Converting Audio to Spectrogram and Back

What will you learn?

In this tutorial, you will learn how to convert audio files into spectrograms and then reverse the process by transforming these visual representations back into audio. By using Python libraries such as librosa for handling audio data and matplotlib for generating spectrogram images, you will explore the fascinating connection between sound and sight. This journey will not only enhance your understanding of audio analysis but also open up possibilities for noise reduction, signal processing, and music generation.

Introduction to Problem and Solution

Audio signals are intricate, containing a wealth of information that may not be immediately discernible through listening alone. By converting audio into spectrograms � visual representations showcasing the spectrum of frequencies in the sound over time � we can effectively analyze these components. The transformation from audio to spectrogram is not only beneficial for analysis but also finds applications in various domains like noise reduction, signal processing, and music creation.

To accomplish this conversion, we will leverage Python libraries such as librosa for audio data manipulation and matplotlib for generating spectrogram visuals. Reversing the process � converting spectrograms back into audible sound � involves intricate operations due to potential information loss during the initial conversion step. However, with meticulous processing and potentially employing machine learning techniques if necessary, this task is achievable.


import librosa
import librosa.display
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np

# Load an audio file as waveform 
audio_path = 'your_audio_file.wav'
y, sr = librosa.load(audio_path)

# Convert waveform to spectrogram 
S = librosa.feature.melspectrogram(y=y, sr=sr)
S_DB = librosa.power_to_db(S, ref=np.max)

# Plotting the Spectrogram 
plt.figure(figsize=(10, 4))
librosa.display.specshow(S_DB, sr=sr,
                         x_axis='time', y_axis='mel')
plt.colorbar(format='%+2.0f dB')
plt.title('Mel-frequency spectrogram')

# Note: The code for converting back from a spectrogram image to audio 
# requires advanced techniques not covered here.

# Copyright PHD


  • Loading Audio: Utilize librosa.load to load an audio file which returns two components – y, representing the audio signal as a one-dimensional array (waveform), and sr, denoting the sampling rate indicating samples per second in the audio signal.

  • Generating Spectrogram: Generate a Mel-spectrogram using librosa.feature.melspectrogram, preferred for its Mel scale frequency bins offering enhanced resolution at lower frequencies akin to human auditory perception.

  • Visual Representation: Visualize the Mel-spectrogram (S_DB) by leveraging plotting functionalities from matplotlib alongside librosa.display.specshow. Adjust dimensions (figsize) or axes labels (x_axis, y_axis) based on requirements.

This process provides insights into different facets of the original sound by visually displaying its frequency content over time.

    1. How do I install Librosa?

    2. pip install librosa
    3. # Copyright PHD
    4. Can I use MP3 files directly with Librosa? Yes! Ensure ffmpeg is installed since Librosa utilizes it under-the-hood for decoding various formats including MP3.

    5. What does ‘sr’ stand for? ‘sr’ stands for Sampling Rate – indicating the number of samples per second in your digital audio file.

    6. Why use Mel Scale? The Mel Scale closely approximates human auditory system response compared to linearly-spaced frequency scales.

    7. Can any type of sound be converted to a Spectrogram? Absolutely! Any audible sound can be transformed into its corresponding spectrogram image representation.

    8. Is there any information loss when converting from Audio to Spectogram? Yes! Depending on parameters chosen like window size or hop length there could be some information loss mainly affecting inversibility (precisely turning back spectogram image).

    9. How do I save my generated Spectogram image? Use plt.savefig(‘your_image_name.png’) before

    10. What’s “hop length” concerning generating spectograms? Hop length influences temporal resolution by determining samples skipped before next FFT calculation – smaller hop lengths result in higher time resolution spectograms.

    11. Are there alternative libraries other than Matplotlib for plotting spectograms? Yes! You can explore Seaborn or Plotly; however they might entail additional steps or transformations.


The process of transforming audios into their equivalent spectral images unveils numerous possibilities across fields like music production where visualizing sound offers profound insights beyond auditory perception alone.. While Python simplifies initiation with libraries such as Librosa & Matplotlib returning them precisely backward poses challenges often addressed within DSP (Digital Signal Processing) domain or leveraging AI models designed specifically around such tasks..

Engage in practical exercises involving diverse sounds observing alterations each brings forth thereby deepening comprehension underlying principles governing both realms!.

Leave a Comment