Something old, something new.
Stained wood, brushed aluminum, and solid switches were staples of yesterday’s stereos. Today it’s connectivity and immediacy through wireless technology and mobile devices that define the most feature-rich music systems. Combine these notions and you get something that preserves the experience of vintage Hi-Fi audio gear while remaining practical and relevant today.
To capture the vibe of something old, the best way to do it is to use stuff that's actually old. Gathered off of eBay, Craigslist, pawn shops, and from my own arsenal, most of the components came with a few years behind them.
The turntable mechanics are from a Yamaha YP-D4 (1978), the equilizer a JVC SEA-10 (1976), and the CRT is an Emerson from the 90s. Creating something new with second hand items is half the fun of it. Re-imagining how they're used and giving them a second life is a fun challenge with a great payoff.
The aesthetics, with the wood, brushed aluminum, and braided cloth cords, are also heavily inspired by vintage Hi-Fi gear. The knobs authentic, coming off of an old Peavey mixer.
At the heart of the device lies a Linux driven Raspberry Pi. It operates as the Wi-Fi receiver, allowing music to stream wirelessly from any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer. Compatibility extends across most digital libraries, including Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora.
The Pi serves as a platform for many possibilities. It can also operate as an output device, streaming music from the record player out to other WiFi enabled audio speakers.
The speakers here are powered by a Klipsch ProMedia amplifier, feeding two stereo channels and an 8” subwoofer. Both channels have two mid-range drivers and a crossover splitting out a high frequency tweeter.
A huge part of the inspiration behind this project was of course music itself. Music that bridges eras, genres, and production techniques is what motivated me to build a device that embodies that same spirit. Music whose creation process was meant to be appreciated as much as the final product. Music that can only be heard fully when played loud.
It’s no secret that vinyl has risen in popularity in recent years, with many modern bands releasing limited edition LPs of their newest work. What really strikes me though are artists who embrace that same analog methodology through their entire production and recording process, but combine that vibe with modern ideas to create an incredibly powerful, unique sound. That's the sound that inspired this project.
Lotus, Pretty Lights, Gramatik, Thievery Corporation, and Bonobo are some artists who kept me inspired throughout this project.