Headphone light show

Seriously, nothing says ‘Look at me!’ like these headphones. [Yardley Dobon] added a rainbow of colored electroluminescent wire to his headphones and made them pulse to the music. The video after the break shows the headphones bumping to the tunes. This is one of two versions of the project, the other runs the EL wire along the headphone wire itself. We’re a bit surprised that the high frequency from that parallel run doesn’t inject noise into the signal. We do enjoy seeing these in action, but in practice observers unfortunately won’t be able to hear the tunes to which the lights are pulsing.

It took us a little while to figure out that [Yardley] didn’t roll his own VU hardware. The inverter driving the EL wire is designed to bump to the music. But he did hack it to use an audio line rather than a microphone. He mentions that this has other uses, like allowing carefully crafted sound clips to precisely control the inverter.

8 thoughts on “Headphone light show

  1. It seems like it could be a bit more practical if used by a DJ in a club atmosphere. Then you could use them to monitor the main mix. I could see this being a pretty cool gimmick for any up and coming DJ.

  2. Meh, any noise added in
    would probably be an improvement,
    considering what mp3 audio sounds like
    to begin with.
    =
    as far as others hearing the tunes, might be cool to use in one of those headphone only parties
    that people have in apartments
    with really strict noise rules enforcement
    think the NPR story said they happen in the middle east
    part of the world where such music is
    violently frowned upon. :(
    =
    But the pic above did sorta give thoughts of
    a reversed (techno) version of
    the old “Dark side of the Moon” cover.

      1. So, me. . . I know that the color scheme he used is pretty typical for the color-codes on a voltage level display, (blue for lowest, green for medium, yellow for high, orange, red for peak values – signaling “danger, you’re about to fry your cones”) . . . but as far as relative brightness and persistence-of-vision goes, I think the blue one kind of overwhelms the red and yellow one, so I would have tried switching the order. It probably wouldn’t make any sense to anyone who is in any way an audio tech.

        But this is still one of the cooler builds I’ve seen in a while. Very nice work. :)

        1. It’s the camera’s fault that it looks so blue. With the naked eye the colors are distinct. If I did it over I’d space the lines further apart.

  3. How did he deal with the blasted screeching EL drivers put out? I canceled my own EL project five minutes after filling the case with hot glue did nothing to mitigate the all-pervasive 5khz whine.

    1. I don’t know why the headphones didn’t pick up any noise. The inverter definitely whines and I can induce noise in a pair of powered, portable speakers.

      1. The induced noise from the inverter will be on the order of millivolts. Enough to be picked up by an amplifier, but nothing when fed into a 32 ohm headphone load.

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