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Hugh 6th February 2012 01:03 AM

Chinese mini VU Meters
Hiya guys..
To me there's no substitute for a decent mechanical VU to display audio levels... that nice warm glow and meaningful busy needle etc.
However most so called VU meters are just junk, and have little correlation with real VU characteristics.
Has anyone tried these 38mm meters (and driver kits) available thru Ebay? They look cute and tidily small.

adason 6th February 2012 01:29 AM


Hugh 6th February 2012 01:39 AM

Here's one Adason:-
2pcs VU Panel Meter Warm Back Light + VU Driver PCB Board Stereo f Audio Amp New | eBay

linuxworks 7th February 2012 03:58 AM

I bought some dual cheapie analog VU meters that are backlit and I plan to digitally drive them. I'm an arduino guy (lol) and I'll sample the audio, apply the right time constants and send out a control voltage to the meters. you can also calibrate or match them with software constants, so that the cheapness of the physical meters does not matter anymore ;)

I have meters but have not done the software yet. its on my todo list but not for the near future, though.

Hugh 7th February 2012 05:48 AM

Good luck. I have some very nice looking VU's here, but hopelessly underdamped movements in them. No amount of fiddling with capacitive damping made them much better.
Great standard of work in yr projects I see. Triamps - yeah - I did a triamp a zillion years ago. Pity I knew little about thermal runaway & heatsinking all those amps properly. Still have the speakers - Goodmans 12" audiom; 4" horn loaded mid; Kelly ribbon tweeters. Luverly 1970's stuff!

thaumaturge 7th February 2012 06:21 AM

I think part of the problem is that virtually all new analog meters are of the taut band variety rather than the jeweled D'arsonval style. But for dampening, you might try adding a 100 ohm resistor in series with the dampening cap. ( say 0.1uF).

PRR 10th February 2012 04:27 AM

> Link ... Here's one

For 26 bucks, you may as well get it.

Remember that when hamburger was $1/pound, a true VU meter was $100.

It's nothing like a VU meter.

The chip is peak-catching, slow decay.

The meter and "VU" scale is linear. However the chip is forth-root law. It packs 40dB onto a linear scale. The 'half-scale' (70% which should be -3vu) point is really 20db below full scale; the "-20vu" is more like -40vu.

Seems to be 4db down at 20KHz at full input.

Chip input current for full scale is 1mA! This chip is meant for speaker outputs, not line levels.

Still a lot of decorative mojo for the price.

a.wayne 10th February 2012 04:29 AM

Jim's audio on ebay , has a nicer looking Pr IMO, they are rectangle and larger than the ones you are looking at ...

Search his store ........

linuxworks 10th February 2012 06:00 AM

that guy has pirated designs and, even when called on it, still continues. I would not give that guy *any* business.

Calvin 10th February 2012 07:38 AM


Im searching for large sized VU meters or panel meters, as the old Technics or Onkyo power amps had. So far I have found just one possible source, who also manufactures small VU-meters in many different appearances. A supplier for just the mechanical part (magnet, coil, long pointer) without the display and casing, would also be welcome.


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