Sound reactive led strip

In this Project tutorial I will be showing you how to make a sound reactive LED strip system also this can be knows as VU meter that is very reactive to music and forms awesome color patterns as per the beats

In this project I will use ARGB LED strip, but you you can use a single LED, multiple LEDs wired together, single color strip, it just depends on what you are trying to be build.

The set up is very simple and the component list is very basic so if you are a maker you should already have the majority of the materials. If not, I have given links to the components!

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Required material For this project

For this project you will need the following:

Parts List for Sound reactive led strip

  • Arduino Nano x 1
  • 1K Ohm Potentiometer x 2
  • Momentary push button x 2
  • Toggle switch x 2
  • WS2812B LED Strip x 60LED single strip / 60LED two strips
  • 10K Ohm Resistor x 5
  • 330 Ohm Resistor x 2
  • 1uF Capacitor x 1
  • 3.5mm Stereo female jack x 2
  • DC Female jack x 1
  • 3 Pin JST connector x 2
  • Plastic box x 1
  • 1″ wire casing x 2 feet
  • 5V 2A Power supply x 1

Total cost will be about $25 but keep in mind, all of these components are completely reusable for other project

You can recycle them into a multitude of projects in the future so try not to worry about the cost.

Think of it as building up your technical tool box 🙂

Features of our Sound reactive led strip

  • stereo support
  • switchable peak hold function with ‘falling down’ option
  • adjustable sensitivity setting
  • adjustable LED brightness setting
  • support for one LED strip displaying the left and right channel or 2 LED rings (or strips) displaying one channel each
  • slow ‘falling down’ of the LEDs
  • variables which can be set to support any number of LEDs and further customize the VU meter

You need the Adafruit_NeoPixel library for the script to work if you don’t have one which is installed in your Arduino IDE library get it installed before uploading code

Building steps for Sound reactive led strip

We will start by making rails for LED strip light for this thin plastic strips are cut

LED strip lights are attach on top using double side tape

Solder wires to strip if its not by default

I use 2 strips that are glue near to one another

Complete strip is as shown in image below we have outlet wires from these strip that will be connect to micro controller

After this we will move onto building base support that holds these together and upon which all controls will be added

To made base body i used pvc box to which slots were made to hold switches, pots and jacks

You can design your box accordingly as per size of switches since the variant depends from location to location

Overview of the configuration in board can be seen from image below

LED holder in box

As we are keeping LED strip in vertical position base must be strong so separate grove was made in LED holder using pencil body

Hole was made on base which can bee seen in below image

This will eliminates all shakes and keep it firm, before making circuit prepare dedicate slot for keeping all components

Circuit diagram for reactive lights

Though it may look little bit complex to wire everything up its easy if you follow this tutorial below

LED strip

It has 3 terminals two for power input and output where as other one for signal input

As we are using 2 LED strips we have 2 signal pins that will be connect to D5 and D6 pin in arduino nano board

Where as we will be giving power supply from board to these strips hence 5v and gnd will be connected to board

To the board power supply is from 5v DC outlet


This will be use to increase or decrease sensitivity, like for LED this also has 3 terminals

Gnd and power supply will be connect to external source while for signal A4 and A5 in Arduino board

A4 will be for brightness control while A5 for sensitivity

Audio input pins

Here 2 audio input pins are Connect to A0 and A1 of nano this is because here analog signals are sent as input for nano

A series pins of nano will always be for analog inputs while D series for digital outputs

Color and pattern switch

By the name this can be use to change color and the light patterns as per your needs this is done by using switch that are connect to D8 and D9 pins in nano

So this completes circuitry now we will make hardware setup

Codes for reactive led strip

Check here for free codes and circuit diagram of this project

Just open your Arduino ide later copy and paste this code then click on upload

After uploading is complete install arduino board

You can change code later as we have arduino board input pin kept outside

By following the circuit diagram above we made connections and later arrange in box so everything looks neat and clean

After this we can insert LED strips that was made earlier to that slots

This completes our body and light attachment hence our project is ready for use

Note: If you found any of part that are loose slightly fix it with super glue or hot glue

How to use VU meter/sound reactive light

Place entire setup near music playing device so that you can connect them easily

Use audio pins from speakers to connect to vu meter

Connect external dc power source to our project

Play music on speaker and watch the lights in action

You can change Brightness and sensitivity by rotation of potentiometer

Switches will change colors and patterns

2 different devices can be connect to this at same time

This was all about making Sound reactive led strip Hope you will try to make it, Thanks for your time

Video tutorial on this project is available here

If you love music then you must definitely check our ultimate Bluetooth speaker project 

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