Computer Hardware Gadgets Modding My Blog Photos Software

Dedicated Music Computer Mod Project

I’m always listening to internet radio or music from my computer’s hdd.
I never listen to anything else, so my hi-fi is 99% useless (except for the on timer to play a cd to wake me up)

I decided to build a small dedicated music computer, that can be controlled using only a character display and some switches in the front of the case. No monitor is going to be used with this.

The case (already purchased): – Venus 669 – Black

The motherboard (already purchased):

I purchased the memory (1gb) and a copy of windows xp from micro direct (I visited their warehouse shop)

I will be using Winamp (, as I have found a plugin that will run the complete system:
It uses a menu system.

I have the components to add buttons to the front, to control winamp. (I got the info from
I have worked out that I can use a 2 line vfd for this (instead of a 4 line, which is too expensive)

I will be making a custom front for this computer (easily mounted by using the 4 motherboard standoff type points for each corner of the front)
The display will be mounted behind the new front panel having a cutout (rounded rectangle shape) to see the display through.

Kustompcs are a UK distributor for Matrix Orbital, and Graeme has ordered me a 2 line vfd.

I will also be getting from kustompcs:
black anodized aluminum sheet.

once kustom have the display, I will sort out the other bits I need for this and the payment for it all.
They will then send it all to me.

Photos :DSheet of black anodized aluminium to construct the front panel from.

back molex connectors, which will be used to power some external lighting (future addition(s))

The components to construct the control switch circuit.

The VFD with blue filter [filter resting to test it, before peeling the backing off the double sided tape and sticking it.

I have a movie (.mov – quicktime 5.4mb 18seconds) of the vfd in action: itx hi-fi/vfdvid.MOV] itx hi-fi/vfdvid.MOV

Scan of my really rough sketch of a possible front layout (changed the brightness and contrast so it shows better on a monitor)
The layout may have to change…

The solid lines show the parts where the aluminium panel will be cut

The cutout for the optical drive will only let the tray through, to keep the clean look.

The griffin powermate will be the main volume control / mute.

The switches will be mounted on some framework, so they are just slightly behind the aluminium. I will get something to stick on the switches and go through the cut outs of the panel.
I thought I could use a few layers of the black aluminium, I can’t think of anything else.
Does anyone have any ideas of what I could use?

I will in the future, after I’ve got it functionally working add some external lighting, and put a switch on the front as to be able to turn the lighting off.
Mayby cathodes going front to back under the case. etc

One of the other things is that I may do for a small stand for it

3 replies on “Dedicated Music Computer Mod Project”

put some pictures of the finished product on and maybe a video with audio of it in action.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.