# How to understand FFT results of scipy.fftpack?

I calculated FFT for a speech wav-file using scipy.fftpack. How do I read (understand) the return of FFT? I have read that it supposed to be like so: y is 0Hz loudness, y is 1Hz loundess, ... y[n] is nHz loudness ... But seems like it is not like that exactly.

Q1: What will I get when I do abs(y)? I know that we get list of complex numbers from FFT and need to square() or abs() them. But what we will have after that? Is this Decibels?

Q2: Why do we need normalize wav-data before doing FFT? What does depend on this? Before and after normalization I get different results from FFT. If I do normalization, then results of FFT are measured by hundreds, if I don't the results are measured by 1.x small values... Is this Decibels also?

# Read wav-data

# this is a two channel soundtrack, I get the first track
wavdata = data.T

# this is 16-bit track, b is now normalized on [-1,1)
wavdata = wavdata / (2.0**15)


Q3: What is length of the returned list from FFT? Seems like the length of the result depends on length of given sound file... But in Q1 I supposed to get list of frequencies and their loudness independently from a given source of data. For now, if I cut in half wavdata I will get twice shorter resulting list from FFT...

Complete simple code:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from scipy.fftpack import fft
from scipy.io import wavfile

# this is a two channel soundtrack, I get the first track
a = data.T

# calculate fourier transform
y = fft(a)

# show
plt.plot(abs(y), 'g')
plt.show()


Q4: What do I process results form FFT to get it in form Db vs Hz?

Wav-file could be found here: https://aacapps.com/lamp/voices Thanks.

• Indeed, these are too many questions in one. To start with, it’s no true that y corresponds to 1 Hz. You must calculate the frequencies of corresponding bins, which are separated by fs/N - N being the size of FFT.
– jojek
Feb 1, 2018 at 20:23