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For an arts project I'm trying to set up an audio system, where I think an RPi could come in, but am open to other suggestions.

The project, quick overview: Twelve nodes, in a large circle (1-2 meters apart), each of which can play their own music, and in the centre a system that plays all the sounds together so you can hear everything clearly but your own "instrument" and the ones next to you louder. Each node has the option to start/stop their music, and maybe change volume.

The solution I have in mind: Have the nodes (they have an Arduino Nano as brain) communicate the start/stop commands of their music to a central RPi, which in turn does the actual playing of the tracks, and streams back the audio to the individual poles. This transmission would be a simple start/stop signal - I'm thinking of NRF24L01+ modules. Cheap and easy to work with, at least from the Arduino side. Then the Pi would start/stop the tracks (mp3 or other format, we can of course convert them) as needed. The combined sound is to be played on a speaker/amplifier connected to the Pi (regular audio output). The individual streams have to be transmitted back to the individual poles - so 12 independent streams. I'm thinking of Bluetooth for this. The Arduino doesn't have to receive it by itself, a Bluetooth speaker at the pole will do just fine for this part.

My main concerns here: can a Pi play and merge 12 tracks at the same time?

Can a Pi produce 12 independent wireless audio streams of those tracks?

Can this be Bluetooth? Or other wireless options?

I don't have any experience with a Pi, so far worked with Arduinos mostly, but an Arduino can not handle the sound part. Needs something more powerful for that. Python programming is no problem for me.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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