Sound Sensitive LED lighting - How do I get Started?


Greetings! Christopher Baker sent me here. My name is Risa Recio, I am currently a Post-Bacc in the PTDW department and am to the Art and Technology department for some insight. I don’t know anyone in the Art and Tech department so I was hoping you could perhaps recommend a student I could reach out to or perhaps a faculty member.

I am interested in lighting an installation wherein the light would pulse to an audio track. I have done some research into it, and there are “music sensitive LEDs”, but I don’t think that is what I am after. I have an audio track of sheet rock being hammered at I would want the lights to pulse with the hammer sound specifically, not the other noises (my breathe, my footsteps, etc.). In my research I have found several DIY directions, but I’m not sure which will work best for my project.

All this is very new to me, but I was hoping to realize this project for the Post-Bacc show which opens June 9th. I feel very lost in this new and strange endeavor (Arduinos? coding? soldering?), if you have any recommendations as to who I should talk to who might be able to give me some direction, I would really appreciate it. I am more than happy to provide them coffee for a bit of their time and expertise!

Thank you!



@twobeers83 @noahcoleman @audrajaot got any tips?


Hey @risarecio,

I’ve had decent results with this wiki on sound sensors:

By following their schematic, this was my result ( a helpful tip before seeing the video below is lowering your speakers :stuck_out_tongue: ) :

Sounds like you’ll need to isolate certain frequencies, though.


@cshallenberg was helping a student in Jan’s Public Light and Space with something very similar (linking audio to a pulsing light). Christine, who was it? Maybe you can connect the two…

I’m also around school this week and available for a little chat over coffee to figure out what exactly you want to do and what you need. just for the initial introduction on what you can do with an Arduino. I will be leaving town next week, however, and won’t be able to help after that.

(you can send me an email on if you want to meet)


This sensor is great.

Not too expensive, easy to program and use and very accurate as well.
I would recommend it. Let me know if you need assistance with anything and
I can give you my two sense as well.



Thanks @cshallenberg @twobeers83 and @danbertner! You all rock. @risa​recio welcome to the wonderful world of openLab :smile: Please keep us posted on your progress!