Update: I do not think it is worth creating an irmp3 jukebox any more. Here is why.This article demonstrates how to create a Linux-based audio jukebox with remote control and LCD display for output to a stereo system. The jukebox can handle any audio format that irmp3 supports: MP3, Ogg, FLAC, CD-ROM, FM radio, shoutcast, etc. The hardware used is an Ahanix D.Vine 3 case.
This system is designed for a home entertainment center. It uses irmp3 to play MP3 files or shoutcast Internet radio stations via the local soundcard. If you want to stream your MP3s over a network (to other machines in the house, for example), I suggest instead the excellent program netjuke. Netjuke can be used on the same machine as irmp3.
You can't read an audiophile magazine these days without seeing a
glamour shot of a sleek component with an LCD display.
The Ahanix D.Vine 3 series case
is a multimedia PC case with an optional liquid
crystal display (LCD). I chose the series 3 because it takes a
standard ATX power supply, uses a parallel port for the LCD, and fits
in my stereo cabinet. Ahanix also makes a more recent series 5 model
with an accompanying remote control, but it uses USB for the LCD
and remote, a proprietary power supply, and a deeper footprint. I do
not have experience with the series 5 or lcdproc/lirc over USB,
but I have heard that there are
and hardware solutions to make it work.
The Ahanix case comes with its own rear-facing fan that is virtually silent. The combination of all of the quiet components listed below yields a machine that is as quiet as a church mouse! This is important to me since the machine is in my living room.
I like Ahanix and their products, but be wary of some of their resellers. I recommend you avoid colorcase.com.
|LCD||The 2x16 character LCD available for the D.Vine series 3 contains the NEC D16314AGJ-011 chip that is compatible with the popular HD44780 chipset supported by lcdproc. The wire to the LCD runs through a special PCI slot cover to the rear parallel port. My only complaint with the LCD is that the letters are a little small to read from across the room, but I do like the LCD feature while navigating directories and listening to Internet radio.|
|remote||I use a Packard Bell remote control whose infrared receiver plugs into a serial port. These remotes are supported by lirc and are very cheap on eBay.|
The stereo-link USB device can
be distanced from the PC power supply in order to reduce the electromagnetic
interference with the sound signal. If you do use a PCI sound card, be
sure to place it in the slot furthest from the power supply to reduce
The stereo-link uses the CONFIG_USB_AUDIO setting in the kernel, and the /etc/irmp3d.conf setting for the mixer volume uses the "pcm" label instead of "vol".
Connect your sound card output to one of your stereo preamp's line level inputs such as CD or TAPE. Do not use your stereo's PHONO input since RIAA equalization will distort the signal.
|CDRW+DVD||I use the Samsung SM-352B CD-RW+DVD drive. It works with SCSI emulation in the Linux kernel.|
|Hard drive||I use a 5400 RPM drive for reduced noise and heat. I do not recommend enclosing large capacity IDE drives in a Silent Drive to reduce noise even further. It will cook your drive. Modern drives need to be cooled with fans.|
|Power supply||The Enermax EG465P-VE is a great power supply with a manual fan speed regulator.|
I use the ASUS P4S533-VM micro-ATX mobo with a Pentium 4 Celeron. I
love ASUS motherboards. |
|CPU cooler||The Zalman CNPS5700D-Cu cooler reduces fan noise. The extra "shroud" that comes with the Zalman does not fit in the case, but the fan itself is quiet enough.|
# ./configure --enable-drivers=all # make && make installConfigure /etc/LCDd.conf to use the HD44780 driver in winamp mode (aka 8 bit) instead of 4 bit which is the default in the configuration file.
[server] Driver=HD44780 ... [HD44780] ConnectionType=winampNow start up lcdproc with /usr/local/sbin/LCDd -s and look at /var/log/messages for any errors. lcdproc will listen on port 13666, and irmp3 will connect to this port automatically. The default /etc/LCDd.conf settings will not fork a daemon or report to syslog, so change LCDd.conf accordingly if you want this behavior.
