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Make your own colourful and huge spectrum analyser

Any good party or musical show needs great lighting – however the lighting effects generated by commercial light-show equipment isn’t cheap, and can also be difficult to setup. But don’t let this hold you back – with an Arduino board, a few dollars worth of circuitry and some strands of RGB LED lights – you can make your own. The instructions for doing so have been documented over at the Nuewire blog, and with a minimum of work you can follow along.

The magic is within a tiny IC called the MSGEQ7 - this converts the audio from a music player into digital signals that represent the volume of one of seven frequency bands that can be processed by the Arduino – in effect, becoming a spectrum analyser. Then the Arduino can drive the RGB LEDs in whatever effects take your fancy. It could also detect gaps in the music playback (for example, between tracks) and display different effects to keep the buzz happening. Check the following video for demonstration and inspiration:

Furthermore the whole thing can be controlled using infrared – perfect for mingling and changing the lights at the same time. Another use of the system could be a simple loudness meter – if you need a “crowd vote” on a subject – the volume can be measured and related to the lights. Then the louder the crowd, the more lights turn on. With some imagination a lot of fun can be had. So to get started visit the Nuewire blog – http://nuewire.com/2011/09/eq-pixels/

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