Theremaniacs purchaser...

Posted: 10/18/2006 12:21:43 AM

Joined: 10/18/2006

So, I'm veyr bew to the theremin (I'm in a touring band that wants to work new sounds into our live show), and for the sake of cost and convenience, and because I'm a beginner, I picked up a theremaniacs theremin on eBay. Then I discovered this site.

My question: is it worth attempting to learn my way around the unit I purchased, or will it be like try to learn to rollerskate on square wheels? So far, i haven't even been able to get a consistent audio signal (other than FM radio) out of the thing.

Any one else have any experience with this model, or suggestions?
Posted: 10/18/2006 1:11:19 AM

From: Undisclosed location without Dick Cheney

Joined: 2/21/2005

It depends on what you want to get out of it. If you're trying to make wobbly noises, the one you have may be fine. If you're having problems getting it to work audibly in the first place, you should contact the manufacturer and ask them to repair or replace it. If you do, please let us know how their customer service is.

If you're trying to play specific notes with relative precision, like Clara Rockmore or Sam Hoffman or Lydia Kavina or Peter Pringle did/do, the general concensus from at least three of them seems to be that you need a quality instrument. (I haven't heard any opinions Hoffman may have expressed for beginners.) I also feel that you'll never have adequate control of note articulation without a volume antenna.

Many opinions I've seen have been that the Moog Music Etherwave Standard is the best beginner instrument for precision Theremin (about $500 US with amp and stand), although some have also suggested a Kees Enklaar instrument (not sure if he's making any at the moment, you'd have to email him and ask, about $320 US with amp and stand). There seems to be little to no dispute that the Moog instrument is superior, but the Kees is probably adequate for a beginner and excellent for its price.

I already have an Etherwave, and find it to be delightfully fun but maddeningly difficult, and it's my opinion that anything more difficult would likely be impossible, at least for me.
Posted: 10/18/2006 4:34:57 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

I agree with Tom.

If you're a Led Zeppelin tribute band, then a one-stick is probably fine - once you have it working.

If you're looking to add a few interesting sci-fi effects to the mix, then again a one-stick is OK - try adding a stomp box or two into the chain - theremins especially [i]love[/i] echo boxes - I use two - the other highly recommended effect is a ring modulator - haven't had opportunity to try one myself, but it it's good enough for Man From Uranus (

Also think about a volume pedal. It's not the same as a second antenna. Not even close. But if your theremaniac produces keyboard level output it will allow you to use cheap guitar effects boxes without overloading them, and let you mute the device when you're not playing it.

And start saving up for a real theremin. :-)
Posted: 10/18/2006 8:36:33 AM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

I would definitely go with one of the mid-priced theremins out there.

Something like a Kees or an Etherwave Standard.

You might actually find yourself making music with the thing...
Posted: 10/19/2006 7:38:23 PM

From: USA

Joined: 10/18/2006

It is not really fair to judge a product solely on price without firsthand experience.
Yes......people CAN make music on one!

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