Dial-a-SID Is A Glorious Chiptune Jukebox

Old-school rotary telephones aren’t particularly useful for their original intended purpose in this day and age, but they’re great fun to hack into new projects. [Linus Åkesson] has done just that, with his Dial-a-SID jukebox build. (Video, embedded below.)

The build installs a Raspberry Pi 3 inside the body of the telephone, running a SID chip emulator and loaded up with the High Voltage SID Collection. The Pi inside outputs sound to an external stereo system for playing chiptunes at a party.

The real party piece, however, is that the handset can be lifted and the telephone dialled in order to listen to and select tracks for the playlist. Tracks can be selected by individual codes, by composer, or even by year. In the event the playlist grows empty, the default behaviour can be set to keep playing random tracks in the meantime.

With over 2000 hours of SID music inside, it’s unlikely the Dial-a-SID will run out of tunes anytime soon. We’d love to see a similar interface used for a jukebox hooked up to a modern streaming service, too. If you build one, let us know! Alternatively, consider hooking up your rotary phone to your smartphone. Video after the break.

8 thoughts on “Dial-a-SID Is A Glorious Chiptune Jukebox

  1. Actually, this wrestling with a physical print-out + physical box is a really cool concept. Instead of people randomly tossing tunes from their private device, they’re “forced” to interact with a physical object and probably with each other. Very cool!

  2. Panasonic made some mini-PBX that are compatible with rotary phones. Their KX-T616, KX-TA824 and KX-TAW848 models are pretty available on ebay or from surplus dealers for around $100. Multiple extensions, they work out of the box.

  3. Neat.

    Had to look up what a SID was ‘Sensory Integration Disorder’ or ‘Society for Investigative Dermatology’ . Not sure why you would want to dial that as music ;) . Anyway what does SID mean in this context? Simply a number (index?) associated with a music file? Ie. Dial a song?

    1. I had to look it up too.

      “What’s a SID, you ask? That’s the sound chip Commodore used in the C64, a remarkable chip revered among retro gamers that was way ahead of its time.” -a different HaD article

      And, I agree. The C64 sound chip is really unique.

      1. Thanks. Never worked with the sound system on a Commodore. When I used a Commodore in a college electronics class back when, we were more interested in writing applictions to do peeks and pokes to interface to hardware projects….

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