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Synching lights with music on a computer

  1. Aug 28, 2006 #1
    I have wanted to do this for a while but cringe when I see the cost of the commercial systems. I want to be able to make lights flash in sync with mp3s on a computer but do not want to spend a lot of money. I know there are visualizations incorporated into Winamp, Windows Media Player, etc. that change color and patterns with the beat of the music. Is it possible to use something like this?

    I know a little bit about electrical engineering (I am a mechanical engineering student) so I can figure out some things, but nothing very technical. I hope someone can help since this could also fall into computer science.

    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2006 #2


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    This subject actually came up before, so a forum search might find what you're looking for. My approach, since I don't know any electronics or have any money, is to go with the age-old trick of gluing mirror chips to a piece of Saran Wrap and stretching it over the front of a speaker with a light shining on it, or snaking some leads off of the graphic equalizer bar graphs to run secondary lighting.
    On a more serious note, I do happen to have access to a couple of different 'colour organ' schematics. I just don't have them handy right now. I'll pop back in with them tomorrow, if no one else obliges first.
  4. Aug 29, 2006 #3


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    You could design such a system around a freeware mp3 decoder and a microcontroller like the Cypress EZ-USB family. An experienced EE wouldn't have much difficulty with it, but it could potentially involve a lot of concepts:

    1) C application programming on a PC
    2) Printed circuit board layout and manufacture
    3) Microcontroller firmware
    4) Power electronics

    - Warren
  5. Aug 29, 2006 #4


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    Looks like I misunderstood the original question; sorry 'bout that. If you want the computer to control the lights, then I haven't a clue. I thought that you just meant to have something that worked while the computer was playing your music. :redface:
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