Raspi Internet radio with Google Music


It’s not his first Internet radio, but [Matthias]‘ modernization of a classic Bakelite radio is a real, functional piece of art. Not only does it retain the look of an old radio, it also has the capability to listen to streams and his entire MP3 collection through the Internet.

For the software, [Matthias] used jquery to pull down web radio streams and soon figured out how to play all his MP3s through Google Music. This, and a web-based remote for his mobile device, allows the new old-school Internet radio to play everything [Matthias] would ever want to listen to.

The controls for the radio are rotary encoders, with indication provided by a really fabulous numbered LED display (seen above) replacing the 70-year-old tuning dial. These numbers indicate both the current Google Music playlist or the currently playing Internet stream, depending on what mode the selector knob is at.

It’s a beautiful piece of work, and the knobs and dials look like something that could have come from a real 70-year-old radio. That’s a win in our book.


  1. mattbed says:

    Very similar idea to Raspyfi that ive just got running on a hifi at home.
    Though his case blows the factory made RPi cases out the water

  2. TP Baily says:

    Rasberry Pi: The new Arduino.

  3. Lloyd Atkinson says:

    Let’s hope Google don’t decide to remove this service too for no reason.

  4. lwatcdr says:

    Really an impressive build. Now we need someone to start making those old radio cases using a 3d printer. To the people complaining about using a pi for this just to away. It is actually using a good part of the power of the pi.
    As to the rotary encoder I know your pain. Somewhere I may still have some c code I used to make it work but this is the killer. You really need to make it interrupt driven or use some tiny micro to read the encoder and then send something like +4 or -6 steps when ou read the value. Your other choice is compile a custom kernel and enable PREEMPT_RT.

  5. AnthonyD says:

    I am working on something very similar. I am in the process of restoring an old phonograph. And I installed a RPi to run a spotify server (pi music box). http://imgur.com/a/CUYLC#0

    I have no problem with Arduinos or Raspberry Pi’s. They’re cheap and easy for nonengineers (me) to use.

  6. Hirudinea says:

    Looks like a Volksempfänger.


  7. Danjovic says:

    For the rotary encoder problem what about experimenting with V-SUB ? For example: http://obruboff.ru/usb-volume-control/

  8. Joe says:

    We actually make suitcase speakers using those Lepai amps. As far as the noise issue, we found that using a cheap usb power adapter injected a lot of noise. Running it off a battery solved this. We still need a 12V-to-5V source for a usb charger, Any ideas?

  9. Hopefully they didn't... says:

    .. gut the radio and dispose of the innards.

    I can’t tell from the original article if the “box” was just a box, or if it actually had the original equipment inside. I do have to wonder what was going through this persons head when they chose to do this project. I am guessing something like the following:

    “I have this fantastic old radio that is definitely a collectible and worth a lot of money even in non-working condition. Yes, I am going to gut it and most likely destroy the innards, all so I can install a fancy MP3 player in it. Makes perfect sense.”

    A better, and more interesting, hack would have been setting the RaspPi and the original guts up to function in parallel, using the RaspPi’s audio out to control the speaker. But then, if someone wants to destroy a piece of history – kind of like using a classic book to make a ‘stash’ – I guess they’ll never understand it.

    • Matthias says:

      I can only agree with you. I wouldn’t have bought the box if there were original components inside just to make some fancy mp3 player out of it. There are enough collectors in Germany that restore these radios. But the box did only contain the rotten original speaker, not even a back panel. I didn’t even want to drill any new holes into it. So you guessed wrong.

  10. Mario says:

    Try my new program “Google Play Music Proxy” it could help in project like this!


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