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.