Dial-a-Chiptune With This Raspberry Pi-Powered Retro Music Phone

Linus Åkesson with his phone
(Image credit: Linus Åkesson)

The chiptune musicians are at it again, this time re-purposing a rotary-dial telephone to literally dial up SID tunes from a jukebox via a Raspberry Pi 3 emulating the eponymous SID chip. Kudos to Hackaday for spotting this wonderful project, from creator Linus Åkesson.

The phone, sturdily constructed of Bakelite and steel, hails from Sweden and was made sometime between the 1930s and 1950s. The internals of the phone are carefully replaced with a Raspberry Pi 3 running an emulator for the Commodore 64 (C64) sound chip, SID, and you can play over 50,000 chiptune compositions using the High Voltage SID Collection. The collection includes such classics as the themes from C64 games Thing on a Spring and Wizball.

The new innards of the phone

(Image credit: Linus Åkesson)

Pack all this into a telephone, and you can dial up a tune using their individual codes, or listen to something by a particular composer. There’s stereo output for the raucous parties that will inevitably coalesce around such a device, but we like the idea of politely listening through the handset best of all.

Watch Åkesson’s full video for a comprehensive rundown of the phone’s capabilities, and some banging chiptunes too.

Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • BillyBuerger
    Nice, I came across this guy a couple years ago with his Chipophone. Nice to see him on here with more of his interesting works.