Free Loudness Meter VSTs

“WTF are Loudness Units?” you may ask. Well, they are simply a measure of loudness, just like decibels.
One LU actually is equivalent to one dB. However, an important difference is that Loudness Units are “shaped” according to the human ear’s proclivity to hear certain frequencies more easily than others. Effectively, LUs tend to feel more consistent to our brains than dB will when measuring varying frequency content, and therefore LU meters are preferable to use (compared to, say, RMS meters) for assessing the overall loudness of music.

Below are shown six free LU (aka Loudness Unit) meters, listing features of each. The most important value when matching the loudness of songs is IL (Integrated Loudness), which is the average loudness over the entire course of given time (with very quiet material gated out).

These devices are available as VST effect plugins for any capable VST host (such as Ableton Live, for example).


HOFA 4U Meter, Fader & MS-Pan
In addition to showing you LU readings, this one also acts as a really nice all-purpose utility for general stereo and level adjustments on any audio track. Its “wider than stereo” panning knobs are super cool!

Stuff It Shows Us
•IL (Integrated Loudness).
•L-R Peak or L-R ISP (True Peak).
•LRA (Loudness Range).

Nifty Functions
•Gain controls for Left & Right (or Mid & Side) channels, and for the combined output.
•360 degree Left & Right channel panning controls!
•Left and right channel phase inversion buttons.

_______find HOFA 4U Meter, Fader & MS-Pan here.


Youlean Loudness Meter
The thing I like a lot about this one is the “loudness over time” display (aka histogram), which allows you to easily visualize which sections of time are louder than others, and by how much. It’s up to 5.1 channels and also has some presets for various media targets, though not as many as the TB plugins do. It has both a free and a paid version. I went ahead and got the paid version after using the free one for a couple of years.

Stuff It Shows Us
•SL (Short-Term Loudness).
•IL (Integrated Loudness).
•LRA (Loudness Range).
•Momentary Loudness Max.
•Short-Term Loudness Max.
•ISP (True Peak Max).

_______find Youlean Loudness Meter here.


I like how you can customize the display of this one to show you exactly what you want, and nothing else. I use it during audio finalization to precisely monitor loudness as well as L-R peak levels for final output.

Stuff It Shows Us
•L-R Peak.
•L-R ISP (True Peak).
•ML Momentary Loudness.
•SL (Short-Term Loudness).
•Short Term Loudness Max.
•IL (Integrated Loudness).
•LRA (Loudness Range).
•PLR (Peak-to-Loudness Ratio).

_______find MLoudnessAnalyzer here.


TB EBU Loudness
This one has tons of presets for various loudness targets for worldwide media delivery. That and its surround sound channel capability might make it a respectable choice for someone working on audio for film.

Stuff It Shows Us
•IL (Integrated Loudness).
•IL Gate State.
•LRA (Loudness Range).
•ISP (True Peak).
•PLR (Peak-to-Loudness Ratio).
•Integration Time (free, or synced to playback).
•VU, VU+Peak Hold, or SL (Short Term Loudness) 30 seconds to 60 minutes.
_______find TB EBU Loudness here (scroll down to unfold the legacy v3 plugins link).


This one is a bit customizable. It’s made by ToneBoosters and like TB EBU Loudness can run up to 5.1 channels and has various target presets, but with more types of readings, such as RMS and Dialog.

Stuff It Shows Us
•IL (Integrated Loudness).
•SL (Short-Term Loudness).
•Short-Term Loudness Max.
•ML (Momentary Loudness).
•Momentary Loudness Max.
•ISP (True Peak Max).
•LRA (Loudness Range).
•ISP (True Peak).
•RMS Integrated.
•RMS Momentary.
•RMS Momentary Max.
•Peak Max.
•ILD (Integrated Loudness Dialog).
•LRA (Loudness Range Dialog).
•Dialog Percentage.

_______find dpMeter here.


Audiocation AC-R128
This one is pretty darn basic and straightforward.

Stuff It Shows Us
•IL (Integrated Loudness).
•SL (Short-Term Loudness).
•ML (Momentary Loudness).
•Momentary Loudness Max.
•Integration Time.

_______find Audiocation AC-R128 here.


Two *not free* plugins that I own which show LU readings are the HOFA IQ Analyzer (probably the one plugin I use more than any other, for its before-after spectral energy analysis capability) and the SPL Hawkeye (which I don’t actually use very much).

That’s all for today. Peace!

Dither Presets for Metal


It’s a set of free presets for Dither, optimized for the Metal genre.

They were made for the mastering of the upcoming metal album, Lust & Insecurity by Animus Invidious.

