Terence Eden's Techno-Walkman Uses a Raspberry Pi, the Opus Codec, and Floppy Disks for Lo-Fi Beats

When file size is more important than quality, it's possible to turn a floppy disk into a full Beatles album — complete with player.

Gareth Halfacree
a month agoMusic / RetroTech

Maker Terence Eden has constructed a mobile music player with a difference: It's powered by a Raspberry Pi and loads its songs from floppy disk, for the ultimate in lo-fi beats.

"I have built the most inconvenient way of playing music! It is lo-fi awfulness and cyberpunk grungy," Eden writes. "Thanks! I hate it!

"It’s possible to fit half an hour of speech on a single floppy disk. The best band in the world are The Beatles, and their shortest album is A Hard Day’s Night – at 30 minutes, 45 seconds. Beatles audio was designed to be played over crappy AM radio in mono, so is well suited to being compressed using the latest audio codecs. OK, I also got sent a USB floppy drive to review and wanted to do something interesting with it!"

The hardware is handled by a fully-size Raspberry Pi single-board computer connected to the aforementioned USB floppy drive and a USB battery pack for power — "all held together with rubber bands," Eden notes. "Classy!"

The audio is compressed using the Opus codec, in order to squeeze as much as possible onto a single double-sided high-density floppy diskette — at the cost, it must be noted, of fidelity. "Not much worse than fading medium-wave station," Eden opines, "right? RIGHT!?"

For anyone looking to replicate Eden's creation, instructions are available on his blog.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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