I have a 25 years old Technics hifi system that still works fine, and I gave it a new life by replacing the CD player and cassette player modules with a Raspberry Pi.

Technics hifi with a Raspberry Pi attached


Each component of the hifi has a mains input and a mains plug that is used to power the next component. The element where the main power lead goes in is the radio component, which has a remote control receiver, a watch and a timer, and will power on the rest of the system when turned on by its power button, the remote control, or the alarm function.

I disconnected the cassette and cd player modules, and plugged the Raspberry Pi phone charger/power supply in the free plug behind the amplifier module, at the end of the (now very short) power lead chain.

I also connected the audio output of the Raspberry Pi to the CD input of my stereo. The advantage of CD over AUX is that the remote control buttons for switching audio sources don't cover the AUX inputs.

With alsamixer I adjusted the output volume to match that of the radio component, so that I can switch between the two without surprising jumps in volume. I used alsactl store to save the mixer levels.

Now when I turn the hifi on I also turn the Raspberry Pi on, and when I turn the hifi off, I also cut power from the Raspberry Pi.

Operating system

Operating system install instructions:

  1. I downloaded a Raspbian Jessie Lite image
  2. I put it on an SD card
  3. I created an empty ssh file on the boot partition
  4. I put the SD card on the Raspberry Pi and turned on the stereo.
  5. ssh pi@raspberrypi password raspberry
  6. sudo raspi-config to change the hostname, the password, and to enlarge the root partition to include all the rest of the space available in the SD card.

Music Player Daemon

This is the set up of the music player part, with mpd.

apt install mpd

The configuration file is /etc/mpd.conf. The changes I made are:

Make mpd accessible from my local network:

bind_to_address         "any"

Make mpd discoverable:

zeroconf_enabled                "yes"
zeroconf_name                   "stereo"

Allow anyone who visits me to control the playlist, and only me to run admin functions:

password                        "SECRET@read,add,control,admin"
default_permissions             "read,add,control"

At my first try, mpd hung when changing songs. I had to disable dmix by uncommenting the device option in the audio_output configuration. use_mmap is cargo-culted from the archlinux wiki.

audio_output {
        type            "alsa"
        name            "My ALSA Device"
        device          "hw:0,0"        # optional
        use_mmap        "yes"

If at some point I'll decide to use other audio software on the system, I'll probably want to play via pulseaudio.

Sending music to the stereo

I made a little script to sync the music directory on my laptop with /var/lib/mpd/music:


rsync -avz --filter=". sync-stereo.filter" --copy-links --prune-empty-dirs --delete ./ pi@stereo:/var/lib/mpd/music

ssh pi@stereo "chmod u=rwX,go=rX -R /var/lib/mpd/music"

It uses this sync-stereo.filter rules file for rsync:

hide /_archive
include */
include **.mp3
hide *

mpd clients


$ mpc -h stereo status
UltraCat - Unexpected Little Happenings
[playing] #15/22   0:03/4:06 (1%)
volume: 80%   repeat: off   random: on    single: off   consume: off


On my phone I installed M.A.L.P. and now I have a remote control for mpd.

In its settings, I made a profile for home where I just had to set the hostname for the stereo and the admin password.


On my laptop I installed cantata, set the hostname and password in the preferences, and had the client ready.


Now I can take the remote control of my hi-fi, turn it on, and after a while mpd will resume playing the song that was playing when I last shut it down.

I also have realtime player status on my phone and on my laptop, and can control music from either at any time. Friends who visit me can do that as well.

Everything was rather straightforward, well documented and easy to replicate. The hardware is cheap and very easy to come by.

pdo debian eng hw sw raspi-hifi

2017-03-31 09:06:22+02:00