Noise-shaping dither algorithms are theoretically optimized to “bury” the noise in the frequencies you hear least, while avoiding so much in the preeminent tonalities (in this case, distorted electric guitars focused around 2.5kHz).


You can DOWNLOAD HERE and open the .fxp presets using your DAW of choice. If you happen to use Ableton Live 11, you can additionally access the .adg Racks which allow for more easy snapping-to or fine-tuning of the intensity value.

⚠️ You are also going to need to grab the free TB_Dither_v3 VST2 plugin if you don’t have it already, which has been graciously set free amongst a slew of other awesome legacy TB plugins.

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Live 11 Updates for PerforModule Packs.

[Almost] all of the PerforModule sale packs (and some of the freebie packs) have been updated for Ableton Live 11 (finally)!

Primarily, this means that racks which had less than eight mapped macros (resulting in some blank controls) have been tidied up to make use of Live 11’s ability to customize the number of macros shown.

Occasional effect racks have also had some macro variations (aka presets) added to them.

Live 11 versions of MasterBuss Cassette Tape and MasterBuss Vinyl Record from the Bussification pack.

The following PerforModule packs have all been updated for Live 11. If you own any of the sale packs, you can download the updated versions from your account at Isotonik Studios, either now or at any later date when you acquire Live 11.

Everyone is welcome to grab the free packs!


Sweetie Pies

Advanced Splytterz
Amplitude Operands
Drum Enhancerz
DynaMixing Ultimate
Note Range Setters
One Knob Wonders
Testful Mastering
Uno Plus

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New Free Pack for Live 11: “𝓢𝓾𝓹𝓮𝓻 𝓐𝔀𝓮𝓼𝓸𝓶𝓮 𝓕𝓧”

This pack includes the bespoke Effect Racks from the 𝓢𝓾𝓹𝓮𝓻 𝓐𝔀𝓮𝓼𝓸𝓶𝓮 𝓢𝓸𝓾𝓷𝓭𝓼 retro keyboard instrument pack for Ableton Live i released in collaboration with Brian Funk (but not the instruments), updated for Live 11.

As usual, care is taken to map parameter values cleverly and gainstage things sensibly so that these racks are highly usable in many situations. I also tried to come up with unique signal processing chains leading to interesting results, like 𝓓𝓻𝓾𝓷𝓴 𝓕𝓻𝓲𝓮𝓷𝓭𝓼 sounding like your inebriated companions trying to sing along with you very badly — or like 𝓣𝓱𝓻𝓪𝓼𝓱𝓮𝓻 giving a one-knob guitar distortion that scales from subtle overdrive to brutal metal fuzz — or like 𝓡𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓔𝓪𝓻𝓼  emulating… your ears ringing (perhaps to be used for film sound design) — or like 𝓢𝓱𝓮𝓹𝓫𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓡𝓲𝓼𝓮𝓻 performing the auditory illusion of constantly increasing pitch.

(example device info)

Remember that you can hover your mouse over device headers and macro controls to learn about what they do.
Don’t fly blind! Or say screw it and go crazy with the random button. I’m not your parental unit.

^click to grab 𝓢𝓾𝓹𝓮𝓻 𝓐𝔀𝓮𝓼𝓸𝓶𝓮 𝓕𝓧 for free^
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Ten More Youtube Channels Worth Subscribing To

Aaron Holstein

I met Aaron Holstein (aka VibeSquaD aka Backpact aka the bassist/keyboardist from Zilla) at the 2007 Sonic Bloom festival in Colorado, where my wife Lore and i were supplying coffee and tea backstage for the artists. I remember chatting with them after their awesome set with Sporque (one of my favorite live acts to dance to ever which also had Ooah from the Glitch Mob on beats and Jamie Janover on percussion), wherein i mentioned noticing that a certain bass synth note they kept hitting happened to resonate with the stage, causing this extra delicious rattle. “It was a C sharp!” Aaron told me later backstage. I’ll always remember that.

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Holiday Freebie 2021 for Live 10+: “ParallAux”

Which Effects Work Best In Parallel?

So one day i got it in my head to figure out which of Ableton Live’s Effects are the best to use in parallel.

What is the criteria for this? Simply, which processes alter the phase of audio passing through them, either to the least degree, or in a nicely summable way.

Why does this matter? Because phase offsets, when summed in parallel with the original signal, will inevitably cause changes to the frequency contour. Sometimes slight amounts of this phase offset can add a nice creamy touch to the sound of things (and pretty much all analog gear causes it to some degree), but when being surgically technical like during the finalizing stages of a track, they are generally just not helpful.

An example of not altering phase at all is Live’s Compressor effect which is phase-neutral; it can be used safely in parallel with no unwanted frequency coloration whatsoever.

