Functionally, turntables are pretty dumb. You have to load individual lumps of plastic onto them and spin them. That’s all they do, and in the whole scheme of things, they require a laptop and DVS software to compete in the modern age. And one of the many holy grails of digital DJing has been to remove the laptop from the audio chain completely. And while it’s been successful with controllers, it has yet to be done to any degree with turntables.

In recent times, a Technics 1200 has been modded to play audio from SD cards and push it out through the 1200’s regular audio cables. But the new PiDeck from Daniel James from Studio 64 is a different approach, one based on running Linux-based DVS software on a Raspberry Pi with a touch screen. It’s a non-destructive approach that will work on any turntable too.

Essentially you’re replacing the audio interface and laptop part of your setup with a cheap and cheerful compact computer with the sole task of taking the turntable output (in this case Serato control vinyl), and out the other end comes music that plugs directly into your mixer. You’ll also need one per turntable.

Future turntable DJWORX

The PiDeck brings my tongue-in-cheek foretelling of future turntables one step nearer reality. Anyone up for doing a home brew horn mod?


Here’s what I see — by adding a touch screen and the abibilty to play music from USB sticks, the PiDeck converts a turntable into a media player like a CDJ or a Denon DN-S3900 but with a much better platter. That’s a glib oversimplification of course, but in essence it takes away the dependence on a laptop and audio interface and puts it right with the turntable.

Right now, all of this is strictly home brew hackery. Importantly, no turntables were hurt in the making of this project, but the next logical step is to put this gubbins right inside a turntable, with a small touch screen added, or maybe even a wired or even wireless link to smartphones running DVS apps.

Daniel James tells me that around £150/€166/$182 will be enough to make a PiDeck for a single turntable. But I’d like to think that at some point a savvy manufacturer will look into doing this inside an actual turntable — if they haven’t already that is. Potentially, portablism just got a bit more interesting too.

Should you have a recent Raspberry Pi and audio interface hanging around, the PiDeck software is available now for you to have a dabble with.


As a DVS user, if you could leave the laptop at home, would you? 

  • nem0nic

    DONK button FTW!

    • I’m so happy that someone finally noticed.

      • Dubby Labby

        I’m reqlly considering doing something like your pic, even the airhorn 😉

  • Dj L-BIZ (BEAT3)

    That’s one sweet idea! Good luck to him. Be good to see where it leads.

  • Dubby Labby

    Glad to see you read my contributions at dv forums 😉

    “Right now, all of this is strictly home brew hackery. Importantly, no turntables were hurt in the making of this project, but the next logical step is to put this gubbins right inside a turntable, with a small touch screen added, or maybe even a wired or even wireless link to smartphones running DVS apps.”

    Not sure about the final part about smartphones due it’s possible nowadays and doesn’t need the raspi for nothing… but maybe if this theoretical retrofit kit you point just talk midi/hid from timecode/noisemap decoding turning the “player” into real controller for any software or hardware… ^^

    Numark dashboard could be a good target but I strong believe that Pioneer cdjs are cappable of external control (with prolink) from turntable connected to mixer. Tour series have inside some kind of board with their propietary “Pideck/Rekordbox” solution. I just don’t know why didn’t make it happen yet (well probably business decissions). This system will bypass all the problems with OS updates and keep tableism (in the openest way not just scratching) simple as most users demand.

    Anyways this solution as thug rumble or similar are laptopless but not computerless so if someone wants a better (or maybe near is the word) experience iDevices should be the path to pursuit IMO.

    I see Pideck perfect for portablism movement and GPIO could manage xfader and some extra control inputs and keeping it open source is the best for homebrew projects like this which seem out of regular brands radar the latest years.

    • Ximo Roca

      yeah gpio controls is the other way around the interface control, a little more expensive coz you have to buy the encasing and the switches, rotaries, etc. also a bit more work, but not much more really.

      I did this more than a year and a half ago, encased with push buttons and an encoder but using a 2 deck setup.

  • Viikk

    I hope that the SLRPPDXSTR-120060003000150 Turntable will have a MK-II model.

    It’s always better to have the MK-II.

    Seriously, I like the initiative, it’s a fun mod to try.

  • Interesting indeed!
    When we can use our cue points etc. as well then we can really ditch the laptop/only use it for track preperation. But for classic A-B mixing that´s awesome and even more for that portablism thingy.

