ones: ATSC A/85 (CALM Act), ITU BS.1770 and EBU R128. Mono, stereo and surround formats are all compatible (surround only available in LCAST Surround).
Nugen Audio MasterCheck and MasterCheck Pro
MasterCheck Pro is designed to be the complete solution for optimising your mixes for today’s music delivery services. With MasterCheck Pro you can hear how your tracks are affected by loudness matching algorithms on different devices and services, and you’ll know how your masters respond to different codecs and bandwidths. MasterCheck Pro’s Loudness and PLR features are designed to help you find the sweet spot between perceived loudness and dynamics, perfectly tuning your master to the format.
Nugen Audio VisLM2
This is Mike's preferred loudness meter, it does everything he needs it to do. The Rewritable Memory Edit Mode is absolutely amazing. It enables you to make small corrections to a mix and not have to re-analyze the whole programme. Check out the way you can resize the window and all the additional options they have added to the plug-in. For people working in film production and especially trailers, Nugen Audio has now included the Leq measurement that is included in the trailer delivery spec for specifying loudness of film trailers.
RTW Loudness Tools And Mastering Tools
RTW Loudness Tools offers metering and loudness display plug-ins for mono, stereo, multichannel, and surround applications up to 7.1 at sampling rates up to 96 kHz. All the widely used Loudness, PPM and TruePeak measurements and scales are offered in Loudness Tools. Anyone who is familiar with RTW’s hardware meters like the TM3, TM7 or TM9 will be at home with these plug-ins.
TC Electronic LM1n, LM2n & LM6n
TC Electronic’s LM1n displays the key numbers for Program Loudness (I) and either Loudness Range (LRA), Max Momentary Loudness (M), Max Short Term Loudness (S) or Sliding Loudness (10 Sec) as well as True-Peak clipping. The LM2n and LM6n are almost identical. In fact, there are only two things that set them apart: channel format compatibility and logging. The LM2n measures any mono or stereo signal while LM6n supports mono, stereo and 5.1 surround, but they both use a clever radar display for the loudness history and offer a number of new features such as dedicated settings for Max Momentary (M) or Max Short Term (S) Loudness display as well as offering a ‘Big’ version of the Radar, which is very useful when working at a distance from the screen. The LM6n also features detailed logging for documenting delivery specs in accordance with major broadcast standards, which is key when producing content for broadcast.
Waves WLM And WLM Plus
The Waves WLM Plus is a popular loudness meter that covers many bases although it doesn’t have any histogram display. The upside of this is that the plug-in’s GUI takes up less screen real estate. The Waves WLM Plus Loudness meter that adds a True Peak Limiter and a Trim option, to their WLM loudness meter. They both provide loudness measurement, metering, correction and adjustment tools for broadcast, movie trailers, games, packaged media and has a warning and logging system that keeps track of your levels, alerting you when you’ve exceeded them - or fallen short. WLM Plus also features Gain and Trim controls for correction of loudness levels and a True Peak Limiter, which can save you needing to utilise additional equipment or software.
zplane PPMulator Plus
This is a low-cost solution from zplane that also has the advantage of taking up very little screen real estate, but doesn't include a histogram feature. It can be set to EBU R128 or either of the 2009 or 2013 versions of ATSC A/85 standards and so between these, it covers the loudness delivery specs for most of the world. PPMulator also offers batch audio file processing and is one of the cheaper Loudness meter solutions too, except for the free plug-ins.
10 years ago this year Russ Hughes started the AIR Users blog, which morphed into Pro Tools Expert in 2012. To kick off our year of celebrations we are running a competition with a Pro Audio gear and software prize pot worth over $28,000. Enter The Pro Tools Expert 10th Anniversary Competition to be in with the chance of winning the Nugen Audio Post Production Pack worth $859, which includes VisLM-H 2, LM-Correct 2, ISL 2, Stereoizer, Monofilter, Stereoplacer, Visualizer, SEQ-S, and the DynApt extension for LM-Correct.
In 2016 our friends at Nugen Audio ran a survey on Streaming Services and you can see the results here. 18 months on they are conducting another survey to see how things have changed over the intervening time with the explosion in the use of music streaming services.
With more and more music tracks being delivered on services that now use loudness normalisation, we no longer need to compress the life out of a song to make it louder than any other track, because tracks that are too loud will just get turned down. We can now enjoy tracks with some dynamic range. In loudness workflows there is a new measurement Loudness Range. Tom Frampton a mastering engineer from Mastering The Mix explains what Loudness Range is and how to use it to help produce tracks with an appropriate amount of dynamic range.
FabFilter Pro-L 2 is a fully featured true-peak mixing and mastering limiter plug-in. The previous version, FabFilter Pro-L, was voted most popular limiter plug-in out of 15+ third party limiters by the Pro Tools Expert Community. How could FabFilter possibly improve on perfection? Well, it appears FabFilter have done so with the addition of several new features along with some major improvements.
Here especially in the UK, the sound mix for Blue Planet 2 has come under fire in the press and on social media. At least it is not another case of Mumblegate, but the complaints are about the music volume being overwhelming and the foley effects being too loud and off-putting. But is this a case of the press whipping it up or are there genuine criticisms here?
A couple of weeks ago we asked you Which Loudness Meter Plug-in Do You Use In Pro Tools? There are a lot of loudness meters out there and we thought it would be interesting to see which ones are in common usage and why. We asked you to vote for the loudness meter plug-in that you use the most in your daily workflow, whether that is in music, mastering or audio post-production work and these are the results.
POWAIR from Sound Radix is a two-stage leveler/compressor plug-in, designed to control dynamics and bring a sense of power to vocals, instruments, and mixes with an introductory price of $119 instead of $149.
