How to build a Raspberry Pi jukebox

John Kopischke
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What is Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi is a small credit card sized computer that runs with Linux operating system. The Raspberry Pi projects allow the users to experiment with and discover new projects and programming languages.

Raspberry Pi is ideal on the go with its built-in wireless LAN and Bluetooth connectivity. It comes with the VideoCore IV dual-core processor and sports the 700MHz clock speed. This device is very suitable and efficient for media center and home theater.

Want to know more about Raspberry Pi? Read the top 10 things to know about Raspberry Pi and see our top 10 Raspberry Pi operating systems.

Raspberry Pi projects are easy to go about. They are fun to learn and do. And what more than being able to build your own jukebox? Make the jukebox an automated one with the help of Raspberry Pi.

This device is known for its hobby projects that can be modified according to user’s specific needs. Home automation, home security, CCTV camera, video games console, jukebox and media center are few of the popular projects. Besides, this device is more than just a hobby. It serves as an educational tool also.

The jukebox was the most popular of all the projects and the Raspberry Pi Foundation acknowledges that fact. One thing it does is to attract the youngsters.

How to build a Raspberry Pi jukebox

Setting up a jukebox is a great way to add some personality to your home. You can load it with all of your favorite tunes, choose what’s played, and share your music with family and friends.

A jukebox typically refers to a device with a large collection of songs available for everyone to hear. It has an available hardware platform, usually software to control the music, and speakers to enjoy the tunes.

Raspberry Pi is a micro computer system that can be used for many different types of applications. It is relatively low cost, low power, and packed with connectivity and power. It is an ideal platform for a jukebox.

In this Raspberry Pi jukebox tutorial, we will look at how to create your own music jukebox with a Raspberry Pi, an LCD, an audio DAC, and a speaker. The Raspberry Pi will act as the brains of the jukebox.

We will first install the operating system and then set up all of the other components required for it to function properly. Finally, we will look at how to play music from the device.

What you’ll need:

  • A Raspberry Pi, model B+, 512MB RAM
  • An SD card with a fresh Raspian Wheezy install
  • A set of powered computer speakers for output and input
  • A USB wifi adapter
  • A USB powered hub or a powered USB hub
  • An old USB keyboard
  • A 5V power supply
  • USB speaker
  • RCA female to 3.5mm male cable
  • Pair of RCA female to male splitter
  • 4GB micro SD card
  • A spare computer for remote control
  • A spare Android phone

Building your jukebox

Firstly you will need to have an SD card for your Raspberry Pi. It is essential that you use an SD card that’s designed for a camera as they are made to write to quickly and also able to wipe before you use it.

You will also need a USB keyboard and mouse as the Raspberry Pi has no on-board keyboard or mouse connector.

Once you have your SD card you need to download NOOBs and install it to your SD card using a program such as Win32DiskImager.

Once it has installed you will need to configure your wifi connection using either an ethernet cable or a wifi dongle if you are planning on setting up your Pi as an Internet Radio.

You will need to connect your USB keyboard and mouse to the Pi and connect all your speakers to the 3.5 audio out port near the HDMI ports.

Before you can run the NOOBs installer you will need to connect your Pi to the Internet as the installer will download a raft of files before it will run.

It is also important to configure the monitor settings on your Pi. Whether you are using HDMI or composite you need to change it so that the Pi will display on the correct display.

You will also need to set up your timezone and keyboard layout.

If your audio device is not auto detected then powered external speakers and a headphone amp would be needed.

Best audiophile accessories

For a lot of folks, the Raspberry Pi is an ideal computer audio player. Just plug in an SD card, pop in some music files, and you’ve got a jukebox with all of your songs easily accessible any time you want them.

In this chapter, I'm going to show you how to use a Raspberry Pi to build a jukebox, but you might be a little surprised by what I mean when I use that term. When I say “jukebox,” I’m talking about creating a library of music files all on your Pi, but I'm not expecting you to pull them all off the Internet.

I've had many customers who have created their own CD libraries on their Rapsberry Pi and are super-excited to have their entire digital music collection on tap when they want it. You do not need to rip your CDs to create the files you need to play music. You can use a cloud storage service to access your MP3 files on your Raspberry Pi, or you can do like I did and buy a CD library and rip it all down.