PiDeck: Standalone DVS Control On Raspberry Pi

What if you didn’t have to plug your laptop into your DJ setup – but still could be able to access all of your tracks and use control vinyl? PiDeck, a new project from 64 Studio, combines a Raspberry Pi microcomputer with xwax open source DJ software. The result is a lightweight, laptop-free DJing solution that you can quickly put a USB key into and start mixing. Read on for videos and an overview.

PiDeck: Raspberry Pi +xwax

The concept is simple: build a version of the open-source digital vinyl system xwax that runs well on a Raspberry Pi and use it as the sole interface to load/play songs and process timecode signal. The PiDeck project isn’t a concept, it’s a real working system:

Instead of using a $1,000 laptop, the system runs on a tiny ~$39* computer for each deck (*for the Pi 3 Model B, the only model supported on this project). Take a turntable, some control vinyl and add a soundcard (to input control vinyl signal) and a touchscreen monitor – and you’ve got a digital DJ setup.

PiDeck is really simple – there’s no advanced features to mess things up. The software just loads all the songs on your USB drive that you plug in – there’s no playlist features, sync, onboard FX. The project is completely open source, so anyone can download to software and make modifications if they’re so inclined.

In a quote on Create Digital Music, one of the developers notes how important PiDeck being a universal, non-custom device was – in order for anyone to walk up and use it without messing around with settings, etc:

We’ve deliberately put no configurable options in the interface, and there are no personal files stored on the device. This helps ensure the PiDeck becomes part of the turntable and not unique, in the way that a laptop and its data is. This makes the PiDeck easier to share with other DJs, so that there should be no downtime between sets, and should make it easier for up-and-coming DJs to get a turn on the equipment. If a PiDeck breaks, it would be possible to swap it out for another PiDeck device and carry right on.

Can You Scratch? (How’s The Latency?)

Surely on a low-cost computer like this, the performance must be pretty miserable, right? Guess again – here’s a great demo video:

What You Need To Use PiDeck

The project page on PiDeck’s official website is pretty comprehensive, and includes this list of what you need to be able to set this exact system up:

  • A recent Raspberry Pi (only Pi 3 model B tested so far) and power supply. First generation Raspberry Pi’s are not supported, sorry
  • Touchscreen (single-touch is enough), or a HDMI monitor and keyboard
  • Stereo, full-duplex I2S or USB soundcard with a phono input stage, or line input and an external pre-amp, soundcard must be supported by ALSA
  • Micro SD card for the software, at least 2GB in size, and an adaptor to flash it with
  • Control vinyl, Serato CV02 pressing or later recommended
  • USB stick containing your favourite music. FLAC format is recommended (16-bit 44100Hz format tested)
  • Non-automatic record player that can hold speed, with a clean, sharp stylus. It helps scratching if the headshell and arm are adjusted correctly
  • Slipmat, made from felt or neoprene
  • Sheet of wax paper from the kitchen drawer, to go under the slipmat
  • A beverage-proof case would be good. We’re still working on that.

The PiDeck team estimates that each device runs about £150 (~$187) – this doesn’t include control vinyl, needles, turntable. That’s vastly cheaper than a CDJ – and the convenience of just not having to use a laptop or primary computer at all is certainly going to be incredibly appealing to many DJs.

Would you build a PiDeck for your own use? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

H/T to Create Digital Music, which first covered the PiDeck earlier this month. 

control vinylDVSlinuxpideckstandalonexwax
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  • DJ Software + Accessories For The Frugal Musician

    […] Linux only. The only hardware beyond a computer is an audio interface, turntables or CDJs. And, as we’ve mentioned previously, it’s the basis of PiDeck. PiDeck’s a new and alternative standalone solution if you don’t […]

  • Roy Bear

    Actually I was going to use my freshly delivered RasPi3 for Emulation, but this is way more cool then playing old games. Now I Just have to explain Raspian what a Traktor Audio 10 does, and how it works…

  • ace

    Can anyone possibly give me some insight into this:
    Does anyone know if this will be available commercially or if the info on how to do it will be made available to us? I’d much rather build this (vid above) but if no other option will go the PiDeck route. He (Djgreeb) has released some general info on youtube, but as this is an embedded system, I presume has must have his own code that was flashed. Anyone that can help me with more info pls, that will be really appreciated.

