Measuring Sound

A Windows Media Player Visualization

Dr. Dan Boye
Physics Department
Davidson College

This site contains a downloadable visualization, MusTech, for the Windows Media Player.  It has been developed so that the user can see the frequency vs. time and amplitude vs. time graphs of what is being played through the computer's sound card.  The coordinates of the mouse cursor can be read from the graph using the right mouse button.  This visualization is free for educational and personal enjoyment.  Commercial use is prohibited.  This work made possible through a Technology Fellowship from the Associated Colleges of the South.

In addition to the visualization, links to a series of .wav files may be found.  These files are intended to help the listener use the visualization to explore different ways of thinking about sounds.  Exercises and explanatory information for each .wav file are found beside each link.

Windows Media Player

    Download and install the latest version of Windows Media Player (Windows 98, 2000, ME and XP only).

MusTech Visualization

    1. Download and copy file to the Visualizations folder in C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player

These next steps vary with each new version of WMP. For WMP version11, I've both installed from scratch and done the upgrade through the Help menu in WMP10. (WMP10 was loaded and MUSTECH.dll was in the Visualization folder). In both cases, WMP11 found Mustech.dll immediately and I was able to select it from the Visualizations menu. I've noticed that with WMP11 there is no ADD button in the Visualizations menu where there was one in WMP10.  I've also noticed that the Visualizations that you download from the WMP11 site are all .exe files instead of just a .dll. I checked the following website ( and found the method for registration fundamentally is running the regsrv32.exe tool. So, if you're daring you could run the command "regsvr32.exe pathname\mustech.dll" to register it.  This does work.  If successful, you'll see something like this message.  Send me an email if you have trouble getting the viz to work.


    2. Add visualization in the Tools/Options/Visualizations menu.
    3. Select MusTech visualization from drop down menu via View/Visualization menu. In WMP 11, you change between vizs by selecting the desired Visualization from the Now Playing pull-down menu and correct submenus.

NOTE:  The current version is calibrated for playing files that are CD Quality (44.1kHz, 16-bit, stereo sampling).

.wav files and Exercises

Record your own .wav files and Analyze them!

Use the software Audacity or use the Sound Recorder software found in the Programs/Accessories/Entertainment section of the Windows Start Menu.  Under the Properties menu of this software change the recording format to CD Quality which has the 44.1kHz, 16-bit stereo PCM format.  This will maintain the calibration when viewed in the Windows Media Player.  You may need to select the correct recording device and adjust the recording level.  These attributes may be access through the Sounds link in the Control Panel.  Once you've recorded a sound wave, save it in .wav format and play it in the Windows Media Player.

Suggestions for things to record: