Introduction: JolliCube Audio/Music Visualizer
A very Happy New Year to everyone. This is our first instructable for the new year.
It is been a year since we at jolliFactory published our instructable on building an 8x8x8 LED cube, aptly named as jolliCube.
We understand that many have successfully built their jolliCube and quite a handful have expressed their wish to use jolliCube as an audio visualizer but are unable to accomplish it themselves.
We are not fanatics of audio/music visualizers though we have published quite a few instructables related to audio spectrum visualizers.
Below are some of our audio spectrum visualizer projects. You may check them out if you are interested:
Here, we will show how to turn jolliCube into an audio visualizer. The audio visualizer effects we created are not fantastic. We hope anyone who is into audio visualizers will come up with better effects themselves and hopefully share them.
To build this project, basic electronics knowledge with electronics component soldering skill and some knowledge on using the Arduino are required.
You may view the following YouTube video to see what we will be building.
You may want to check out the following instructables in which we largely adapted the program codes from to drive the demo animation effects for our cube.
https://www.instructables.com/id/Led-Cube-8x8x8/ by SuperTech-IT
Step 1: Building JolliCube
Before we can proceed to made jolliCube into an audio visualizer, we will first need to build jolliCube.
We will not go into the detail on building jolliCube here. Information on building jolliCube is available at https://www.instructables.com/id/JolliCube-an-8x8x8-LED-Cube-SPI/
Please proceed to the next step for those who have already successfully completed their jolliCube.
Step 2: Building the Audio Visualizer Control Board
With your jolliCube successfully built, we will now build the audio visualizer control board.
You may follow the schematics above to build your visualizer control board on perfboard.
Our jolliCube audio visualizer shall be driven by an Arduino Nano board. We like to use the Arduino Nano for our projects due to its small form factor as well as ease of use. Quite a handful of entry level hobbyists have asked if they can use an Arduino Uno board instead. Of course this is possible as both have the same functions except for the form factor.
We will basically be using one MSGEQ7 IC chip made by Mixed Signal Integration to separate the audio into bands. The MSGEQ7 IC is a single channel seven band Graphic Equalizer Display Filter. By feeding an audio signal to it, it will filter out seven frequency bands centered around 63Hz, 160Hz, 400Hz, 1,000Hz, 2,500Hz, 6,250Hz, and 16,000Hz. The seven frequencies are peak detected and multiplexed to the output to provide a DC representation of the amplitude of each band. All we need is to read these DC values with the micro-controller analog input and output the spectrum to the 8x8x8 LED Matrix display.
For those who do not like the hassle of wiring the circuit on perf-boards, we have designed a Stereo Audio Spectrum Visualizer board as a kit set which is available at our Tindie store. The kit set does not come with the MSGEQ7 ICs. These ICs are available at reputable stores such as SparkFun. You may be able to find these ICs cheaper at some other stores but most of these cheap ICs have quality issues.
We will only need one audio channel for this project. Here, we will be using the left audio channel for visualizing. So if you are using the JF Stereo Audio Spectrum Visualizer board for your project, you will only need one MSGEQ7 IC installed at IC1 on the PCB.
Step 3: Load JolliCube Audio Visualizer Program Code
We have came up with five audio visualizing effects for jolliCube. You may work to come up with more varieties of effects for your audio visualizer.
We understand that you may not only want to use jolliCube as an audio/music visualizer but also to use it to display mesmerizing animation effects.
You may notice that we have a momentary button switch connected to D12 of the Arduino Nano board. This switch shall be used for selection of any one of the five audio visualizer effects as well as to select to put jolliCube into a loop through all the demo animation effects. For us, we mounted our button switch behind our jolliCube.
Upload the program to your Arduino Nano board. Then connect the Audio Spectrum Visualizer board to jolliCube. See the pictures above for the connections.
Power up the entire setup via your Arduino Nano/Uno's USB port. Any USB port/adapter which is able to supply at least 500mA should be suitable. For our demo video, we connected our Notebooks PC's headphone output to the audio input of our Audio Spectrum Visualizer board. An external speaker is then connected to the audio output of the board to enable us to listen to the audio.
Now play your favorite song or music and Enjoy the Show!
Step 4: What's Next?
An 8x8x8 LED cube like jolliCube is not too difficult to build. It requires quite a bit of perseverance in order to complete it but we are sure you will find intense joy and satisfaction once you successfully complete it.
What other things can we do with jolliCube other than displaying mesmerizing animation effects and be used as an audio/music visualizer? Let us know what other uses or ideas you may think of using an 8x8x8 LED cube.