GasLight is free for non-commercial use. If you like it, donations are greatly appreciated.


GasLight :: 2013-05-27


GasLight was my first attempt at an iTunes Visualizer. Nothing groundbreaking – it’s essentially yet another frequency spectrum analyzer. It’s pretty customizable, though, and uses a whole bunch of pretty graphical tricks.

Technical details


Version 2 is fully compatible with iTunes 11 - apologies it's taken so long to come out. Since GasLight was first released, Apple have deprecated and/or removed half a dozen frameworks that it used to rely on, so it’s taken a while to rewrite it all. Some of my 9 year old code is pretty hideous, too.

It still has a number of rough edges, particularly in the text handling, but it ought to work fine for the most part, as long as you’re running 10.7 and iTunes 10 or above. I still need to get a Mac developer account so it’ll probably complain that it’s from an unsigned source, I’m afraid.

And no, this won’t run on the Windows version. I use a bunch of Apple specific OpenGL extensions, and the windowing code and configuration options are heavily tied to Mac code. I don’t have any plans to port this in the near future.

Screenshots don’t really do it justice, so just download it and give it a whirl…

Download (1.3MB)

  1. VersionTracker has alerted me to version 0.25 and I tried to download it through VersionTracker, but what I got was version 0.25 again. After that, I checked your site and found that you also offer 0.25 for download. — George Bazhenov    Oct 27, 10:14 AM    #
  2. Hmm. I updated the download URL, so maybe they’re just notifying you of that. There isn’t a new GasLight version out yet, though I’ve recently started working on it again, so it shouldn’t be too far off. Jonathan del Strother    Oct 27, 10:21 AM    #
  3. I just recently upgraded to 10.3.6 and now when I start GasLight it says:

    GasLight : ARB shader support found!

    I have a NVidia 6800 Ultra, and didn’t see this message with 10.3.5. Plus the framerate has droped by about 50.

    The NVidia drivers have been updated in 10.3.6 and Apple claims OpenGL changes. Maybe one of those broke something.

    Thanks. — Brian Bergstrand    Nov 10, 11:29 AM    #
  4. I haven’t yet upgraded to 10.3.6 – I have an external firewire drive and various scary reports have put me off a bit. I’ll take a look at it this weekend.

    However, GasLight finding ARB support is a good thing: it will (should?) give you much better graphics, at the expense of some FPS. How fast is it running on yours now? Jonathan del Strother    Nov 12, 06:24 AM    #
  5. Installed on my 867MHz PB 12” and it runs very fast and smooth up to mid 90 FPS sustained. System remains very responsive, even playing a fully-streched screen in background and Safari, Firefox, Dreamweaver CS, and Entourage running!

    Lots of settings to play with, even most demanding settings don’t slow down below 40FPS even streched full screen. Must use my puny GeForce MX 4-something GO instead of the CPU.

    Keep up the excellent work. I’ve tried a few iTunes plug-ins but none have been as good as Apple’s. This is different and I appreciate the speed. Few programs are written this cleanly today. — Scott Shepard    Nov 15, 11:55 AM    #
  6. This is the greatest iTunes Visualizer plugin I’ve ever seen, after evaluating quite a few. It is beautifully elegant, displaying the waveform (what I’m ACTUALLY interested in) with great effects without obscuring the actual data. It’s great to be able to change the style of the frequency scale, and the customizibility is great. For a sub-1.0 release, it’s fantastic. I look forward to seeing it on a more powerful machine thand my 700MHz G3 iBook. All I can recommend is to improve the performance, if that is even technically possible (it is already stunning on my shitty machine). I am highly considering donating to the artist of this great work. Scott Goodson    Nov 16, 02:12 AM    #
  7. You know what? Adding to my previous comment, I do have one feature request: some application that can access the plugin and some song file, and export a quicktime movie of arbitrary frame rate and codec-processing time be damned! The G-Force plugin has already done this-too bad I hate even the most recently improved version of the visualizer in comparison to GasLight. Scott Goodson    Nov 16, 02:38 AM    #
  8. —However, GasLight finding ARB support is a good thing: it will (should?) give you much better graphics, at the expense of some FPS. How fast is it running on yours now?—
    That must be it, 10.3.6 must have enabled ARB shaders for the 6800 which reduced the frame rates. I was gettting ~240 fps with 10.3.5 and 10.3.6 is now ~175 fps.

