Modder Details How To Jam With Raspberry Pico Powered Open Source Headphones

ploopy headphones black
The concept of "open source" originates with software, of course, but that doesn't mean it has to stop there. Open-source hardware is a thing now, and you can also find all kinds of other projects becoming "open source." That means that they're sharing schematics, plans, and diagrams for producing the product yourself at simply the cost of parts. A perfect example is this set of planar-driver headphones created by Ploopy Corporation.

ploopy trackball
Ploopy's main claim to fame until now was its trackballs.

Ploopy is a name known to folks who keep up with this kind of thing; the company got its start selling kits to build your own open-source pointing devices. There's a few different trackballs as well as a mouse available from the company, and all are completely open-source; if you've the know-how and wherewithal, you can just download the stuff and build it yourself.

These new headphones are no different. The Ploopy cans use a powerful TI PCM3060 off-the-shelf audio codec, while Ploopy's /u/crop_octagon elected to hack together a custom six-channel equalizer using the Raspberry Pi Foundation's RP2040 microcontroller. That's the same chip inside a Raspberry Pico. Despite the similar name, the Raspberry Pico isn't a single-board computer, but rather a much more simplistic microcontroller, sort of like an Arduino on steroids.


The headphones' creator writes that doing real-time digital signal processing is normally extremely math-intensive, typically using a lot of floating-point calculations. The dual-core RP2040 does not have any FPUs, so this approach was not going to work. Instead, they hacked together a 6-band equalizer using integer math.

ploopy frequency response

As far as the headphones themselves, they use custom-designed planar drivers that Ploopy claims offer "studio monitor"-grade frequency response, and you can tune the aforementioned EQ to get the sound you want. Planar drivers typically offer a sharper and clearer sound than classical dynamic drivers at the cost of some output power, but apparently the Ploopy headphones work around this shortcoming by simply having a powerful amplifier.

3dprinter ploopy headphones

As a result, the headphones' creator says on Reddit that the headphones aren't particularly portable and would drain the battery of a mobile device very quickly. They're really intended for use at the PC, it seems. If you're interested, you can head over to the Ploopy site where you can order a do-it-yourself kit for $149 CAD ($110 USD), a fully-assembled pair for $299 CAD ($222 USD), or simply download the materials to do it yourself.