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Recently, we spent some time getting to know the finer points of the Music Thing Radio Music Eurorack sample module, exploring one-shot sample playback by editing the settings file, and preparing samples for upload to the device. One area we have not yet examined is using alternative firmware to alter and reconfigure the functionality of the module.

Radio Music is an open source project based on the Teensy programmable chip, meaning the firmware is open for experimentation to hackers and amateur coders. Making things easier, the user created firmware versions are collected in one location on the main Radio Music documentation page on Github. Github is an online repository for code and information (not unlike Wikipedia) where programmers can share and collaborate on projects.

One user, James Carruthers, has created a number of alternative applications for the module including a dual 808 drum machine and a CV and audio recording and playback sampler. Another user, Mykyta Griaznov, created one for synchronizing looped audio to your system. There are even beta versions of the original Radio Music available if you dig.

Installing the alternative firmware is as easy as installing the original firmware. You will have to remove the module from your case, and connect the Teensy microcontroller to your computer via USB. Open the Teensy Loader application and you are ready to install any of the available firmware options.

I’ve downloaded the zip file of James Carruthers .hex files which includes each of the 5 apps he has built. When I hit the Open button inside the Teensy loader app, I can select one of these .hex files, and click the Auto button to instantly flash the Teensy with the selected firmware. The module can be disconnected from the USB port, returned to the case and used according to the appropriate documentation!

Have you experimented with alternative firmware in any of your modules? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Radio Music & Alternative Firmware

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