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? 


Commenting Etiquette

Welcome to DJWORX. It’s the most engaged community around, and we have a handful of house rules to keep it that way:
  • • Be polite and constructive.
  • • Treat others as you would expect to be treated. So please disengage keyboard warrior mode before hammering in a full caps rant.
  • • Stay on topic.
  • • Consider your tone of voice. Telling someone that they’re wrong comes across better as “I don’t agree and here’s why”.
  • • No links to copyrighted or offensive material.
Life is way too short to waste time policing comments. So break the rules and you’re out. It’s just the internet, and  the DJWORX community is way more important than catering to the fragile egos of ranting trolls. I trust I have been crystal clear.