    Thanks for the work! — Brian Bergstrand    Nov 16, 02:07 PM    #
  9. Awesome visuals, runs very smoothly on my dual 500 G4. When I drag the iTunes window from one of my Radeon 8500 displays to one driven by a Rage 128, iTunes crashes. I’ve probably got an unusual setup so don’t worry too much. Also, the visuals seem to be a fraction of a second behind the music, maybe an option to add a slight audio delay could be built in? Keep up the great work! — James Allan    Nov 17, 03:29 AM    #
  10. I’m running a 1.5 GHz G4 PB with a 128MB Radeon 9700 – so why do I only get 40fps tops, and even then only for the less demanding settings? Something must be up somewhere, especially when with an 867 MHz you can get 90fps. I’ve got it set at 1280×854, which is native, I believe. Can anybody help? Anyone who’s ever suffered from fps anxiety knows exactly how i feel. Hey, everyone’s got neuroses.

    Oh, by the way: fabulous visualliser. — Jeremy Mahadevan    Nov 17, 10:30 PM    #
  11. When I drag the iTunes window from one of my Radeon 8500 displays to one driven by a Rage 128, iTunes crashes

    Ooops. That’s due to the lack of PBuffer support on the Rage128, but it’s not too nice that it actually crashes on you. I’ll try and fix that for the next release.

    I’m running a 1.5 GHz G4 PB with a 128MB Radeon 9700 – so why do I only get 40fps tops, and even then only for the less demanding settings?

    Actually, GasLight is supposed to only run at 40fps, so as not to slow down the rest of your system. But for some reason iTunes is ignoring my timing settings and so the fps seems to be limited by the graphics card.

    Not sure why, but the Radeons don’t do too well with some of the techniques I’m using – probably either PBuffers or the shader effects. The recent Geforce cards just leave them standing… There’s something wrong somewhere, but without hardware to test it on, I’m having trouble pinning things down. I’m running a 9600 on a Powerbook myself, so I was pretty surprised by reports of 200 fps coming in from the G5 / Geforce users.

    Turning off glow effects in the options panel will boost your fps, but IMO the visual tradeoff isn’t worth it.

    I’ll try and figure out why things are running so slowly over the next couple of weeks. Jonathan del Strother    Nov 18, 05:01 AM    #
  12. Great visualizer… just perfect, not too much candy, it’s just right.

    Since there’s a comments thread, I’ll post a request too: for Autopilot mode, it would be nice if we could specify the range of variation for each slider… not sure how you’d work that with the GUI, but it would be nice for user customization.

    Thanks for listening =) Santaduck    Nov 19, 03:55 AM    #
  13. Very great graphics. This is definitly the nicest visualizer I’ve ever seen for iTunes. Unfortunatly it is slowing down my system graphics (iMac G5 1.8GHz 17”). Could you lower the thread for the visualizer? It shouldn’t interfer with systemgraphics.

    Keep up your great work! — meanboy    Nov 19, 08:15 AM    #

    of course the guinness theme was my favorite part. well, that’s not entirely true, but i did get a warm fuzzy feeling when i saw that one. keep up the amazing work. — thelip    Nov 25, 12:48 AM    #
  15. can apple get any better? my god… a long time fan of winamp on pc, itunes just continues to impress me the past few years (i am now a hardcore apple fan i think)... and with this visualizer… bloody hell… don’t be too hard on yourself. your artwork, technical skills, and design vision, will take you places… i know, i’ve been lucky to see some of where talent can take you. sunil    Dec 6, 11:19 AM    #
  16. Could you lower the thread for the visualizer It shouldn’t interfer with systemgraphics

