Even though the ESP8266 WiFi chipsets are really cheap (and can be somewhat challenging to work with), they still pack a lot of processing power. For instance, [Mr.jb.swe] took one of these modules and made a stand-alone live VU meter with WS2812B LED strip. The VU runs entirely on the ESP chip, without any additional microcontroller. It’s an example we think a lot of projects could follow to do away with unused horsepower (extra microcontrollers) sometimes used to avoid programming directly on the ESP. The stuff you can do with these modules is wild… did you see this WiFi signal strength mapping project?
The ESP chipset acts as a UDP client which receives packets from a WinAmp plugin that [Mr.jb.swe] wrote. The plugin continuously calculates the dB of whatever track is playing and streams it over WiFi to his ESP8266. He also mentions that the ADC of the ESP chipset could be used to sample audio as well, although that pretty much eliminates the need for WiFi.
The whole setup is very responsive even though the processor is parsing UDP messages, driving the WS2812 strip, and driving a small OLED display for debug—and it doesn’t even use a separate microcontroller. [Mr.jb.swe] also posted snippets of his code to get you started on your own project. Check out the videos after the break to see it in action.
Continue reading “A Real-Time Networked VU Running on the ESP8266”
Looking for something unique to spice up his music room [Est] decided he wanted to try making a light that responds to the music — kind of like a VU meter, but a little different. He calls it the Light Effect Tower.
The main structure of the tower was cut out of 6mm acrylic using [Est’s] homemade CNC router. He used a V router bit to do the engraving, which when combined with light, produces a high contrast dynamic with the plastic.
He designed the circuit to fit into the triangular base, which uses a PIC micro controller to sample a microphone to produce the lighting effect. The cool thing is, he’s designed it to calculate the max level of noise, to scale the sample accordingly — that way if you’re playing loud music or quiet music, it’ll still work without any adjustments to the microphone gain.
Oh yeah, did we mention this thing is big? It’s actually 1.5 meters tall! Check out the different modes he programmed in — it’s pretty bumping.
Continue reading “CNCs and Acrylic and LEDs oh my!”
There are many very cool visual effects for music, but the best are the kind you build yourself. [Ben’s] mini LED volume towers adds some nice bling to your music.
[Ben] was inspired to created this project when he saw a variety of awesome stereo LED towers on YouTube (also referred to as VU meters). We have even featured a few VU meters, one very recently. [Ben] goes over every detail, including how to test your circuit (a very important part of any project). The schematic is deceptively simple. It is based on the LM3914 display driver IC, a simple chained comparator circuit is used to control the volume bar display. All you really need is a 3D printer to make the base, and you can build this awesome tower.
See the completed towers in action after the break. What next? It would be cool to see a larger tower that displays frequency magnitude!
Continue reading “Party Ready Mini LED Volume Tower”
[Michaël Duerinckx] was given a turntable for his last birthday from his fiancée — since then he’s started collecting records like nobodies business. But about a month ago he started itching to do an electronics project — he decided to upgrade his record player to include a VU Meter!
As he began designing he soon realized he didn’t have all the tools he needed to do this project right — a perfect excuse to go check out his local makerspace, SoMakeIt!
He started prototyping the VU Meter on a breadboard, and opened up the record player – it was like this thing was made to be hacked. Two free connections off the power supply to power his circuit, bingo! Continue reading “VU Meter Record Player Lights it Up”
[Kyle] has just put the finishing touches on this VU Meter Prom dress, and it looks great!
The dress makes use of 70 feet of aquamarine EL wire, a 2600mAh li-on battery, a repurposed DB9 cable, an Arduino knock off, an Adafruit microphone pre-amp, and features eight addressable triac channels through an EL Escudo Dos by Sparkfun. Each loop of EL wire was sewn into the dress using clear thread. The separate segments were then daisy chained together near the zipper in the back using ribbon cables. To top it all off, [Kyle] has a cheap thermoforming setup utilizing a toaster oven which he used to make an acrylic case for the electronics.
The dress is for his lucky friend [Diane] and we think it will make for quite a memorable prom! To see this awesome VU Meter in action, stick around after the break for the video.
Continue reading “VU Meter Prom Dress”
This isn’t a thrift-store coffee table modified as a craft project. [Dandujmich] built it from the ground-up using framing lumber, bottle caps, plastic resin, and some electronics for bling.
The first step was to see if he had enough caps on hand for the project. It’s hard to grasp how many were used just by looking at it, but the gallery description tells us there’s about 1700 which went into the design! From there he grabbed some 2x4s and began construction. The table legs started with two end assemblies built by doweling the legs to the end cross pieces. From there he cut a rabbit on the side rails and screwed them to the leg assemblies from the inside.
The tabletop includes a frame with a recessed area deep enough to keep the caps below the surface. After spending about ten hours super gluing all of the caps in place he mixed and poured two gallons of the resin to arrive at a glass-like finish. The final touch is some custom hardware which pulses two rows of embedded LEDs to music being played in the room. The video after the break isn’t fantastic, but it gives you some idea of how that light rig works.
Continue reading “Scratch-built bottle cap coffee table pulses to the music”
This tie turned VU meter has us asking: Will anyone be able to look you in the eye during a conversation? It uses an integrated microphone and microcontroller to make a single-column display made of RGB LEDs move to ambient sound.
It shouldn’t be hard to guess that this project is another build from [Becky Stern]. She’s been on fire lately, offering up glowing football helmets and a turn-signal backpack. This uses the same family of components as the latter. A Flora board brings an Arduino to the party. It drives sixteen RGB LED pixels which are addressed using a 1-wire protocol. Sound is measured through a microphone and amplifier breakout board.
Since the hardware gets in the way of a full-windsor, the tie used for the project is a breakaway version which uses velcro. But because you need the needle and (conductive) thread to sew on the components it wouldn’t be hard to alter any tie to perform like this.
Don’t miss the high-quality video tutorial which we’ve embedded after the break.
Continue reading “Add some animated bling to your GQ duds”