Gemma-Powered NeoPixel Sound Reactive Drums


This tutorial from Adafruit shows how to create a custom interactive drum set that lights up with sound. It uses a mic amp sensor that is connected to a miniature Arduino Gemma board to detect when the instrument is being hit by the sticks. Neopixels then illuminate into a range of colors creating a beautifully synced up music presentation.

The container that houses the electronics is 3D printed. The entire circuit is integrated into the snare, mid-tom, hi-tom and a drum kick. All the code and step-by-step instructions can be found on Adafruit’s website. Now imagine something like this being packed up in a suitcase and carried from venue to venue as an up-and-coming band travels from state to state on tour; especially at Drum n’ Bass raves or electronic based music festivals. A video of the kit being used is below.

8 thoughts on “Gemma-Powered NeoPixel Sound Reactive Drums

    1. Piezo sensors would be a better choice because their direct contact and lower sensitivity would ease the isolation from external noise. Perhaps there are not ready to made modules like the electret mic one, but Interfacing is easy.

      1. A guy at my hackerspace has done just this with a doombec drum, where each hit will send a pulse of light circling around the translucent drum skin. It worked perfectly and would only pick up external noise if you yelled within a few inches of the skin. Sadly TSA lost his whole burning man bag (they were probably concerned about the bag full of 5000mAh lipos and electronic projects).

  1. Agree piezo is probably better. Video lacks proper demo. Kinda surprising usually adafruit rocks the videos. Would be nice to have atleast a 10 second solo (using sticks instead of fingernails) to see if it actually works with mic’s . Even with the fingernail demo you can kinda see the bass activating all the pads.

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