New loudness measurements require new measuring tools. While many engineers will be happy approximating for loudness with RMS meters, mastering professionals will want dedicated LU metering tools, which can show both the short-term and integrated loudness measurements of tracks they are working on. Here’s some of the best loudness meters to use in both pro and amateur studios…
6 of the Best: Loudness Meters
Insight is one of the most comprehensive metering tools available. In addition to a range of loudness meters, showing short term and integrated loudness over time and a loudness graph, Insight has a suite of tools for metering and visualising, including spectrum analysers, peak meters and an interesting tool for comparing channels in a mix called ‘meter tap’. Insight is included with the Advanced versions of iZotope RX and iZotope Ozone.
Klangfreund LUFS Meter
Klangfreund LUFS Meter might look quite basic, but it is capable of all the necessary measurements including short term and integrated-loudness measurements, true-peak measurements and can even be used to automatically adjust the loudness to a predetermined level, which is particularly useful for anyone working in broadcast. A non-commercial, feature-limited version of Klangfruend LUFS Meter is also available for $29.
In addition to short-term, integrated and true-peak levels, LCAST lets you target your audio to the loudness-normalisation levels of Spotify and iTunes. This meter also supports offline bounce, enabling you to get faster-than-real-time results for your integrated loudness and loudness history.
A Surround version of LCAST is available, which can export the loudness measurements to a .CSV file, enabling you to generate loudness reports.
VisLM-H2 has true peak, momentary, short term and integrated-loudness meters, with support for up to 7.1-channel Surround Sound. Furthermore, VisLM-H2 is capable of showing mid-side loudness separately from stereo or surround loudness; loudness history can be viewed and exported for offline reporting. A compact version VisLM-C2 is also available, which lacks the standalone options, loudness history and advanced mid-side metering.
TC Electronic LM1n
LM1n is the simplest of TC Electronics’ range of loudness-measuring tools, providing a quick measure of the integrated loudness, and loudness range. Pro Tools users can quickly measure the loudness of any clips by using the offline tool. And simple up and down arrows provide instant visual feedback if the material needs to be made louder or quieter.
Waves WLM Plus
Waves WLM Plus provides momentary, short term and integrated loudness measurements, as well as true-peak readings, all of which can be exported to a .CSV file for offline reporting. WLM Plus also includes a true-peak limiter, which can be used to ensure that there are no inter-sample peaks in your audio which could cause distortion further down the chain.