Linamp, The IRL Winamp

Anyone who first experienced music on computers using Winamp probably shares a memory of seeing that classic UI for the first time. Everything about it was a step ahead of the clunky, chunky interfaces we were used to, and even though it was supposed to be unobtrusive, it was hard to tear your eyes off that silky-smooth spectrum analyzer bouncing out your favorite MP3s.

Recapturing a little of the Winamp magic is the goal of Linamp, an physical version of the classic media player. It reproduces the Winamp UI on a touchscreen LCD with a wide aspect ratio that almost perfectly matches the original layout. Behind the display is a Raspberry Pi 4 with a 32 GB SD card, with all the important connections brought out to a board on the back of the case. The case itself is a treat, as it borrows design elements from another bit of retro gear, the mini-rack audio systems that graced many a bookshelf in the 1980s — and powered many high school parties too, if memory serves.

To recreate the case, [Rodmg] designed a sheet metal case and had it custom-made from anodized aluminum by PCBWay. He also printed a bezel for the display that looks very similar to the Winamp window border, complete with control icons. Where the build really shines, though, is with the work [Rodmg] put into the software. He matched the original Winamp UI very closely, both in terms of layout and performance. The pains he went to to get the spectrum analyzer working, including a deep dive into FFT, are impressive.

The results speak for themselves on this one, and hats off to [Rodmg] for the effort and the ride on the nostalgia train. We don’t know if the recent announcement of Winamp’s impending open-sourcing will have much impact on this project, but it might result in a flood of new Winamp builds.

57 thoughts on “Linamp, The IRL Winamp

    1. I don’t see any problem with a touch screen, and it can flip between modes – for example, the main winamp screen, the equaliser, and the playlist.

      That said, I hate car radios that are touchscreen. When I’m driving I don’t want to have to look at a screen to (1) see where a damn button is that in the previous version was somewhere else, and (2) that when I pressed that ‘button’, the radio actually registered that press.

      1. I am the exact same way, while I feel touch screens are useful where they are deserved, I really hate that there’s been a push to put touch screens _everywhere_ and I don’t want touch screen only in my car.
        I have a older car from 2016, and while it has its fancy bells and whistles like a back up camera, the only things the center dash has to worry about is a clock, my music, the AC and the Bluetooth if a call comes in.
        Most of the controls are done with knobs and buttons and I don’t have the issues I have been hearing about from Tesla owners with errors popping up while they are driving…

    1. Good point. But what would happen when you’d press it? Would it explode or just magically disappear? On my computer it magically disappear, but in real life that isn’t possible yet, or is it?

  1. I still use winamp. I was thinking of getting one of these LCDs and set it up below my main monitor just for it. Or the larger (11″) ones in portrait, so that the playlist fits better.
    Only issue is that winamp does not like UI scaling, it scales the font size and the “overall” size independently. You could end up with a 500% scaled UI with minuscule fonts, or the other way with huge fonts which does not fit the window.

    Btw, what’s up with OtterCastAmp?

  2. Winamp? A decent replacement for the utter turd that was Windows Media Player… But that was almost 25 years ago when Windows XP was all new and exciting and my music taste consisted of a single Green Day album.

    But it sucks when compared to Foobar2000. This is the layout I’ve been using since… too long ago to remember, maybe 2007?

    Bands on the left, songs on the right. Usability above all else, no need for all that skeumorphic crap.

    1. Funny, I felt the opposite. I used winamp for ages and was told by friends to try foobar multiple times over the years and I always walked away feeling like it was inferior to the winamp experience. Never kept it installed.

      Now winamp… That’s one of the first things I install on my main PC when I decide to reinstall windows.

    2. Foobar 2000 is ready to go on my old android tablet for tomorrow’s street fair to DJ. I have tried other non invasive players but dislike colored up “3D’ graphic displays. I don’t need album art either, just text. Many files are custom all are in group folders. I be cool to a box for that.

  3. Oh my. I must have this. The most useful thing anybody could have in a set up is a hardware based music player.
    I would love this in a 19 inch rackmount..
    I know half decent music players are 10 a penny now but Winamp was always special and always loved.
    It just works.🥰

  4. Shut-Up-And-Take-My-Money! ™

    Hopefully if the author won’t make a product out of it, some Chinese company will. Of course in that case it would be closed source and full of sub-par knock off components, but as long as it’s hackable I see no problems.

  5. Nah, touchscreen doesn’t count as IRL Winamp. Should have physical LCDs, buttons and sliders with RGB backlight to change color from green to red, as on original.

  6. I still use Winamp to this day. Playing Justin Johnston’s Rough Edges as I write. Would be fantastic to have this sitting atop my stereo receiver plugged in to the AUX input.

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