    Yeah, I’m going to try running my own separate thread for the visualizer. There’s something a little screwy going on when you leave iTunes to control the timings.

    don’t be too hard on yourself

    Ehhh, I’m natually self-deprecating – don’t worry about me :)
    The rest of your comment is really appreciated, though. I’m currently trying to persuade various graphics companies to hire me – it’s going a little slowly, to say the least… Jonathan del Strother    Dec 7, 05:18 AM    #
  17. wrong download suffex in the name needs
    dmg insted of php for proper download of
    latest version — mac forever    Jan 18, 03:38 PM    #
  18. #17 – what browser are you using?
    Just curious: I think I’ll remove the php redirect, anyway – external sites have an irritating habit of linking directly to the file which is making my tracking stats somewhat worthless. Jonathan del Strother    Jan 18, 06:39 PM    #
  19. Found a path leading back to GasLight from google in some console.log messages. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of entries such as:
    ## Component Manager: attempting to find symbols in a component alias of type (sdec/MSC7/FhG )
    ## Component Manager: attempting to find symbols in a component alias of type (sdec/MSC8/FhG )

    Again, it was noted that they are issues with GasLight. I’m running all up-to-date iTunes/QT on OS X.3.7 Server.

    Please advise. — ylon    Feb 2, 01:06 PM    #
  20. Hmmm…I’m guessing you’re referring to this ?
    That’s the first I’ve heard of the problem – MBHockey never emailed me about it. I’m sceptical that it’s anything to do with GasLight – I don’t do anything that should require Component Manager. I’ll keep an eye out for it…
    What system are you running? Jonathan del Strother    Feb 2, 01:21 PM    #
  21. Guess what, I found the way to dig down and troubleshoot this issue. All you have to do is to open up the and then simply watch your console.log, clear it, start up QuickTime and then you will see the errors. If you dig into /Library/QuickTime you will see all of the codecs installed for QT. I simply started removing them alphabetically and found that several codecs were causing these similar log entries, but found one component that caused the huge number. I pulled it out and voila, it seems to have cut the number of entries down incredibly. I still have some entries, but they don’t appear to be that harmful, but I really don’t know. The culprit I found was an MPEG 3 codec that popped in there from who knows where (hope its not needed, but I’ll find out eventually). This probably ought to be reported to Apple. — ylon    Feb 2, 01:47 PM    #
  22. OH, and FYI, I’ve had GasLight working in the background all this time and it appears not to have affected anything in console.log at all. — ylon    Feb 2, 01:48 PM    #
  23. Sorry, ;) I did finally pick something up in console.log for GasLight. Probably came up while I was fiddling with the prefs:
    2005-02-02 13:49:49.973 iTunes8703 [NSImage imageNamed]: Couldn’t find image named Gaslight
    Feb 2 13:52:21 localhost_name last message repeated 20 times — ylon    Feb 2, 01:55 PM    #
  24. Mmm, that message is irritating. There appears to be no way of removing it : Cocoa tries to find Gaslight.png, but decides to look in the iTunes folder first, and raises the error. It then checks the GasLight plugin bundle and finds it.

    That said, you shouldn’t be getting it 20 times. You weren’t madly quitting & restarting iTunes, were you? Jonathan del Strother    Feb 4, 05:52 AM    #
  25. No, I wasn’t… :) Sorry for the hiatus. — ylon    Feb 14, 06:24 AM    #
  26. Heya
    I do really like the gaslight visualiser but I’m being pretty stupid – how is it customisable? I haven’t worked out how to change the display / visuals ect at all….Thanks! — Adam Wilkinson    Apr 17, 02:22 PM    #
  27. While the visualizer is active, click the options button that appears in the top-right of the iTunes window (the one that replaces the Browse button).

