See the Sound: Audio Visualization CSS & JavaScript Code Snippets

By on Audio, CSS, JavaScript

At the turn of the 21st century, MP3 audio was just hitting the mainstream. Certainly, the portability of these sound files was a big part of their allure. But there was also the unique side benefit of being able to visualize the sound on our computer screens.

Audio players such as WinAMP came with visualization plugins, making the experience of listening to our favorite tunes even more engaging. Not only could we hear the music, but we could also see it dance across our monitors as well.

As the web has evolved with CSS3, HTML5 and complex JavaScript libraries, this trend has continued. Visualizing sound, or at least the appearance of doing so, is still a big attention-getter.

Here is a collection of code snippets that bring a visual element to sound. Some are the real deal and will work with audio files, while others are merely facsimiles of the effect. Let’s crank it up!

Before we start, just a word of warning: Many of these snippets do play sound, so adjust your speakers accordingly.

Songs on the Sun

This visualizer takes the form of a circle and, thanks to some clever design, appears to form a ring around a sun-like sphere. Click on the screen to play a tune and watch the mesmerizing effect. The snippet uses HTML5 canvas and some JavaScript to power the player.

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Audio Ring Visualization
by Nelson Rodrigues

3D Tune Tiles

Increasingly, we’re viewing the web in three dimensions. This trend has been employed here, as the screen rotates while tiles move to the beat of the music. The 3D effect is powered by d3.js.

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Audio Visualization – 3D Tiles
by Carlo Alducente

Like Atari, but with Better Sound

Start up this audio visualization and you’ll be transported into a 1980s-like video game world. Sound can be turned on and off with a click, and your trip through the portal will change direction based on your cursor position. In a word, it’s RAD!

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Landscape V2 Audio Visualizer
by Niklas Knaack

A Simple Approximation

Not every website needs an audio player, but the visualization effect can still be useful. For those situations, this single-div simulation is a great fit. With just a little bit of HTML and you can add some colorful movement to your project.

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One Div Equalizer
by Octavector

Cloud Music

Particle animation seems like the perfect tool for making sound a visual experience. And this is a prime example of its power. Push play and see the dots “light up” and move along with your cursor. This pulsating effect is bold without coming on too strong.

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AUDIO CLOUD
by André Mattos

BYOMP3 (Bring Your Own MP3)

To bring this visualizer to life, you’ll need to upload an MP3 file from your personal collection. The effort is worth it though, as waveforms jump out from the pink sphere for a futuristic effect.

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Audio Visualizer2
by Misaki Nakano

Liquid Audio

Here is a very unique take on bringing audio to our eyes. This colorful “Inkqualizer” is fun to watch. Plus, it makes us wonder if the ink cartridges in our printer are dancing like this when we aren’t looking.

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Inkqualizer – Audio Equalizer
by Ryan McKay

When in Doubt, Do “The Carlton”

Do we really need accurate visual renderings of our favorite songs? This snippet says “no”. All we really need is a great song and a pixelated Alfonso Ribeiro doing his famous “Carlton” dance. Frankly, this should fit in perfectly with every project.

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Pure CSS The Carlton dance
by Grzegorz Witczak

The Sights of Sounds

If your website or app features audio, adding visualization to the mix can make the user experience that much better. It helps to keep eyeballs glued to your presentation and adds an element of fun. And even a simulated visual can be used to draw attention.

Want to see more exciting examples? Head on over to our CodePen collection for more.