An Eye-Catching Raspberry Pi Smart Speaker

[curcuz]’s BoomBeastic mini is a Raspberry Pi based smart connected speaker. But don’t dis it as just another media center kind of project. His blog post is more of a How-To guide on setting up container software, enabling OTA updates and such, and can be a good learning project for some. Besides, the design is quite elegant and nice.

boombeastic_02The hardware is simple. There’s the Raspberry-Pi — he’s got instructions on making it work with the Pi2, Pi2+, Pi3 or the Pi0. Since the Pi’s have limited audio capabilities, he’s using a DAC, the Adafruit I2S 3W Class D Amplifier Breakout for the MAX98357A, to drive the Speaker. The I2S used by that part is Inter-IC Sound — a 3 wire peer to peer audio bus — and not to be confused with I2C. For some basic visual feedback, he’s added an 8×8 LED matrix with I2C interface. A Speaker rounds out the BoM. The enclosure is inspired by the Pimoroni PiBow which is a stack of laser cut MDF sheets. The case design went through four iterations, but the final result looks very polished.

On the software side, the project uses Mopidy — a Python application that runs in a terminal or in the background on devices that have network connectivity and audio output. Out of the box, it is an MPD and HTTP server. Additional front-ends for controlling Mopidy can be installed from extensions, enabling Spotify, Soundcloud and Google Music support, for example. To allow over-the-air programming, [curcuz] is using which helps streamline management of devices that are hard to reach physically. The whole thing is containerized using Docker. Additional instructions on setting up all of the software and libraries are posted on his blog post, and the code is hosted on GitHub.

There’s a couple of “To-Do’s” on his list which would make this even more interesting. Synced audio being one: in a multi-device environment, have the possibility to sync them and reproduce the same audio. The other would be to add an Emoji and Equalizer display mode for the LED matrix. Let [curcuz] know if you have any suggestions.

15 thoughts on “An Eye-Catching Raspberry Pi Smart Speaker

  1. Words will do. I get upset every time someone thinks an audio equalizer is a audio spectrum display. An EQ has controls or not and affects a signal going through it. It is not a display of any kind.
    Ugly. Burnt sides, lumber store blond finish, top heavy and thin footprint tips over easily, flat boxes are bad for speakers, protruding fasteners yet alone visible at all, no tweeter, to say a few.

    1. While you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, this is a little harsh for a hacking website.

      You point on the EQ/Vis mistake is valid. If words don’t mean what they’re supposed to mean, everyone gets confused.

      However, of course the sides are burnt. It has been laser cut. Did you expect the laser to freeze off the unwanted portions? Some people like the look of lasered birch.

      It is top heavy. That’s a fair point. Maybe the next version will address it if you can bring yourself to mention it in a non-jerk fashion.

      How do you know the inside is flat? Do you have internet x-ray vision? I’ve seen a lot of high end audio equipment that looks flat on the outside, but is anything but on the inside.

      Again, protruding fasteners?! Talk about nitpicking! You didn’t even mention the blown out audio. That’s perhaps the only valid critique of the device itself. It is supposed to be a smart speaker. It does the smart part well, the speaker part is lacking. The rest is not relevant. If the maker had wanted a tweeter, it would be present. Perhaps he wanted it to be smaller than a home stereo system. Not every project has to have what you consider to be essential.

    2. Did someone leave the door open again? Seems a redit user has got in again…………….

      If you don’t like something, just move on. No need to dump on peoples work, it’s not cool.

      I like this project a lot.

  2. It seems an intriguing low cost gadget with very nice design. I’m curious to see the projects of you guys that made sterile negative comments. May we have instead a link to your projects so we can finally learn how to make a flagship speaker?

      1. illness is part of life. Doesn’t mean we have to like it, or to accept it. Useless, negative mean criticism doesn’t have to be. People can be polite, and provide helpful remarks rather than “this is shit”.

  3. I need a solution to mount a stacked Pi and speakers together in a neat package and there are little options out there. It doesnt need to be seen as it sits mounted behind a lift car but needs to be protected from dust and damage. I think this case is a good option for my design although I will likely make it more box like rather than slim to get more bass out of the box for the little Pi speakers. I also think it looks professional enough with our company logo burnt into it to sell our product. (a facial recognition 3D scanner connected to a PI music player with a justboom/PoE stack and speakers). Nice job with an awesome customised retro feel.

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