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Cheap, simple, low-quality portable audio player

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Stephanie, Sep 6, 2004.

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  1. Stephanie

    Stephanie Guest


    I was looking at HitClips to provide a cheap, small, and low-quality
    audio player. I need something like HitClips to output some short
    music clips, which is interchangeable with different cartridges.
    Unfortunately, I looked in the posts from 2000 and 2001 of
    comp.sys.wearables and it looks
    like most of the circuitry is on the chip itself.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction? It doesn't have to be an
    mp3 player (too expensive) but it just has to be cheap, small, and
    low-quality with an interchangeable storage system (like the hit clips
    cartridges). I can't even think of what to look for.

  2. Ken Smith

    Ken Smith Guest

    What is cheap?
    What is small?
    How low is low?
    How many are you making?

    If you are after something that just sounds like it might be music, and
    for just a few seconds, there may be many answers.

    A PIC micro controller can be programmed to play tunes by toggling one of
    its output lines.

    They make birthday cards that play "happy birthday to you" well enough
    that you know what it is supposed to be.

    If cheap isn't all that low, a USB "drive" can be had for under $50US. It
    could hold enough music to actually sound like a clip from a record.
  3. Dingo

    Dingo Guest

    If it suited your needs, you could also have have an FM trasmitter broadcast
    the sound and a local radio tuner pick it up and play it back.

    There are serveral "voice" chips that exist for less than USD$10 that will
    record upto 60seconds of audio and play it back all in one chip (can be
    recorded 100,000 times before failure - EEPROM).

    Depending on needs again a cd player can store up to 99 tracks and 80
    minutes of music (or more :) ) and skip to the track you want.

    And finally usb mp3 players are getting cheaper and cheaper and tack little
    space and power
  4. Stephanie

    Stephanie Guest


    Thanks for the replies, they were very helpful to my search.

    My requirement is to maximize the amount of seconds I can get with the audio
    player. The total cost must be less than $20 -- everything I've looked at
    seems close but argh! Overall I'd like to design something liek HitClips(#3
    below) but with a larger mem capacity.

    So after reading what you both had to say, I can generalize with 3

    1. Chipcorder from ISD
    For just 120 sec, the chip costs more than $6. This is closer to the price
    requirements. The quality is ok but is there any way I can bump up the
    seconds to much more time? I've been looking at the ISD website and
    wondering if they had something where you can store the audio on some other
    external chip to maximize the amount of audio stored. This is what I would
    rather go with if I could increase the storage.

    2. MP3 player
    The thought of designing this complex thing (for me, an undergrad) is scary
    especially since some kids at Cornell did it for their semester project.
    Anyways, I don't think I can keep the cost below $20. Sigmatel offers
    STMP3400 for $20. I don't even need an LCD or anything fancy. Just audio
    processing, storage, and just keep 'on loopin'.

    Either way just trying to go w/ a barebones small mp3 player w/ external
    storage. The audio can be at a lower bit rate like 64bps

    If I can make something like below link but at much much less cost, then
    that would be great but I'm not sure if that might be over my head:

    3. HitClips
    I just ordered this thing on ebay so I can take it apart and see what tech I
    can extract from this. Like what chip, etc. They are making it very
    low-priced. I'm wondering if they use the ISD chip? They even have a
    version where you can record + playback (Yahoo HitClips)


    These are the only solutions I can think of -- maybe I haven't found the
    right chip? Is a PIC (or something else to program) a good idea and could
    possibly meet the price requirements (my blood and sweat don't cost money in
    this situation) - if so, any recommendations?

    My apologies if I sound way too naive and/or retarded but I'm at my wits

    Thanks again folks, I appreciate any info/tips you can send my way.

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