Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm looking for an audio meter tool that will attach to any input or output on my Mac and show me the audio levels on that channel. I need it to show me independent levels for stereo sources so I can tell if a source is playing only audio on one channel or another.

Does anything like this exist?

share|improve this question

I'd start with Piezo and move up to Audio Hijack Pro if needed.


It's small, gorgeous, and minimal and you get some nice old school VU meters showing the left and right channels.

share|improve this answer
I hadn't considered recorders since I only want to see the levels, but I'll keep 'em in mind. Thanks! – Ian C. May 25 '12 at 18:06
Ignore the small record button - Piezo's interface is basically two meters and you don't need to pay unless you want to record more than ten minutes at a time. It should work indefinitely as a monitor for you. – bmike May 25 '12 at 20:52
Perfect! I didn't realize it was free if I didn't want to record. Excellent spot. Thanks! – Ian C. May 25 '12 at 20:53

Another tool is audacity. It has a stereo level monitor. See Audacity is free and open source, but it's a recorder and editor, which may be more than you want.

share|improve this answer
I considered pairing Logic with SoundFlower, similar to this, but it seemed like a lot of effort to test what I'm testing. Still: not a bad idea. Have an up vote. – Ian C. May 27 '12 at 1:41
up vote 1 down vote accepted

For the past 8 months or so I've been using the free Orban Loudness Meter to do metering on arbitrary audio signals on my Mac. It has pretty good support for snooping on the real audio interfaces I have connected to my machine. And when its built-in snooping doesn't work, I'll route audio through it using SoundFlower.

The UI isn't pretty but it is by far and away the best loudness meter I've used, including paid options. It's meant for professional metering with an audience of radio and television post-production audio professionals.

It implements some of the new weighted average standards in metering that are designed to get The Loudness Wars under control -- they're weighted such that maximal limiting of the signal ends up showing an overall lower output average power. It encourages mixing for dynamics instead of mixing for loud.

Their Mac 2.0.6 version has been running just fine for me on OS X 10.9.x Mavericks.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Very nice find - much more control and information compared to my suggestions :-) – bmike Aug 7 '14 at 15:28
Looks like exactly what I needed, but all the text was smushed running it on 10.10 so it wasn't usable for the most part. – Derek Dahmer Apr 7 '15 at 3:05
@DerekDahmer ugh. Yea. I've asked Orban about an update. – Ian C. Apr 7 '15 at 3:22

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.