This VU Meter Is Built Into The Speaker

Depending on the music you’re listening to, watching a VU meter bounce to the music is always a good time. So why not integrate the VU meter right into the audio source? That’s what [Matikas] did, and it’s pretty fantastic.

He started with a pair of speakers he had and picked up some NeoPixel LED strips. Carefully wrapping the LED strips around the inside circumference of each speaker, the LEDs fit behind the speaker grills, giving it a cool effect when they’re on.

To control the LEDs, he’s using an Arduino Uno (Atmega328p) which measures the audio level in order to modulate the LED output. A bit of software later (shared on GitHub if you’re interested!) and the VU meters were ready for action — check it out!

As far as VU meters go, we can’t forget this awesome giant-water-tube-VU-display-of-madness.

20 thoughts on “This VU Meter Is Built Into The Speaker

    1. Me too. I think I used a TL071 opamp as a buffer to scale the speaker level input, then into a 10 LED bargraph driver. I played around with getting the audio to charge a capacitor to power it (replacing the AA batteries I was using), but that never quite worked before I lost interest.

      1. Thanks Arsenio and Blownupp!
        Arsenio, may I abstract from your site and information for http://ArduinoInfo.Info ? We get 12000 hits a day there and this is a great example project.

        Other: I will ask my partner in Shenzhen to try to find a good price on the strips and I’ll try to stock them in USA also.

        I need to look at the Eagle files…

        My Son is teaching 5th grade in Vietnam this year and has asked about a project to show the noise level in his classroom. I would like to make a version based on your work that adds an averaging function (maybe 1 or 2 minute average) and displays it as a 1 meter long pointer driven by a servo, with a typical VU meter DB (VU) scale. The LEDs would be a short-term average, maybe. Hmmm…

        Back in Ancient History I designed Radio Stations and Recording Studios, consoles, filters etc. So this is Forward to The Past for me…

        Regards, Terry King
        …In The Woods in Vermont, USA

    1. To expand on what Arsenio said, check out this seller ( – you want the WS2812 LED strips. I’ve bought from him numerous times and he’s quick, reliable and professional. They might not be up riht now, but he sells 4 meter, 60 led/m strips for $29.99 which is just about the lowest price you’ll find anywhere, and he ships from USA. Send him a message asking for an invoice for the 4m WS2812 for $29.99

  1. It’s cool looking!
    Not in a bad way at all but yeah it reminds me of color organs and all the cheesy lighting stuff you used to be able to get at Spencer Gifts back when they had day-glow Led Zeppelin posters in the back a long long time ago…
    …long time.

    1. I’m sure Adafruit knows that goes with the territory! I write http://ArduinoInfo.Info and lots of specs and how-to for . With 12000 hits a day they are mostly NOT customers, but that’s fine. I’m glad people are learning stuff. I do answer questions from people who bought stuff on ebay or, but at a lower priority if things are busy.
      I believe information should be free. Hardware is Hardware….

      Regards, Terry King
      …In The Woods in Vermont, USA

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