Audio Level Meters

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The Music Telegraph
Text 2019-03-21



Audio Level Meters



Level Meters 

- A visual representation of the electrical strength of an audio signal

- For measurement of External Level Variation 




1. VU Meter

- Volume Unit

- 0 vu = +4 dBm (dBu)

- An 'averaging' meter reads the average levels 

- Like our hearing, indicates the average loudness

Not the actual level of the signal (VU meter is strength meter)


▲ VU Meter


2. Peak Meter

- Read absolute level (Not an average level)

- Track all transients

- Indicates the true electrical peak

- Must use for digital recording

- Most peak meters are L.E.D. (Light Emitting Diodes) 

- Type of meter: individual lights, bar graph


▲ Peak Meter



3. PPM

- Peak Program Meter

- -12 = +4 dBm

- Fast Rise Ballistic

- Slow Fall off Ballistic 

- Read both absolute & average level


▲ Peak Program Meter


4. Digital Meter


- Digital ‘0’ = MOL (Maximum Operating Level)

- Accepted ROL Level (Reference Operating Level) = -18

Digital level gives more freedom than analog does in controlling


▲ Digital Meter


*Basically 2 ~ 4 are same things (except VU meter)





[side trip]


▲ Range of analog & digital meter

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Dynamic Range (*Refer to range of Headroom (0 vu ~ 18 vu; +4 dBu ~ +24 dBu, ROL ~ MOL))

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▲ Audio signal and noise waveform

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