VU-Meter embedded into channel strip

In 2024 it is still sometimes a pain in the A** to do proper gain staging in most DAWs. Would be really cool to have a VU-Meter tab available in Cubase’ channel strip that can be seen at all times in the mixer per track, like in the old analoge consoles. Would make gain staging a lot easier and smoother without always opening 3rd party plugins to adjust pre gain an keep an eye on levels. Channel meters are great, but I prefere using a VU-Meter for certain tasks.


I’ve been wanting to be able to change the channel meter display for so long, even just having rms or something instead of peak would be nice (or at least being able to display both over each other like you can in super vision). I think many have asked before about it, but currently you can only change the control room meter and super vision to show alternative calibrations as far as I’m aware (and not to a VU style one either).

Cubase makes it super simple to do gain staging, just use the pre-gain on the channel and hit your target. Gain staging isn’t a magical thing, and you don’t need to always be at that target, it’s really just to make headroom.
If you use analoge hardware it’s more important, but just be at the -18dbfs range, up and down don’t make much of a difference, around the +4dbu.
I know you won’t listen to that, but just my two cents.


I am doing Gain staging in Cubase for a long time now and I’m aware of the pre Gain knob in each channel. As you said it is not super important to hit a certain Level precisely. Thats why a find VU meters perticulary helpful as they are Not as responsive as the channel metering. Would be a nice Addition. Thats my Feature request :wink:

1 Like

That’s How I do it for analog as well. You can make an external instrument or effect and for each chain, set the output and input levels independently for different external insert effects you have set up, and mix at your normal levels and it send the correct levels for your chain with built in gain compensation after if needed.

It would still be nice to be able to display something other than just peak levels for each channel like on the channel faders (without having to open up 60 instances of super vision for each track or whatever just to see the rms).

Supervision - the Cubase visual analyser has a VU meter. I have supervision inserted in the control room inserts and then permanently open on a separate monitor.

That’s nice for seeing average-ish levels for the entire mix, but that still leaves groups and individual tracks needing their own instance of super vision to monitor average levels at any other stage other than the master out (Which can be a lot in a large project).

1 Like

The big VU-meter thread is found here:
VU meter/Peak meter/both option for all audio channels

Also, you’d better place your votes in that bigger thread instead.

1 Like

I agree with @Statherian that too much is being made of the term and it’s easier than people think.

If you have one meter to rely on when setting levels and it’s on the master or in Control Room then what you can do is just solo whatever it is you want to set the level on. Solo it and that is then the only thing feeding the meter. Look at the meter and set the level. Done.

Or, use your ears. Calibrate your room so you know what “nominal” sounds like and just adjust a soloed point until it’s the correct loudness.

When I clean up, edit and pre-level dialog for TV I have all dialog track send to the same single meter, and as I go along I just look at it - never the track meters. Works like a charm.


That’s fine if you’re setting levels initially. But when in the heat of a mixdown, I don’t want to be constantly stopped when I’m flowing to solo things as I work unessisarilly, nor have to pull up a version of supervision for each channel I’m touching the fader of. I have a bunch of things going in and out of the DAW, so it’s super important I know where all things are sitting any time I’m adjusting anything level related at a glance before it leaves the DAW. Knowing peak and at least some kind of rms is extreamly useful to be able to quickly know what I might want to do with my outboard compressor for example, and looking at the meter on my control room out for my monitors isn’t gonna help me with that as it’s post send+return and the comp isn’t the only thing in the signal path.

Are there work arounds? Sure. Can I work without it? Sure. Is it optimal with out it? Not for me (and many others). Does it waste time for me to not have the feature? Yes. Does it take me out of my flow? Yes.

Just because a formula one driver doesn’t need a 15 speed gearbox, doesn’t mean it’s not highly valuble and useful to a lorry driver. Could the lorry driver drive with a 7 speed? Sure. Is he gonna be happy about it? Probably not.

1 Like

I have a different experience with it I guess. If I’m actually mixing then that number isn’t going to matter, what’s going to matter is how it sounds. If the staring point of the mix is fine and the monitoring is calibrated then I know I’m in the ballpark, and that’s all that matters. I mean, if something is reading too hot on a meter, whatever that means, but I got there while mixing because it sounded good then everything else needs to come down. In that case everything else - if this procedure has been taking place continuously before and during the mix - will drop below that target level.

