Making an internet radio from a Griffin iMic and RaspberryPi

IMPORTANT UPDATE – July 2015: BBC Radio addresses have changed – see here for more info. And Fip has moved to

Continuing the theme of making something useful out of unloved gadgets lying round the house, today I started to build some sort of audio device from another unused Raspberry Pi and an ancient Griffin iMic – this was a silver hockey-puck shaped USB audio IO device that I bought donkeys years ago for my Bondi Blue iMac. I also found some old powered PC speakers that had been in the loft, and a random old power supply.

I’m not sure if I’m eventually going to make an internet radio or something to stream audio from some networked storage yet – the first step was to get some sound out.

Music player made out of rubbish

It’s a good idea to use a USB audio device for music on the Pi, as the onboard audio jack is not good quality.

I started by following the advice here:–mac-55876

In short, I copied a WAV file onto my Pi’s desktop, and rebooted the Pi up with the Griffin iMic plugged into the top USB socket (I tried it in a powered USB hub and it didn’t work). I then edited an audio config file by typing

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

at the command line, and commenting out the line

options snd-usb-audio index=-2

by putting a hash sign at the front:

# options snd-usb-audio index=-2

and saving it by pressing ctrl-x and y to over-write the file.

I plugged my PC speakers into the mains, plugged the jack into the iMic’s audio out socket, then rebooted the Pi, navigated to the desktop at the command line and typed

aplay TheDaysWeMade.wav

and sweet music came forth! Didn’t even need to hunt for any drivers. (I do love the Paper Aeroplanes, but I need to get some more music on here soon!)

You can even turn the volume up at the command line by typing alsamixer

AlsaMixer showing Griffin iMic

Next steps – playing MP3 files, internet radio (I’ve asked Santa for a PiFace display control gizmo – could be the start of a beautiful but of gadget making!), who knows?

I just made a quick and dirty command line internet radio that plays BBC Radio 6music and Radio 4 by installing mpd and mpc:

sudo apt-get install mpc mpd

and then adding the BBC 6music like this:

mpc add

adding BBC Radio 4 by typing

mpc add

and then typing

mpc play 1

for 6music (the first one I added), mpc play 2 plays Radio 4. There are more BBC radio stations listed here.

Plenty more to do – get it to run at boot, controls, displays, a pretty box – but amazing how quickly you can turn a pile of rubbish into something useful like an internet radio.


I’ve since written up a very simple Raspberry Pi internet radio here, and started working on a fancier one with an LCD display and buttons for volume and station changing.

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3 Responses to Making an internet radio from a Griffin iMic and RaspberryPi

  1. Pingback: Internet radio project using a #RaspberryPi made out of discarded tech | Raspberry PiPod

  2. Eric Pavey says:

    Thanks for the writeup: I had previously made my own Raspberry Pi internet radio station tuner thingy as well. But being new to linux I really had a hard time figuring out what media player to use. I settled on MPlayer, but it seemed like a lot more effort than was needed. Your direction to use mpd & mcp (and alsamixer) was most appreciated: I’m streaming some stuff right now ;)
    FYI, I use a MakeyMakey as my input device, it worked pretty well ;) If you have interest, you can see my results here :
    Not trying to promote it on your blog, I just figured you may find it interesting too ;)

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