  • ace

    Is there a ‘through’ mode so I still play regular vinyl without having to unplug rca’s etc?

  • Peter Croce

    Is there any reason I can’t use this with an iPhone as the monitor using the lightning adapter? Also does it have a through mode? or do we have to unplug it from the preamp and plug it into the phono channel on the mixer?

    • Dubby Labby

      Why no use directly an enabled dvs app on you iPhone?

      • Peter Croce

        I didn’t know they existed, can you point me in the direction of one?

        • Dubby Labby

          Djplayer is the most powerful but also Mixvibes Cross. 😉

        • Roy Bear

          horrible name, awesome app: DJ Player Pro

  • http://digitaldjgear.blogspot.

    I was dreaming about something like this to implement in my old Reloop CDJs and now finally few people found solution, kudos!

  • Miroslav Ivanov

    I started my build 🙂

  • Solomix

    You can also install kodi on it. The pi is a great invention.

  • Brad Sartor

    Pioneer really missed a big opportunity with their DVS play. How hard would it have been to add a phono input to upcoming model of CDJ or XDJ media deck? The player already has a touch screen, buttons, Rekordbox, an awesome DAC, Forget the laptop, simply plug your turntable into a CDJ (where your USB has been plugged in). The other turntable, attached to the other CDJ, cant access the same flash stick via link cable.

  • Stephen Nawlins

    And how about running Traktor over a Raspberry Pi???
    The Pi3 has 4 USB and HDMI connectivity and a Micro SD-Slot.
    I am not an IT/Computer expert at all, but wouldn’t it be possible to load Traktor (or any other Program) on it and connect with a Controller? External Display + Wireless Keyboard and Mouse.
    What are the issues for not doing it? (As I said my question is very naive as I am really Blue eyed when it Comes to this Kind of tehnology)

    • CUSP

      Currently, Traktor runs on MacOS, iOS, and Windows, which means you’d have to load one of those Operating Systems on your device first, and that’s usually pretty big. I’m not saying they won’t, they just don’t yet make a UNIX version.

    • SC

      One of the intel stick computers or similar that run windows should be able to do it actually.

    • Dubby Labby

      It will be easier for NI improve their iOS version and release to AppleTV.

  • Carlos Hernandez

    …all this scratching is making me itch!

  • CUSP

    Hunh, this still isn’t as impressive as my buddy’s take on inserting his project computer into his Vestax VCI-380 and loading up Mixxx. Granted, things weren’t completely pretty, but this was over 2 years ago. I’m still shocked that people like to claim their “brand new project” is the “first ever” when we knew we were mimicking an all-in-one controller (I think it was the Denon controller with touch jog wheel).

    I guess someone needs an ego stroke and a money thrown at them, but at the end of the day, I guess that’s all that matters to some people.

    • Spacecamp

      > We just did it because we thought it would be cool to do.

      How pretty much every project should start.

      • CUSP

        You guys have a great opportunity to do a micro build computer inside the controller, like your MIDI Fighter series. I’m sure Ean still talks with Q-Bert, so getting your hands on those new ATOM chips should be pretty easy. Strangely, this project evokes memories of my old C-64 (from back in the ’80s), because the computer was in the keyboard.

        I say do a poll, find out if there’s interest.

        I’d suggest “Comptroller” as a name but it’s already used for someone who handles money flow for a company… Damn.

        • Roy Bear

          Please, no more Atoms. They’re horrible slow, get hot and honestly a CPU which got designed 8 years ago? Really?
          I would prefer ARM, since some things like this Project dont need that x86-architecture…
          ARM is the future, ARM is bliss.

