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 you use the most in the poll.
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.
We are going to list them 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. Even though it is a proper BS1770 loudness meter, it only displays loudness to the EBU R128 standard, so for anyone outside the EBU area, it is a useful guide but will not display loudness according to your local standard. You can watch our post-production orientated review of the Avid Pro Limiter.
The Pro Limiter plug-in from Avid is only available as an AAX plug-in.
Dolby Media Meter
As an AAX plug-in for Avid Pro Tools, the Dolby Media Meter plug-in was designed to measure loudness in real time, allowing users to track levels during the mixing process to help meet network delivery requirements. Real-time versions could simultaneously display short term and integrated loudness levels with or without Dialogue Intelligence.
Note that Dolby has discontinued their Media Meter Plug-in. You may still be able to buy it but ongoing support is not going to be available. If you need to measure Dolby Dialog Intelligence for Netflix compatibility then you will need to look for a loudness meter that has support for Dialog Intelligence.
Grimm Audio LevelView
LevelView is a real-time loudness meter. Its 'Rainbow meter', based upon the 'Bendy Meter' concept from BBC Research, 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.
There is also a LevelViewS, which is optimised for short term content like adverts, trailers etc.
LevelView is available in AAX 32/64 bit, RTAS, VST and AU plug-in formats as well as a standalone app
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 you having 3 instances; one with the Integrated, a second with Short Term and a third displaying Momentary loudness.
Like the Avid Pro Limiter, it only displays the EBU R128 scale so it is great for UK and Europe and any other territories that adopt the R128 standard. But it is still a useful guide for any other territory as the various versions of the standards are very close to each other.
This free plug-in suite has much more going for it than just a loudness meter. You can learn more about this plug-in in our article Friday Free Plug-in - HOFA 4U Meter, Fader & MS-Pan Plug-in.
This plug-in is supported on for PC and Mac, 32 and 64 Bit DAWs with Audio Unit, VST, VST3, RTAS and AAX formats
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.
With Insight 2 iZotope has given this metering tool a new look, added a new Intelligibility Meter and Multichannel support up to Dolby Atmos 7.1.2.
Insight v2.1 has brought support for Dialog Intelligence and the Netflix delivery spec.
In this free video tutorial, Mike shows the essentials of using the iZotope Insight plug-in on Pro Tools for loudness compliant metering and explain how to ensure your mix meets the latest standards, such as BS 1770-3, ATSC A/85, EBU R-128 and more.
Insight from iZotope supports macOS 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion) but only for Pro Tools 10 and then macOS 10.9.5 (Mavericks) - macOS 10.14 (Mojave) as well as Windows: 7 - 10 with AU (32 & 64-bit), AAX (64-bit, real-time), AAX-AS (64-bit, Audiosuite). RTAS (32-bit, real-time), DPM-AS (32-bit, Audiosuite), VST2 (32 & 64-bit), VST3 (32 & 64-bit) plug-in formats.
Klangfreund LUFS Meter And MultiMeter
The LUFS Meter plug-in is compliant with EBU R 128, ATSC A/85 and more. It provides a unique and fast way to create initial faders up mixes and to compare with reference tracks on equal loudness.
Version 2 brings new click and drag operation, additional presets for popular services, numeric mouse position info, zoom factor for the entire interface, improved efficiency, synchronised undo history, detachable settings panel and more.
The Multimeter plug-in combines loudness and dynamics measurement with the ability to help create faders up mixes fast. It supports up to 64 surround channels and can quickly analyse audio and video files and can create a measurement report.
Klangfreund support AAX, AAX Audio Suite on macOS and Windows, Audio Unit on macOS, VST on macOS, Windows and Linux, VST3 on macOS and Windows in both 32 and 64 bit on all plugin formats.
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.
As a mastering engineer Tom Frampton has plenty of experience of having to deal with issues on tracks clients sent to him to master, and that got him thinking, could he design a plug-in that would alert mixers and producers to those common problems and help them resolve those issues at the mix stage rather than at the mastering stage where it can be much harder to solve because all you have is the stereo mix file.
Check out Dan Cooper’s review of LEVELS By Mastering The Mix.
This plug-in is supported on OS X 10.8 or higher. 32-bit or 64-bit AU, VST 2/3 or AAX host and Windows 7, 8 or 10. 32-bit or 64-bit VST 2/3 or AAX host.
