Turntables have been able to play digital music for a very long time. DVS has been a thing for well over a decade, and assorted turntables like Gemini’s CDT-05 and Numark’s short-lived X2 hybrid let you play digital files in a more familiar workflow. But these options depended on using a laptop or buying a dedicated unit. So when Sam Spreadborough sent me details of his final year university project called PiDVS (a name that tells you what it is), my attention was grabbed.
What is PiDVS?
It’s exactly as it sounds — essentially a Raspberry Pi based solution that brings fully standalone DVS use to turntables or CDJs. It’s based on a Pi 3 model B running Raspberry Jessie on a 1.2Ghz ARMv8 with just 1Gb RAM, with an official Raspberry 7″ touchscreen. The audio is handled by an Audio Injector sound card, and as an added benefit, there’s a Teensy processor to handle MIDI. And all of this is run via Sam’s own custom software using JUCE, XWAX timecode decoding, plus other open source solutions to fill in the gaps.
For more technical details about the hardware and software, I urge you to check out the manual right here.
Before you lose your minds, I must point you to the last line of the manual:
“There are currently no plans to release this commercially.”
Wait… what? If ever there was a commercially viable product, it’s this. The scope is here for a manufacturer to buy this idea and incorporate it right into a turntable. And can you imagine this hanging off the back of a portablist turntable? The proof of concept is done — it clearly works and is just gagging to be turned into a commercially viable product. Off the shelf component price is around £150 plus Sam’s software, making this an easily doable home-brew project too. I should insert the obligatory Peter Griffin “why are we not funding this?” image right about now.
PiDVS is a fully standalone DVS solution for a turntable with networking and MIDI, but you’ll still need one per deck), that also has the planned potential to let you share music from a single USB device. It’s an amazing feat for a university project, and we’re really keen to see where this ends up — hopefully in the hands of everyone.
We wish Sam every success with PiDVS and with his degree. I’m torn about wanting him to get a job in the industry or going it alone. Talent has a tendency to be buried inside big companies and sparks of brilliance like this often end up forgotten, in a box, on a shelf, in a warehouse. Hopefully someone will see the commercial potential of PiDVS and help Sam take it further.