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XMas Jukebox

entertainment #linux #floss #debian #music #raspberrypi
Estimated time to read: 3 min.
Sa 29 Dezember 2018

Just how old-school we are… Our XMas jukebox usually consists of a couple of audio CDs and the radio/CD deck in the living room. Which, in itself, is not really wrong. By no means. But I was tired of changing the CDs once in a while when all the tracks where played. Especially as it disrupts the spirit of the evening, when all are gathered to celebrate some quality time together.

So I set myself the target to set up a jukebox with the RaspberryPi. Which, to be honest, was not that complicated as I already had an USB sound thingy lying around from some time before when the on board sound chip of a computer from a friend was not properly working and also had some cheap boxes attached to my computer (bur rarely used as O don’t really like listening to music on the PC). So all the basic parts of the jukebox were already in place. I just needed some way to operate it.

Screenshot of Volumio on my desktop computer

And yes, I really did the 1st run of the jukebox simply by putting a Rasbian on a SD card, log into via SSH from the Jolla and then use commandline tools like ogg123 and mpg123 to play the audio files ;-)

But the rest of the family should have a chance to access the audio collection as well during the evening in case I had forgotten to remove another copy of Last Christmas and the song had to be skipped right now. As the year was running out of days I put aside my initial idea to build my own play music in the LAN app and went to my prefered search engine to search for already existing projects.

Screenshot of Volumio in a side panel of Vivaldi

What I found was Volumio a Debian GNU/Linux based distribution that offers something like OpenELEC with Kodi but for audio files, web radios and podcasts. The installation is simple: put the Volumio image on the SD card and then boot up the RasPi. One then needs to configure the network access. Afterwards a pleasant looking web interface is presented which gives you easy access to

  • the music collection (sorted by artists, albums, genre and as put on the filesystem),
  • playlists,
  • web radio stations (you can add your own if missing),
  • podcasts

and so on. I added the USB sound card, which was detected as output device automatically and a USB thumb-drive for storing the music collection. Done, basically as the box currently has no nice case. But this was about the sound, not the looks. And the sound of the jukebox is as good as I could hope for. Far enough for background music and listening to some podcasts.

As it is a web interface the jukebox is accessible from any device that offers a browser. Computer, tablets, smart phones and so on. My set of external boxes is powered via USB, and the power supply from the RaspberryPi is enough to power them up. So it is a one power plug solution with plenty access possibilities.

I’ve placed the interface into the side panel of my Vivaldi browser and as shortcut-application on the Jolla. Others have simply put a bookmark in the browsers on their devices.

Volumio offers a couple of features I have not tested (like the alarm function or the sleeper mode) and many, many addons (access to streaming services e.g.). And the interface is really nice and intuitive. I don’t think this jukebox will suffer the same fate as the XMas decoration does, and vanish from the surface till next year.

Only drawback I found so far is, that the RSS/Atom feed offered by some podcasts was not understood. But most were, so I assume quirks with those specific feeds.


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