On Audio Visualization

I'm a big music fan. And as a longtime computer enthusiast, I've always been intrigued by the intersection of computers and music: audio visualization. The first experience I had with visualization was the 1993 CD-ROM add-on for Atari's short-lived Jaguar console. It included Jeff Minter's VLM-1 (Visual Light Machine) burned into the firmware:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/02/on-audio-visualization.html

I think this beat Commodore by a few years, the Atari C-240 VideoMusic machine. It was out in 1977, maybe sooner.

a href="http://www.atarimuseum.com/videogames/dedicated/videomusic/videomusic.html"http://www.atarimuseum.com/videogames/dedicated/videomusic/videomusic.html/a

Er… wow. No, I did not know that! I’m looking forward to a test drive :wink:

Although you programm know Jeff, Jeff (Minter/Yak) has done an improved version of Neon for the PC. It’s currently in beta testing but should be released soon. Check out his blog @ a href="http://stinkygoat.livejournal.com/"http://stinkygoat.livejournal.com//a for lots of screenshots, including using the WebCam feature!

You may be interested in music-oriented video games. These have always been around, but I would say that the genre-defining game is Sega’s excellent Rez (a href="http://www.mobygames.com/game/ps2/rez)"http://www.mobygames.com/game/ps2/rez)/a - check it out, you’re in for a treat :slight_smile:

Glad you like Neon }:-D.

You may be interested to know that Neon/PC is in the very final stages of beta test now and should be out shortly. It’s considerably extended from the X360 version, allowing for the use of images from the PC hard drive and live video input in the effects, and contains the entire modular synth-like editing system used to author the x360 effects allowing everyone to create their own stuff. It’s really a lot of fun }:-).

Ryan Geiss since worked on Milkdrop for Winamp (and got hired by Nullsoft), which makes good use of Direct X and creates some utterly mindblowing 3D effects using multiple planes, dynamic use of injected assembly and no-end of funky bit-twiddling in the frame buffer :slight_smile: Better still, he’s made the source code and a Winamp plug-in framework available for download :smiley: If only I could understand all that code… http://www.nullsoft.com/free/milkdrop/ http://www.geisswerks.com/ and http://www.milkdrop.co.uk

i’ve always liked R4

a href="http://www.rabidhamster.org/R4/main.php"http://www.rabidhamster.org/R4/main.php/a

winamp plugin and standalone, 3d accelerated and great

You may be interested in music-oriented video games

What, like this?



Interesting screensaver based on genetic algorithms, voted on by people watching them, and communicated over the 'net:

The Electric Sheep Screen Saver

When is Neon hitting the PC? Is it out by now? The visualizer on iTunes really sucks…please help.

I found BeatHarness a few weeks ago, and I like it 'cause it’s more like a ‘real’ VJ in that it also uses videoclips etc.

All the other audio-visualizers just look like another winamp-plugin, not anything like what a VJ would do at a party.

I am surprised there was no mention of AVS in this article…


The programmable visualisation shipped with Winamp for years. It is completely programmable, with its own simple language, and so is great fun to play with if you are a programmer.

recently i was staring at the audio visual playing in my avs dvd player [plays music too, not just dvds] and realized how bland my desktop is. Do you know any way i can make an audio visual play as my desktop background? google was not friendly, kept wanting me to buy software for something i did not want :\

danke schon if able to help me

A visualizer made by myself.


Ok, it does not use all your CPU power, RAM or GPU power, but it’s still something. Works like X-Y mode oscilloscope. Uses capture device, when set to Mix, you can use any audio player and it will still work the same. Open source also, you are welcome to roll your own.