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Which brands/models of VU and peak meters are good??
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Mike H
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27th February 2004
Old 27th February 2004
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Which brands/models of VU and peak meters are good??

Can anybody recommend brands/models of stand-alone VU and peak meters, and possibly a good place to buy them?

Starting with little knowledge on this, but eager to learn.
Thanks,
Mike
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28th February 2004
Old 28th February 2004
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28th February 2004
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Then go here....

http://www.dorrough.com/home.html

They're manufactured practically in my backyard so I had no trouble finding them.Their meters are distinct in that they show simultaneously both the average program level, and the peaks on a single scale. I have the digital version. They come scaled either 40db or 60db.
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28th February 2004
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Mike H
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28th February 2004
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Terrific, guys. Thanks so much!
Mike
Mike H
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29th February 2004
Old 29th February 2004
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Well, if I want a pair of meters which
(1) Show both VU and peak levels (with holds), and
(2) Can accept both analog and digital inputs,

then it looks like it must be the Logitek Ultra VU meter (unless I'm missing something).

But I can't find a single dealer on the Internet.
Don't understand this..........but I'll call Logitek Monday and get some info on dealers.

Anyway, more to come.

Thanks,
Mike
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29th February 2004
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The finest general purpose analysers I'm aware of are those made by DK:

http://www.dk-audio.com/

Not cheap, but in my experience studio clients love them. You also get a A-D-D-A routing matrix facility as well as A-D-D-A conversion. If you consider all the facilities it actually starts to look like good value, but if you're solely after FFT/RMS/Phase etc then maybe a software program such as SpectraLab could be worth investigating.

As a complete package DKs justify the price; the routing matrix is very handy. As an analyser they are superb but maybe a little pricey if you don't need the other functions.
Mike H
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29th February 2004
Old 29th February 2004
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Thanks, Thermi.

Hmmmmmm, the DK-Audio MSD200C is kind of interesting.

It has:
-Pair of analog I/O
-Pair of digital I/O (1 AES/EBU)
-Sample rate capability up to 96k
-Sample rate converters
-Extensive analysis functions (phase meter, audio vector oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, signal generator) in addition to VU/peak meters
-A color display (7"x5.5"), instead of LED bars
-And........a pair of A/D and D/A converters.

I don't quite understand what the converters are doing in a meter/analyzer, but if the converters are any good, it is indeed an interesting unit at a list price of 2439.

Does anybody know whose converters they have put in these units? Picking up another pair of converters is a pretty nice extra..........but again, it depends on exactly which converters they are. Converters in a test meter.........what is the world coming to??

The Logitek Ultra VU meter I'm looking at is basically a VU/peak meter w/o the extensive analysis capability, and it is limited to 48k sample rate. And of course it doesn't have converters.

Choices, choices.

Thanks,
Mike
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29th February 2004
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Last time I checked (year or two ago), DK were using Crystal converters. Crystal have a good reputation so I can't see why they would change.

Earlier DKs use another brand that does not sound as good (bit harsh in the mid, the change to Crystal made a big difference), they changed to Crystal due to clients not liking the other converters. The reason I mention this is in-case you check s/hand DKs out, up until *around* 18months ago they used another brand.

Bear in mind the routing matrix is v.useful. For instance, you could route say, 1 digi input to 8 analogue outputs or vice versa, in essence you can route any input to any out or combination of outs be it a digi out or analogue. A DK makes a useful "hub" for your digital kit, as well as being the best unit (IMHO) to keep tabs on your levels etc.

BTW, DK have developed special "mastering" scales / utilities for SACD mastering in conjunction with Sony Oxford. I would imagine that Sony Oxford would choose the company for this task with great diligence, after all there are plenty of firms whom they could've used.

Justin

edit: Just realised that the matrix function I was using was on the 600 series, forgive me if the I/O options are different on the 200.
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29th February 2004
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Benchmark Media Systems!
Mike H
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29th February 2004
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Bob,
Thanks for the Benchmark Media Systems recommendation. Unfortunately.............you are not making my decision any easier!!

Just kidding.......I REALLY appreciate the advice.

My dilemma is:
-The Benchmark SPM-220 is an (I'm sure the ultimate high quality) analog stereo VU/peak meter.....for $1400.
-The DK-Audio MSD200C provides both analog and digital stream analysis, 2 analog I/O, 2 digital I/O, some useful analysis functions on an LCD screen, a pair of DACs, and a pair of ADC's.....for $2400.

You probably have equally top end gear to do these other functions in separate boxes. But for my little home studio, I am tempted by the DK-Audio unit.

