While they aren’t very common anymore, dedicated hardware audio spectrum visualizers used to be practically a necessity on audio equipment like high-end stereos. They provide users with a graphical representation of the distribution and levels of music across several bands, each of which represents a range of frequencies. As you fine tune a stereo’s equalizer, this spectrum visualizer lets you see exactly how the changes alter the actual audio output. Today’s digital music players often have visualizers buried in a menu somewhere, but many people still like a dedicated option. Redditor LxGNED spent $1,000 creating this massive three-dimensional audio spectrum visualizer that features 14 bands of colorful fun.
The range of human hearing is about 20Hz to 20kHz, which means each band on this visualizer represents a range of approximately 1.5kHz. That isn’t precise enough to differentiate between individual notes or anything, but it gives a fairly detailed breakdown of where the music is hitting on the scale from bass to treble. Each of those 14 bands is divided up into 20 “pixels” that represent the audio’s amplitude in that band. With a visualizer like this, you can easily see if your equalizer is tuned properly or if something like your bass is turned up too high. Everyone has their own tastes regarding what those levels should be, but this visualizer helps for adjustments. Even if you’re not the type of person who cares about tuning their equalizer, this visualizer is beautiful to look at.
A great deal of this visualizer design’s appeal is due to how gigantic it is. Each pixel is actually a hefty block of transparent acrylic that LxGNED had laser-cut specifically for this project. Those acrylic blocks are edge-lit by WS2812B individually-addressable RGB LEDs. A total of 280 LEDs are required for the visualizer bands and 16 more are used to light up the logo text on the left side of the base. Those LEDs are controlled by an Arduino board. A DMS-308 V2 spectrum analyzer board is used to monitor the audio source through an RCA input. That board provides visualizer adjustments for the color speed, peak pause, peak delay, delay, and brightness. The visualizer has 30 preset color schemes that LxGNED can switch between to find the aesthetic that he wants during any given listening session. The majority of that $1,000 build cost went to the custom acrylic blocks, as the rest of the components are quite affordable. Even so, we think that money was well spent since it resulted in this beautiful visualizer.