Superior to the Ethervox !? ROFLMAO!!

Posted: 11/7/2010 2:37:36 AM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

Steve says: [i] "I can't believe I'm here again. To resolve the question "is this a Theremin or not" let's ask the expert Fred Mundell, also known as FredM and (in his own words)" [/i] - and then extracts a few words from the site to show my "double standards".

If one follows the link he kindly provides, you will see the following declaration [b] PRECEDING [/b]any other discussions about these "theremins".

[b]From my website: (Home page)

"It was never my intention to produce a pitch-only “starter” Theremin (These are, in fact, not truly Theremins - Only an instrument with both Pitch and Volume antennas have the “right” to be called Theremins) but I could not turn down the opportunity - And I am glad that I did this event - I learned a lot, and introduced hundreds of people to the “Theremin’"[/b]

The problem comes in discussions / postings, when one gets tired of / forgets to specify exactly what one is refferring too.. Every time I post something in relation to a pitch-only "theremin" I cannot (or forget to) go through the whole "This is not a true Theremin because it does not have a volume antenna" spiel.. I will make this declaration BEFORE I use the word Theremin thereafter. I think this is fair, puts things in context, and allows simplification without being verbose.

The term "Theremin" is, unfortunately (IMO) being adopted and applied to all capacitive (and even optical) non-contact musical instruments.. This is incorrect - but I suspect that this error will become accepted as correct.

I will never advertise or promote any pitch-only "theremin" without specifying that it is not a true Theremin - And If I have ever done so (or do so) it would be an error which I would correct immediately, and feel extremely embarrased about!

As I said, I dont want to get into a shit-slinging contest.. I would not have even bothered to comment on the Horst box if HORST had not chosen promote this box as a Theremin and(MUCH More importantly) had not chosen to attack manufacturers of REAL THEREMINS in order to promote this box! - As I said, NOTHING pisses me off more than manufacturers dishonestly denigrating the competetion to con people into buying their INFERIOR product!

Posted: 11/7/2010 3:44:30 AM

Joined: 9/26/2009

Hi Fred,

Apologies accepted. We would not want to cause WW3 over name-territory disputes.

Reading on horsts web page, he never put down the moog theremin “ever” as far as I can see. He of course was very positive about his own product and why wouldn't he be proud of what he has achieved. He knows what it can do. But again, time will tell if his theremin will find it’s place in this “theremin world”.

Cheers and good bye,


Posted: 11/7/2010 6:36:38 AM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

"Apologies accepted"

I never made, or implied, ANY "apology".. and I do not believe I have ANY reason to make ANY apology.

My attention has been drawn to the price of this Horst box (I never bothered to check it before).. some quick checks on what one can buy with $1500 (1499 AUD)..

Moog EW+ $519
Moog Slim Phatty $849
This leaves $132 change towards a Midi box if one really wants MIDI.

What you get from the above expenditure is a good [b]Theremin[/b] with CV [b]outputs[/b] (both Pitch AND Volume), and a Moog Analogue synthesizer with CV and MIDI, in the mould of the Mini-Moog Model D.

Using the EW + Phatty one has possibilities which FAR exceed what the Horst box could ever provide [i](if for no other reason, because the Horse box does not have a volume antenna and is therefore incapable of providing player controlled dynamic volume data)[/i].. Even if one only uses the EW as a controller for the Synth.. and it is possible to use the EW and Phatty simultaneously if the pitch from the EW exceeds about 150Hz.

MIDI from a Theremin is intrinsically limiting IMHO, but if one does want to do this, it only really makes sense using note on / note off protocol, and there are a few pitch-midi converters which will take the Theremin audio and give this basic MIDI output.

I have only given the Moog products for price comparison, and Moog are not the cheapest option.. There are lower cost Synths.. But the Slim Phatty does look like the best value for money that I have seen in quite a long time.

Posted: 11/7/2010 7:19:40 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Woo! I'm in the assassination squad. Nice one, Stove.

Gorden of the theremininjas! The non-contact killers.
Posted: 11/7/2010 7:37:40 AM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

"the [b]theremininjas![/b] The non-contact killers"

LOL!! ;-)

oooOOOoooOOO-WOO-OOO-woo..... x
Posted: 11/7/2010 7:54:58 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008


Does this mean the donnybrook is over? And just when I ordered another beer!

In regard to what IS and what IS NOT a theremin, I think most people probably subscribe to the notion that it's a theremin if you say it's a theremin. A few weeks ago, I posted a comment to the following "theremin" video, pointing out that the instrument we hear is not a theremin.

Tomboyish Girl (

The person who posted the video replied, saying, "... whether it's a VST [Virtual Studio Technology] or the real thing, I'll still call it a theremin for sure".

So here we have someone whose definition of a theremin is anything that sounds theremin-like, regardless of whether it is gestural or played on a keyboard synthesizer. "Theremin" seems to apply to a particular sound or effect rather than the method by which that sound is produced. I have frequently seen the entirely acoustic instrument known as the "Waterphone" referred to as a type of theremin because it makes an eerie, vaguely spooky, theremin sort of tone.

As a thereminist, I could tell within a just a couple of seconds that the instrument on the above video was not a theremin. There was no need to prove that it wasn't a theremin or to offer documentation (which is what the individual who posted the video requested). Once you are familiar with the Mona Lisa you are not going to be fooled by a second rate copy, and you are probably not going to waste your time trying to prove to someone who doesn't know any better that it is not an original Da Vinci.

