Use the microphone on your Adafruit CLUE to measure the different frequencies that are present in sound, and display it on the LCD display. This shows the author whistling up and down a musical scale.

The program is below.  The program samples audio for a short time and then computes the fast Fourier transform (FFT) of the audio data.  FFT is a way of turning a series of samples over time into a list of the relative intensity of each frequency in a range.

While running the demo, here are some things you might like to try:

  • Sing or whistle a musical scale
  • Look at the difference between saying "ah", "th", and "sss"
  • See how your favorite music looks when you transform it by FFT

(Note that because the program alternates between recording sound and doing computations, it can miss registering short sounds like claps)

"""Waterfall FFT demo adapted from
to work with ulab on Adafruit CLUE"""

import array

import board
import audiobusio
import displayio
import ulab
import ulab.fft
import ulab.vector

display = board.DISPLAY

# Create a heatmap color palette
palette = displayio.Palette(52)
for i, pi in enumerate((0xff0000, 0xff0a00, 0xff1400, 0xff1e00,
                        0xff2800, 0xff3200, 0xff3c00, 0xff4600,
                        0xff5000, 0xff5a00, 0xff6400, 0xff6e00,
                        0xff7800, 0xff8200, 0xff8c00, 0xff9600,
                        0xffa000, 0xffaa00, 0xffb400, 0xffbe00,
                        0xffc800, 0xffd200, 0xffdc00, 0xffe600,
                        0xfff000, 0xfffa00, 0xfdff00, 0xd7ff00,
                        0xb0ff00, 0x8aff00, 0x65ff00, 0x3eff00,
                        0x17ff00, 0x00ff10, 0x00ff36, 0x00ff5c,
                        0x00ff83, 0x00ffa8, 0x00ffd0, 0x00fff4,
                        0x00a4ff, 0x0094ff, 0x0084ff, 0x0074ff,
                        0x0064ff, 0x0054ff, 0x0044ff, 0x0032ff,
                        0x0022ff, 0x0012ff, 0x0002ff, 0x0000ff)):
    palette[51-i] = pi

class RollingGraph(displayio.TileGrid):
    def __init__(self, scale=2):
        # Create a bitmap with heatmap colors
        self.bitmap = displayio.Bitmap(display.width//scale,
                                       display.height//scale, len(palette))
        super().__init__(self.bitmap, pixel_shader=palette)

        self.scroll_offset = 0

    def show(self, data):
        y = self.scroll_offset
        bitmap = self.bitmap

        board.DISPLAY.auto_refresh = False
        offset = max(0, (bitmap.width-len(data))//2)
        for x in range(min(bitmap.width, len(data))):
            bitmap[x+offset, y] = int(data[x])

        board.DISPLAY.auto_refresh = True

        self.scroll_offset = (y + 1) % self.bitmap.height

group = displayio.Group(scale=3)
graph = RollingGraph(3)
fft_size = 256

# Add the TileGrid to the Group

# Add the Group to the Display

# instantiate board mic
mic = audiobusio.PDMIn(board.MICROPHONE_CLOCK, board.MICROPHONE_DATA,
                       sample_rate=16000, bit_depth=16)

#use some extra sample to account for the mic startup
samples_bit = array.array('H', [0] * (fft_size+3))

# Main Loop
def main():
    max_all = 10

    while True:
        mic.record(samples_bit, len(samples_bit))
        samples = ulab.array(samples_bit[3:])
        spectrogram1 = ulab.fft.spectrogram(samples)
        # spectrum() is always nonnegative, but add a tiny value
        # to change any zeros to nonzero numbers
        spectrogram1 = ulab.vector.log(spectrogram1 + 1e-7)
        spectrogram1 = spectrogram1[1:(fft_size//2)-1]
        min_curr = ulab.numerical.min(spectrogram1)
        max_curr = ulab.numerical.max(spectrogram1)

        if max_curr > max_all:
            max_all = max_curr
            max_curr = max_curr-1

        print(min_curr, max_all)
        min_curr = max(min_curr, 3)
        # Plot FFT
        data = (spectrogram1 - min_curr) * (51. / (max_all - min_curr))
        # This clamps any negative numbers to zero
        data = data * ulab.array((data > 0))


This guide was first published on Mar 06, 2020. It was last updated on Mar 06, 2020.

This page (FFT Example: Waterfall Spectrum Analyzer) was last updated on Apr 13, 2021.

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