Arduino: Adafruit VS1053 Audio Board

Next in my exploration of Arduino-compatible audio boards is Adafruit’s compact and multi-functional VS1053. This board came out earlier this year just as I was getting preoccupied with moving, and I only recently discovered it. I got this board for Christmas from my dad, and put it together as soon as I got home. I wanted this board because – along with being smaller than the others, it appeared to cover many audio codecs.

VS1053 Codec + MicroSD Breakout – MP3/WAV/MIDI/OGG Play + Record

The VS1053 was easy to put together. I got version 2 with the built-in 220uF stereo blocking capacitors, I had even less work to do to get up and running.

Here’s the first test of the playback sketch, on Flickr

It will take a LONG TIME to explore this board. The documentation for the board is extensive, and you may want to print some sections for reference. However, it does not go into detail about the specs of the SD card. Most boards I’ve tried have an upper limit of 1 or 2 GB, but the VS1053 worked with an 8GB card with no problem. I still find SD cards a bit finicky when it comes to formatting them, and almost always have to use my Mac to do it right.

The second test I performed was for basic MIDI playback. Again, this board is deep and I can see a lot of uses for the MIDI capability, including interfacing with the Percussa Audiocubes, but that will have to wait for another time. Here it is on on Flickr.

Subsequent tests involved adding some switching options to trigger sounds, including a microphone, which of course can set up a bit of a feedback loop – some sound triggers audio to start, audio starts, continues to trigger, ad infinitum.

(Note: As of Dec 2015, version 4 of this board is available, but I am not sure what changes have been made.)


By jjdeprisco

Sonic explorer, sound artist, guitarist in Fricknadorable, software designer.