Using a laptop's microphone, I want a graph showing the level of noise during a certain period:

Noise graph

Noise needs to be sampled at a high rate and averaged over one minute or so. The output can be as simple as appending one line to a CSV file every minute.


  • Runs on Linux
  • Free, ideally open source
  • Calculate average for a minute, not instant value
  • Output to text file or image
  • Bonus if it can "filter out" usual background noise, in order to better show anormal noise (a "training" could be required to specify what the usual background noise is)

2 Answers 2


You could always use the python soundmeter library.

  • Runs on Linux
  • Libre & FOSS
  • You can average in a number of ways
  • You can either output to a text file or use one of the plotting libraries
  • Measures the RMS value.
  • On Ubuntu 2014.04, soundmeter requires portaudio19-dev which requires libjack-dev which requires libjack0. Installing libjack0 removes libjack-jackd2-0 and skype which is no go :-/
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Dec 1, 2014 at 14:36
  • Have you considered a) Raising a ticket or b) porting to work with libjackd2-0 - tickets can be raised at github.com/shichao-an/soundmeter/issues and shichao-an seems to be approachable. Dec 1, 2014 at 17:17
  • I guess this is an Ubuntu packaging problem with ` portaudio19-dev` or maybe just an incompatibility with Skype.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Dec 2, 2014 at 4:11
  • I have seen quite a lot of online comments regarding issues with both skype and libjack-jackd2-0 but I would still recommend raising a ticket to record the issue if nothing else. Dec 2, 2014 at 7:32

I wrote this small bash script to do it:

while true
  sox -t .wav "|arecord -d 1" -n stat 2>&1 | grep "RMS     amplitude" \
  | tr -d ' ' | cut -d ':' -f 2 >> data.txt

I takes the RMS every second and writes it to a text file.

A graph can be generated using this Gnuplot script (put it in a with graph.gnuplot file and run gnuplot graph.gnuplot):

set yrange [0:0.1]
set grid
set term png
set output 'graph.png'
plot 'data.txt' with line lt -1 lw 1

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