          • CUSP

            Have you seen the Skull Canyons? They’re basically Videogame monsters in a small form factor. Obviously, you don’t need that much power, but the NUC i5s are affordable and basically a laptop in a case about the size of a mac mini.

  • Serkan Silence Gunduz

    I whould see a dvs system whitout the needle… that should be possible

    • Oddie O'Phyle

      It would just be a MIDI controlled dj software, not DVS.

      • Serkan Silence Gunduz

        if it plays from the usb stick… really dont mather for me if its called.. dvs or midi controller… who gives a hack :p

        • Oddie O'Phyle

          We already have stand alone units… MCX8000 and XDJ-RX. Now, you talked about having this software work on a deck without the needle… You need the needle for track position and pitch. Without the needle your computer keeps track position and in order for you to affect software you would need to incorporate MIDI send from the deck to your computer. You said “who gives a hack”… well, the hackers coming up with homebrew solutions. Need to know how the technology works before you can create.

          • Serkan Silence Gunduz

            i whould like to see jogs like the big vinyl ones..
            But its done before with cd players… from Numark cdx. and it was without a laptop/ pc. Go google it

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            …and without the binary layer under the carrier tone, none of it is DVS.

          • Serkan Silence Gunduz

            i see and feel vinyl, its digital.. its a system

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            DVS= Digital VINYL System.

          • Dubby Labby

            You can track oosition with touchbar (softpot included in ujits like ns7, amx, d2…) and pitch independency (or sync) could be a blessing so don’t drop an idea so fast…
            And yes I know what I’m talking about 😉

          • Serkan Silence Gunduz

            amen 🙂

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            Look up the difference between relative and absolute mode. Using something other than DVS, position is maintained by your computer. Using time code, the position of the track is relative to where the needle is on the vinyl. I know a little on the topic too, the first things that came to mind were… this is not a stand-alone unit, Pi is a computer. This won’t go commercial, I count 5 patent and 1 copyright infringement. Other than that, read the title… PiDeck: Standalone DVS Control On Raspberry Pi. The article is about DVS with time code.

          • Dubby Labby

            DVS needs somekind of “computer”. Standalone DVS is not about timecode or Raspi is more a “way of labelling it” (even Serato isn’t timecode really but noisemap) but it’s not about labels. You affirmed some things that were unpreciwe and keep’n with the article “topic” didn’t make pointless the points. Said that there is no need for who “got the rabbit” so instead of, check links and grab something if you find useful or contribute as some of us do (and were doing the last 13 years). That’s the point to correct and point, share and contribute. 😉
            About comercial or not… who cares? You could do by yourself and that’s all. Brands aren’t interesting in this or if they release something like will be 2’5x expensive. Also PiDeck aims to be self-driven install.

            Final thought: How many of these patents are related to audio timecode decoding?
            With digital encoder or similar system maybe we can avoid some of them? 😉

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            You do realise that Noise Map is just Serato’s Copyright name for their unique timecode…

          • Dubby Labby

            Not really… it has some differences in application (for absolute position similar to grey code?) and that’s why it usually marketed as beng better for slow speeds but maybe I’m wrong and I get fooled by their “marketing” early in the days (at the protools plugin era). Anyways there isn’t an standard of “timecode vinyl” technology and if you check the Chris Bauer paper which “dimissed” the lawsuit audio timecoding was ONE of the different approarchs but not the ONLY. 😉

            Interesting resources for whatever interested:



            At last all the lawsuit issue forced NI to pay 50€/license (with backwards application) and make a Traktor update (for 50€ Do you remember it guys?) and go MK2 and focus in controllers (ouch) meanwhile Serato get free due the “dimissed” (Torq died and Ms. Pinky get very hurt)…


            Old history and maybe no more interest on it but for the actual topic could be still insteresting for someone trying to do “product”. For diyers and homebrew bah… just mess and use. Maybe Pioneer could make some improvement (cassssh)?