Although the NEC D16314AGJ-011 LCD chipset is compatible with the HD44780, there are a few differences in the character set. Most notably is the "solid box" used for irmp3's volume display (ASCII character 255). This character is displayed as ÿ (y with an umlaut) by the NEC chip. I patched hd44780-charmap.h in the lcdproc source code to map the 255th character to 160, which resembled a box. The NEC Electronics website doesn't have specifications for the 16314 chipset (argh!), but you can find one at alldatasheet.com. I also hacked together a little program to cycle through the LCD character set to find a character that resembled a box.
After leaving my PC running for about 5 months, I noticed that the LCD display was displaying "scrambled" characters. Stopping and restarting lcdproc would work for a short while, but then the weird characters would start displaying again. My solution was to cycle the power to the LCD display (not the PC) and restart lcdproc. That fixed the problem. It seems the LCD needs a healthy restart every now and then.
Danger: A security advisory has been released for mpg321 in January 2004. Please download a patched copy of the source code or you could have a remotely controlled jukebox in more ways than one!
You will need to patch mpg321 if you want to play shoutcast Internet radio streams properly because version 0.2.10 has a bug that causes skipping during playback of http streams. I have my own patch that fixes this bug and also enables mpg321 to report shoutcast stream data to higher level applications such as irmp3. The patch enables the LCD to display updates of the artist and song title dynamically while listening to an http stream. As of the time of this writing, the latest version of mpg321 is 0.2.10. You may already have mpg321 installed on your system, but you will need to reinstall it if you want to listen to Internet radio using irmp3. Download mpg321-0.2.10 source and apply this shoutcast patch [sourceforge mirror]. You don't need the patch if all you want to do is play local MP3 files.
$ tar zxvf mpg321_0.2.10.2.tar.gz $ cd mpg321-0.2.10.2 $ patch -p1 < ../shoutcast-patch-0.2.10-3 $ ./configure --with-default-audio=oss --disable-aotest (I use OSS, YMMV) $ make && make installYou may also need to download libid3tag, libmad, as well as install libao-devel from the Redhat CD to build mpg321 from source.
The mpg123 binary location is specified in /etc/irmp3d.conf. I changed my configuration file to point to /usr/local/bin/mpg321 instead.
mpg123_binary: /usr/local/bin/mpg321If you haven't already done so, make sure your sound card is working. Play an mp3 file with mpg321 or a .wav file with play to make sure your sound card is producing sound. gnome-volume-control is what I use as a mixer.
# ./configure && make && make install # ldconfig # depmod -a # cp remotes/packard_bell/lircd.conf.packard_bell /etc/lircd.conf # setserial /dev/ttyS0 uart none # modprobe lirc_serial # /usr/local/sbin/lircd # irwOnce you have verified that lircd is receiving keypresses on your remote control with the irw program, configure /etc/rc.d/rc.local to run the setserial, modprobe, and lircd commands at startup.
Let's review the configuration files and interprocess communication
between the components.
# ./configure && make && make install # (generate an irmp3d.conf with 'irmp3conf') # ln -s /usr/local/etc/irmp3d.conf /etc/irmp3d.conf # /usr/local/sbin/irmp3d -l /var/log/irmp3d.logYou can experiment with your remote control settings, change /etc/lircirmp3.conf to adjust the buttons to your liking, and restart irmp3 with killall -s HUP irmp3d . Happy listening!
Please make a donation to your favorite Internet radio station no matter how small the amount. You probably have some slush money in your Paypal account right now. Don't be a freeloader!
You don't need to cobble together all these pieces of software and hardware when you can purchase a Squeezebox for less than $300. You don't have to buy a pretty PC with a high-end sound card, spend lots of effort silencing it with special fans and absorbent material, and fiddle with lots of software to make a jukebox. Now you can buy a Squeezebox, put your server far away in a closet, and install everything with 3 commands on the command line.
Simply put, the Squeezebox is represented by the following equation:
You might think buying a Squeezebox is a rejection of open source software. It is not. Slim Devices has always supported Linux as a primary platform, the server software is GPLed, it is written in Perl, and it runs on any platform that supports a Perl interpreter.
I do not make this assertion lightly. I have personally contributed code to the irmp3 project. But in light of a product that does everything in a cohesive manner, the only reason to cobble together all the pieces described in this article is if the value of your time is less than $300. The Squeezebox has a gorgeous vaccum fluorescent display, a simple and easy to use remote control, and a great DAC with analog and digital outputs. It does for audio what Tivo did for television.