lm 3914 can withstand +-35 volts input without any damage so you can make VU meter even you are new in electronic DIY.
The circuit uses minimal component to make the job done.
List of component:
R1 = 1 kilo-ohms
R2,R3 = 4.7 kilo-ohms
R4 = 10 kilo-ohms
ic = lm 3914n-1 (lm3914)
C1 = 4.7 uf at least to 47 uf (better bass respond)
10 LEDs red,green,yellow,orange or whatever you want
9 - 12 volts DC power supply
Lm3914 VU meter video, the video show step by step guide and circuit explanation.