            Last part 2. Do you realize that there is no need for audio to have a DVS? 😉

            Great chat Oddie <3

          • Ztronical

            Yeah Torq is what I started on.
            Not dvs but it had elastic grids and used plugins.
            I was bummed when they went poof.

          • Dubby Labby

            A pity without doubt…

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            All I’m am saying is this… DVS is a DJ software, but not all DJ software is DVS. My grasp of the technology has lead me to thinking that DVS requires a pilot tone, where a dj software that is not DVS is triggered internally and requires the computer’s internal clock. DVS requires an outside audio source to track pitch and acceleration/deceleration information, not DVS software generally uses MIDI or HID. It’s why I say that the Tascam TT-M1 isn’t DVS; but it is a close emulation; it uses a MIDI translator. I’m not even saying that it has to be on vinyl, all it would require is that there be a tone generator as an outside audio source for stop/start, acceleration/deceleration information and to track pitch.
            My thought has always been that with DVS, the sample is pushed by and reliant an outside signal for play back. Not DVS software is triggered and pushed internally by the computer. A host piece of software can do both, the difference is how the engine handles the audio sample.

          • Dubby Labby

            DVS is for Digital Vinyl System, ej midi turntable fit three but… I suspect the assimilation of DVS and Timecode system makes this so messy. All you explain is correct for audio timecode signal but you can track turntable vector with digital encoder like ttm1 (including pitch which is acceleration/time more or less) without any tone (and audio decoding) in it. Timecode signals are an analog way to simuate a digital encoder with its pros and cons. Tone timestamp is the solution to needle drop (position) but it isn’t necessary for scratch or mixing in relative (in these side of the record there is nothing but sinus audio for simulate the schmidtt trigger).
            Said that, why is timecode signal the most popular system insted digital encoders? Well we have two main reasons. First timecode needs minimun adaptation to regular setup and you can switch analog/timecode just with a phino/line switch in regular mixers. Second the resolution related to audio signal is usually bigger than regular encoder supplied by controllers or stuff like ttm1 but it brings a paradox…
            Any audio analog conversion to digital domain will be faster than analog itself so die hard scratch dj will keep themselves with analog battleweapon for scratching and actual encoders are enough for the rest of functions (and some like scs1d or ns7 series are even near the audio option) so it require DVS software to implement these speceial resolution encoders and usually most of them support audio timecode so why do it?
            Then you find NI NHL hid propietary protocol (to enhance any possible drawback related to midi conversion and directly read the digital encoder (serial) like audio timecode) or Serato users complaining about SSL vs SDJ 😉

            The point is: You can improve some parts of the process making it more fast (or the fastest as you can) or implementing DVS functions in dedicated devices like Raspi for being a bit more computerless.
            The perfect system will be something like regular vinyl (data ready without buffering) but without the drawbacks or audio decoding (from distortion to dsp) and there an optical encoder should be faster and dedicated hardware should be more stable but… difficult to be retrocompatible. Just look at ej mtt, it was near to perfection as system but fail as product.
            Another option is Pioneer implementing timecode support to their standalone series (mixer or cdj). The cpu from the cdx isn’t rocket science compared to these (texas instruments). I hope it helos you to understand why it’s not “raspi and dvs” topic alone.

      • Dubby Labby

        Digital vinyl or digitalized vinyl… same words similar concept but not timecode involvement needed.

        • Oddie O'Phyle

          Completely different concepts. Digitised vinyl is an analog record recorded by digital means. eg. ripping your old records and storing them as FLAC or .wav. Digital vinyl is time code, it has a binary layer embedded in the carrier tone. eg. Serato noise map.

