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Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby The Elf » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:11 pm

jodaki wrote:Id probably prefer the USB option for simplicity if that will work as well as the other connection types.
With USB it's pretty much a case of plug and forget. I've had no problems.

The pain for me was always having to trail the (very short) power cable to a convenient location, but once I discovered the trick above that became a non-issue.
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby jodaki » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:26 am

The Elf wrote:With USB it's pretty much a case of plug and forget. I've had no problems.

I initially thought of this in terms of freeing up the screen space taken by the meter plugins in Logic when Im mixing (I have them open quite a lot). So getting the meters onto my desk would be great.

But I like Hugh's idea of meters across the monitor controller for general playback too so I can have a look at the levels of whatever Im playing. I think doing this would be a good exercise for tuning my ears.

With that in mind I'm thinking I might try connecting the Clarity M Stereo to BOTH its optical and USB ports and switching between them so it can monitor my controller and DAW.

I think I could take the analogue out of my controller, into a channel on a spare interface, then optically out to the Clarity M Stereo, and also connect the computer to the USB. I could turn off the DAW feed using the IO plugin and turn off the controller feed using my controller pod. Or even easier if the Clarity had a source select switch.
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:11 am

I've been thinking about the same issue. On my audio interface (an Apollo 8) I've set the monitor output to bypass the output gain, i.e. disabling the AI's volume control because I'm using a monitor controller. The monitor output can be duplicated to the S/PDIF output so all I need do is plug the Clarity M into the S/PDIF and I'll get everything metered at it's full value from the interface. So I don't think I'd need to use the USB route at all. Does that sound right?

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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:28 am

Yes.
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby BillB » Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:56 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:At the other end of the scale (see what I did there? ;) ) there are things like the Thomann t-racks DB meter for less than £50... but you're looking at a standard chip-based meter like those in budget consoles which won't have particularly accurate ballistics. It does have input trimmers, though, so it can be calibrated to some extent.

Image
https://www.thomann.de/gb/the_t.racks_dbmeter.htm

Just to follow up on this cheap 'VU Meter'. I was looking for something similar and came across an American Audio VU Meter - which appears to be identical to the Thomann unit. Having seen a number of YouTube videos which denounced its metering capabilities (as Hugh says, it could show the presence of a signal, but that's about it) I nonetheless picked one up because of this site:
http://kevin.kevino.org/tubes/aa.shtml
which goes into detail about the shortcomings of the unit but also provides a circuit/hack to better calibrate the meter. It is still on my list of rainy day projects, but strangely, there are never enough rainy days...
:headbang:
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby BillB » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:56 pm

Just to add to the sum of human knowledge on this specific point, i recalled an exchange with the author of the American Audio VU meter hack, as follows:

Me:
I was very interested in your Log amp conversion for the American Audio VU meter. The schematic shows 4 capacitors per channel but I can only see 4 in total on the board you made, and only 2 diodes. Did you solder some components on the underside, or is the schematic different to what you built?

Kevin:
It's been quite a while since I did this so I'm going off of memory....
Diodes: Each pair of diodes are wired in parallel with one mounted directly over the other. Only one of each pair is visible in the photo because the lower one of each pair is hidden from view by the upper one.
Caps: The four caps you can clearly see in the photo are the input and output caps.
There are only two more, running from plus 10 v and ground to make the floating ground and those are shared by both channels. (The TL072 has only one set of power pins for both sides.)

Hope that helps anyone treading this path...
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:27 pm

Just an update on those Clarity M Stereos for £210 at DV247 (or MusicStore.de ...). They are out of stock and not expected in until March sometime. However the full fat Clarity M is in stock for just £255 which strikes me as even more of a bargain since it does everything the stereo does but with future proofing. So with the whiplash action of superbly trained muscles I clicked the "Buy" button.

https://www.dv247.com/en_GB/GBP/TC-Elec ... 012891-000

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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby Luke W » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:12 pm

I'd noticed that the 5.1 version is only slightly more expensive, seems like a bit of a steal at the current price.

