What amp for my theremin ?

Posted: 8/23/2008 2:47:08 PM

Joined: 8/23/2008

Hi, I just acquired the B3 Deluxe Theremin, but now I have to buy an amp in order to start learning how to play it.

I first considered buying the Theremin Amp designed by Moog (I think) for the theremin, but I live in France and I found no seller which could deliver it overseas.

I want a small amp, it will be just for personnal use, and the cheapest the better (~150€).

I heard that guitar amp had to be forgotten, as theremin's frequencies were too high and could endanger the amp.

Thanks for your help, I can't wait to test it !
Posted: 8/23/2008 3:26:49 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

I believe you have been misled. Many people, including myself, use a guitar amp with their theremin with no problem. The only issues I am aware of regarding guitar amps is the output of the theremin may be a little high and the frequency response is not ideal for the full range of the theremin.

With that said...you can use ANY amp you like with your theremin; guitar, keyboard, bass, whatever...

The main issue is whether any particular amp will do your theremin justice and give you the sound YOU are looking for.

Amps with a bigger speaker are generally better because they can produce a strong low end. You may be disappointed with any speaker smaller than 8 inches (200mm) in diameter.

Keyboard amps are generally considered to be the best choice because they can reproduce the widest frequency range and are designed to handle a higher input.
A guitar amp will attenuate the lowest and highest frequencies. Some people will like that and some won't.
A bass amp will obviously produce a very strong low end and a greatly attenuated high end.
Each different model of amplifier will have its own "sound" and character.

The question to answer is what sound are you looking for and what are you willing to pay to get it?

The only way to know is to take your theremin to a music store and try many different amplifiers. If they are concerned about you scaring away customers, perhaps they will stay after hours. The odds are you will probably draw a crowd.
Posted: 8/23/2008 3:36:16 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

OH...and congratulations on your purchase. From what I've heard, the B3's have a nice sound.

And...welcome to Theremin World!
Posted: 8/23/2008 5:20:55 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Moog's theremin amp isn't anything special - it's a rebadged keyboard amp.

Some guitar amps [i]are[/i] overloaded by the etherwave's line level signal. My Fender Frontman 15R certainly is. There are a couple of ways around this - if you own a soldering iron there is a very simple mod to the etherwave in the hot-rodding manual to attenuate the output to guitar-level. Otherwise an inline volume pedal will do the trick. (I forget if it's high or low impedance. I can check if you need.)

I agree with Jeff - the best way is to audition amps at the shop. If you would rather wait until you have had a little practice on the instrument you can plug it into anything that accepts a line level - i.e. anything you can plug an mp3 player into - until you are ready to buy a proper instrument amp.
Posted: 8/23/2008 5:59:27 PM

Joined: 8/23/2008

Thank you very much for your answers !

You're saying that the rumor according the guitar amps is false ? It could be great as I could try my theremin on my brother's guitar amp, it would give me some more time to think and test amps.

I will test amps in store as soon as I acquire the power supply I need in order to play the theremin in France (I have trouble finding one with the correct voltage).

I also heard that the B3 had a great sound, but I hesitated between it and an Etherwave (which is much expensive), as I was told that the Classic B3 was too small and the pitch range too small. When I saw the Deluxe which seemed to be much better, I bought it.

Well as soon as I start my researches I will keep you in touch.
Posted: 8/23/2008 7:13:25 PM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

I'm living in France too. I ordered my Moog Theremin amp in the Netherlands at a very good price:

Posted: 8/23/2008 10:46:00 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

Yes, the "rumor" about "high frequencies" is incorrect. The problem with most guitar amps is they are not designed for the high "output level" put out by most theremins. We are speaking of voltage, not frequency.

Apparently some guitar amps can handle this a little better than others.

If you are plugging any theremin directly into a guitar amp (without any mods, volume pedal, etc.), you must keep this in mind...

You must turn the GAIN control down completely!!!
The VOLUME controls (there may be a VOLUME and a MASTER VOLUME) should be turned almost completely down, at least until you know how loud it is going to be.

If there is a CLEAN channel and an OVERDRIVE/DISTORTION channel...use the CLEAN channel.

In any case, it would not be advisable to try and fill a large theater with theremin sound from a small guitar amp.
Posted: 8/24/2008 11:49:50 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Oops. I just re-read the thread. You're not buying an etherwave.


Ignore my comment about modifying etherwaves.

Posted: 8/25/2008 4:07:48 PM

From: Germany, near Munich

Joined: 11/20/2007

...the Moog-amp is also available in Germany, and I think MESI in France should have it too...

...but: dont buy it - to me it was a real disappointment; try to listen to the amp you are buying.

I bought many things from Thomann (who deliver also to France) - I had a couple of amps delivered to my place, tested them and sent back the ones I did not like...

Congratulations to your new instrument!

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