Melodio Self Mate

A render of the Melodio Self Mate music player with it's front plate removed. It's a grey device with a small screen and navigation wheel, similar to a chunky iPod. It has an IR blaster LED in the top and various exposed screw holes letting everyone know that this is a device you can open.

While the proliferation of the smartphone has caused the personal music player (PMP) market to mostly evaporate, there are still those who prefer a standalone device for their music. The Melodio Self-Mate is one such spiritual successor to the iPod.

Music-only devices really benefit from the wheel interface pioneered by Apple, so we still see it in many of the new Open Source PMPs including this one and the Tangara. The Melodio uses the ubiquitous ESP32 for its brains coupled with a TI PCM5102A DAC and TI TPA6130A2 headphone amp for audio. A slider on the side of the device allows you to switch it between mass storage mode and programming mode for the ESP32.

Since this device packs a little more horsepower and connectivity than the original iPods, things like listening to Spotify are doable once assembled, instead of having to completely rebuild the device. Speaking of building, there are only renders on the GitHub, so we’re not sure if this project has made the jump IRL yet. With more people concerned about the distractions of smartphones, maybe this renaissance of open PMPs will lead to a new golden age of music on the go?

Miss the halcyon days of the iPod? They’re easier to hack now than ever, and if you really want to go old school, how about a podcast on a floppy?

25 thoughts on “Melodio Self Mate

  1. “the wheel interface pioneered by Apple”
    seriously… selecting things via a knob or a series of buttons is a circular pattern was pioneered by apple!?!?
    What was exactly the brilliant thing that was pioneered here? Knobs were nothing new, a list of items on a display was nothing new, placing knobs in a circle isn’t exactly rocket science is it? I do not want to sound negative, but using the word “pioneered” is a bit of an overstatement, isn’t it?
    What am I missing here?

    Regarding the project, I’m sure it great, but there isn’t very much to look at. Again, what am I missing here?

    1. the earlier ipod had an actual rotory encoder iirc, which was replaced with a custom synaptics pad on subsequent models. i had stereos in the 90s with rotory encoders, and some of those supported mp3 burned to disc. it was not the first high capacity mp3 player either. apple gets way too much credit. all they did was made them trendy.

    2. The circular interface was actually very well implemented capacitive “touch screen” that you could use in rotation motion without anything moving.

      I still have that classic iPod and I love the interface. Such easy and natural thing to use.

      1. Pioneered may have been the wrong word to use here, Jan. Fair enough!

        As Jouni says here, “perfected” might be a better term. Apple rarely does things first, but they do usually nail the UI/UX on their devices, and the iPod might be the best of them with the clickwheel, IMO.

        If you’re streaming, a touchscreen works fine, but for local media playback, I really prefer the iPod method.

    3. Why so angry? Someone born in early 2000s likely has only hazy childhood memories of asian-made CRTs and radios with minimalist (or better said – crude) user interfaces, grew up watching flatscreens and enters adulthood when everything – even a toilet flush – is controlled with touchscreens.

      1. After you mentioned toilets, I’m now expecting a future when all toilets are IOT, and either through a hack or a programming error, they all flush at the same time, putting water systems everywhere out of commission, causing mass chaos and riots.

    4. Have you used an iPod? It’s not a knob. It’s a capacitive wheel plus up/down/left/right an OK in the center. It’s one of the few capacitive interfaces that I don’t scream at. All the imitations are noticeably worse to use – especially physical dials over buttons, which in my experience would rotate a click while I tried to press a button, unlike the capacitive wheel that would reject the rotation while clicking.

      1. I don’t have it to hand, but the wheel on my non-ipod was semi-clicky so that it didn’t commonly rotate while you pressed buttons, and since it wasn’t capacitive, you could just feel what you’d done if you accidentally moved the dial. There was a lockout slider for avoiding spurious inputs in a pocket IIRC, but still.

      2. The original iPod has a mechanical wheel. 2nd gen onward had the touch wheel. I personally always thought the mechanical wheel felt superior, but it was prone to breaking.

  2. still wish someone would build a player around the rockbox firmware. rockbox is why my 4th gen ipod still works. it had a number of ports to other players of varying quality with the 4th gens being the better functioning of the batch. not to mention coming stock with a game boy emulator and doom (wads and roms not included). the old ipods will die off and with no new ports, its kind of tied to a sinking ship.

      1. there were a large number of ports. i think the only real requirement of rockbox was memory and cpu. but i think it can run on as low as 4mb. the ipod4 supposedly only had a 90mhz processor. i have dev boards that can out do both of those specs. i think an mmu is also a requirement so most microcontrollers wont cut the mustard, and a raspberry pi compute module is overkill for the job (and will bite you in your battery life). a dac is nice to have but you can use pwm or bit bang i2s if you have to.

  3. Its impossible to build this because they didn’t seem to publish the source code, or even the runtime files

    The github repo in the link is just the 3D files, the creator has a separate repo for the source code, but its empty, with a message directing to their YouTube channel.

    They also have the files on PCBWay

    I can’t find any firmware binaries or source code.

    There is a .obj file but when I downloaded and opened it, its Blender not firmware

    I don’t know why this project was featured, when basically as far as I can see its non-functional vapourware

  4. I still carry my Sansa Clip+ with rockbox on it everyday. I never got into streaming my music although I use YouTube music as my main player, I’d rather have the music files on my device.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.