A Volume Unit (VU) meter is a device displaying a representation of the signal level in audio equipment.
The VU-meter was designed not to measure the signal, but to let users aim the signal level to a target level of 0 VU (sometimes labelled 100%), so it is not important that the device is non-linear and imprecise for low levels. In effect, the scale ranges from −20 VU to +3 VU.
The VU-meter (intentionally) “slows” measurement, averaging out peaks and troughs of short duration, and reflects more the perceived loudness of the material than the more modern and initially more expensive PPM meters. For this reason many audio practitioners prefer it to its alternatives, though the meter indication does not reflect some of the key features of the signal, most notably its peak level, which in many cases, must not pass a defined limit.
(Information from Wikipedia)
● adjustable reference level
● Left/Right and mid/side modes
● adjustable rise and fall times
● adjustable Overs threshold and hold time