Do I need a VU meter if I’m mixing in the box, or can I just use the RMS, True Peak and LUFS meterings?
Since you have to ask if you need one, you probably don´t
Are VU meters used for analog signals, such as guitars etc?
VU meters can be used for everything or nothing. A VU meter has a defined relatively slow response time, and therefore has a certain way to “show” the audio signal level. You just have to know how to “read” the signal depending on what kind of signal it is.
So, guess I’ll just stick to the RMS, True Peak and LUFS and leave the VU meters for the old timers. Thanx.
I find VU meters are great for proper gain staging when tracking and mixing but not necessarily needed.
I use the Klanghelm VUMT deluxe as an insert in an input track and shoot for -18dBVU when recording.
I put an instance near the end of my master bus inserts (before the limiter) and use the VU for leveling kick and bass and RMS when mixing and mastering.
Cubase Meters are great too but I find the Klanghelm VUMT a little bit better to work with.
Now tracking is one of the steps, I personally would never recommend a VU meter for.
Have you tried recording with a VU meter calibrated to 0VU=-18dBFS.
I go for 0VU on most instruments and vocals and -6VU on drums and get a lot of headroom with great sounding tracks.
In my experience you get great dynamics and sound, therefore making mixing much more easy.
That single move has improved my recordings a lot!!
No, I haven ´t tried. I don ´t use VU meters (anymore). I can get the same headroom with a PPM meter, plus a much more detailed view about the real transient peaks especially for tracking drums. But each to his own.
Quirky fact: VU strands for Volume Unit. The VU meter was designed (a long time ago) to measure the overall loudness of a signal. These days we have LU (Loudness Unit) which is a much better measure of perceived loudness. So no, you really don’t need a VU meter these days.
Even in the 70’s most engineers referred to VU meters as Virtually Useless.
And yes, I’m THAT old.