Looking for a cool and unusual gadget to add to your media room? This unique VU meter combines old-school Nixie tube technology with modern electronic circuitry to display sound levels in a dramatic way.
The Nixie VU meter users a pair of neon gas-filled bargraph tubes, connected to a special circuit that’s designed to display the sound levels on the long, narrow glass tubes. You can either connect the meter to your audio system by daisy-chaining its 1/8″ analog stereo jacks, or you can simply set it in your room and the built-in microphone will do the work for you – though I don’t think the microphone works in stereo. Here’s a video of the meter in action – accompanied by German narration – but it’s pretty self-explanatory even if you don’t speak the language.
The thing comes in kit form, and does require soldering skills and a multimeter to assemble it. The guy who makes it says it should take about an hour to build if you know your way around electronic kits. You can get your hands on the Nixie VU meter over on eBay for $159(USD).