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Old 2nd November 2009, 02:53 PM   #1
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Default VU meters

I want to use some VU meters on a preamp project. I know you get what you pay for but, will less expensive VU meters work well enough. I was looking at these on ebay:

2 VINTAGE VU METERS - eBay (item 220503443205 end time Nov-07-09 08:06:58 PST)

AKAI GX-4000D - PARTS - "VU METERS - PAIR" - eBay (item 310173693122 end time Nov-08-09 09:15:09 PST)

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Old 2nd November 2009, 10:13 PM   #2
cbdb is offline cbdb  Canada
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What did yo want the meters to show? VU meters are normaly (but not always) for pro not consumer levels: 0VU = +4dbu (consumer -10dbu). And you will need to put them before the volume adjust or they wont make sense. So all they will show is the different input levels plus the preamp gain.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 11:07 PM   #3
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Real VU meters that conform to the ASA standard are VERY expensive. Few moving coil meters on audio equipment (other than pro equipment) are true VU meters.
Usually though, the characteristics are determined by a combination of the drive electronics and the movement balistics, so even if you have a 'cheap' movement that doesn't behave 'nicely', it can be made to behave with suitable drive circuits.

My view: Buy the prettiest ones (of those two, the Sonys), then design around their capabilities.
Ones with a translucent scale - that can be back lit - appeal to me. Not all can be lit this way - some designs put the magnet right in the way of where you want the light bulb.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 11:08 PM   #4
Nrik is offline Nrik  Denmark
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The only real difference between Pro and consumer 'meters' is precision in linearity and calibration.
So basically : Yes - for home use they will work just as good, provided that you make a good quality driver and spends some time adjusting the thing.

Check this out
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Old 2nd November 2009, 11:10 PM   #5
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I wanted them to show the preamp levels. The preamp project is one of Rod Elliot's (P66) I will be using 2 P66 boards making a total of 2 stereo channels. I wanted one meter for each channel.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 11:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nrik View Post
The only real difference between Pro and consumer 'meters' is precision in linearity and calibration.
So basically : Yes - for home use they will work just as good, provided that you make a good quality driver and spends some time adjusting the thing.

Check this out
Funny you should mention Rod's site since it is one of his projects. I guess I should pick what I want then ask Rod about them.
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Old 2nd November 2009, 11:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
Real VU meters that conform to the ASA standard are VERY expensive. Few moving coil meters on audio equipment (other than pro equipment) are true VU meters.
Usually though, the characteristics are determined by a combination of the drive electronics and the movement balistics, so even if you have a 'cheap' movement that doesn't behave 'nicely', it can be made to behave with suitable drive circuits.

My view: Buy the prettiest ones (of those two, the Sonys), then design around their capabilities.
Ones with a translucent scale - that can be back lit - appeal to me. Not all can be lit this way - some designs put the magnet right in the way of where you want the light bulb.
Any suggestions besides the ones I listed?
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Old 2nd November 2009, 11:18 PM   #8
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Oh, one extra thing: If you put a VU meter on the output end of a pre-amp (after the volume), it will spend most of its life not moving, reading -20dB, since normal listening levels are mostly more than 20dB below the 0dB (max volume) of an amplifier.
To get a nice visual display of music that also reflects the volume setting (the sort of meters on the big power amps of the 1970s) you'd need a log amplifier to expand the meter's scale.

I couldn't find a really ideal example on the WWW a few months ago when I searched. I was going to 'steal' the driver circuit from the ReVox B740 amp (th schematics of which are on the www in several sites).

If you are feeling rich, Sifam make a range of VERY pretty new ones:
http://www.sifammeters.com/
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Last edited by Steerpike; 2nd November 2009 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 04:12 AM   #9
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Some confusion: There is a difference between a VU meter as a piece of equipment versus the meter movement as a part within a piece of equpment. The latter merely has to perform with the rest of the circuit to meet the specs, while the former meets the standards on its own. SO the "VU meters" in some piece of consumer gear are probably simple meters, not necessarily of a given current range, since the amplifier circuit will be driving them separately.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 05:50 AM   #10
cbdb is offline cbdb  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mace_Hacker View Post
I wanted them to show the preamp levels. The preamp project is one of Rod Elliot's (P66) I will be using 2 P66 boards making a total of 2 stereo channels. I wanted one meter for each channel.
A VU meter is for setting line levels. If you put the meter after the volume control it wont get much over -20 till you turn it up to almost full level (same as on the amp) . It you want it to show sytem power youll need a meter with more like a 60db range.
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