Theremini calibration help! 2nd unit still not working.

Posted: 12/6/2021 6:29:30 PM

Joined: 12/6/2021

Hi Speedo, I’ve had the same problems with my theremini in the lower register on two different performances I’we had on stage. I’m sure it had to do with electromagnetic fields close to the instrument, lights, dimmers, wireless mic etc. I my own House the calibration turns out quite well. I’m having a performance tomorow night but don’t trust the theremini anymore. I’m going over to a friend, borrowing hist dust collecting Etherwave right now…

I’m eager to learn some basic theremin to put into my music productions so I ordered a theremini last week. I got it home, set it up on a mic stand in a place free of obstructions. I ran through the calibration procedure multiple times. I turned the auto tune down because I can’t stand the sound of it and my ears are pretty good. However the theremini only stayed in tune while my hands were close on the highest octave. As I move them back the pitch quickly wavers between semitones. I tried using the ground wire - tied it to a radiator, held it, patched the output into other gear. No luck the pitch does not hold steady. I called zzounds where I ordered it from thinking it was defective I ordered another. Same exact issue. I spent an hour last night Troubleshooting it - changing the octave range etc.   help!!!! Can it really be this difficult to set up for stable pitch ? Would I have the same issues with an ether wave?

Posted: 12/7/2021 8:26:01 PM

Joined: 11/5/2012

Well, I got my hands on an Etherwave Standard w the ESP pitch mod. I spent a good amount of time learning how to tune it yesterday and now it's as stable as can be... and it sounds like 500 times better than the Theremini. I can play a major scale on it already so I am very happy now. 

Word of advice to anyone looking for a new Theremin purchase... don't waste your time with the Theremini! 

Posted: 12/17/2021 3:50:15 AM

From: Whanganui, New Zealand

Joined: 11/4/2020

 "the CVox is very unintuitive and challenging"

Interesting comment ContraDude - I found the oppisite to be true I just plugged it in and that was it. I've never needed to calibrate but I've read the manual and its easy. Also the fields seems to be VERY stable. I've had a Theremini and still have an OT V4 and both seemed to need calibration after they had been powered on nearly every time

Have to admit tho my CVox is one of the late deliveries and I have a suspician that Moog have made a few tweaks to them since the early models

Posted: 12/25/2021 8:57:28 PM

Joined: 5/21/2021

@speedo Congratulations that you managed to get hold of a EWS. It's perhaps the silver standard (ePro for gold?) I never could find one. So I have been playing a Theremini as a complete newbie since May.

I'd like to share my perspective on the Theremini and OT V3. I have used both though I have passed the OT V3 on to another newbie. Both are serviceable as a theremin though the V3 is perhaps more approachable. It has good linearity, nice enough timbre set and affordable. I did have some initial problems with the board (V4 requires no user intervention so likely poses few teething issues) and was not completely happy with the antennas which are not very secure.

I struggled with the Theremini -- narrow volume range, lack of good linearity. I consulted Moog multiple times, and many people on FB (esp. Theremini People - a good resource). It was very frustrating. Nevertheless, I kept working at it as I had no easy option for another instrument. Eventually I made a preset (using the Editor) that provided a passable (apparent) volume control. I realized that a theremini is not a piano or a guitar. You have to worked with its idiosyncrasies. I only have a range of 3 1/2 octaves -- but then that's more than enough for a beginner working on easy pieces. Non-linearity is something that muscle memory can cope with; and, in fact, trains agility. The pitch review really helps -- not as a crutch to find notes, but as a ear training tool to verify one's accuracy.

The difficulty with the Theremini turns out to be a boon -- it's like running with lead weights tied at the ankles. I got a Claravox yesterday. Transferring the skills I acquired was surprisingly easy. The Claravox plays beautifully. It seemed as though I have vastly improved overnight. But I know it is because I have had months of ear training on the Theremini and learning to articulate within a narrow volume range.

It's true that there are better theremins out there if one has the budget or the good fortune of finding a used one. To me, the Theremini for all its faults can be used by a beginner. (There are other pros. E.g. Its Animoog processor is highly customizable.)

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