This may seem like a dumb question but I don't know where else to ask it!

One of things I like to do with music is check out wave patterns, spectral phases, etc, if for no other reason than they look cool (or predicting the kind of sound based on the wave).

Some examples here (Using Adobe Audition):enter image description here

I think this is awesome and is a really cool way to represent music.

The problem I'm having is performance issues while listening and rendering these views in real time, at great detail (especially those last two). That would mean I would have to convert the whole thing to an image first, piece by piece, to see all the detail (or have a large resolution monitor and take a big screenshot).

Is there some sort of software out there (or web app) that can render a linear view like this for me and save it to an image?

Take SoundCloud for example (grey outline): enter image description here

I really open when it comes to the kind of format I would get back. Image file, svg, draw it in javascript? Doesn't really matter. I'm just looking for a more readily available way to view waveforms or audio data visually. Potentially something that could be used or engineered as a real time visualization. Not something like the visualizer that comes with Windows Media Player or Winamp. Those are too "artsy" and manipulate the raw data to unreadable extremes/non-linear.

3 Answers 3


You can't get "the whole song" in "realtime" since the recording doesn't happen instantaneously. However, you certainly can see a waveform in most audio editors. The classic freebie editor to recommend is Audacity, which will let you zoom in arbitrarily close, and you can take screenshots using your operating system features. I believe Audacity has a spectrum analyzer view as well, so you can see your waveform represented that way too.

If your goal is to look at wave patterns and phrases, then loading it in an editor is how I'd recommend doing it. It's what I do, anyway.


The most useful spectral visualization and editing tool I know of is SPEAR. It pulls out the component frequencies in a signal and spreads them out so you can see each frequency's amplitude over time. You can also edit each band.


There are lots of very simple spectrum analysis plugins for winamp, media player etc - you don't need to use the 'artsy' ones.

An example for winamp or if you want software that creates a spectral plot image you could try something like this FFT Sound Analyser.

Just have a search for either spectrum analyser plugin, or spectral plot or similar.

  • But I can't view the whole song at once. That's what I'm trying accomplish. An image or scrollable view for the whole song.
    – Steve Robbins
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 5:57
  • Ah - you should update the question. It just says you were having troubles doing it real time and didn't want artsy. I have amended my answer accordingly.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 8:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.