Pi Musicbox 0.5 Released

Pi MusicBox Logo


Have an extra Raspberry Pi kicking around? Pi MusicBox provides a way to quickly turn it into a standalone streaming device that can fetch music from tons of sources. The latest release of Pi MusicBox adds a bunch of new features.

We took a look at this software over a year ago, and noted that it made streaming Spotify easy, and had support for controlling tracks using Music Player Daemon (MPD). The newest release supports AirPlay, DNLA, Google Music, SoundCloud, and several other music sources.

Since the analog audio output on the Pi isn’t great, Pi MusicBox includes support for a variety of USB sound cards. It’s also possible to use the HDMI port for digital audio output, which can be connected into your home theatre system.

If you want to build a standalone music device, this looks like a great place to start. The user community has built a variety of projects that run this software, which are featured on the Pi MusicBox homepage.

Pan Flute Hero


The latest creation in the never-ending collection of “____ Hero” instruments is this Raspi-infused pan flute, built by [Sven Andersson] and his team at the 2013 WOW Hackathon. The flute itself consists of varying lengths of bamboo from a local flower shop, cut short enough to be hand-held while still hiding the Pi from the front side. In the spirit of other ‘Hero’ instruments, the pan flute has no real musical functionality. Each pipe houses what appears to be an electret microphone breakout board, which they kept in place by sealing off the end of the pipe with glue.

The sensors connect to the GPIO connector on the Raspi, which communicates to a local TCP/IP server the team ran as a controller hub. The game is also their original creation, written entirely in LUA. They turned to Spotify to find suitable material for the player to experience, creating playlists with actual pan flute songs and using the libspotify SDK to access the music. You can see the end result of the project in a short demo video below.

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Home audio and lighting taken over by the Raspberry Pi


We’re beginning to see a lot of momentum building for using Raspberry Pi boards as the basis of your home automation. This latest offering from [Iain Hamilton] combines lighting and audio control through a single web interface. His frontend is run as a web page from the RPi board. It even includes separate layouts for mobile devices and computers in order to maximize use of the screen real estate.

Three buttons at the top of the interface allow him to configure the settings and switch between lighting and audio controls. This audio control screen issues commands to the Spotify client running on the Pi. The Mopidy package takes care of almost everything (as we’ve seen with other single-board computer Spotify servers). Future iterations will offer other streaming services like SoundCloud. [Iain's] home lighting system uses X10 modules for control. He’s using a USB dongle to facilitate control of that system.

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Raspberry Pi as a Spotify server with MPD control


The Raspberry Pi has been very popular as a streaming music player. Sure, the only audio out option on the board is an analog stereo jack, but you can use a USB audio device to improve upon that if you wish. [Wouter van Wijk] wanted to use his RPi as a Spotify server. It’s a bit tricky to get everything configured for this, so he decided to give back by publishing a ready to use Spotify server image for the Raspberry Pi.

The project is call the Pi MusicBox. Like some of the RPi Pandora setups we’ve seen he included the ability to use the hardware as an AirPlay device too. To connect to the Spotify service he uses the Mopidy package. It can also play tracks from local storage (including the home network). It’s even capable of mixing the two sources in the same queue. Possibly the best part is that it can be controlled with any Music Player Daemon (MPD) client like the smart phone screenshots seen above.

If you’re interested, check out his GitHub repo for the project.