RF Nomad: Synthesizer meets radio

RFNomadModularGridFor electronic musicians who love the sonic texture of shortwave radio, check out the RF Nomad, under development by Evaton Technologies.

Evaton describes the RF Nomad module:

“RF. Radio Frequency. The stuff that Marconi made famous. Or maybe it made Marconi famous. Either way, it’s not just for listening to hockey games anymore.

The RF Nomad voltage-controlled sideband shortwave receiver Eurorack module is currently in final stages of prototype evaluation.

The RF Nomad adds the squealy, squelchy, noisy, unpredictable vintage sounds of shortwave radio to your modular. But this is no ordinary shortwave; it’s been designed to be extra noisy, extra squealy, extra gritty, and just downright nasty. No built-in output filtering means that a rich spectrum of harmonic content is available on the audio output jack. Audio levels can be driven to distortion. CV control lets you add your own creative spin on sound design.

Hissy interstation audio. Squealy heterodynes. Fading stations. Atmospheric noises. Faint voices in foreign languages from distant broadcast stations. Fire and brimstone. It’s all in there, just like your granddad’s old tabletop shortwave.

But, the RF Nomad adds a twist: The tuning is voltage controlled. Sure, when you were a kid, you discovered you could make spacy noises on Papa’s shortwave by slowly turning the tuning dial. But just how fast could you twist that dial? Faster than an audio-rate LFO? Hardly. Voltage controlled tuning means that the RF Nomad will let you explore sounds you never imagined you could get out of a shortwave receiver.”

Check out this demonstration video:

Many thanks to Mitsuhiko Kagawa for the tip!

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5 thoughts on “RF Nomad: Synthesizer meets radio

  1. Gin Devo

    Bought this RF nomad, don’t expect much of it, I have connected a 10 meter antenna, and there is not much to hear, when I receive a radio transmission there is a huge sinus sound on top of it, so for recordings its useless, you can only use this module to ad some noise, but there are cheaper modules to ad noise, don’t expect something like the RF nomad youtube videos.

  2. Pingback: Forbes: “How To Make Music (And Money) From Shortwave Radio” | The SWLing Post

  3. Michael Black

    When William Gibson came out with “Neuromancer” 30 years ago, I had a hard time visualizing his “cyberspace”, that seemed to be 3 dimensional.

    Then I thought of shortwave. You knew by sounds that that was radioteletype., that was a beacon, that was a number station, who knows what that was. It seemed to have the same depth as his imaginary “cyberspace”. The place on the dial was also information, as is signal strength.

    So yes, I could see it all transformed into music. Something constant like RTTY would keep the rhythm, and then layers on top of it. Or in this day of sampling, the same RTTY signal but played in different keys. Get your pseudo random (or maybe it would be random) by taking various signals and averaging them.

    Of course, back in the fifties some local people here in Quebec issued a record “CQ Serenade”, I think I ended up with a copy forty years ago but I have no idea where it might be. It was a legitimate, or attempt at such, recording, opening with “CQ” in code, and then lyrics. I seem to recall there was a French and English version, or maybe it was bilingual. I’ve seen mention of it in old magazines, but I don’t know how much airplay it ever got, if any.

    And like just about anything, it’s available ll over the internet.



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