    IMO, that button is very non-obvious. I didn’t spot it myself until someone pointed it out for me. Jonathan del Strother    Apr 17, 03:08 PM    #
  28. Freakin’ Sweet. That should be sufficient :)

    Another note, when explaining where the options button is to my younger brother over the phone, something that should be noted is that the options button is only visible if you are NOT running the visualizer in Fullscreen mode. That along with the above post should cover all the bases. — Ben Strickland    Apr 27, 04:49 AM    #
  29. Awsome… Really…

    Two suggestions. It would be nice to save and select colors independently of the rest of the parameters. Once I find a color combination that I like, I would like to be able to easily apply it to the rest of the saved presets the way color maps can be applied to regions of fractals.

    Very interesting effects occur when moving the sliders. Simple functions to modulate the parameters could be very cool indeed. Now this could get way out of hand, but… User defined functions? Functions that take input from the spectrum analyzer??? Plugins for the plugin??? I’ll stop now; but if you ever need ideas to take a simply fascinating creation and complicate beyond belief, feel free to ask :) — Ken McKee    May 20, 01:02 PM    #
  30. Looks great! However, if I try to go to fullscreen mode when itunes is on a second display, it doesnt work. I’m on Tiger 1.4.1, iTunes 4.8(31), and 15”Powerbook Al 1Ghz paul    May 20, 02:59 PM    #
  31. Paul : GasLight is probably set to a fullscreen resolution which isn’t supported on the 2nd display. You can change that in the options panel.
    I might try and fix this automatically whenever iTunes is moved to a new display…

    Ken : The function-controlled parameters are a nice idea…I’ll bear it in mind, but don’t expect them anytime soon. Jonathan del Strother    May 26, 06:21 PM    #
  32. Hey very cool, i dont like Apple very much but this visualization madee me love it! now i cant get off it KrisNET    May 26, 11:16 PM    #
  33. As a fellow mac developer, I’m extremely impressed with GasLight. It’s beautiful, functional, and best of all, EFFICIENT. Hats off to your mad coding skillz! Andrew Garber    May 27, 06:08 AM    #
  34. I used to have an old version of GasLight and worked on my old G3 B/W. I replaced it with version 0.42 and now it doesn’t even show in the iTunes visualizers menu. Any suggestions? — Tulio    Jun 9, 03:29 AM    #
  35. I cannot get it to show up in the iTunes menu, no matter which of the 2 locations I use. BTW, I have G-Force also. When I look in my Preferences at the file I see G-Force and the iTunes Visualizer, but no Gaslight. If I force iTunes to create a new plist, still no Gaslight.
    10.3.8 eMac G4 1.25MHz Fenton Jones    Jul 11, 03:45 PM    #
  36. I’m sorry to disagree, but I think GasLight is a little groundbreaking. I thought that it was a lost component of iTunes, as it works so smoothly and fits in perfectly with Apple’s UI rules. (Not to mention is easier to use and much more full featured than others.) You did an excellent job. (I don’t think I’ll ever use the iTunes supplied one again… unless I get stuck on a beige box.)

    Keep up the good work! Ankalon    Jul 18, 07:27 PM    #
  37. Gaslight 0.42 is great but it crashes under iTunes 5.0. I am running Tiger. — Soochon    Sep 12, 08:57 AM    #
  38. GasLight is definitely the best visualizer I’ve ever used. Nothing else comes close in any measure. — Harley    Sep 27, 02:15 AM    #
  39. Please port to windows. =( — Max    Oct 20, 09:19 AM    #
  40. Hey,
    Someone in my office downloaded gaslight and installed it. I am on a Powerbook G4 running Tiger. Gaslight was installed and now my lcd screen looks to be reverted back to 256 colors, and I cant change it back. And it only happens with certain users. Has anything like this ever happened? And do you know how to fix it?


    — eric    May 11, 04:52 PM    #
  41. Any chance of a Universal Binary?

    — Robyn Minkler    Jun 8, 03:27 AM    #

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