Wednesday, February 20, 2019

ETHER by SOMA laboratory

Published on Feb 20, 2019 Vlad Kreimer

"ETHER is a wide-band pocket receiver that turns the electromagnetic landscape around you into a live soundscape that you control and manipulate by walking around and moving ETHER with your hand."

via SOMA laboratory

The net price of ETHER is 120 euros. The total price including shipping to most countries, PayPal transfer fees and VAT will be around 150 euros. We will specify the exact price when we receive your shipping address.

"ETHER is a kind of anti-radio. Instead of being tuned to a specific radio station, it receives all the interference and radiation that a traditional radio tries to eliminate in order to create a clean signal. It captures the radio waves “as is” from hertz to gigahertz, because it doesn’t contain the tuned input circuit that filters out all frequencies except the narrow band of a specific station. This allows ETHER to perceive the invisible electromagnetic landscape that humans created unintentionally, making possible live electromagnetic field listening and recording.
As the inspiration for this project, I took the design of the very first radios (early 1900s) that had no tuning wheel. At this time there weren’t many radio stations, and all of them used Morse code. It was possible to distinguish each transmitter by ear, as each one had its own specific timbre or “voice”.

ETHER is pocket-sized (105x65x20mm) and light-weight (93g). It consumes very little power and runs on two AAA batteries. How long it can run on two batteries is unclear, because I still use the very same set of alkaline batteries I put into the first ETHER prototype 6 years ago! (yes the project has taken 6 years). All I can definitely say is that battery life is more than 300 hours if you using alkaline or lithium batteries.

We paid special attention to the design of ETHER, as it’s intended to be a unique accessory for the conscious modern human. We used top quality enclosures made in Germany and the latest technology for making the logo and the finishing. So with ETHER, you get both a unique sound experience and a cool-looking gizmo.

ETHER has both magnetic and electric components for sensing radiation. For the magnetic component, it has a built-in magnetic antenna, like the ones used in old long-wave radios. The antenna has maximum sensitivity on ETHER’s axis. By changing the orientation, angle and position of ETHER, you will change the sound. For the electric component, it has antennas printed on the PCB and the special input pin placed on the anterior surface.

You can touch any conductive material or surface (including your body) with the pin and use objects or yourself as a big external antenna! Often it makes a totally different sound and I love to check out different metal objects on a street (rails, tubes, metallic doors, parts of buildings etc.)

ETHER is very sensitive to any kind of digital circuitry that’s in close proximity. This is why I didn’t put an SD-card recorder or something like that inside. You also have to make sure to keep other electronic devices that you carry (phone, laptop, recorder) at least 30cm/1ft away to avoid interference, but ETHER definitely works well when you walk around with a smartphone and laptop in other pockets and bags. To record ETHER, you need to use an audio cable of at least 1m/3ft in length to connect it to a device like a ZOOM recorder. Even with a long cable, ETHER can sound differently than when using headphones. To get the purest sound, headphones are required. Some sounds you can record only with the mind, sorry. But the best snapshots are kept in our heart so let it be a part of the game"

the very first prototype of ETHER

1 comment:

  1. It seems that to be able to use this in conjunction with a Eurorack Modular Synth, you have to have a “middleman” device that can record the sounds picked up by the Ether, then transfer them to amomory card to use on the synth. It really sounds like a great way to sample sounds; but, way too many things have to be done without built in recording. There seem to be plenty of DIY sources that also can do all or some of what SOMA’s Ether can do at a far cheaper price.

    It is sad; but, somehow I do not think that this will ve a very popular thing to have inless one gas an unending budget for one off devices. I hope I am wrong. Would love this if it could record to a memory card.



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