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 mete supporting the EBU+9, EBU+18 and EBU+27 scales.
The plug-in can display the measurements of all relevant values using classic meters, or it can even show them in time using the time graphs.
MLoudnessAnalyzer can handle not only mono and stereo signals, but also mid/side encoding for stereo field processing, separate left & right channels, separate mid or side signal and up to 8 channels of surround audio.
Melda claim that it is the first and only GUI engine, which is freely resizable and styleable. It also lets you choose between knobs, sliders or buttons, whichever you like the most. The plug-in can look as an ancient vintage gear, if you are working on old-school rock music, or as a super-modern futuristic device if you are working on modern electronic music.
MLoudnessAnalyzer is one of over 30 Free Plug-Ins Including Auto Pitch Correction, Dynamics, And More from MeldaProduction.
MLoudnessAnalyzer supports VST, VST3, AU and AAX interfaces on Windows & Mac, both 32-bit and 64-bit.
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).
If your DAW supports offline processing (e.g., Pro Tools' AudioSuite, offline bouncing, etc.), LCAST can be used to quickly calculate integrated (programme) loudness, loudness range and other measurements. This is ideal for long-form content including film, albums and TV shows.
LCAST's primary display, the history plot, shows you a timeline of your programme's loudness and allows you to quickly spot loudness peaks and valleys. It acts like a personal video recorder (PVR) for your audio, recording up to 24 hours of loudness history.
LCAST supports AAX, AU and VST plug-in formats in both 32 and 64 bit for macOS and Windows
Nugen Audio MasterCheck
MasterCheck is designed to be the complete solution for optimising your mixes for today’s music delivery services. Streaming apps, download stores, websites and podcasts all use data compression, loudness matching or both. These processes can affect your mixes in various undesirable ways: your loud punchy mix could end up quiet and flat, or suffer clipping or distortion. The good news is you don’t just have to mix for CD and hope for the best. MasterCheck Pro reveals problems ahead of time and enables you to deliver masters perfectly tuned for specific playout systems.
With MasterCheck 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’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.
MasterCheck supports AAX, VST, VST3, AU and AudioSuite in both 64-bit and 32-bit versions for macOS and Windows. Note that RTAS is also available as 32-bit only.
Nugen Audio VisLM2
This is Mike's preferred loudness meter, it does everything he needs it to do, he likes the way it displays the data and that he can colour it and resize the window to suit his screen real-estate.
The Rewritable Memory Edit Mode is absolutely amazing. It enables him to make small corrections to a mix and not have to re-analyze the whole programme. He also loves the way he 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.
VisLM-H2 is designed to promote an efficient workflow with the ability to drill down to any level of complexity the context demands. With VisLM-H2, your loudness workflow can be integrated into the production environment. With a fully resizable interface and many additional visualisations, it's even simpler to identify exactly the information you need and choose the configuration that matches your workflow precisely.
Check out why Mike makes Nugen Audio’s VisLM2 one the plug-ins he loves for post - Loudness - So It Has To Be Nugen Audio VisLM 2.
The latest version now supports the new Netflix delivery spec using Dolby Dialog Intelligence. Check out our video from IBC 2018 when we got a sneak peak at the new version.
VisLM from Nugen Audio supports AAX, VST, VST3, AU and AudioSuite in both 64-bit and 32-bit versions for macOS and Windows. Note that RTAS is also available as 32-bit only. VisLM is also available as a standalone application for macOS and Windows.
RTW Loudness Tools And Mastering Tools
RTW Loudness Tools (also included in Mastering 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.
RTW Loudness Tools provides the functionality of the award-winning TM7 and TM9 basic PPM instruments in combination with its loudness licence and offers the same degree of functionality and clarity as the hardware models. The instruments can be freely arranged and scaled. Various function parameters offer extra flexibility.
Six selectable window frames (landscape and portrait view) and the freely adjustable display window permit the tailorable positioning of the provided instruments. Multiple instances may be used. You can also store all setups and layouts as presets.
With their 50 years of experience, you will see that the hardware and software products use the same model and RTW have worked hard to make configuration and operation as similar as possible.
Check out Mike’s free tutorial Understanding RTW Loudness Tools And Mastering Tools.
