On my home stereo I have a spectrograph that has a 2D matrix, whereby the X axis is the frequency (deep bass on the left, vocals in the center, treble on the right), and the Y axis is the volume or power of the sound at that frequency. I have seen things like this for Ubuntu, but they work on MP3 files or other pre recorded songs. Is there anything that can do this real time for a microphone attached or simply the system mixer?


This may be a bit overkill, but Baudline is an incredible real-time FFT spectrogram. It's not in Ubuntu repos, so you will need to download it on your own. It displays a real-time analysis of source signal, but it also allows to analyze pre-recorded data. The brightness of a point represent the power of the sound at this frequency, where horizontal axis represents frequencies, and vertical time - so it kind of shows history of your signal.

It's extensive features make it definitely the most advanced spectrogram available for Linux. It may be a bit too complicated for your uses, though. I am not sure what exactly you are looking for.

baudline screenshot





The JACK & ALSA Audio Analyser, an audio signal generator and spectrum analyser.




glfer is a GTK+ application with a waterfall spectrum display and slow CW (QRSS) / dual-frequency CW (DFCW) transmitter control interface. [ . . . ] The signal to be analyzed can be acquired in real-time from the sound card or can be read from a WAV file.




The Quisk receiver can read the sample data, tune it, filter it, demodulate it, and send the audio to the sound card for output to external headphones or speakers. The Quisk transmitter can accept microphone input and send that to your transmitter via a soundcard or Ethernet.



There is also Spek, although as of version 0.8.2 it does not work in realtime. However, there is a feature request and a pull request that may change this.


Spek (IPA: /spɛk/, ‘bacon’ in Dutch) helps to analyse your audio files by showing their spectrogram. Spek is free software available for Unix, Windows and Mac OS X.

  • spek is great, I use it. – dotancohen Jun 1 '15 at 15:37
  • @juanpastas: I've tried to extend your answer, feel free to revert the changes. – 0x2b3bfa0 Sep 4 '18 at 21:01
  • I'm not sure that spek is an answer to the question, because I couldn't find an option to make it work in realtime. – a3nm Nov 5 '18 at 23:45


Friture is a real-time audio analyzer. It works on Windows, macOS and Linux. It is free and open source.

Friture GUI


The sox tool is able to create a spectrogram:

sox Test.wav -n spectrogram -o Test.png
  • 3
    Could you edit your answer to provide a screenshot (just like other answers do) or a link to the product’s webpage or any information useful for someone who is trying to choose the right tool? – Melebius Sep 18 '19 at 9:40

I just came accross this python snippet searching for the exact same thing and it works quite great :

Really simple, you will need to install with pip3 : - numpy as np - pyqtgraph as pg - pyaudio - PyQt4

To get it work , I converted line

    self.img_array = np.zeros((1000, CHUNKSZ/2+1))

to self.img_array = np.zeros((1000, math.floor(CHUNKSZ/2+1)))

to remove the float to int conversion error.

then $ python3 script.py

screenshot fo the UI

If you develop in python, funny stuff can be added to this really cool base.

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