Turning my old speakers into music: Pi Zero and a tiny amp

I’ve had furniture sized speakers since college (I think maybe I bought these in '94?). They’ve been with me from a little CD player and large amp, to CD changer and large amp, to iPod and large amp. My big amp died and I switched to one of these 50W 2 channel amps for bluetooth. But old iPods are tough to search through for music, Bluetooth is terrible for good quality music, and my Echo doesn’t play my CD collection.

So I bought a raspberry pi zero W, a fast SD card, a fast large thumb drive, and the cheapest little USB DAC you can imagine.

The result? Including the $30 amp I’m guessing I spent a total of $75 and I get my CD collection back playing through my speakers again. And the whole setup’s so small it’s mounted on the back of one speaker. I use a Fire tablet with Volumio in a browser window to select and play songs.

Only bump I hit was trying to use the SD card to play songs. I have a collection of probably 14,000 song files, and even though my SD card was large enough to handle it, the OS was skipping. I suspected my slower (though large) SD card (class 1). Switching to a faster SD card (class 3, still only $6), and putting my library on a thumb drive seems to have fixed this completely.

Next I’ll figure out how to hook up a CD drive.

does the pi zero have a usb input?

Yes, Micro USB, you can connect with a OTG cable.

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Hah. Plugged this $20 portable DVD player (that I already owned), installed NanoSound CD plugin, and it works too. I’m having a lot of fun with this project.


Almost works. When I popped a CD in originally it showed me a list of songs and I assumed it worked. Yesterday I actually clicked play and no sound. Maybe not supported…