An example of altering the phase in a “nicely summable” way is Live’s Reverb. Technically, it’s altering the phase a whole bunch, but it’s doing so in a time-smeared fashion which results in far less likelihood of perfectly-lined-up frequency cancellations, and so, when at 100% wet, reverbs can be just fine to use in parallel, and are often preferred this way.

After carefully checking the phase response of all of Ableton Live Ten’s native Audio Effects, i came up with five distinct racks providing combinations of the most parallel-friendly native effects, optimized for specific purposes with maximal versatility of application.



FREE! Requires Ableton Live 10 Suite +

>Download ParallAux PDF Manual<

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PerforModule Recommends: Effects Order

While we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect or ideal FX chain order for all situations because it totally depends on context, i have eventually developed some general preferences for the order of effects in a signal chain. Recently updating all my templates for Live 11 has further honed my thoughts on the situation.

We can of course swap around the sequential ordering of effect devices, either for a specific intended result or as a matter of experimentation just to see if an alternate routing happens to sound better on given audio.

As usual when sharing my ideas, it is recommended that you not simply adopt the structure as presented, but rather that you test it out in practice and modify things over time to suit your particular style, keeping notes and updating your own templates as you go. Maybe you think the way i place transient shapers before compressors is idiotic. That’s totally fine!

I’ll share below my go-to effects order, and (most importantly)… WHY.
While some of the choices are probably pretty unorthodox, none of them are arbitrary; they all have reasons. Are they bad reasons? Good reasons? Who knows. But i like to think they are built on logical rationale.

Keep in mind you’re seldom if ever going to need all these types of effects on any single track, but for times when you are using even two different processor types, some guidance as to their ordering might prove useful. Resist the urge to add more effects to a chain just because you can. The fewer processors required to get a sound how you want, usually the better.

Scroll to the bottom for a handy cheat-sheet!


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Free M30 Reverb IRs

THE LEGACY of the M30

Here’s a bunch of Reverb IRs for you, sampled from the unobtainable TC M30 Plugin.
I believe that plugin was one of the very first VSTs i ever grabbed after i started getting into Ableton Live. I remember it being some sort of time-limited temporary free offer. After years of not thinking about it, i recently realized i still had a working 32-bit copy of the plugin, and so took some IR snapshots of it, because why not.

>>> DOWNLOAD M30 IRs <<<

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Repurposing Bad Controller Knobs

Improvisational Optimization

It’s always been more of my mentality to try to figure out how to make optimal use of what i have on hand — even when flawed — than to try to find immediate replacements… from using a TI-83 calculator to code as a teenager (since that’s what i had access to), to learning how to mic two small guitar amps to sound amazing rather than try to buy bigger amps which i didn’t have space to store. Whether or not this is the optimal way to be, it’s been pretty ingrained in me over a lifetime of dealing with less-than-ideal equipment and environs, figuring out how to increase functionality past apparent limitations, and squeezing every drop of valuable usage i could garner out of existing gear.


Bad Encoders!

This BCR-2000 MIDI Controller i have happens to have a top row of encoder knobs which act all wonky, sending out their values all slow and choppy and making them pretty much unusable as MIDI controls. However, each knob does have a set of LED lights, and it is possible to send messages to those lights to make them move.

By using a couple of MaxForLive devices in Ableton, i have it set up so that the 8 knobs each provide a VU-meter type experience in reaction to whatever’s playing in Ableton Live. Now they aren’t useless! Yay!

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Dumb Stupid Tip: Faster Right-Clicking

OK, so you know when you right-click on something to open up a context menu?
And then you move the mouse cursor to the item you want, and then you left-click the option you want?

Well, there is a way to do it a tiny bit faster. Maybe you already do it.

I found myself picking up the habit due to right-clicking to change macro colours so often. By saving a tiny little bit of time multiplied by a whole bunch of iterations, one can end up saving a substantial amount of time. Anything that streamlines workflow is useful, right?

So here’s the tip: Right Click and Release


Instead of doing this:
right-click -> move mouse -> left click

Do this:
right-click (hold it down) -> move mouse -> release right-click

Doing this implements the menu option (in Ableton Live at least — not in all programs) with a single mouse click instead of with two mouse clicks, thereby saving you a precious minuscule quantity of milliseconds. For example, if you had to select a hundred boring context menu options, you’d be performing one hundred clicks, instead of two hundred.  Brilliant!

This trick does not work in all programs, but it does in Ableton Live, at least.

So yeah.

NOTE: if following this methodology, make sure that your index finger gets some extra exercise to compensate for its less active role going forward. I recommend angry pointing.