MP3 Trigger

Make some noise with your next project! The MP3 Trigger board is built to make MP3 sound integration easier than ever. The board has 18 external trigger pins that will directly trigger pre-selected MP3 tracks, and a full-duplex serial control port that provides full transport control, remote triggering for up to 256 tracks, and fast real-time volume control. MP3s are stored on FAT16 formatted SDSC or FAT32 formatted SDHC micro-SD flash memory cards. In addition, optimized code can achieve 192Kbps stereo playback from a wider range of cards.

The heart of the MP3 Trigger board is the Cypress PSoC CY8C29466-24SXI microcontroller which serves up MP3 data to a VLSI VS1063 audio codec IC. This version also supports an optional initialization file that can be used to set the serial port baud rate as well as to reprogram any of the 18 trigger inputs to alternate functions, including random and sequential track selection, transport controls and even volume up/down. Each conventional trigger can be set to either allow immediate restarts, or to lock out restarts if audio is playing. Also, a new trigger filename convention provides greater flexibility in naming your MP3 tracks and makes file management easier.

There is also a “Quiet Mode” feature that can be enabled via the serial control port. In this mode, the trigger inputs don’t start tracks directly, but instead produce a serial message indicating which triggers were activated. A host microcontroller can thus monitor the trigger inputs and then start any track or sequence of tracks via the serial control port, making the triggers much more flexible.

This version of the MP3 Trigger includes firmware that supports the use of an initialization file on the microSD card that can be used to change the serial baud rate, as well as to repurpose any of the 18 trigger inputs to alternate functions, such as random and sequential triggers, navigation controls and even volume controls. In addition, a restart lockout option can be used to prevent any trigger from starting a track if audio is already playing. Using these features, custom applications can often be implemented without the use of a separate microcontroller.

Note: This product is a collaboration with Robertsonics. A portion of each sales goes back to them for product support and continued development.

  • Input Voltage Range: 4.5V to 12.0V DC, or regulated 3.3V (jumper selectable)
  • Current Consumption: Approximately 45mA idle, 85mA playing
  • Media: SDSC and SDHC microSD cards
  • File system: FAT32 and FAT16
  • Audio output: Headphone stereo (1/8” stereo jack)
  • Trigger inputs: Logic level 3.3V–5.0V, active low inputs, w/ internal pull-ups (connector provides individual grounds, allowing switches or jumpers to be connected directly to each trigger input)
  • Serial: Full duplex, 8-bit, 38.4Kbaud (default, other baud rates supported via initialization file)

MP3 Trigger Product Help and Resources

How to Sell Your Widget on SparkFun

June 10, 2015

Have an awesome electronic widget that you want to get to market? We can help resell, or maybe even manufacture it! Find out how.

MP3 Trigger Hookup Guide V24

January 21, 2016

Incorporate sound into your next project easily with the MP3 Trigger.

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Known good testing files

We have a handy set of tracks for testing a MP3 Trigger. Each track is a spoken word that says the name of that trigger. Trigger 1 says "One" 2 says "Two" etc... available here on request. Unzip these to a freshly formatted SD card and you're in business.

1 of 1 found this helpful:

Older version?

For anyone that has the older version without the line out jumpers, this ground loop isolator should protect their board.

Core Skill: Soldering

This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.

2 Soldering

Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
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Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

3 Programming

Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • wassabi / about 9 years ago * / 2

    Ugh, it's been a few years since the last revision. This is over priced, and you still have to add an amplifier circuit and sd card for storage. There are cheaper ways to get triggerable sounds without mp3 or sd card, and still have usb mountable storage. Search google for "audio fx sound board trigger", costs half the price of this.

    • Searching for that phrase brings up the Adafruit's sound board and I must say that this board has more features. Adafruit's board only has 2MB of storage compared to GB on this one depending on SD card. Adafruit's board only has 11 external triggers compared to 18 on this one.

  • Member #1393869 / about 5 years ago / 1

    This product is terrible. I don't know why many people enjoy it. I have been working on it for months now and it only works half the time. I am in the middle of a project with it working fine and then all of a sudden it stopped triggering. I'm not sure whats causing it but trying to manually ground the triggers also doesn't work. Wouldn't recommend. For the price and the fact that it is pre-programmed and advertises that little interface is needed between the user and the chip its not worth it.

  • Member #24015 / about 8 years ago / 1

    This is working great for me for playing "Fuel Low" alarms in my headset while I'm flying my homebuilt airplane. I'd like to modify the source code to do some other neat tricks. I'm not new to embedded software but I'm new to gethub. Should I be able to get to the source code by going to the gethub link? I can't find the source code anywhere.

    • Joel_E_B / about 8 years ago / 1

      The source code for this board is not currently available, as per our collaborator's discretion. However, you are correct that when source code is available, github is usually the best place to find the most up-to-date version.

  • Austin_atronix89 / about 8 years ago / 1

    Great board! I finally got my character up and running using it!

  • radioactivedog / about 8 years ago / 1

    You can also hook it to a bluetooth transmitter and really pump the volume. I just used a simple car transmitter to make it work. I might be something that would be handy to add to the board in the future.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5

Based on 17 ratings:

Currently viewing all customer reviews.