I've never played a MIDI Wave theremin, so I can't say anything about it except to point out that it does not fit the definition of a theremin as I understand it. When you go to the MIDI Wave website, the very first thing you see is the following comment: "We offer a Midi Theremin alternative that is far superior to the Moog Ethervox Theremin or any other so called Midi Theremin".

I have heard these kinds of claims many times, and I think the people who make them are quite sincere. They really believe what they are saying. The problem is not that they are deliberately lying, the problem is they don't know what they're talking about. I would wonder how much time the person who made the above claim has actually spent with the Ethervox theremin. He does not tell us WHY his instrument is "far superior" to the Ethervox, he only tells us that it IS.

It may be a reference to the multiple FX that are built into the unit (tremolo, "stereo", auto tune, etc.). One thing it does not have is a MIDI IN function (the Moog Ethervox has this). The MIDI Wave is not just pitch only, it is MIDI OUT only as well. The Ethervox will play back (via its MIDI IN port) a MIDI track you have recorded to a sequencer using the MIDI OUT port. As for the MIDI Wave's built in FX, they can easily be added to any theremin by using peripherals.

Bob Moog made fewer than 50 Ethervox MIDI theremins. It came out in early 1998 and cost $3500.00. One of the very first units went to the Japanese composer known as "Kitaro" (I got serial # 007). I have many theremins and have played, at one time or another, just about every make of theremin ever manufactured. In my opinion, the Ethervox (which is actually three instruments in a single cabinet - something the MIDI Wave claims to be as well) is the finest theremin ever made. There is one currently listed on ebay with a Buy Now price of $5,995.00.

I have never played a pitch-only instrument (Gakken Mini, Matryomin, Zep, Dollhead, Theremaniac analog, etc.) and for me, as a precision thereminist, they are not theremins. They're toys. Some of them are even made out of toys. Still, they are widely appreciated by large numbers of people for whom these kinds of devices represent everything they ever wanted in a musical instrument.

As for the MIDI theremin concept, the problem has always been that MIDI receivers
Posted: 11/7/2010 8:18:46 AM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

Coalport said:
[i]Freddy never made any claims in regard to his instrument and never attempted to market the thing. And he certainly never put down anyone else's instruments - theremin or not"[/i]

Thank you for saying the above, Peter -

Alas, it is not 100% true. I believe that I was unfairly critical of the sound produced by the original Horst pitch-only "theremin", although on all other points regarding this "theremin" I believe that I was correct.

I have been critical of some aspects of other Theremins at times, but have stated that these critisisms are down to my personal 'taste' .. I do not particularly like, for example, the sound of the Moog EW - Particularly in the bass register.

Where I am at my most critical is when I see adverts which I believe to be misleading or dishonest - The original Horst "theremin" got me angry because of its claims regarding its octave coverage, and (as far as I can remember) the only other "theremin" manufacturer I have 'blasted' (but not named) was the one advertising their 2 transistor board, comparing it dishonestly to the Burns Theremin, and making technical claims for it which were bogus (as well as giving false technical data on what "analogue" means).

TW Serves a useful function in this regard - soon after postings here, these bogus claims are often removed from the sites.. Sometimes within a matter of hours!

I was also critical about designs for a new Theremin which were presented here on TW - I regret going public with these critisisms.. I felt that publishing the data was an invitation for 'constructive' feedback.. But I should instead have contacted the designer personally rather than doing so publicly.

I have no interest in falling out with anyone in this business - There is room for many players in this diverse market.. And in the section I am (or will soon be) targeting there is little 'competition' and an equally little market - Everyone who has dedicated themselves to advancing Theremins and related products has, I am sure, done so at great personal expense.. And we all deserve to have our products judged on their merit.

The only ones, in my opinion, who do not deserve this respect are those who dishonestly snipe at the competition.

Posted: 11/7/2010 8:42:47 AM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007


The link you gave above took me to the song "THE PLEASURES OF THE HARBOR". (

Ok, No Theremin, so this is OT.. [b]<-Wrong! See below [/b]

But that is such a wonderful song!

I thought I read somewhere that you had taken up the Theremin as a replacement for vocals, because you believed you had lost your ability to sing well.... ?

Lord! I would happily give an important (but little used) part of my anatomy in exchange for a voice like yours! ;-)

Edit -> Hmmm.. I was wrong about no Theremin! - I was so absorbed by the voice (and immersed in the song and music) that the superb Theremin (absolutely unobtrusive - but subtle and essential) past me bye on the first listening.

Spine tingling!


Edit -> I have now listened to the original, and some other productions, of this song.

To me, your voice and orchestration does not sound anything like any of the others.. I have listened to the original twice, the others once, yours 5 times.. And yours is the only one I will listen to again!
Posted: 11/7/2010 12:29:59 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

[i]You could create a theremin with a built in hot plate and claim that it is "far superior" to every theremin ever made because it is the only one on which you can cook a burger as you play![/i]

But honestly, Coalport, that is soooooo last year. Do try to keep up.

This year's thing is theremins with sole built on a shoe-string budget, great for a walking bass.
Posted: 11/7/2010 1:14:14 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

FredM wrote:

The link you gave above took me to the song "THE PLEASURES OF THE HARBOR"....


That's strange! I just checked the link and it took me instantly to the following URL:

This is a YT anime clip "BELOVED TOMBOYISH GIRL" that claims to have a theremin on the soundtrack.

Did anybody else end up in the harbor? If so, I can't explain it.

No, I didn't take up the theremin because I thought I couldn't sing very well anymore. I just got tired of show business. I never liked it.

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