Woo hoo, Wavefront on my doorstep

Posted: 3/28/2005 8:42:30 PM
model citizen

From: Auckland, NZ

Joined: 3/8/2005

Yup, finally got my first theremin, a Wavefront travel case model. Unfortunately the shop that sent it didn't pack it too good - the power supply was thrown in loose and has broken the perspex top panel right in half. Oh well, might make up a purdy wooden panel instead.

Interesting build quality - it looks quite professional but with typical hand-made marrs (much like my Rickenbacker basses). Part of me views it as a bodge (built into a suitcase rather than the case being purpose-built for it) but the quality of the PCB and components show that it really isn't. Certainly not a mass-produced off-the-shelf kinda instrument like the Moog, which is good IMO.

Haven't had a chance to play it yet - gotta try and source a 240v bipolar 12v DC power supply first. As soon as she's made some noise i'll post a "review" from a total novice perspective!

The thing that kills me (and does for all theremins) is the $$$ paid for such a paltry piece of circuit and hardware! ;) Why are theremins so expensive? R&D work? (which would make sense to a certain degree)

neil.
Posted: 3/29/2005 5:55:13 AM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

Congrats! If you get a chance, send us some photos, and sound samples would be great too!

It's a shame it was damaged in shipment. did you have it insured? I would think you'd be able to file a claim with the shipper.
Posted: 3/29/2005 10:33:18 AM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Hopefully you will be able to fix the panel (or make a new one like you said).

I really like the suitcase theremins.
Posted: 3/29/2005 1:14:29 PM
Etherspiel

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 3/8/2005

"The thing that kills me (and does for all theremins) is the $$$ paid for such a paltry piece of circuit and hardware! ;) Why are theremins so expensive? R&D work?"

In the case of the Wavefront, you are paying for the work that goes into making it. Gene Segal makes each wavefront himself by hand in his studio. I would estimate the parts (circuit, antennas, briefcase) for the Wavefront cost around $150 alone at least. Then add around 20 hours of labor for him to put it all together, tune and test it. Then figure how much he is getting per hour, not including R&D. I think his $600 price tag is very good for a handmade instrument.
Posted: 3/29/2005 4:34:19 PM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

It's an interesting discussion... Imagine if the manufacturing/tuning process for that instrument was designed in such a way that you still got the exact same quality instrument. Would you still want to pay the same price?
Posted: 3/29/2005 4:35:30 PM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

In that last post, I meant if the manufacturing process was AUTOMATED and you got the same quality instrument - i.e. take the "hand built" fact out of the equation and reconsider the price.
Posted: 3/30/2005 2:57:39 AM
Tallwes

From: Portland, OR, USA, Terra, Sol, Milkyway

Joined: 3/1/2005

I often wondered about the cost of theremins too. I have heard that they really are somewhat low-tech compared to todays electronics. Is the circuitry in these $40-$60 radios you see at Radio Shack as, or more, sophisticated as the circuitry in a theremin? In comparison to a nice radio then basically you have the addition of two lengths of metal tubing and a nice wooden case, which is definitely an improvement over plastic, I admit. But is it worth a $300 dollar markup as compaired to a radio of equal sophistication? Only thing I can think of is the small demand which means small production runs which does cause an increase in price and the fact that it is considered a musical instrument.
Posted: 3/30/2005 10:48:34 PM
model citizen

From: Auckland, NZ

Joined: 3/8/2005

"guest"? that was meant to be me. Weird, I was logged in.
Posted: 3/31/2005 6:05:41 AM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

oops - you found a bug. I think that can happen if you sit at the "edit post" screen for more than 20 minutes and your session times out. I'll try to get that fixed.
Posted: 3/31/2005 6:59:30 PM
model citizen

From: Auckland, NZ

Joined: 3/8/2005

Heard back from the sellers, they've ordered a new plexi panel for me which is good. Got the unit powered up last night so nothing else was amiss.

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