If you have ever seen a house at Christmas time that has its lights synced with a popular Christmas song then you know what a neat experience it is. It is impressive and fun. You do not have to be a professional to do this. You can make it as simple or as professional as you like. Syncing a large set of Christmas lights with music is a little bit more difficult than syncing music with a set of LED lights.
For example, for a small house party where you might want to hang up a few strands of LED lights that change colors to the beat of music, it is a pretty easy process. You will need to buy some sound-responsible LED lights (find some here). These are so easy that all you have to do is plug them in and change the settings so that they are sound-activated. For this project, you do not need anything else. No controller, no cable, no software or programming. This is as simple as you can get.
For the larger projects, you will need a controller, software, lights and possibly some help. Below is the entire process for syncing a large scale LED display with music.
Now for your bigger projects, such as setting up Christmas lights that sync with music you will need to get a controller. There are various versions of controllers available from a pre-built system, to more hands-on and those that you build yourself. As a beginner, I would suggest the built system because you do not need any electrical knowledge.
Next, you will need to get software that will program and run your lights. The software helps break the song down into sections so that you can select what lights should turn on, off, etc. The programming software helps you build the program that will be run for each song.
Now, you need to make your lighting decisions. What type of LED lights will you use: mini lights, net lights, landscaping lights, icicles, trees, decorative LED wireframes, etc. What do you want to be displayed and what colors do you want to use? Designing the light setup is one of the hardest parts of the process because you want it to look amazing.
Once you have the overall scheme completed, you can begin work on programming the actual music. This is the most crucial part and the most time-consuming part. First, choose your music and then start working on your timing. This is a lengthy process, so get started will before the holidays. Determining when you want your lights to do something and what you want them to do in complete synchronization with the music will take some serious thinking and brainpower.
Once you finished your program it will be time to test it. If it functions as you wish, you will want to broadcast your music over an FM radio frequency so that as onlookers come by, they can flip to the radio station and hear the song as they drive by. This is a much better approach than playing music over and over again via speakers in your front yard. This is actually very common and happens quite a bit in various neighborhoods. It is becoming even more popular and is widely accepted.
Syncing LED lights with music is not as hard as you think it might be. It may be something that will take three or four months of preparation if it is your first time setting up a display of such magnitude, but it is not overly complicated and something most can handle.