RTW Loudness Tools and Mastering Tools support VST2.4, VST3, stand-alone (32/64 bit each), AAX Native64 on Windows 7, 8.1, 10 and VST2.4, VST3, AU, AAX Native64, stand-alone for Mac OS X 10.11 or higher
Signum Audio BUTE Loudness Analyser
The BUTE Loudness Analyser has been designed to deliver insight into your audio files with accurate and customisable readings. Advanced features like automatic re-metering, customisable warnings, an interactive navigation overview and window, and reloadable session data. These workflow-driven features make it particularly useful for long-form content.
With its range of workflow features, configurable meter readings for short-term and momentary loudness, true peak and traditional RMS, and the latest broadcasting and streaming standards included as presets, they have designed their loudness meter to make your mixing and mastering journey much simpler.
You have a choice between Stereo and Surround version, with the latter adding support for 5.1, 7.1 and up to 10-channel Atmos.
Check out Alan Sallabank’s excellent review of the BUTE Loudness Suite, which includes the Loudness Analyser.
This plug-in supports macOS 10.9 Lion or higher and Windows 7 or higher with VST/ VST3/ AU/ AAX (including AudioSuite) plug-in formats but note that it only supports AAX 64-bit whereas all other formats are 32-bit/64-bit compatible.
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. TC Electronic developed the LM1n as a simpler solution for those who have found that they sometimes need to deliver content that complies with a certain broadcast standard, including outside broadcast production workflows.
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.
Check out Mike’s tutorials Understanding TC Electronic LM1n Loudness Meter Plug-in and Understanding TC Electronic LM2n And LM6n Loudness Meter Plug-ins.
These plug-ins support Mac OS 10.6.8 or higher (including 10.13 High Sierra) and Windows XP or higher with VST2.4 32/64-bit, VST3 32/64-bit, Audio Units 32/64-bit (Mac only), AudioSuite 32-bit, RTAS 32-bit, AAX Native 32-bit and AAX Native 64-bit plug-in formats.
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 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 more. Fully compliant with all current ITU, EBU and ATSC specifications, the WLM Plus offers Momentary, Short Term, Long Term and True Peak readouts, as well as 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.
Check out Mike’s review on Waves WLM Plus Loudness Meter Plug-in and his tutorial on How To Use Waves WLM Plus In An Audio Post Production Workflow.
The WLM Plus supports macOS 10.11.6 - 10.14 and Windows 7 with SP1 64 bit, Windows 8.1 64 bit, Windows 10 64 bit with AAX Native 64-bit, Audiosuite, Audio Units (Mac only), VST, VST3 plug-in formats.
Youlean Loudness Meter
The Youlean loudness meter comes in 2 versions, Free and Pro. Both versions are designed to help you find the true perceived loudness of your audio and prepares it for TV or streaming services release.
It comes as both a standalone app and as a plug-in and works in almost any DAW including FL Studio, Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro X, Ableton Live, Reaper, Cubase and Pro Tools.
It is designed to help you comply with strict loudness requirements for the Film and TV industry. On the music production side it helps get the correct loudness levels for upload to Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and Tidal by helping you to prevent your mix sounding crushed and unprofessional and make any track sound great on all streaming platforms.
It is available as a standalone application, as well as VST2, VST3, AU and AAX plugin formats, for the Windows and macOS operating systems.
zplane PPMulator XL
This is a low-cost solution from zplane that also has the advantage of taking up very little screen real estate, as it doesn't include a histogram feature. It can be set to EBU R128 or either of the 2009 or 2013 versions of the ATSC A/85 standards and so between these, it covers the loudness delivery specs for most of the world.
PPMulator is a cross-platform plug-in meter, which also exactly mimics the look and feel of a professional broadcast Peak Programme Meter (PPM) in a variety of broadcast formats. This plug-in provides a calibrated workspace for recording, editing, mixing and mastering and is much cheaper than a hardware meter, but only the PPMulator XL offers loudness metering.
PPMulator XL also offers batch audio file processing and is one of the cheaper loudness meter solutions out there.
This plug-in supports RTAS, AAX, AU, VST plug-in format on macOS 10.6 and above and, Windows XP and above and is also available as a standalone application.
Vote For The Loudness Meter Plug-in For Pro Tools You Use The Most
In the poll below please 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.
Remember that 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.
In the comments below please do share the reasons why you prefer your chosen loudness meter.