1 of 1 found this helpful:

I'm driving tacks with a sledge hammer

This board is way overkill for my project, BUT it works. I have wasted a lot of time with the cute little jobs for $5. They are unpredictable and unreliable. The MP3 Trigger does the job. One caveat - if you are waiting for an available character on the RX line for the end of the file - be sure to empty the buffer first. The extra characters that are sent in the "quiet" mode are there, too.

1 of 1 found this helpful:

Excellent for specific uses

This is super easy to configure, although you need to solder a jumper if you want it to play all files automatically. Perfect for situations where you need to play audio files automatically on power-up, or trigger different sounds depending on which input is grounded. A bit more detail in the users guide would have been appreciated as I found the parts about automatically triggering all sounds confusing, and the setup information in general was confusing. However the tech support provided by Sparkfun was over the top: both fast and very helpful. I bought seven and am very happy with them. Note: if your board seems to be dead when you power it up, you probably have the voltage input switch set the wrong way.

amazing product and easy

Couldn't be happier with this product such an easy board for starters. The only complaint I have is that its $50. But I guess if I came out with a great product like this I'd charge that too.

One cool little board

This is an amazing device that allows you to add sounds and full music scores to your project. The build quality of the board is excellent and the designers pre-thought it out well with even individual solder points in many cases in addition the the receptacles on the board. (ie: Left and right solder points for audio in addition to the 3.5 mm stereo jack!)

Real good product

If u wanna use some sort of switches it would do the job. But if i had known that if u wanna use it as a standalone, and trigger some sort of sensors like: motion / pir / temp . Then u need a arduino/ sparkfun board.

I needed it for a project to trigger more then 4 pir sensors And to trigger the sound corresponding to that channel.

So now ill order a shild and a sparkfun bord to do the job And almost the same costs

Works Great

Makes for an excellent Doorbell system. I wired the doorbell switch's (no lights) to the triggers and the audio output to an audio amp which feeds my speakers. Works fantastic. I can have different sounds for each doorbell and can easily change them anytime I want.

You Are The Best

Sparkfun, Your boards and other innovative products are the best. I have centered a number of fun projects around your products. Please keep stocking/developing these wonderful and easy to use modules. And thanks for all the support documentation. Dave Goodsell Contributing Editor, N&V

For museum exhibits, inexpensive, simple, reliable, recommendable. Will purchase more as needed.

Excellent Product

This unit has never failed me. I use this board to create sounds for products I make and sell all over the world. It is a reliable and dependable. They ship fast too.

It do exactly what it's supposed to do.

It do exactly what it's supposed to do.

Great Product!

MP3 Trigger brought my full-size R2D2 build to life!!

A Reliable MP3 player!

I have purchased over 30 of these units for various art and music projects. Many of them were installed in what we call, in the Theater Organ field, a Digital Toy Counter. (See Cinnamon Hill Art on Youtube). Others were used in specialized door bells. All of them worked flawlessly. But I did have two problems: 1: the SD memory header connector is too delicate. My present project, The Trump Circus Machine, I had, in my software development, to insert and remove the memory card several times. At about the tenth time the card would not lock in. It developed a fault. I was able to get around the fault by making a strap, held by the two mounting screws, which held the card in place. 2: I needed to get the STATUS info about the number of tracks on a chip. I wasted several days of programming time trying to figure out how that data was presented and in what mode.The manual is not entirely clear on that. I finally found ou,t through experimentation, that the data was presented in ASCII, Tens first, Units second. It would have been nice to see that info in the operation manual. Then I had to convert the ASCII data into a decimal number so that I could use that info in my software. Quite the challenge! And, oh, I almost forgot: I wanted to use only one power supply so I had to isolate the audio output using audio transformers so that the amplifier could use a common ground. Otherwise a great product. Andy LaTorre Cinnamon Hill Art

USPS got lucky

The package came in a mangled box, my hopes were dashed as I'd been waiting on the board. I opened the box expecting to see a broken board but thanks to the good packaging it survived. It has been tested and works. Thank you Sparkfun

Very disappointing

I bought several sensors for a project my family is working on and everything we bought worked great. Until we got to the end of the project. The very last thing we wanted was to add some sounds and we thought we had found the answer with the MP3 Trigger. However, no matter what we tried the sound produced is garbled and sounds like it is playing at less then full speed. We tried using external power supplies from 4.5V to 12V with both external speakers and headphones. We tried the FTDI at both 5V and 3.3V to no avail, the sound was still slow and sounded like garbage. We tried different SD cards and mp3 files, nothing helped. It is so disappointing to reach the very end of a project only to have the most expensive thing you bought for it not to work. My children were crushed, and we are all actively searching for a different solution to add sounds to our project. We were so satisfied with everything else we purchased from SparkFun. Our items were packed very professionally, which is a rarity these days. I wish I were writing a raving review for the MP3 Trigger, but I cannot recommend it under any circumstances.

Simple and Easy

The board arrived in Portugal in 3 days and it works perfectly. Very simple to use and with super complete support documentation.


Extremely Easy to Use

I am using this with my Arduino. I was going to use one of the triggers to activate a sound file for a Halloween Prop controller I'm building. The serial control was so easy to set up and use, the code minor in nature. I use the Software Serial example so it frees up the USB to upload revisions to the sketches. I find the MP3 Trigger easier to use than the MP3 Shields I've used in the past. I highly recommend this item. It's easy to use, compact and versatile.