10 things to know about Radio Music

4 HP | 40mm deep | 75mA
Designed 2014 Updated 2017

Modular Grid | Videos
Github | Schematic

Available from Thonk

  1. Radio Music is a virtual radio module, so it behaves a bit like a radio. It is designed to be a source of unexpected audio, not a drum loop player or a sample mangler. That said, plenty of people enjoyed it for playing drum loops or mangling samples.
  2. Radio Music has been a popular DIY project since 2014, and has been used by Chris Carter, Russell Haswell, Richard Devine, and Robin Rimbaud.
  3. In 2017, the module's firmware was completely rewritten and updated, bringing new features including pitch shifting, .wav file support and a new way to configure settings on the module. You can download the latest firmware here, which will run on any Radio Music module.
  4. On the same site you can configure your Radio Music, changing various internal settings.
  5. It's a well documented project, with a lengthy Radio Music Wiki and an active issues list for people seeking help with a build.
  6. The wiki also contains a huge suggested audio bank containing lots of interesting things.
  7. Like a radio, the module works on a series of banks and stations. Each of the 16 banks can contain many different stations. Each station is an audio file stored in a folder on the SD card. Choose a bank by pressing and holding the RESET switch. Choose a station by turning the STATION knob or plugging a voltage into Station.
  8. Because the audio streams from the SD card, it can handle long files easily. In the default setting, it switches between long recordings just as if they were radio stations — as if the audio was playing in the background.
  9. Radio Music runs on a Teensy 3.1 (or 3.2) microcontroller, which is programmed by USB and runs a very well documented Arduino-like language, so it's easy to hack.
  10. There are multiple alternative firmwares for Radio Music documented in the github, and on Voltage Control Lab including:
    • Chord Organ is just an alternative firmware for Radio Music, but is also available as a separate module. You can turn a RM into a CO (or vice versa) at any time using a normal Micro USB cable.
    • Telharfauxnium is an additive synthesis firmware.
    • James Carruthers has written several different firmwares, including a cool 808 drum machine
    • I often use this Loop Divider firmware to sync everything to loops in a small case.

Perfect introduction to DIY Eurorack via Radio Music by MylarMelodies for Future Music

Deep dive from Voltage Control Lab

Build and demo from Synth DIY Guy

Me showing how to do fake timestretch on a Radio Music

Study for dual Radio Music, beautiful ambient from Morn Valley, with potplants.