VU Meter Record Player Lights It Up


[Michaël Duerinckx] was given a turntable for his last birthday from his fiancée — since then he’s started collecting records like nobodies business. But about a month ago he started itching to do an electronics project — he decided to upgrade his record player to include a VU Meter!

As he began designing he soon realized he didn’t have all the tools he needed to do this project right — a perfect excuse to go check out his local makerspace, SoMakeIt!

He started prototyping the VU Meter on a breadboard, and opened up the record player – it was like this thing was made to be hacked. Two free connections off the power supply to power his circuit, bingo!

After figuring out all the connections and testing it off of the record player he finally had a design that worked. It was time to make his very own PCB for it. He’s uploaded the schematic to GitHub in case anyone is interested in doing something similar on their own. Using SoMakeIt’s facilities, and with help from a fellow maker [Dave], [Michaël] was able to etch a PCB to his design, populate it, and test it successfully. Now he just had to drill some holes into his record player and install the LEDs.

Speaking of VU Meters, have you ever seen one this large?

12 thoughts on “VU Meter Record Player Lights It Up

  1. Very refined install, nice job, and I’m glad he addressed the full-on LED’s in the sample video above, as it needed some attenuation.

    Oh, I shouldn’t have looked at the opened up turntable in the build article, plastic and fiberboard, I shivered and thanked myself for never selling my workhorse Techniques DD/TT.

    Glad to see a new interest in vinyl though, now all we need is for the younger set to rediscover high-fidelity and we’ll be back to where we were in the mid 70’s, yay!

    And no offense meant with that last quip, it’s not their fault, mp3 is what those generations were offered, but I chose flac because I knew what was missing.

    1. Yea, although the hack is done very well and looks cool I to thought the turntable looked really cheap (read total chinese crap)! I guess it’s good that he didn’t hack (and possibly ruin) a nice turntable.

    2. Ha, yeah, the record player is definitely a cheap one, but it does the trick pretty well for simple, straightforward playback. I wouldn’t really want to open up a £100+ one, let alone drill holes in it.

      Thanks for the compliments!

    3. I’m just wondering what you were expecting from a $65 turntable with included pre-amp, RIAA correction, ADC and USB sound support for recording direct to PC.

      Some people like vinyl for the novelty and the cover art, not because they believe that vinyl gives the only true high-end solution for their tube amps.

  2. Love it. Another vinyl collector in the making – my neighbour’s 14 year old recently asked me what “they” were.
    BTW – Not to be a Grammar Nazi (well maybe) but I suspect that should be “nobody’s business”.

  3. If he will ever build another one, i have an idea:
    Dont drill the holes completely trough, let there some wood, maybe 1mm or less, on the upper side. Hence you have the look of the untouched turntable and the cool effect :)

  4. The hack I’m waiting for is a cheap direct drive turntable with upgraded motor control. I was looking for turntable for myself and found no turntable with wow and flutter as low as in technics SL-1200 (at least cheaper than price=(SL-12xx)x4). Today with all this cheap dsp uC like dsPIC stable platter rotation should be quite easy done even on some cheap turntables but it appears that the only idea to improve this parameter is heavier platter.

    Of course please correct me if I’m wrong.


    p. s.
    I like this hack anyway – it makes this cheap TT look a bit unique.

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