How can I build button panel that produces sound clips?

I am tying to build a panel with approximately 30 buttons (I would like the buttons to resemble door bell buttons). When a button is pushed a sound clip is played through a speaker. I would like one sound clip assigned to each button rather than a random sound clip. If the sound clips were randomized there would be no need for all the different buttons. The large panel of buttons is an esthetic that is important to this project.
Thank you for any advice.

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janw6 years ago
You can try to scan the buttons with a multiplex system. That would use approx. 2 ports on a microcontroller or arduino.

For the mp3 bit you could use the mp3 trigger v2. Its a complete module for remotely triggering mp3.
Tedbo (author)  janw5 years ago

I want to thank you for your help. I went ahead and purchased the MP3 trigger you recommended and it worked like a charm. I scaled down my project to use the 18 ports that came with the trigger and the rest was easy. I would never have found such a thing without your advice. I installed it at work with a bunch of crazy sound clips and everybody now thinks I am some kind of tech wiz. Lots of laughs in the employee area. I can easily update with the switch of the SD card.

Thanks again for your help,

Tedbo (author)  janw6 years ago

This sounds really interesting, but your vocabulary is way over my head. Would you be able to give me a some more direction on how to put his thing together. I am having a hard time understanding what I would attach the two wires leading from the door bell buttons to to trigger the playing of an MP3. Do have any ideas of what kind of MP3 player I should use? I appreciate any help you can give me.
TheGeek19843 years ago

I am also looking to build something like this, but with only 6 buttons. I'd like to build it from the board up, etching and all, so I will need to design a schematic. I work in this field, but all I do is the assembly portuon, so any advice or help in the designing phase would be helpful.

rickharris6 years ago
Time scale
Tedbo (author)  rickharris6 years ago
My budget is around $400 max. My skills, well, I am reasonably handy and I'm able to follow instructions but I no electronics wiz. Time, well I am in no hurry but would like to have it ready in a month to six weeks.
AndyGadget6 years ago
MDFly do an MP3 module which allows you to store many MP3 tracks on an SD card. (They're sold out at the moment but keep coming back into stock.)  Obviously, you could record your own sounds for this and convert to MP3 format.
The module has three modes of playback - The first is as a standard MP3 player which doesn't suit your needs.
The second allows you to press one of ten buttons to play back one of the first ten tracks - Getting there, but you want 30 tracks.
The third mode is the RS232 mode where you send a serial code to select a track.  This is what you want, but you would need to use a small microcontroller to do the button scanning and generate the codes for you. 

This isn't a project to attempt if you haven't got reasonable electronics skills.  It's not that hard, but it's not for a raw beginner.

Another way which would probably work is to modify a simple midi keyboard by replacing the key contacts with your switches and feed the midi into a PC.  You'd then have to make an instrument bank with the samples you needed - There's software available to do this. 
When you press a button the relevant midi code would be sent to the PC and the sample from the instrument bank would play.

Again, not simple, but probably easier than the MP3 module approach.
The MDFly module is similar to the MP3Trigger which JanW has linked below.  You could probably use either.
frollard6 years ago
The easiest method is to use a computer and hook up a program to listen to keypresses from a keyboard. You then just hook buttons up to the different matrix elements inside a repurposed keyboard (either solder to the membrane, or attach wires to the board.

I know such programs exist, but you'll have to search for yourself.

As for the buttons, search for 'arcade button' or 'cherry button' on the intertubes, you'll find lots. Sparkfun has arcade buttons for a few bucks each, including quality microswitches.