3 Replies Latest reply on Mar 31, 2019 7:59 PM by shabaz

    Project suggestion: RaspberryPi AudioTron replacement


      Way back in the day (2001) Turtle Beach released an amazing little device known as the AudioTron.  It is a network audio player.  It connected to a network share, read a "songlist" file on that share, and was able to play MP3s or Internet radio stations over the network.  While not the greatest thing since sliced bread, it was designed to work in a stereo rack and was designed to fit nicely in 1U of space.  It had a huge easy to read 2 line LED display, a remote, and could be accessed and controlled via a built in web interface.


      I was fortunate to get my hands on one for free back in 2003 and I loved it.  It looked amazing in my (long gone) stereo rack and was great for playing tunes while I fixed a laptop.  Turtle Beach stopped production of this device in 2004.  The teeming masses that are the internet continued with some hacks to allow the AT to work even after support stopped, but nothing new since about 2011.  I am rebuilding my stereo rack and would like to add a device with similar functionality.  There are other comperable devices on the market, but we are MAKERS here .  Enter the Raspberry Pi.  A company known as HiFiBerry has developed a Pi hat soundcard that adds high-end audio capabilities to the RasPi.


      My challenge to you is to revive the AudioTron using the RasPi.  It should be compatible with 19" stereo racks, have a nice web interface, be able to play the popular audio formats, and include front panel controls, an LCD display, and if you have time, a remote.  The 19" rack design should give you LOTS of space inside for anything else that may be added.


      Also, there is a network audio player focused Linux distro made for the RasPi already, which should save much work on the brains of this project:  https://volumio.org/


      Check out the HiFiBerry at https://www.hifiberry.com/.  Some info on the AudioTron can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AudioTron.  I can even send you my AudioTron for research purposes if you want, I would want it back eventually tho .  I look forward to seeing what you and your team can come up with should you decide to use this idea for a future show.  I've been a fan since I first found the Ben Heck website back in 2003 and saw your portabalized game system projects.  Thanks, and keep up the good work!!

        • Re: Project suggestion: RaspberryPi AudioTron replacement

          I've about half way done doing exactly this.  Love Volumio  v2 for the Pi3 or RuneAudio (very similar, a few less bells and whistles, but Volumio 2 wont run on an older PI, Rune will).  I've written a python program that updates the display to the current song playing or the date and time if nothing is playing.


          I'm thinking that the next step will be to design a board that will replace the main board of the Audiotron.  It will need to have the AC-DC portion of the power supply on board and the shutdown circuit for the PI.  It would also have ports that will connect through extension wires to the PI.  The Pi will attach through either a GPIO ribbon connector or simply plug in (thinking upside down).  Adjacent will be a GPIO cloned jack for the audio card to plug in (again upside down should work.)  It should have connectors for the LCD, Buttons and Rotary Controller. 


          Could use help designing the board.


          Anyone interested in working on this?

            • Re: Project suggestion: RaspberryPi AudioTron replacement

              Anyone still working on this. Would like to do something like this myself. I have a few audiotrons and am looking to put them to use.



                • Re: Project suggestion: RaspberryPi AudioTron replacement


                  The core of this should be easy with a BeagleBone Black.. it's better for audio than the Pi, due to no need for clock recovery from I2S bitclock - the BBB has an onboard xtal clock for driving an external DAC.

                  If you want to make up an audio board, see here:

                  BBB - Building a DAC - part 2


                  It's straightforward to write some code to transfer an MP3 file and have it play out - and there are plenty of tutorials online about how to build internet radios, they would be compatible with the BBB since it runs Linux.

                  If I was doing it, I'd make a web server run on the BBB, so that you can send a MP3 file via drag-and-drop from a desktop to a web browser, (and optionally control it all from the browser too). If you need some tips on how to do that (not for audio, but the principle is the same) see here:

                  BBB - FPGA / CPLD Programmer for the BeagleBone Black

                  That link shows how to drag a file to a browser window, and have it reach the BBB for subsequent processing.


                  For an audio player, the earlier URL shows the command line to use to play out an MP3 file.

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