Paragon Project: A Portable Music Player

Portable Music Player Title Image

Miss your old iPod? Looking to make something to replace it? Then this is the project for you! It’s a portable music player and it’s guaranteed to kick your nostalgia into high-gear.

It was made by Nic, who’s uploaded the log files to Hackaday, and calls it Music32-V2.

It’s a very interesting custom build and I, for one, am really looking forward to seeing how it develops. Nic’s planning on making it fully open-source, so you’ll also get to play around with it.

I want to mention that this project isn’t complete. We’re featuring it here, because it’s really a great project and, honestly, some of the best parts of these Hackaday projects are the logs.

And even when a project isn’t complete, it’s fun to watch it develop.

Portable Music Player
Credit: Nic.

You can really see the struggles that people go through, how they come up with the solutions, and the sheer ingenuity of makers. So we’ll be sure to update this post as the project moves forward, just so you can see more!


And in the case of Nic, one of these struggles has revolved around the hardware.

Nic designed a PCB for this project that is currently based on an Espressif ESP32-S3 chip. The idea is that the portable music player utilizes an SD card to store music.

And, as you can see in the picture below, Nic’s got an ES8327 CODEC IC controlling the audio.

Portable Music Player Internal View
Credit: Nic.

Nic initially went with an ESP32-S3, because the idea was to have USB drag-and-drop for music. However, the ESP32-S3 won’t work for Bluetooth headphones, because it only supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

So, the current plan is to work out the software side of things and then change up the PCB to hold a different microcontroller.

According to Nic, that will make Bluetooth headphones available, but the drag-and-drop function has to go.

Aside fro that, Nic decided to add a case and clickwheel to really give it the same feel as a lot of the classic portable music devices.

(In the logs, Nic compares the UI to a Zune. Remember those? But I think it looks a lot like a SanDisk Sansa actually.)


Software is still mostly in the early stages.

The project is written in C and, according to the most recent logs, Nic has been spending quite a bit of time working on the sprites.

If you turn to the GitHub repository, you’ll find that most of the project files currently revolve around the interface and getting the files in order.

I’m excited to see where the software goes here. Already at the moment, the visual interface seems pretty smooth and intuitive.

Credit: Nic.


So there you have it, a portable music player. I hope this inspires you to build your own!

Be sure to go check out the project page on Hackaday for more details.

And be sure to check out more Paragon Projects here.

I’d like to see a project like this with a Raspberry Pi Pico.

What about you? What functions and features would you add?

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