Posted: 10/14/2009 6:30:13 PM
Joe Max

From: Oakland, California

Joined: 1/2/2009

I tried a couple of octave pedals - a Boss Octaver and a Craig Anderton design - and the results are iffy. The problem is that an octave divider doesn't track very well above about 1kHz or so. It seemed that the octave voice would sputter and fade out above a certain pitch. I decided it was pretty unusable.

Better results with a digital pitch shifter, but those have their own glitches. If you were just mixing a bit of low into the main signal, it would probably be ok. Definitely more usable than an octave divider.
Posted: 10/14/2009 6:35:31 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Look out for a shifter with feedback (for instance the Boss PS2 or PS3 [not the current model :-( ] - I have the 2 and pitch down with a goodly measure of feedback is a truly evil sound - if that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach was a sound, this would be it.

The down-side is that the feedback loop introduces a sight delay which mushes up any staccato, but I'm guessing that for heavy stoner/sludge metal that is not so much of an issue.
Posted: 10/14/2009 6:41:02 PM

From: Chicago

Joined: 10/10/2009

It sounds weird but I'm trying to get the theremin to sound significantly lower than it should. I have no experience in octave/pitch pedals. Ultimately I want to play in a MUCH lower range that the B3 is set up for. I play guitar in Drop-D tuning, and want to get a sound out of the theremin that is similar, yet still playable with vibrato on my notes...is it even possible do ya think?
*Edit- I have to admit this forum is the most helpful community I've ever seen online. Thanks for that!
Posted: 10/14/2009 7:48:55 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

I've had a fair amount of experience with pitch shifters and you may have a problem trying to use one with a theremin and get the same smooth "gliss" response that you get from an un-effected theremin.

Pitch shifters are made for instruments that play discreet notes and for vocalists. They digitally sample the note being played (or sung), and then play it back instantly at whatever Hz you have specified in the parameters of your device.

When you gliss up or down on a theremin and put it through a pitch shifter, you may find that you get audio artifacts, little blips or audible "steps" as the sampling functions struggle to keep up with an endless and constantly changing note.

My advice would be to take your theremin to a good music store, tell them what you want to do, and have them let you try out a few different devices. I suggest you try one of the LEXICON FX machines. I have a couple of MPX-1's and they are amazing.

Lexicon MPX-1 (http://www.lexiconpro.com/product.php?id=14)
Posted: 10/14/2009 8:25:15 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

I've quickly recorded (so don't expect miracles) a few sound samples of my PS2 and PS5.

First half a minute is with no pitch shifter applied, to give you an idea of the timbre I'm working with. There's a bit of stadium echo - that's from my amp - I forgot to turn its echo off. :-)

Next two minutes is the PS5 - Boss's current model - with first 2 octaves down and various amounts of the dry signal mixed in, then 1 octave down.

The rest of the recording is the PS2 on some arbitrary setting (you have to plug in a guitar tuner to get exact intervals - blow that!) and a wallop of feedback. I should have turned it down a bit for this section, the effect rather boosts the signal - hence the crackling.

shifters.mp3 (http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1546794/shifters.mp3)

PS - I have no idea what Drop-D tuning is, or sounds like.

[edit] Now I do. Hurrah for Google. For power chords, shift the pitch up a fifth, and two thirds dry signal. (Not down - then you'd need twice as much effect as dry signal, and the shifted version ain't great. [/edit]
Posted: 10/14/2009 9:50:24 PM

From: Asheville, NC

Joined: 1/25/2008

Drop D is the lowest string on a guitar (E) tuned down to the D below it.

I don't know about the B3 but I could swear the Etherwave Standard could play that easily (the question being if one could easily play it in that range, it gets a little tricky the lower you go). I'm not sure off the top of my head the frequency or note number of drop D on a guitar though.

An expensive option might be to use an Etherwave Plus to control a Freqbox or other control voltage oscillator that you could shift the range down on.

Posted: 9/12/2013 7:36:10 PM

From: Italy

Joined: 9/12/2013

Hi again!

Being a newcomer I'm making maybe a silly question but... Is there any effect filter that can reproduce the sound of a cello on a moog etherwave?

Thanks in advance for any suggestion!

Posted: 9/12/2013 11:51:34 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005


Not in a way that will fool a cellist. 

I'm interested in effects, but not so much in emulating acoustic instruments - my not very helpful opinion is that if you want something that sounds like a cello, you can't beat a cello.

Nonetheless I have a few thoughts before someone who knows better than me corrects me. :-)

Timbre is a whole host of things, one of which is waveform. You can dial up a fairly harmonically rich waveform on the etherwave but if you want to go further maybe a little distortion would enhance that. There are thousands of distortion pedals, all with slightly different characteristics. Maybe one would give you something cello-esque, but good luck finding it.

A bit of reverb would be good - the soundbox of the instrument will - I guess - continue to sound for a moment or two after the player stops bowing or moves on to the next note. 

Skilful use of the volume loop will certainly help - manually giving the sound a cello-like expression envelope. 

Where it will fall down is the simple fact that the theremin oscillator is always oscillating. When you pluck or bow a string (or blow into a wind instrument) there is a brief period before the string (or column of air) starts resonating at the desired frequency which is chaotic in nature. It is a very brief event but very characteristic of acoustic instruments - without that moment of noise it's never going to be a plausible emulation. As the theremin does not embody the concept of a note event, I have no good suggestions as to how to mix in a little noise at the start of a note.

There is undoubtedly more to it than that but that's as far as my thoughts on the subject extend.

Posted: 9/13/2013 3:39:20 PM

From: Italy

Joined: 9/12/2013

Thanks GordonC!


It's really true what you said about the uniqueness of the voice of cord instruments resonating! As a classical musician turned to theremin I know well the importance of "chaos" in producing interesting sounds.

Thank you again for the suggestion to use a little bit of distortion, I'll call some friends of mine to borrow a guitar pedal in order to see how it sounds.

See you soon and have a nice day!

Posted: 9/13/2013 4:28:21 PM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

Hello Italian,   (How is Pope Francis doing?)

I am not a musician and have no fancy equipment. One natural analog approach I would suggest to a DIY individual is to output the theremin through a small speaker into a resonant chamber. I am using a rubber bucket in this sample below. I bet an old acoustic guitar body would give you exactly what you want.

Homemade Cello Sound   

The trick is to pick the sound back up using a piezo element glued onto the body. This will grab more of the character than just using a microphone and better at avoiding feedback.

Edit: Have the theremin output drive this on the back of a guitar chamber.

A preamp may be needed,  this pickup is interesting.


As I always say, thank goodness for the rollover.

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