There are a lot of loudness meters out there and we thought it would be interesting to see which ones are in common usage and why. Please do share your thoughts in the comments and vote for the Pro Tools compatible loudness plug-in that is compatible with Pro Tools in the poll.
At AES 2017 Nugen Audio have announced an update to ISL 2st and a preview of a 3D immersive extension to Halo Upmix, their acclaimed upmix plug-in.
Are some of our high-end TV dramas and high budget entertainment shows being mixed in suites designed for theatrical releases and is this why we are finding as a family that we are having to resort to sub titles more and more to be able to follow the plot?
Following on from the mumble-gate sagas, with TV shows like Happy Valley and SSGB here in the UK in this article I wanted to explore a variety of issues that affect intelligibility. Intelligibility is a multi-faceted issue and blame cannot be laid at any one door. We start with an intelligibility issue you might not be aware of or even considered could be a problem...
In this free video tutorial with the support of Nugen Audio, team member Marcus Huyskens demonstrates how to use the Ducking & Steering meters within the ISL2 True Peal limiter to ensure there are no negative artifacts affecting your mix.
In this free video tutorial with the support of Nugen Audio, team member Marcus Huyskens demonstrates how to use the Mid-Side monitoring option found with MasterCheck to meter the Mid & Side signals independently.
In this free video tutorial with the support of Nugen Audio, Production Expert team member Marcus Huyskens demonstrates how the ISL2 true peak limiter can be used to quickly and efficiently re-purpose a Master to accommodate a change in deliverable specs.
In this free video tutorial, with the support of Nugen Audio, our very own loudness guru Mike Thornton will show you how to use their LM-Correct 2 plug-in to produce multiple loudness compliant mixes for different delivery specs as well as repurpose content for use on different platforms.
In this premium video tutorial, I cover how to use the TC Electronic LM2n and LM6n plug-in loudness meters. Although there a number of loudness meters that include a histogram feature that displays loudness history, the radar display interface is unique to TC Electronic loudness meters so I spend some time exploring how to read and interpret it, as it folds back on itself so that you get a continuous display of the loudness history, which is also relevant to anyone using hardware meters with the TC Electronic radar display option fitted like the TouchMonitor.
In the first part of this series on Loudness And Dynamics In Cinema Sound, we learnt how the Dolby calibrated system has completely broken down with films having to played back at a much lower level because they have been mixed and mastered to be so much louder. Steven Ghouti AFSI AES has worked in film sound for some 23 years, decided to take it upon himself to put out a survey to his fellow audio mixers in the film sound workflow to establish answers to a number of questions regarding the level we mix at, the size of rooms we mix in. Over to you Steven...
In this premium video tutorial, I cover how to use the baby in the TC Electronic plug-in loudness metering family - the LM1n showing how to use the LM1n in CD and album mastering workflows.
Whether you like it or not we have ended up with a Loudness war in cinema sound. Volume has gone up and dynamics have gone down. So what can be done about it? In the first part of this series on Loudness and Dynamics In Cinema Sound, with the help of Eelco Grimm, we look at how the problem has come about and one solution offered by Eelco 4 years ago.
With more and more music is being delivered by music streaming services like Spotify and iTunes Radio. What these services do regarding the loudness wars matters more and more and so the Loudness Petition Group has been set up with the express aim of bringing peace to the loudness wars. In this article, we are going take a look at the research that Eelco Grimm has just completed and presented at the Berlin 142nd AES convention that he did for HKU Muziek en Technologie, University Of The Arts in Utrecht in the Netherlands, in cooperation with the music streaming service TIDAL.
In conjunction with the Pleasurize Music Foundation (PMF), MAAT Digital has worked hard remodelling the TT DR Meter plug-in to get the same familiar and much-loved ballistics of the original, which over the years helped to preserve dynamics for modern pop releases.
In this free video tutorial, with the support of our friends at Nugen Audio, learn from our own loudness guru Mike Thornton how to use loudness differential monitoring using colour bands in the VisLM loudness meter to keep within loudness targets.
Tom Frampton has been in touch to tell us about Mastering The Mix updating their LEVELS plug-in to version 1.2. Tom also recommends that you wait until you have finished any work-in-progress projects before you upgrade to V1.2 because you find that Levels is now in the plug-in folder called 'MasteringTheMix', rather than '29Palms' as it was before.
With more and more music is being delivered by music streaming services like Spotify and iTunes Radio. What these services do regarding the loudness wars matters more and more and so the Loudness Petition Group has been set up with the express aim of bringing peace to the loudness wars. In this article, we are going to look at the Loudness FAQ from the Loudness Petition Group which expands on the issues and covers some of the misconceptions and urban myths that have already grown up around this whole subject
There is a wide range of Loudness meters out there now. In the last of our 3 part series on Overview - Loudness Metering Plug-ins And Resources we focus on loudness metering plug-ins aimed at the music mastering sector.
There is a wide range of Loudness meters out there now, so many that we have had to split them across 3 articles. In the second of our 3 part series on Loudness Metering Plug-ins And Resources we will be looking at the iZotope Insight, Avid Pro Limiter with built in loudness metering, zplane PPMulator Plus, which includes loudness metering and finish with RTW Loudness Tools.
There is a wide range of Loudness meters out there now, so many we have had to split them across 3 articles. As we have loudness normalisation coming into more and more workflows, not just broadcast audio but music streaming services too, we thought it would be helpful to provide a round-up of the different players that are now available. We know it is not completely exhaustive but it covers the main players in the loudness meter plug-in sector. In the first of our 3 part series on Overview - Loudness Metering Plug-ins And Resources we look at the Nugen Audio VisLM 2, TC Electronic LM2n and LM6n, Waves WLM Plus and the free HOF 4U Suite which includes a loudness meter.