  • DeltaForce78

    who ever wrote this article is an ignorant dummy

    • Let me help you with that:

      But you knew that anyway.

      I suspect you’ve taken offence to my “turntables are pretty dumb” comment, because history has shown that you and your old alias have a more traditional outlook on DJing.

      To be clear — I’m not calling them out at all. I have 6 pairs myself and they’re my DJ weapon of choice.

      My comment simply refers to their function — turntables, despite their majesty and enduring presence in a rapidly evolving age, really don’t do very much at all. They play records at different speeds, and are fully manual too. They are, to use the technical vernacular, dumb. Not stupid or pointless, but simple machines in comparison to modern technology.

  • DJ Thunder D

    It is possible. See the video on this webpage with Technics 1200 embedded with chip to control DVS. Pretty cool stuff.

    • The every same link is in my article.

      • DJ Thunder D

        Ok, thanks Mark!

  • guest100

    “Essentially you’re replacing the audio interface ”
    Actually you don’t, as you still need one 2-in-2-out interface per deck, luckily not as expensive as the dedicated 4×4 ones.

  • Rudd Weatherwaxx

    this is where i was about 8 months ago. just take a cheap laptop apart and glue all the stuff to the back of the screen; then use the hinges of the laptop to secure it to the turntable; run full software of choice, and have a fold down screen/computer. it’s cool but isn’t innovative.
    innovation lies in ergonomics. these silly, off-beat scratching “poor tablists” don’t even get that the real appeal of portables is the ability to change the set-up around. (oh how I remember the jeers when I showed my first angle cross-fader)
    anywhooo….who wants to see what I’ve come up with now? one tiny little change that is going to make something you all don’t even know you want possible…i’m tellin you, this is big. when/if you see it, you’ll never want anything else.
    ef hutton out………..

  • Andy

    So it’s basically like mixxx (which also runs on a raspberry) but less fany and with less functionality

    • Dubby Labby


      • guest100

        Does Mixxx require special procedure to be installed on raspberry? Is it straightforward or it takes some programming skills? In short – how do you install it on Raspberry?

        • Dubby Labby

          I don’t know really… one of the aims of PiDeck is just this but the Mixxx projects I found (and mixxx forum post) aren’t too clear. It seems there are some distros (arch, ubuntu…) that once running in your raspi make possible to install mixxx downloading as package content from repository… whatever it means in practical terms xD
          I think the best way to dig into this is at Mixxx forum itself.

      • Ximo Roca

        The guy in the second video is using xwax, i know coz the creator uses thexwax dev mail list and we had some discussion going on with his project.

        • Dubby Labby

          I think I read mixx at the froums where I found the video but maybe I’m wrong… anyways the point is some mixxx movement related to Raspi too. Do you have any source (blog or so) for this one? Just curious and it will help me to spread best the knowledge.
          Thanks for you reply Sir 😉

          • Ximo Roca

            well the guy has a webpage about his diy projects, but its mostly in japanese.

            I can link you the archive of the xwax mail list thread where the conversation was going on though.


            I know coz i was part of the conversation, coz i also developed something similar for my own use more than a year and a half ago and this stuff it always catches my attention, as im always curious as how other people are implementing the idea. I did mine with buttons, and rotary encoder, through gpio, 2 deck setup though.


            • Dubby Labby

              Do you have some links about your project? I’m linking all I found to digitalvertigo forums…

              • Ximo Roca

                I really didnt document it much, I started but didnt actually post till the end. Besides i actually had to change the circuit and the program coz i think i was getting some em noise making the binary encoder not behave properly (getting some wrong codes makeing the program do wrong key presses), and that part isnt documented, as some of the scripts or the vid either.


                forum is down atm though, something temporary id guess.

              • Ximo Roca

                The odroid site is up now, I also went ahead and updated the thread abit since i had someone asking me a question there.

                I have also registered for the digital vertigo forums to join in the conversation there, waiting for aproval for posting

                • Dubby Labby

                  Ask to administrators to get the aproval faster 😉

    • MrPopinjay

      It’s xwax rather than Mixxx. Interestingly Mixxx also uses xwax for it’s digital vinyl.

  • Trey Thomas Murphy