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Independent Audio Players using a Trigger

This page is dedicated to a returning questions of students:

  • "How can I play a sound over a headset in the space?"
  • "How can I make it so that if you put on the headphone the audio starts playing?"

Playing an audio file in the space is Easy, you just play it on your laptop or phone. But what if you are in some kind of exhibition setup and you want the sound to start playing if you pick up the headphones? Maybe like in a museum?

Depending on what you wat exactly and your level of technical expertise there are many routes to a suitable solution on this page you will find some suggestions for you.

"Smart" Headphones

There are some modern types of Bluetooth headphones that wil automatically pause when you take them off for example: 

  1. Sony WH-1000XM4 (probably there are many more Sony models that do this: These headphones feature a sensor that pauses music when you remove them.
  2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700: They pause music when you take them off.
  3. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless: These headphones will auto-pause when you remove them from your ears.
  4. Apple AirPods Max: Apple's over-ear headphones feature auto-pause functionality when removed.
  5. Beats Solo Pro: These headphones pause playback when you take them off.

ATTENTION: These Headphones will PAUSE and will not stopt and then start again form the beginning!

Ready made Devices

There are some ready made device that you can buy that just might do what you need. The devices listed here are not tested by the author of this page.

  • Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board + 2x2W Amp - WAV/OGG Trigger - 2MB link 30 euro TIP!!
  • Flyrontech MP# speler met knoppen here 3 euro TIP!!
  • Flyrontech triggerable audio-player link (fancy but no cheap and with speaker) 50 euro
  • Flyrontech product overview AlieExpress page: here
  • Amazon talking products: link (speaker could be changed for headphone jack) 17 euro
  • Amazon triggerable audio player link (the longlist of amazon options is here ) 18 euro
  • AlieExpress 10 Channel MP3 Sound Board Here
  • Another AlieExpress option: here
  • Cheap AlieExpress options that looks promising: here
  • Sparkfun module (expensive) here
  • Museum grade equipment: here
  • Seller of audio-players for museums: here

One of the devices used in museums are BrightSign players. They are very robust and come in different flavours for audio & video. You can find the dedicated bookstack page here. At the HKU we have a number of these player's in the "Uitleen"

The cheapest BrighSign audioplayer is: BrightSign Interactieve audioplayer AU335 (192 euro)

Make it yourself

You can make it yourself with some off the shelf electronic components if you have some knowledge of these. There are roughly two ways:

Arduino way:

Use an Arduino and a MP3 player and hook them up with some wires and a button. Write the code to play the file when the sensor/button is triggered. (I use Arduino, but it cloud be a ESP, NodeMCU, raspberryPi pico) In the examples they often use a smal speaker, but that could also be a headphone. 

With the Arduino the most used mp3 player is the DFPlayer Mini

  • See an wiring example with a Node MCU Here
  • See an tutorial with Arduino Here
  • A youtube tutorial on the DF mini player and NodeMCU here
  • Another NodeMMCU/DF mini player tutorial: here
RaspberryPi way:

Take any RaspberryPi that can play audio then write a small python script that will listen for the GPIO ports and play a sound when thoe are triggered with a button. GPIO ports on a RaspberryPi are digital not analog.

  • A ready to use program for the raspberry Pi: MP3 player
  • The RPI fruitbox another ready to use solution: rpi-fruitbox-v2
  • Tutorial to make a self contained Raspberry Pi zero MP# player here
  • Tutorial to make a RaspberryPi player with buttons: here
  • Python code to play MP# file on github here