I'm sure I'll still manage to hang on until they're double the price again...
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby jodaki » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:35 pm

For some reason TC marketing people have made it difficult to compare features between the M and M Stereo and it looks from some photos that there may be some stereo features lacking on the M (for example the M Stereo looks to have overload indicators in the TP section, and it has a balance-o-meter display not shown in photos of the M where it is analysing stereo). Does anyone know if there actually are any differences apart from the M being able to work with surround?

In other words, does the M have all of the stereo analysing features of the M Stereo?
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:44 pm

BillB wrote:Having seen a number of YouTube videos which denounced its metering capabilities...

From the description of symptoms, and the proclaimed 'fix' it sounds like the thing was built with linear LED-driving chips rather than logarithmic ones!

H
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:53 pm

jodaki wrote:For some reason TC marketing people have made it difficult to compare features between the M and M Stereo and it looks from some photos that there may be some stereo features lacking on the M (for example the M Stereo looks to have overload indicators in the TP section, and it has a balance-o-meter display not shown in photos of the M where it is analysing stereo). Does anyone know if there actually are any differences apart from the M being able to work with surround?

In other words, does the M have all of the stereo analysing features of the M Stereo?
When you use the M on a stereo output it shows the L/R peak indicators on the right of the two meters. Beyond that I can't say - I've never used the stereo-only version.
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:12 pm

The manual, which is for both models, suggests (though it doesn't say in so many words) you get the same display on both of them when the source is stereo. I checked that before I bought.

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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby Folderol » Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:30 pm

it occurs to me it would be trivially easy to program up a pi zero to perform this function. Provided you know (or can find) the spec for the various common laws, you'd be able to change from one to another at the flick of a switch (GPIO). Matrix a bunch of the GPIOs and you could have dozens of LED bargraphs
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:17 pm

it occurs to me it would be trivially easy to program up a

And at this point I didn't understand another word, F! I'm sure this was a very interesting addition to my thread, however.
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby jodaki » Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:18 pm

Thanks Elf and CC
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:38 pm

Folderol wrote:it occurs to me it would be trivially easy to program up a pi zero to perform this function. Provided you know (or can find) the spec for the various common laws, you'd be able to change from one to another at the flick of a switch (GPIO).

...and that's almost exactly what the Sonifex meters I mentioned at the start are!

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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:53 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Folderol wrote:it occurs to me it would be trivially easy to program up a pi zero to perform this function. Provided you know (or can find) the spec for the various common laws, you'd be able to change from one to another at the flick of a switch (GPIO).

...and that's almost exactly what the Sonifex meters I mentioned at the start are!

H

Fostex used a similar system in the G24 multitrack - but in this case there were two processors at each end of the remote control cable as the meters were on the remote. These days I would have thought an Arduino would be sufficient - in fact I could suggest that to Ralph for his next programming project...
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:40 pm

Well, that was an easy install! One Clarity M in place and working neatly. Having no problems functioning as a stereo meter.

For the record, although it was supplied with a euro->UK socket adapter it isn't needed. The Clarity M psu has a set of socket adapters that clip on the front of it Apple laptop psu style and among them is a UK adapter. So, no problem except the psu lead is a little short for my taste.

The Elf wrote:I recently discovered that I can provide the USB feed to my Clarity M *and* the power (using one of those Ripcord USB/power cables - 9V, but it seems to work OK) to it from the two USB ports on my X-Touch.

Could you please tell me which one of these you got? I'd like to try it as a more convenient power supply in my setup.

TIA,

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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby The Elf » Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:37 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:
The Elf wrote:I recently discovered that I can provide the USB feed to my Clarity M *and* the power (using one of those Ripcord USB/power cables - 9V, but it seems to work OK) to it from the two USB ports on my X-Touch.

Could you please tell me which one of these you got? I'd like to try it as a more convenient power supply in my setup.
https://myvolts.co.uk/page.php?xPage=MV_Ripcord
I'm using the 9V centre-negative, but only because I had one to hand and decided to give it a go. The Clarity seems to require 12V, so I'd probably opt for a 12V centre positive together with a polarity switcher. In fact, I think I'll place an order for these for my own rig, just to be on the safe side...
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Re: Anyone use an external vu or led meter?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sat Feb 08, 2020 4:02 pm

The diagram on back of the Clarity M specifies 12v but also shows a centre negative plug so now I can see the range available (thanks very much for that) I'll do the same as you.

Cheers,

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