Old-time Music Player Is Brand New

This looks like a home entertainment center of yore but something’s not quite right. Where is the turntable used to play the music? It turns out that this Danforth Standard Digitrola is digital and doesn’t rely upon wax for an input. [Jonathan Danforth] built it as a show piece and it exhibits fine craftsmanship. A sound driver uses the brass horn and the acoustical chamber to put out what sounds like a fine quality end product.  Hear it playing some Daft Punk in the video after the break. The music comes from an MP3 board inside that has a 50W amplifier and reads the music from an SD card. The only control available to the listener is the brass knob which controls the volume.

[flickr video=4333461422]

14 thoughts on “Old-time Music Player Is Brand New

  1. Beautiful piece. I think the knob looks too new. A wind up crank for the volume would be good.

    Also, I would quickly get tired of listening to a set amount of songs. I could see it gathering dust after the newness wears off.

  2. Personally, I see this as a “proof-of-concept”. I can imagine this guy has thoughts along the lines of end user controls, and also a SD card slot accessible from the outside of the unit, maybe hidden behind a secret panel.

  3. Far out, not for everyone, but what is? With the cheap mass storage available today the set amount of songs needn’t be a problem, unless one limits themselves to period recordings. A good place as any to start building a personal archive is http://www.archive.org/ , I can’t remember the URL there is a page where you can listen to old cylinder recordings, capturing the audio using freely available software.

  4. This would be great combined with a wireless music streaming box, like a Roku, soundbridge, airtunes, etc. Leave the volume control on there, but control it with a remote or with an iPod touch! Sweet!

    Now to search eBay for an old Magnavox horn…

  5. Deja vu!
    i’ve seen that before but idk when where or if its just Deja vu.
    but I wouldnt mind having one. and what jeff-o said, pretty much. there is plenty of room in that box for some wireless action. you could even build an entire computer in there, complete with SSD if you really wanted to. but i wouldndt go that far.. unless i just had too much money.
    cool thingamajig.

  6. would sound even better with a well designed bass port. sounds like the bass is causing everything to distort very slightly, plus the bass sounds very tight, maybe too tight. small bass port on the back would allow it to breathe.

  7. Hi, everyone. Thanks for the comments. Here are a few clarifications:

    I thought for a while about whether or not I should make it controllable. I decided to remove the kind of instant-access / infinite features we’re getting accustomed to so you would just have to deal with it or turn it off. The early draft included .5″ diameter push-buttons (also brass and home-made) for track access.

    I’m no Luddite, mind you. I’ve got a wireless Squeezebox and iPods abound in the house.

    I’m working on a miniature rack to store SD cards in. Each one will contain an entire genre of music including hundreds of tracks.

    Thanks for the tip on the bass port! The mic in the little digicam I was using might be the source of the distortion though. It generally sounds pretty clean the way I’ve equalized it.

    By the way, I’m working on console TV featuring a 6″ diagonal LCD now. :-D It will be very art-deco and feature Ambonya burl facing.

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