The character VFD became the spectrum analyst

Nowadays, streaming services are a great way to listen to music or podcasts on your computer or on the go. However, their older MP3 players and streamers lack one feature: Visualization! [mircemk] One of them is a fan, and has developed a hardware spectrum analyzer that pumps in with music.

The build relies on a 20 × 2 character VFD display that looks great, with high brightness and excellent contrast. It can be easily operated from a microcontroller, as it has a controller on board compatible with the standard HD44780 command set. On the Arduino platform, this means that the display can be easily operated with the popular LiquidCrystal library.

The Arduino Nano inside receives audio signals through its analog inputs. It then processes the audio with the fix_fft library, which performs a Fast Fourier transform to find the power level of each frequency bin in the audio spectrum for both the left and right channels. This information is then sent to the screen for display. It’s impressively fast and smooth, with the display dancing nicely with the beat [mircemk] Try it out with some tunes.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s an updated version of a previous project [mircemk]. We’ve seen it before as a VU meter that beats with a beat, it’s a completely simple visualization but still a great one. Video after the break.

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