Analyzing and Manipulating Sound with Python’s Spectrum Library

Python has long been a favored tool in the realm of audio signal processing, boasting a diverse range of libraries that allow users to delve deep into the intricacies of sound. Among these libraries, the Spectrum library emerges as a powerful and efficient tool to analyze and manipulate sound. In this article, we will explore the features and functionalities of the Spectrum library, providing a comprehensive guide on how to harness its capabilities to work with audio signals.

Overview of the Spectrum Library

The Spectrum library is a collection of Python tools dedicated to audio signal processing. With a focus on spectral analysis, the library provides users with functions and classes to calculate and manipulate spectral data. While it might not be as expansive as some other libraries in terms of functionalities, its specialization in the spectral domain ensures a robust and precise handling of audio signals.

Key Features:

  • Spectral Analysis: Efficiently compute the spectrum of audio signals.
  • Signal Manipulation: Modify audio signals in the spectral domain.
  • Visualization Tools: Plot and analyze audio spectral data.

Setting Up the Spectrum Library

Before diving into the functionalities, it’s crucial to set up the library:

pip install spectrum

After installation, the library can be imported using:

from spectrum import *

Spectral Analysis with Spectrum

One of the foundational aspects of audio signal processing is understanding the frequency components of a signal. Let’s delve into how Spectrum facilitates this.

Calculating the Power Spectrum

To get a sense of an audio signal’s frequency components, one can calculate its power spectrum.


from scipy.signal import chirp
from matplotlib import pyplot as plt

# Create a test signal
t = np.linspace(0, 1, 4000, endpoint=False)
w = chirp(t, f0=6, f1=1, t1=1, method='linear')

# Compute its power spectrum
p = Periodogram(w, sampling=4000)
p.plot(marker='o', markersize=1)

This example creates a linear chirp signal and computes its power spectrum using the Periodogram class.

Working with Spectrograms

A spectrogram offers a time-frequency representation, which can be beneficial for evolving signals.


from spectrum import Spectrogram

s = Spectrogram(w, 256, sampling=4000, W=30)

This code snippet generates a spectrogram for our chirp signal, offering a visual representation of how its frequency content changes over time.

Signal Manipulation

Beyond analysis, the Spectrum library also provides tools for manipulating signals in the spectral domain. This can be useful for tasks such as filtering or enhancement.

Applying Filters

Filters can be designed and applied to signals to selectively amplify or attenuate specific frequency bands.


from spectrum import fir_filter, data_cosine

# Create a low-pass filter
h = fir_filter(N=63, fc=0.4, window=('kaiser', 4.0))

# Apply the filter to the signal
filtered_signal = np.convolve(w, h)

# Display the result
p = Periodogram(filtered_signal, sampling=4000)
p.plot(marker='o', markersize=1)

This example demonstrates designing a low-pass FIR filter and applying it to our chirp signal.

Visualization Tools

Visualization is key in audio signal processing as it enables users to gain insights into the data they’re working with.

Comparing Spectral Data

Let’s compare the spectra of the original and filtered signals:


# Original signal
p1 = Periodogram(w, sampling=4000)

# Filtered signal
p2 = Periodogram(filtered_signal, sampling=4000)

p1.plot(label="Original", color='blue')
p2.plot(label="Filtered", color='red', linestyle="--")

This example juxtaposes the spectra of the original and filtered signals, aiding in understanding the effects of the applied filter.


The Spectrum library stands out as a dedicated tool for spectral analysis and manipulation in the Python ecosystem. While it might not encompass every imaginable audio processing function, its specificity in the spectral realm ensures a depth of capability that can be invaluable for those working with audio signals. By understanding and utilizing the functionalities demonstrated in this article, one can embark on a nuanced journey into the world of sound, tapping into the rich spectral intricacies that define audio signals.

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