Here’s my chain (monitor outputs):
Klanghelm: VUMT Deluxe - I keep a VU meter on, first in the chain, so if I need to check levels of any track in the mix (including when tracking), I can open the plugin GUI, hit solo, and get an instant VU reading. Makes gain-staging during tracking or pre-mixing a breeze.
Plugin Alliance/ADPTR: MetricAB - I use this to load up reference mixes. I have a few different presets that call up reference tracks I like based on genre (rock, acoustic, electronic). Then all I have to do is level-match the B tracks to my A in order to get an idea as to where my tracks stand compared to those reference mixes. I used to use MagicAB + TB Pro Audio’s ISOL8 in combination to do some of the same things, but MetricAB covers the features of both plugins.
Sonarworks: Reference - Room/speaker tuning is next. It’s where it is on the chain so as not to screw with the levels of my VU meter, and to also make sure that the reference tracks get processed by the same room/monitor correction as my mix.
Cerberus Audio: Ice9 - This will instantly mute the output to your monitors whenever audio passes a threshold. So this goes last in the chain strictly as a monitor/ears safety thing. Prevents my ears from getting blown out by super loud presets, or a loud pop, or crazy feedback loop. Considering Reference already has a safety feature that pulls the volume down, keeping Ice9 last means that if it ever gets triggered, I would’ve really had my ears/speakers blasted without it. I wanted to transition to Nugen Audio’s Sigmod for this task since Ice9 is no longer being supported, but Sigmod adds some slight latency whereas Ice9 does not.