Standalone Hifi MP3 Player

player01This is a short description of the construction of my Hifi MP3-Player, which has been finished in 2006. At that time I was looking for a solution to play MP3s on my stereo from a standalone device. Of course, there have evolved plenty of sophisticated players in the meantime, readily available (like many streaming solutions), and this project has already vanished in my very own hifi history, but it was a fun project anyway! If you want to read about up-to-date digital music reproduction, have a look at the Raspberry PI Squeezelite Streaming Client on these pages.

The case is completely DIY. It is made of wood, primed, laquered and spray painted. The shielding is made of aluminium foil. The front plate is currently made of transparent acrylic (no budget for a better looking glass plate :-|), with transparent blue plastic film behind so you can see the text display. Dimensions fit those of standard hifi equipment, so it should fit well in my hifi rack.

player03Here’s a closeup of the VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display). These are really nifty looking dot matrix displays. The type used in this player is a Futaba M242, with 2*24 characters and parallel interface. The display brightness is adjustable, which is good, because these displays can be really bright. BTW: VFDs look much better than LCDs, and the readability is better, too.

The display is connected to the parallel printer port, and it is driven by a tiny application (written in C by myself) when the player is in menu/service mode. When the MP3-player starts, it gets its commands from the player software (MPXT/MPX Play).

The player is based on DOS, which maybe outdated as an operating system, but has some crucial advantages for this purpose: Fast boot, very low system requirements, and it can be switched off without the need for a shutdown procedure. By the way, it runs very stable with the player software.

The complete operation is done via infrared remote, you only need a monitor/keyboard for system service (e.g. configuration changes, system diagnostics).

player06Not a lot of space left – component overview:

  • top left: HDD
  • bottom left: power supply
  • top right: CPU cooler
  • bottom middle: soundcard
  • mounted on the right case side (top to bottom):
    • infrared receiver
    • fan controller
    • fan connector
  • and a lot of cables.