Or to put it differently: During the mix the whole point of setting levels is to make it sound good and if things are “too loud” or “too low” when looking at a number then it is what it is, it is what the music (or TV show) dictates aesthetically.

Even if I needed to hit an outboard device what would matter in that case is the input to that device, meaning I would need to look at the hardware and/or just listen to make sure there is no distortion or excessive noise.

So I guess I just disagree.

We are talking about slightly diferant things. You are assuming I’m mixing soley by eye, but I’m talking about efficiency. Following from my example from before (among other uses I have for it), I can look at a meter and instantly know roughly how much I may want to compress something given the relation of peak to rms depending on the charicteristics of the instrument and what I want to do with it. Doing that to get me in the ball park and then fine tuning by ear takes me a split second glance to get to the fine tuning stage most of the time.

Why would I choose to spend needless extra time doing something to get to the same result the majority of the time if I didn’t have to? I mean you use meters yourself for the exact same reason right, so you don’t have to get out a voltmeter and start measuring xlr jacks, it’s faster to just glance at a meter and you know exactly where you are.

Same reason I want to use one, just somewhere else that you don’t want to, which is fine, but I’m not gonna try to convince you a multimeter is better or to just use your ears because I understand the meter on your out helps your work flow, and ensures the TV station doesn’t come hunting for the vocal polish guy, doing so doesn’t make sense to me because why should I care what your workflow is like, and why would I actively try to sugest you reverted to something less convinient to you, what does that benafit me? And what would it benafit you?

Also some of my comprssor only has a gain reduction meter, so how do I check input, voltimeter? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

And please don’t forget that not everybody that is using Cubase (or any other Daw) may already have that much of experience on mixing and has to relie on nunbers to train their ears until they get to that Point many of you already are? Who does it hurt to have a VU Meter in the channel strip by default for everybody that needs one for their Workflows? It may not be the ganechanger and not as important than stability but it can help to save a lot of time to many of us :wink:


I understand, but remember that those of us with more experience mixing were also at that place you’re talking about. So when it comes to me I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it because I did it but no longer have to, I’m saying “I was there” and experience tells me (for the thing I’m talking about specifically) you don’t need it.

In college I had to learn how to cut/splice 24-track tape. We mixed on analog consoles to 24-track tape. Yes we had VU meters. But the entire signal chain was analog. When I moved to Pro Tools for full time mixing I never looked at RMS or VU metering on channels, it was all by ear. The only concern was clipping. Why? Because there was no gradual saturation of channels and buses in Pro Tools at the time, only clipping. And this is still the case unless we use processing that is made to distort. So nothing has changed in the past two decades as far as I can see.

The number on a VU meter won’t tell you if the rhythm guitar is at the right level. Your ears will.

Nobody. I’m not arguing against making that an option.

Using a loudness meter for post production isn’t really the same as using a VU-meter for music though.

I only offered those opinions firstly to give a workaround for now, and secondly for the use case you implied where I think it literally doesn’t make sense. I didn’t say you have to follow my way of working in all cases or at all even.

If your setup is calibrated, including your monitoring chain, then apart from reading the output level on the track you could use your ears. “Loud” would actually be loud in that case. And if it is “too loud” then you should be able to hear the problem (distortion)… since you asked…

1 Like

the funny thing is that this is kind of a YouTube “learn how to mix” thing, I have been there, seen it a lot on YouTube “teaching”. the thing is you don’t need to do all this stuff, its a lot of trouble for nothing.
All good with options, but it’s even better do learn how to do something better/more efficient from people that maybe a been doing this for longer.
just do your initial gain staging with input gain and the meter, from tracks, groups to output. and just mix with your ears from there, trust me you thank me down the road. I am way off from my initial gain staging when done with a mix, and I use 90% hardware.

1 Like

Whatever the pros and cons, the question I would ask is “What does Steinberg have against VU meters that they steadfastly refuse to implement them in the mix console?”, even after many years of requests from multitudes of users. After all, we have audio wave meters (does any one use them? I did once, for a video I was making, it does look cool.)

I think they probably feel VU meters would be bloatware because they’re not particularly useful or accurate. They want to be seen as a professional DAW - VU meters on the channels imo would be a backwards step.

I don’t use the wave meter graphic because it’s not a live representation of the audio - you can’t add a compressor etc and visually see how its affecting the wave. That would make it more useful to me.