Maker recreates classic Winamp MP3 player in real life with the Linamp, Llamas not included

Front panel of Linamp, an IRL incarnation of the Winamp MP3 player
Linamp, a real-world physical representation of the classic Winamp software (Image credit: Rodmg on Hackaday.io)

One of the first truly amazing MP3 players has been brought to life outside the computer screen. The design of Linamp, a real-life incarnation of Winamp, combines the classic UI with even more nostalgia—it has the retro appearance of mini-rack home audio systems from the 1980s.

The Linamp system is powered by a Raspberry Pi 4B with a 32GB SD card. It utilizes a 7.9-inch extra-wide touchscreen to display the classic Winamp UI, including the spectrum analyzer visualization we loved so much and the scrolling artist and title information of the track playing. Rodmg, a software engineer by trade and maker by hobby, designed and built the whole project.

Interior of Linamp, featuring a Raspberry Pi 4B

The interior of the Linamp, featuring a Raspberry Pi 4B (Image credit: Rodmg on Hackaday.io)

The display is driven by Dietpi, a Debian bookworm derivative, with a custom Qt 6 app written in C++ with Qt widgets. The maker said he chose to program it that way because he “wanted a challenge and to learn new things.” While developing the custom app, he had to re-implement deprecated functionality to run the audio visualization on the display.

Rodmg designed the case to be built in sheet metal to bring Winamp to life as a physical object. His inspiration was an Aiwa stereo he grew up with and still owned. Rodmg disassembled the Aiwa radio, took pictures and measurements, and then used those as inspiration for his design and dimensions.

Manufacturing with sheet metal isn’t exactly garage hobby work, so he sent his Onshape designs to PCBWay for production. At the suggestion of a PCBWay support engineer, he had the parts manufactured using 1mm anodized aluminum.

He also ordered a version of his front cover, 3D printed in nylon. At the time, he didn’t have a 3D printer good enough to print the part himself, but he wanted to experiment with the technology.

Ultimately, Rodmg redesigned the front bezel and used a Bambu Labs P1S to 3D print the piece in multiple colors. While he originally planned to incorporate physical buttons for playback control, the absence of any small, extra wide screens made this impractical. So, he incorporated the buttons in the custom UI and has them displayed on the 7.9-inch touchscreen.

As amazing as the front panel looks, Rodmg didn’t ignore the retro aesthetics on the rear of his custom “stereo.” He designed a back panel and 3D printed it in PETG. Here, he placed a very retro-looking metal power button along with the 3.5mm stereo jack, an Ethernet port, a USB-A port, and a USB-C port.

Rear panel of Linamp

Rear panel of Linamp (Image credit: Rodmg on Hackaday.io)

The Linamp music player can play music from its file system and from a connected external CD drive. It displays a real-time bar spectrum analyzer and track information. It even works for playing music from CDs, pulling the information from MusicBrainz.

In the future, Rodmg wants to add Bluetooth and Spotify playback to complement everything else his custom build can already do.

Freelance News Writer
  • -Fran-
    As a Winamp user (yes; still), this amuses me.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • 10basetom
    As a hardcore Winamp user and visualizer collector, this upsets me: they could've used real tactile buttons. Those LCD buttons are a poor imitation.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    It really whips the llama's ass!
    Reply
  • neojack
    I still use winamp, it's in my shortcut bar, next to VLC !
    Reply
  • Evildead_666
    Winamp is awesome, wouldn't change it for anything.
    Been over 25 years now !!!
    Reply
  • Evildead_666
    10basetom said:
    As a hardcore Winamp user and visualizer collector, this upsets me: they could've used real tactile buttons. Those LCD buttons are a poor imitation.
    I agree, I thought it was a physical representation.
    Its good, but it could be a lot better ;)
    3D Printer to the rescue, and its still open for someone to do :)
    Reply
  • FoxTread3
    Admin said:
    Those of us around during the early days of MP3 players have fond memories of Winamp. One maker has brought those memories back in the form of a physical audio player with the feel of the venerable software.

    Maker recreates classic Winamp MP3 player in real life with the Linamp, Llamas not included : Read more
    June 8, 2024 - I'm an old guy that had a "comb over" hair style back in the 1980's. Ahh.. memories:smirk: But to the point.. I just don't get the "No llamas were harmed" reference. :unsure: Was there a "Llama craze or fad" that I missed out on? I never noticed any Llamas hanging out at the stereo stores, or Greenwich Village coffee shops I hung at. Sooo.. obviously, my question is what's all this chat about Llamas? Thanking you all in advance, and stay well:giggle:
    Reply
  • DerechoSCK
    FoxTread3 said:
    June 8, 2024 - I'm an old guy that had a "comb over" hair style back in the 1980's. Ahh.. memories:smirk: But to the point.. I just don't get the "No llamas were harmed" reference. :unsure: Was there a "Llama craze or fad" that I missed out on? I never noticed any Llamas hanging out at the stereo stores, or Greenwich Village coffee shops I hung at. Sooo.. obviously, my question is what's all this chat about Llamas? Thanking you all in advance, and stay well:giggle:
    The OG WinAmp software had a sound clip either in an included file or triggerable in the GUI (I forget which) that played the slogan "WinAmp! It really whips the llamas ass! *Llama bleating noises*".
    Reply
  • JeffreyP55
    Admin said:
    Those of us around during the early days of MP3 players have fond memories of Winamp. One maker has brought those memories back in the form of a physical audio player with the feel of the venerable software.

    Maker recreates classic Winamp MP3 player in real life with the Linamp, Llamas not included : Read more
    Useless. I tossed my MP3's ages ago.
    "I whipped the Llamas ass."
    Reply
  • FoxTread3
    DerechoSCK said:
    The OG WinAmp software had a sound clip either in an included file or triggerable in the GUI (I forget which) that played the slogan "WinAmp! It really whips the llamas ass! *Llama bleating noises*".
    June 8, 2024 - Hi DerechoSCK👋 Thank you for you kind and quick response to my question. The fun and nice things about this forum is the number of kind and knowledgeable people that post here. Aside from not knowing about the Llamas, one of my other failings was buying some very expensive Quadraphonic equipment back in the mid to late 70's, and having that Tech die almost immediately.:cry::disappointed: Oh well.. lesson learned, "Don't be an early adopter".:smirk: Stay well and thanks again:giggle:
    Reply