Moog Theremini!

Posted: 8/20/2014 2:32:56 AM

From: Tucson, AZ USA

Joined: 2/26/2011

That was an excellent review and honest. The next great theremin will be from someone in your neighborhood, he will chime if not invite you over for a pool side party. I have made the comment Moog should never had referred to it as a theremin, it misses the point of what the Theremini actually is.


Posted: 8/20/2014 12:57:48 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

I agree with Touchless, excellent review rkram53!  From my ~1 hour of Theremini ownership I concur 100% with your observations and emphasis.  There is a lot to like in the Theremini, but the tuner as implemented is worthless for anything other than finding your first note - too bad it dominates so much of the display.  The pitch field response will, I fear, likely cause many first-timers to abandon the Theremin as a serious musical instrument.

Posted: 8/20/2014 2:28:19 PM

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

Great points rkram53, thanks.

Just one thing - "CV out and MIDI - nice to have" - You probably dont have usable CV out.


Posted: 8/20/2014 3:26:10 PM

From: Brooklyn,NY

Joined: 12/1/2009

Yeah, great review rkram53.

BTW...For all of those who's faith in Moog recently went down the drain- I highly suggest checking out the new sub 37, (heh -unless of course you are afraid of eating your words;)      The thing is amazing=complete homerun. 

The thing to consider with the theremini-  it is their cheapest instrument.  


Posted: 8/20/2014 6:33:46 PM
Jesper Pedersen

From: Iceland

Joined: 3/10/2012

Thanks rkram53. My toughts exactly. I think the Theremini has a lot of potential. Too bad they didn't make it play right.

Posted: 8/20/2014 9:47:37 PM

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

"(heh -unless of course you are afraid of eating your words;)" - Chobbs

No, I will eat anything! ;-)

Sounds are a real personal thing - we all have different tastes... Perhaps im just stuck in the past - my parents hated the sounds from synths "too harsh and unnatural" "doesn't sound like a pipe organ" that sort of thing.. I loved their sounds - Moog and Arp in particular. Arp is gone, my ears say Moog is also gone.. Some folks say modern SMD components sound different - I dont know 'bout that (But Bob did seem to have leanings towards those thoughts) - All I know is that I certainly prefer the sound of Vintage synths.

Yeh, that must be it.. Im getting old! ;-) .... But good luck to you young uns!



Posted: 8/20/2014 9:54:06 PM

From: züriCH

Joined: 3/15/2014

hows the aerodynamics? does it fly? 

Posted: 8/20/2014 11:11:25 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014


Well I put an ADC on a cable connected to the CV out. When pitch antenna is in 0-5V mode it's just about 5V at the antenna, about 1.3V a foot away and down to 0.3V about 2 feet away. So not what I would call linear but for some things might be useful if you are aware of its scaling. 

Hopefully a lot of the gripes can be fixed in firmware releases. It would be nice if this could be a portable practice instrument, but of course it's not at all that now - and ironically 180 degrees off to the Moog marketing agenda. This instrument will actually negatively affect Etherwave sales in my opinion. (Are you listening Moog engineers?)



Posted: 8/20/2014 11:59:22 PM

From: züriCH

Joined: 3/15/2014

hi rkram53,

great review and a first insight on the cv drop, which looks even for me not so linear. i hope it's possible to calibrate the cv by firmware like on a minitaur. so no ew++...

Posted: 8/21/2014 10:59:32 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

Hi Rich, Thanks for the information.

Perhaps you could provide some more real useful data -

I suspect that the closest one could get to 1V/Octave CV out is if you set the field for exactly 5 octaves, with 0-5V Out... You see, I suspect that the field is squeezed into the output voltage 'span' - so one might get 2V/Octave if you set 5 octaves on the 0-10V setting (I go into absurd detail here based on this entirely untested hypothesis)

I expect you will get extremely non-linear CV out no matter what you do, as even if the CV does track the theremini pitch, the pitch / distance relationship is extremely non linear..

But if you have any 1V/Octave VCO's and the CV does track the pitch, then I suspect you will only get this to work when the field spans 5 octaves and 0-5V output is selected.

If you were able to try this and give feedback, one hypothesis would either be trashed, or perhaps become a theory! ;-)

(in fact, even if you dont have a 1V/Octave VCO, if you could play your lowest note, record the voltage, move an octave higher and record this voltage, and do this for the 5 octaves, then, if the voltage increases by one volt per octave, we know that some tracking is actually happening! - on any setting, the voltage should increase by a fixed amount for every octave increase if the theremini CV is tracking the theremini pitch in a exponentiated way - the output CV should be a linearized representation of the pitch, as in the voltage difference between each semitone should be the same.)

Any data you could provide would be extremely useful to feed the curiosity of folks like me, but hopefully (possibly more important ;-) to assist others wanting to use CV.


(Having now seen some videos of people using theremini CV out with modulars, I have not yet seen a single instance where the synth tracked the theremini pitch - most cases it looks like far more than 1V/Octave is being output, and the synth is just being used as an effect and small hand movement sweeps a large frequency span)

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