Etherwave or Harrison - which to buy ?

Posted: 7/24/2017 12:12:04 AM

From: Adelaide, South Australia

Joined: 7/16/2017

Hello - i need some advise of purchasing my first Theremin - down here in Australia its a struggle with options either for advise or even obtaining one.I have 3 options, either the Etherwave standard or plus also Harrison Instruments Model 302 - any input would be greatly appreciated.

Posted: 7/24/2017 7:50:59 PM

From: Theremin Motherland

Joined: 11/13/2005

Etherwave, defenitly (or another theremin with classic configuration of electric field around the instrument). To be not retrained later on the professional instruments.


Posted: 7/25/2017 6:20:34 AM

Joined: 3/23/2014

I do not have experience with the Harrison. But as ILya wrote, you pay it in a unconventional way.

I have the Etherwave standard. But I regret that I did not spend a few bucks more for the plus. It just has more possibilities. Not necessary at first but you can profit from it later.





Posted: 7/25/2017 7:14:09 PM

Joined: 5/8/2017

I have not played my Etherwave since I bought the Harrison Instruments Model 302.

8 octave playable range - 6 for average players

Battery operation up to 23-24 hours.

Perfect bass notes without a mod.

Plate antennas are like walking down a sidewalk, pole antennas are like walking a tightrope.

You don't have to use vibrato unless you want to do it for artistic effect, not to hide the fact you cannot hold a note steady.

It took me two weeks adjust to the inverse volume mapping to be able to play the Model 302 faster and more accurately than the Etherwave.

Reverse mapping for volume makes it possible to play staccato easily - just reduce the volume range to 1.45 inches

If there is anyone who can play at my level using a pole antenna theremin, SHOW ME.

on youtube:

National Electrophonic, with Mel 9 and Geiger Counter

Well Tempered Theremin - that used to be an oxymoron. Last year I played too fast for too long so I had to take year off to recover.

Now if you can stand perfectly still, get the Etherwave - you have a chance to be just like two dozen other best players. Which I can play circles around.

But go ahead and take advice from people who have never played one but are "expert."

I wish I had a peer. No one is interested. They want to be CLARA.

Posted: 7/25/2017 7:18:50 PM

Joined: 5/8/2017


professional instruments?

please explain . . .

Posted: 7/25/2017 10:21:09 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

rupertchappelle, I'm not taking sides here because I can see both, and actually agree with both, because they're not all that mutually exclusive.  If you want to learn how to "play the Theremin" you get something with a rod shaped pitch antenna, and the EW is pretty much the only game in town here if you're looking at the professional equipment mass market.  Learn to play that, and you'll find it easiest to adapt to the other things out there that are generally what most people think of as "Theremins".

You seem to really like your plate Theremin, which is great, and you advocate for it well.  But plates are outside the mainstream, so they're a tougher sell.  And they aren't as pitch linear as a rod when doing heterodyning, though they can be made more linear through various processing means (offset heterodyning, 1/d C measurement), and likely also via various playing techniques as you have mentioned.  I do appreciate your input here, it gets me thinking along different lines.  My prototype uses plates, and I'm going give reverse volume sensing a go as it seems like it might be more intuitive and easier to do quick attack / slow decay.

I only care about tradition up to the point where the things I implement start turning off the best players out there, and even then I am compelled to do the best thing for playability.

Posted: 7/26/2017 1:16:15 AM

Joined: 5/8/2017

Dewster - I play an 8 octave range and have no need for what you think I need. Other instruments have the same problem you mention and do not resort to any fixes.  Stringed instruments have a compressed higher range. Musicians deal with it.

All you have to do is choose to aim for the corner of the antenna and there is all the "linearization" you need. If you want to play the top range you just aim for the center of the plate and use finer motor control than just the elbow  - opening the hand , using fingers or using the writing technique - just like signing your name - extremely fine motor control.

You can sign your name?

That is the skill you need for the top two octaves.

I suspect I am the only person who actually wants to play melodically above the piano keyboard.  I do it just to show off. Because others cannot.

Posted: 7/26/2017 2:04:54 AM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"I play an 8 octave range and have no need for what you think I need. Other instruments have the same problem you mention and do not resort to any fixes.  Stringed instruments have a compressed higher range. Musicians deal with it."  - rupertchappelle

Non-linearity: feature or bug?  

It's unavoidable in stringed instruments so musicians must deal with it.  It's somewhat avoidable in analog Theremins, and completely avoidable in digital Theremins, and I would argue it's best avoided (I vote bug).  Bob Moog and Theremin himself clearly worked to remove it (they voted bug). 

You may have no need for what I think you need (?) - but then again, you haven't experienced it to know whether you need it or not (nobody has, including me! ;-).


Posted: 7/26/2017 10:23:36 AM

Joined: 5/8/2017

Dewster, we live in an analogue world and a basic core to reality is variable 1=variable 2 times variable 3 squared.

This is a pretty universal grammar.

Music is not linear:

Let's make it easy call C 64 cps

16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048 - simpler than our current pitch assignments.

Would you prefer 64, 128, 192, 256, 320, 384, 448???

Then the scale is linear instead of a squared function.

You can load that into a synth with scale control - I doubt anyone would be pleased.

If I want a linear instrument interface, I have a keyboard. Then I wouldn't have to worry about missing a pitch.

I never worry about missing a pitch anyway.

Well Tempered Theremin . . .

You are the most important part of the instrument and you are not linear.

BTW - to me the pole antenna is a bug that has kept most people from being able to play at a professional level and kept composers treating the thereminist like someone who cannot play the same music as "real" instruments. The Little Mermaid Ballet a case in point. Slow and simple for the theremin, challenging and exciting for the violins. So fixing it digitally seems a great idea. Treat the SYMPTOM, not the CAUSE. I blame modern medicine.

Posted: 7/26/2017 8:06:39 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"Music is not linear" - rupertchapelle

Not sure where you're going with grammar or squaring.  When I say "linear" I mean equally spaced hand movements (wherever they are in the pitch antenna field) creating equally spaced pitch changes (half step, whole step, octave, etc.).  The ear perceives pitch logarithmically, so the actual frequency must change exponentially in order to "sound linear".  This is why analog synth oscillators almost always have an exponential response to input voltage (1V / octave).  

Linearity of the Theremin pitch field is something Bob Moog worked on quite a bit, it's not an insignificant thing.

It's fairly interesting that simple heterodyning gives a roughly exponential frequency response (over the mid-field) - not something one would necessarily expect.

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