Hi Fi Raspberry Pi – digitising and streaming vinyl

Over at Mozilla HQ (where Firefox, a browser that many of you are using to read this, is made), some retro hardware hacking has been going on.

vinyl record

The Mozillans have worked their way through several office music services, but nothing, so far, has stuck. Then this home-made project, which started as a bit of a joke, landed on a countertop – and it’s stayed.

Matt Claypotch found a vinyl record player online, and had it delivered to the office, intending to tinker with it at home. It never made it that far. He and his colleagues spent their lunch hour at a local thrift store buying up random vintage vinyl…and the record player stayed in the office so everybody could use it.

Potch’s officemates embarked on a vinyl spending spree.

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What could be better? The warm crackle of vintage vinyl, “random, crappy albums” you definitely can’t find on Spotify (and stuff like the Van Halen album above that you can find on Spotify but possibly would prefer not to)…the problem was, once the machine had been set up in a break room, only the people in that room could listen to the cheese.

Enter the Raspberry Pi, with a custom-made streaming setup. One Mozillan didn’t want to have to sit in the common area to get his daily dose of bangin’ choons, so he set up a Pi to stream music from the analogue vinyl over USB (it’s 2016, record players apparently have USB ports now) via an Icecast stream to headphones anywhere in the office. Analogue > digital > analogue, if you like.

The setup is surprisingly successful; they’ve organised other audio systems which weren’t very popular, but this one, which happened organically, is being used by the whole office.

You can listen to a podcast from Envoy Office Hacks about the setup, and the office’s reaction to it.

Mozilla, keep on bopping to disco Star Wars. (I’m off to see if I can find a copy of that record. It’s probably a lot better in my imagination than it is in real life, but BOY, is it good in my imagination*.)

*I found it on YouTube. It’s a lot better in my imagination.