Arduino and Audio Files..

Hi there -

I'm trying to figure out how to play back sound files (44.1khz, stereo, 16-bit) via Arduino.

I'm a little bit confused, since I know the Arduino Uno does not necessarily have a DAC that can handle this - but there seem to be a number of projects that involve using SD cards and Arduinos for playback.

Could someone here talk me through this a little bit? Is it just a matter of using the Arduino Due? Or are there other, better (maybe cheaper?) methods?

Mostly you would use an MP3 shield that plays directly from an SD card. The Arduino is only giving stop/start commands and not actually manipulating the audio data.

A Teensy is capable of direct digital processing on audio. It still needs an audio board to amplify the signal so you can play it through a speaker.

Alright, let me just get this straight - Your recommendation is an MP3 shield, a Teensy, and some sort of audio amplifier. From what I'm seeing, the shield+arduino will cost around $60 together - still a little steep for what I want to do - is that the most affordable approach?

I'm trying to figure out how to play back sound files (44.1khz, stereo, 16-bit) via Arduino.

What you want to do is beyond the capabilities of an Arduino 8 bit processor alone, so you have to do something else. Even with an external D/A there is just too much data to handle in too short a time. It is a matter of component sourcing as to how much it costs.

Arduino+mp3 shield OR a Teensy. Teensy seems to be the cheapest approach.

An Arduino alone cannot do it, so you need to add some sort of decoder, which an MP3 shield will do for you.

From what I understand, the later Teensy models can process the audio but you still need something so you can hear it. Projects involving audio will never be very cheap.

Arduino-compatible MP3 player boards are cheap. It's just the $hields that arent.

Quick ebay search ("arduino mp3 player") turns up oodles of them, some of them clearly much nicer than others, and even some shields under $10. Lots of modules in the ~$5 range, be sure to find some library code for them before you buy one though, just to make sure it exists.

Thanks for the input, everyone! I think I have a starting place now - thank you.