          • Serkan Silence Gunduz

            this is what i whould like to see.. nice. and maybe another step further..stand-alone / usb 🙂

          • Dubby Labby

            Raspi project is standalone and usb. Connect the dots. 😉

          • CUSP

            It may be stand-alone, but it’s not what you want. Speaking from experience, when all you have is a tiny screen, you find yourself bending over your deck, squinting. When you don’t have a keyboard (or other touch interface), you get frustrated with the input controls rather quickly.

            I see things going either toward the tablet or toward the project computer inside the controller, but both have their weaknesses as well as strengths.

          • Dubby Labby

            Well the solutions developed nowadays aren’t so far from a Cdx (arrows or push encoder for browsing) which is more or less what I need lately. I had djing with tablet and tablet/mac mini (with traxxus) and I gone for the simplify route. At this moment of my life turntables are unnecessary for music making and I just share and mess with them thanks to dv forum and djs friends in my area (who need an iron soldering skilled person to busy)
            If I get fixed the Cdx I will use it for scratch just for fun.
            I will love to get an standalone Turntable groovebox someday but my only interest in this concept is again for fun at home. I will never take it from my room, it doesn’t worth the risk.
            The simplest solution for one task machine like.

    • DJ Soo

      Numark CDX or HDX, Denon 3700 or 3900, or even the technics SL-DZ1200 were all CDJs with direct drive platters and super easy to use with any existing DVS program even today. The Stanton SCS.1D was a midi controller with a direct drive platter and the Numark V7 was a standalone Serato direct drive controller to be used with your own mixer. The Numark X2 Hybrid was a turntable/CDJ which could play vinyl and still control CDs which can be used with DVS.

      None of them really took off (I blame pioneer) which is a shame because I prefer rotating platters as well, but am sick of all the problems associated with all the aging technics out there as well as the rising cost of stylii and control vinyl.

      I’ve been using Denon 3900s lately instead of turntables for gigs that require gear and I’m loving it. All the fun of spinning platters and none of the headaches of bad tonearms, too much bass vibrations, bad needles, and the like.

      • James Brian Thomaston

        I love my 3900’s, and since denon doesn’t seem to be able to get engine 1.5 to work well, I basically just use them as a controller for Rekordbox DVS. Wish their midi was easier to map though, both Rekordbox and Denon.

        • DJ Soo

          Yea, I love my new 3900s although there are a few things I’d change. Would never use it as standalone (Engine freezes whenever a launch), but as a Serato controller, it’s pretty dope.

          If Denon ever made a version of the SC5000 Prime with spinning platters, I’d seriously consider getting a pair.

      • Jan Karol Kowalski

        i got numark ns7 ii it has same deck response as recenr rane twelve, its freaking awesome its like spinning 45 on tt

  • Rob Ticho, Default Rejects

    I’d love to see this mapped to a midi controller like the BEHRINGER CMD PL-1. It would be a super cheap media player deck.

  • AuralCandy.Net

    Something tells me sooner or later somebody will mod PiDeck inside the case of a turntable.

    Having a turntable with an integrated DVS display and a USB-memory stick port would actually be pretty cool 🙂

    • ?The Other Denzel?

      Why put it in the turntable?
      Put it in the Mixer!

      • Spacecamp

        That’s what Thud Rumble is trying to do:


          Seattle’s DJ dAb already did this with his First Love Mixer with built in touchscreen and dvs:

        • ?The Other Denzel?

          Thud rumble’s trying to put a bespoke pc running traktor scratch pro in a mixer.

          The raspberry pie solution seems infinitely more feasible, especially if the mixer already has an audio interface built in.

      • AuralCandy.Net

        Yes, you’re right. Come to think of it, the mixer would be a better place for it.

        Imagine something like Pioneer DJM-Tour1. It already has a display and USB-A port. Just add DVS functionality to the embedded software 😀 😀

    • Joshua Church

      I think it might already be done

  • Aaron Jaraba

    May be great for those who have invested in the Portablism groove (Numark -PT01 scratch etc).