We’re a sentimental bunch and were bowled over by this intricate, musical wedding gift. It’s powered by a Raspberry Pi and has various other bits of geeky goodness under the hood. Honestly, the extra features just keep coming — you’ll see.
This beautifully crafted ‘record player’ plays one pair of newlyweds’ Spotify accounts, and there’s a special visual twist when their ‘first dance’ wedding song plays.
First, a little background: the newlyweds, Holly and Dougie, have been sweethearts since early highschool days. Their wedding took place on a farm near the village they grew up in, Fintry in rural Scotland.
Throughout the wedding day, the phrase “Music is a huge deal” was repeated often, which gave the bride’s older brother Ben Howell the idea for a homemade, Raspberry Pi–powered gift.
He built the couple a neatly finished music box, known as HD-001 (HD for ‘Holly Dougie’ of course) and home to a ‘smart turntable’. It can connect to a wireless network and has a touch screen where the record label would normally sit. When you lift the lid and switch it on, it asks “Hello. Who’s listening?”
Once you tap on the picture of either the bride or groom, it accesses their Spotify account and fetches the album artwork of whatever song it plays.
The audio side is a powered by a 50W Bluetooth amplifier, which is entirely independent from the Raspberry Pi computer.
The build details
The enclosure is all custom-designed and built using scrap wood wrapped in green faux leather material. Ben sourced most of the other materials — rubber feet, hinges, switches, metal grille — on Amazon.
The HD-001 also features a hand-built 4-way speaker system and a custom-made speaker grille with that famous phrase “Music is a huge deal” on the front.
The lettering on the grille was laser-cut by a company in Glasgow to order, and Ben spray-painted it metallic grey. The LCD panel and driver board are also from Amazon.
To play and pause music, Ben sourced a tone-arm online and routed cabling from the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins through to a micro-switch where the original needle should sit. That’s how lifting the arm pauses playback, and replacing it resumes the music.
Ben explains: “Essentially, it’s a fancy Bluetooth speaker system disguised as an old-fashioned turntable and designed to behave and work like an old-fashioned turntable (skeuomorphism gone mad!).”
Oh, and our favourite adorable bonus feature? If the first dance song from Holly’s and Dougie’s wedding is played, the album artwork on the LCD panel fades away, to be replaced by a slideshow of photos from their wedding.
And for extra, extra big brother points, Ben even took the time to create a manual to make sure the newlyweds got the most out of their musical gift.
We have it on good authority that Ben will entertain anyone who would like to place a pre-order for the HD-002.