Tiny MP3 module is perfect for your next project

tiny_embedded_mp3_module

If your next project needs the ability to play MP3s but you don’t have a lot of room to spare in your enclosure, [Boris] has just the thing you need. His tiny embedded MP3 module supports playback of up to 65,536 songs or as many as you can fit on a 16GB microSD card, which isn’t bad in the least.

The module relies on a PIC24F for input and control, while a VS1011 handles all of the MP3 decoding responsibilities. He says that the module would be great for voice-enabled vending machines, telephone systems, cars, and more.

With such a wide range of possible applications, he decided that the module should be able to support several different input methods. The board can be controlled via a set of digital input buttons, which is perfect for direct human interaction, while it also supports serial control for scenarios where it is part of a larger embedded system.

Of course, we’ve seen tiny MP3 players like this before, but we like the fact that this module was designed to operate in standalone mode or as a component in a larger device. Of course all of the device’s schematics, code, and a BoM are available, allowing you to build your own if you are comfortable with SMD soldering.

22 thoughts on “Tiny MP3 module is perfect for your next project

  1. Looks like a nice platform for a lot of projects. You guys who would like to see this manufactured should suggest it to a company like seeedstudio.com or Sparkfun. Seems right up their ally.

  2. Price isn’t surprising given the low-quantity pricing of the VLSI MP3 codecs.

    Weird thing is, their patent-unencumbered Vorbis player is exactly the same price as their patent-encumbered (and licensed) MP3 player chips. Production volumes at work?

    1. I think they have too much competition from Chinese fabless IC houses who tend to put out several variants of broadly the same silicon targeted at very specific niches. E.g. Mountain View basically has two MP3 decoder dies, both feature a preprogrammed DSP, a user OTP 8051, voltage regulator and audio amp and a bunch of specialised I/O but there are at least half a dozen package options for each with just a subset of the I/O brought out to pins.

      You pick the specific variant appropriate for your product, it’s very cheap as the die inside is being made in volume, and in theory you can assemble it with the absolute minimum of external components.

      With VLSI chips you still need an external microcontroller, flash interface, etc, and then have to develop code from scratch for your particular combination of parts.

      1. Its exactly the same in low end camera market. $9 keychain 720p cameras have China designed mjpeg DSP + 8051 abomination. Its crude, cumbersome to program, but it works and is extremely cheap and easy to make on old FAB lines (190nm? maybe even bigger).
        Big companies over engineer, Chinese hack together cheapest and often not the best (from technical standpoint) solutions at 1/10 the price and win the market.

      2. Actually, I believe the VS1000 can run directly off of NAND or SPI flash, and I recall it having the ability to read off an SD card with no external micro, but I don’t remember if it needed to bootstrap off of SPI flash first to do that. Not an 8051, though, so not as customizable.

      3. Our old fab center in California spent Millions of $$ to eleminate or deal with highly toxic waste in environmentally sound ways.

        Our new plant in China (5 years old actually) just dumps it’s waste directly into the local sewer.

        The savings is passed onto the consumer.

  3. * Cheaper to dismantle a chinese mp3 player (LCD+flash memory inlcuded)

    * Better use a low cost pic, 24F seems overkill to manage the VLSI chip, or use a DSPIC and to decode MP3 directly without another chip!

  4. I have a project that could use this module; but I could just as easily get a $8 MP3 player off of DealExtreme and do the same thing.

    I am all for supporting open hardware, but I’ve got to the draw the line somewhere.

  5. It is not supposed to be an ipod replacement. It is for embedded audio files like in a museum display, or halloween prop, etc. But sparkfun has a couple variations for about the same price. So $40-$50 seems in the ballpark for these types of “off the shelf” TTL or serial controllable players.

  6. Big companies over engineer, Chinese hack together cheapest and often not the best (from technical standpoint) solutions at 1/10 the price and win some markets. Fixed it for you.

  7. This does not make any sense. It’s not like those sd cards didn’t have enough capacity to hold uncompressed audio. Those you can play on any µC without a decoder chip. Hell, it’s possible to even play many samples at the same time.

  8. Any idea what happens when it finishes the track it’s playing? Does it just play the next one, or does it repeat, or just stop?

  9. MDFly has been out of these for a while, but as of today they were back in stock. I ordered 4. Now if I can find a ‘simple’ keypad interface circuit for it…

  10. Appreciate this is a newbie query, but are their any tutorials or pdf’s for this type of project to actually develop some thing like this or a variant in order to spoof cd car changer, as dad has old Fiat Brava 2001 and still uses tape player, though is does show cd changer options in boot. has a Din socket.

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