Retrofuturistic streaming audio player recreates the simplicity of a radio

There is no shortage of powerful and sophisticated media players these days that have almost every and all features you can possibly cram inside. Some of these designs are more upfront with the complexity of options and controls, while others hide behind a deceptively minimalist facade that relegates the knobs and sliders to a mobile app instead. While there is always a place for such advanced devices, there is sometimes also a need for simpler and more focused features. An old-school radio, for example, simply plays music it receives from certain frequencies, and that’s the kind of distilled listening experience that this DIY streaming audio player tries to offer in a retrofuturistic design that looks like a cross between that analog radio, a small TV, and, oddly enough, a miniature microwave.

Designer: Nik Reitmann

Streaming devices are so common these days that it almost makes no sense to make one yourself. After all, our smartphones themselves are capable of these and more, and you can easily pair them with a wireless speaker at home for louder output. Of course, if you value the journey and the process of making such a functional design more than the final product, then you’ll probably want something that at least stands out in more than just appearance alone.

This DIY streaming audio player stands somewhere in between a smart speaker and a smart display, focusing on the streaming audio activity but with a touchscreen display that adds a bit of flavor to the experience. It’s not a touch-only device, however, as its creator preferred to embrace some analog controls, especially a volume dial that seems to be a rare sight on many smart speakers these days. There are also a few LED-lit buttons, though, and the whole setup can be controlled remotely from your phone or even a computer.

The design chosen for the player is admittedly distinctive, embracing an aesthetic that seems to mix different eras. The arrangement of a large display or rectangular element opposite a set of buttons and a knob is reminiscent of analog radios and even some TVs from decades past. The smooth surfaces and curves, however, give it a more modern look that is amusingly close to the appearance of a microwave with a physical knob instead of just buttons. Either way, it’s an interesting design for a dedicated streaming audio player that distills the listening experience to its very basics rather than getting lost in a multitude of features.