What I'm sure you're saying is "Here is the best VU/peak meter out there"...............which is exactly what I originally asked for.

I really do like the traditional Benchmark meter shape, though.

Nothing is simple. Must ponder.

Thanks!
Mike
Mike H
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1st March 2004
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Bob,
As I consider the Benchmark Media Systems SPM-220 for analog metering, I am wondering:

What other boxes (if any) do you use for
1. Metering digital streams
2. Other "analysis functions" (phase meter, audio vector oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, signal generator)?

Just trying to understand your take on what the complete metering package looks like.

Thanks for the help!
Mike
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1st March 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike H
Bob,
As I consider the Benchmark Media Systems SPM-220 for analog metering, I am wondering:

What other boxes (if any) do you use for
1. Metering digital streams
2. Other "analysis functions" (phase meter, audio vector oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, signal generator)?

Just trying to understand your take on what the complete metering package looks like.

Thanks for the help!
Mike

For Digital check this out:


http://www.mytekdigital.com/ddd603.htm

A very good digital meter.

For the other stuff, the Spectrafoo system is great.
Mike H
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1st March 2004
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thrill,
Thanks, just the information I needed. The Benchmark SPM-320 and the Mytek DDD-603 make a very high quality analog/digital combination.

I still have to do my homework on SpectraFoo. I'm converting my studio so I'll only record/edit in ProTools HD, then go out to analog gear for processing/mixing/summing. So, I'm not sure that having the analysis software package in ProTools is going to be best for me. I could, of course, route streams back into ProTools for analysis..........but it seems to make more sense to have the analysis capability in a hardware box with analog I/O.

Thanks,
Mike
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1st March 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike H
thrill,
Thanks, just the information I needed. The Benchmark SPM-320 and the Mytek DDD-603 make a very high quality analog/digital combination.

I still have to do my homework on SpectraFoo. I'm converting my studio so I'll only record/edit in ProTools HD, then go out to analog gear for processing/mixing/summing. So, I'm not sure that having the analysis software package in ProTools is going to be best for me. I could, of course, route streams back into ProTools for analysis..........but it seems to make more sense to have the analysis capability in a hardware box with analog I/O.

Thanks,
Mike
Spectrafoo can run as a standalone program(Bob Katz runs it this way).

There are a couple of good standalone analyzers out there.
Mike H
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1st March 2004
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Well, its coming down to two options:

(1) A combination of The Benchmark SPM-320 for analog, and the Mytek DDD-603 for digital.
These appear to both be very high quality meters, which would do exactly the metering I need, w/o any extra analysis functions.

(1) The DK-Audio MSD200C.
This is a digital "do it all" box with
-Both analog I/O & digital I/O
-Extensive analysis functions (phase meter, audio vector oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, signal generator)
-An LCD color display (7"x5.5")
-A pair of Cirrus Logic Crystal A/D and AKM D/A converters (for converting analog signals into digital for digital metering, but also could be used for routing/converting).

Costs for the two options are about the same.

Has anybody else used the D-K Audio unit?

Thanks,
Mike
Mike H
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3rd March 2004
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FYI, after much homework I have settled on:

1) A pair of Dorrough 40-C meters for analog metering
-Long history of broadcast industry performance
-More sophisticated algorithm than the simple VU/peak standards
-Big meters with bright LED's in table-top cases, so I can mount them on top of my center monitor and see them 5-6 ft away
-Available with a optional 20dB headroom scale, which I prefer
-Very helpful when I called them.

2) SpectraFoo for digital metering/calibration/analysis.
-With my setup (digital recording/editing, analog processing/summing) all my digital gear are connected to the 192 I/O digitally. So I can do everything I need with the plug-in at half the cost of a hardware meter, and get all the analysis functions as an extra.

Thanks to all for the great advice.
Mike
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3rd March 2004
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Very good Mike, you know... I came to the same setups probably without as much headbanging. One difference for me is having Spectrafoo on a separate computer and monitor so as not to impinge upon the CPU of the recording OS. (I'm with Digital Performer). Course you're Pro Tools so it's a non issue. Happy Metering!!
Mike H
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3rd March 2004
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My decision-making process on important decisions (what could be more important than studio gear??? ) requires me to chew on it for a while. In the end, I usually get to the right place.

Mike
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31st July 2006
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31st July 2006
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I have a pair of Sifam PPM meters that came out of my 80B, if anyone is intrested. They have the Trident PPM drivers as well.
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31st July 2006
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I see that I never answered this.

I use an analog Dorrough that's driven by a dedicated DAC set up to have extra analog headroom. It's located under the desk so as to be outside of my normal field of vision unless I consciously want to look at it for some reason.
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