Internet radio speaker, is it possible?
Ok so ive been really wanting to build my own internet radio, that includes DAB, bluetooth and alarms, just like the ones you can buy online. The reason is, the ones you can buy are crappy. I got one as a present last christmas, a 'majority' made one. It sounded great, but stopped working after 3 weeks! So i replaced it with an ocean digital one. The stations it gets and the system it uses are great, but it sounds awful. Not much bass and its very bright on trebble even using the built in equaliser. So ive looked around to try to find a media unit i can buy that i can put in a box, with proper drivers and get it to sound great too. Problem is, i cant find these radio units anywhere. Im having to consider buying a small cheaper radio, and taking out the media unit and adding that to my own build, but even the cheapest ready made radio is over £50. Im hoping someone can help me find the unit on its own that i can use to make this project. If anyone is unsure what i mean by an internet radio i can post pics and specs of one from online.
Also, why cany i find any DAB only parts either? Does nobody make there own speakers that use DAB instead if the usual bluetooth ones? Bluetooth is good, but sometimes i just wanna turn on the speaker and hear a local radio station without having to use my phone lol
That's actually a fairly tall order for do all that at a low price point in the DIY arena. There's always Banggood and AliExpress to look around. For the internet radio, I've seen people use Raspberry PI for that. I think it was on Instructables. Maybe. A couple years ago, so who knows. Might have been Nuts n Volts magazine. I'll look later, it's late. But the whole project should be doable, but maybe not at the price point you may think. Or you might get lucky with "overseas".
I agree that a raspberry pi might be the best way to go for a project like this. It isn't really my expertise, but it is something we could all look at.
Absolutely. I have 0% experience with the Raspberry PI, so anything done would be a seriously steep learning curve. The advantage with the PI is that the right version will have already built in: WiFi, Bluetooth, multiple USB, expansion, and options for external storage.
Luckily, I did a tiny bit of research before passing out last night and ruled out Nuts n Volts - their last article on Internet Radio builds was in 2012.
Now Instructables has quite a few to choose from. I do believe that would be a good place to peruse while trying to decide how to go. Plus the PI can be turned into a mini computer. I don't know how many ads I've seen lately showing that!
It will take some digging to uncover the best avenue, but it looks like some programming skills will be needed. Take a look and see what strikes your fancy / rings your bell, and come back so we can see. 🙂
Yeah i looked into the pi thing and discarded the idea, as mentioned above, the programming part of it is not something i want to be doing lol. You can buy a descent ready made internet radio for around £80, thats how much the ocean digital one that i have cost. But tbh it seems all the money has gone into the menu part of it, the speakers and quality of sound were an afterthought. I really wish someone would make a product similar to a car stereo, with the wifi added, a screen, and a remote, so that all we have to do is create the box and find suitable drivers, as we would do if we were using one of those flat screen car radios. Surely they wouldnt be too hard to make or be too expensive, due to the fact you can get everything for £80 and all i want is the little brain that runs it all.
Is buying the cheapest one i can find and breaking it apart to get the internals a good option do you think? Or could it be more complicated than i imagine, given my lack of circuit board and soldering knowledge?
Okay, so the Ocean Digital still works, but sounds like excrement. Most likely it is as you surmised, the speakers themselves. If you can get to the wires, would you be able to tap them to see if using another speaker makes an improvement? You can use just about any stand alone speaker in a box, even a cheap one from a small combo unit would work. This would be to just test the output quality before the stock speakers.
If it improves, you are probably about 75-80% done. You'd just have to break the electronics out of the case to put in something that can sound better. Or you can find some better drop in replacements for the stock drivers.
I know you dismissed the Raspberry PI, but this Instructable shows the PI Zero W (available at ADAFruit for $10), a SD card, a DAC daughterboard, and power supply, which could come to about $40. The software is a free download and it runs automatically, no coding needed on your part. And most is plug and play. This is just for perspective, not saying it's a must, just a what if.
As to the DAB, I saw some stuff on Banggood and AliExpress. A few are stand alone units that would only need power and a connection to an amp via the headphone out. It's worth a look.
For now, it seems the best first step would be to see if the stock speakers are poop and go from there.
Thanks for taking an interest in this topic, i wish i felt confident enough to do any of that which you mentioned lol i may try different drivers in the OD radio to see if i can improve it, but tbh i think the enclosure is a problem too, it seems imo to be too small to produce any decent bass. Im really considering ripping it apart and seeing whats inside, but losing the warranty is making me hesitate. Anyways ill have a look at the dab options you mentioned, and maybe wait a while until the all in one units needed for the internet radio builds are available.
Ive actually just finished a bluetooth speaker build, its been ongoing for a while but its finally done, sounds good and the girlfreind is happy to finally be able to use it lol. I may upload some pics and details about it in another thread
If I may ask, what is the model # of the Ocean Digital? I'd like to look at it and see what you might be able to do.
Its this one, i hope the video plays for you from this link
Im thinking i can just destroy the box its in, and transfer it all to a bigger box with better drivers, but im not sure of the output of the amp inside.
@dameo182 That thing has a LINE OUT!?! You don't even need to use it's amp, hook it up to whatever you want in a custom box. I think you'd be safe putting this in anything. Give it a shot with internal amp and if unhappy use line out into another amp and run it like that.
Disclaimer: I've been in the forum long enough to know a couple things, but have yet to actually do a speaker build myself =)
I cant believe i didnt realise that was an option lol thankyou for bringing that to my attention!
You guys are on top of things. I apologize I was away. I had a friend come out this past weekend, then it was my BIrthdya yesterday and anniversary on Sunday. So this is a busy time of the year. But I love the idea of the project. If you build it, I would defintiely be interested in the progress and be willing to help out in any way I can.
I plan to get this working as soon as i get some free time, so once ive started ill upload the progress pics to this thread, hopefully it goes smoothly but no doubt i will need some help at some point lol. Oh and happy birthday for yesterday 👍
Out of curiosity ive just taken a look at the power supply of that radio, its only 9v 2amp, so is the amplifier likely to only be 2x9watt? So ill have to upgrade the amp and the power supply if im to put better sounding drivers in this setup?