‘SoundWheel’ Adds a Visualization to any Audio Playback in Ubuntu (13.04, 12.10 & 12.04)

Most music managers and media players come with built-in visualizations, but there are also a few, that does not. Now I am not obsessed with playing a visualization every time I listen to an audio track, however, at times, it does enhance the overall experience.

So, if your favorite music player does not have a visualization support, but you are not willing to give it up, just because of that, then try ‘SoundWheel’. It is a simple tool that renders a nice visualization in accordance to the audio levels of the audio track that you are playing.

Not just for audio playback, it even visualizes any sounds your Ubuntu computer receives through your audio-input device (microphone) as well!. So for instance, if you clap or speak (or the background noises), then the ‘soundwheel’ visualization will act accordingly!.

'SoundWheel' running on Elementary OS Luna

It comes with a simple settings window and lets you adjust the ‘filter width’ (not sure what it does to be honest) and the ‘sample rate’ (higher means better quality at the expense of more CPU cycles/usage).

'Settings' window - 'SoundWheel'

I could not detect any resource usage changes after changing the ‘filter width’ but the ‘sample rate’ does have an easily visible effect. That said, after keeping the ‘filter width’ at its default value and increasing ‘sample rate’ to 60 fps, the CPU usage was still around 2-3!.

CPU usage while running 'SoundWheel' on EOS Luna
It is written in ‘Python’ (I assume) and its process name is called ‘python3’, rather than ‘SoundWheel’ …

Any issues ?

Well, I think it is designed keeping Ubuntu in mind (meaning Unity desktop) and I tested it on Elementary OS Luna only. Since it comes with a completely different desktop, I am not sure whether some of its functions were got disabled. Anyhow, its ‘Settings’ window gets opened whenever I opened ‘SoundWheel’, and if I closed it, then it also terminates ‘SoundWheel’.

You also cannot resize the visualization area, sure you can resize the whole window but then it would ‘hide’ parts of the visualization. Lastly, its running window is called ‘tk’ (probably because the GUI is created using the ‘Tk’ toolkit), rather than ‘SoundWheel’. And according to the ‘Ubuntu Apps’ page, the application is ‘proprietary’, although this is not a major issue, some might not like it.

Other than that, I am very pleased with it.

If interested, please visit this page and then click on the ‘available on the Software Center’ button. It costs you nothing, but once the Ubuntu Software Center opens it up, you will have to login using an ‘Ubuntu Single Sign On’ account and then click on the ‘Install’ button. That is it!.

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