New Moog Etherwave Theremin

Posted: 6/4/2022 7:47:33 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"There is no separate loudness control of audio out."  - JPascal

That would have been an obvious good addition IMO.  Almost blew my speakers out connecting to my amp, had to plug into the headphone jack to tame the level.

"I guess the detail questions are annoying, but: What is the maximum level there, what is the signal-to-noise ratio and what is the dynamic range of the volume control in dB?"

Not annoying at all!  But I didn't measure them.  Probably identical to the EW / EW+.  The volume field feels limp and has no "snap" to it at all, don't know how you would play fast attacks or pizzicato without injuring yourself.

Posted: 6/6/2022 7:51:41 AM
Spider76

Joined: 8/11/2021

Wow, I must say I'm impressed, and not in a positive way.
I like the new design but I gave it for granted that the black parts were metal, so is it all plastic even in the structural support points?
And the wobbliness of the antennas...just wow.

I was expecting surface-mount components and a general "modernization" of the instrument, but with the objective of  making it better or at least equivalent to the old model, not worse... especially at the price they're asking.

I think my EW+ doesn't need to worry about being replaced anytime soon...

Posted: 6/6/2022 3:20:04 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"I like the new design but I gave it for granted that the black parts were metal, so is it all plastic even in the structural support points?"  - Spider76

The front control panel and back I/O panel are made of metal.  The back panel has little shoulder screws at the corners...:

... that fit into plastic slots in the top and bottom (purple arrows):

The front panel has no shoulder screws, it is held in place mainly by the PWB and some slots in the plastic side pieces (left arrow):

The plastic end pieces are just sandwiched between the top and bottom with no fasteners, though there are retaining pins and ribs and such molded into the top and bottom.

"And the wobbliness of the antennas...just wow."

Yes.  I should add that there are internal guides for the volume loop molded into the top and bottom (yellow arrows in second photo above) but they only reinforce the outer pivot points.  The inner support for the long end of the volume loop is just the hole the volume coil PWB, which has slots it fits into, but is otherwise rather loose.  The short end of the loop has no support that I saw, and just butts up against plastic (upper left arrow in last photo).  This is aggravated by the sheer mass of the solid metal rod used for the volume loop (3/4 lb!).

"I was expecting surface-mount components and a general "modernization" of the instrument, but with the objective of  making it better or at least equivalent to the old model, not worse... especially at the price they're asking."

That was my hope as well.  My cursory inventory of what's in there shows an updated power supply, explicit decoupling for the pitch oscillators, and mute input, but that's about it.  The reduction in pitch coils from 3 to 1 seems like it could influence the pitch field, likely in a negative way?

I didn't mention that the power and mute indicators on the front panel are actually plastic light pipes, which are illuminated via surface mount LEDs on the main PWB.  Significant light from the power LED leaks into the mute indicator, leading to a somewhat ambiguous mute condition display (it looks sorta muted when it's not).  IMO the mute state is a big deal in a performance situation, and so should be clearly displayed to the player.  A lighted pushbutton might work better here.

Also, there are two mute state holders, the front (locking) pushbutton and the back 1/2" input, and both are masters.  I believe the way it works is if one or both are calling for mute then it is muted.  So you can't unmute it from the front panel if the (locking) footswitch is muting it.  This arrangement is probably OK with most players though, and I guess it's safer in some scenarios than momentary controls and a single internal logic state keeper.

"I think my EW+ doesn't need to worry about being replaced anytime soon..."

Hold onto that sucker! ;-)

Posted: 7/7/2022 7:05:12 PM
bisem

From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joined: 1/1/2011

Too bad the engineers at Moog don't read these posts and perhaps even seek advice from you guys.  They could also consult thereminists who aren't paid to showcase their products.   I haven't seen a good critical review of the new EW or the Claravox on the internet aside from these forums. BTW does anyone want to buy a Claravox?

Posted: 7/10/2022 12:17:35 PM
Spider76

Joined: 8/11/2021

It's true that the new Etherwave has been widely available for weeks now, yet I haven't seen any comment or review from real-world users.
Anybody here got one?

Posted: 7/10/2022 2:33:47 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"Too bad the engineers at Moog don't read these posts and perhaps even seek advice from you guys.  They could also consult thereminists who aren't paid to showcase their products.   I haven't seen a good critical review of the new EW or the Claravox on the internet aside from these forums."  - bisem

On FB I've seen some owners with white-hot anger over major Cvox flaws, some who are entirely happy with their Cvox's, and some in the middle who don't know what to do re. the issues they've encountered, sometimes even after one or more product return / repair cycles.  So the quality itself seems to be something of a crap shoot.

Call me crazy, but I think products should be able to stand on their own two feet, and discussions of their good and bad points are 100% fair game.  If the people who design and build them care at all, they should welcome any and all such discussions, it's like free market research, and they should be wearing their big boy pants.

Posted: 7/12/2022 8:34:38 AM
bisem

From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joined: 1/1/2011

 "they should be wearing their big boy pants"

They have to get past their diapers first!   LOL!


Posted: 7/13/2022 7:27:22 PM
galen

Joined: 4/14/2022

It's true that the new Etherwave has been widely available for weeks now, yet I haven't seen any comment or review from real-world users.Anybody here got one?

I got one a while ago to compare it with the Claravox while my Claravox was still in its return period. I’ve had no QC issue with the Claravox. My main complaint is that the traditional circuit doesn’t mute completely, which is annoying since I prefer the tone of the traditional circuit to anything I’ve been able to dial in with modern mode. My thought was, if the Etherwave sounds like the traditional Claravox circuit but has a more functional volume response I would gladly keep the Etherwave and return the Claravox.

There are a couple ways that the Etherwave is more functional than the Claravox:

1. Unlike the Claravox’s traditional mode, the Etherwave mutes completely, as it should.

2. The Etherwave’s CV output is calibrated so that the Etherwave’s voice will play in tune with an external synthesizer across the Etherwave’s entire range. The Claravox has different CV settings. The 10V option does not track pitch in tune with the Claravox’s voice; 5V option tracks pitch in tune with the Claravox but does not cover the Claravox’s entire pitch range, so above a certain note the Claravox’s pitch continues to rise and the external synth’s pitch stops rising.

Despite these functional advantages, I ended up returning the Etherwave, and the experience made me very happy to have a Claravox. The reason is, for all its quirks the Claravox sounds SO MUCH BETTER than the Etherwave. The Etherwave really has only one timbre — a kind of trumpet-y muted saw-wave, which for my playing often ends up sounding kind of goofy. On the Claravox it’s easy to dial in a beautiful rich cello-like sound, that suits my playing style much better. In addition the wave shaper of the Etherwave affects the timbre much less than the Claravox’s wave shaper, so the Claravox has a greater sonic variety even with the traditional circuit.

Furthermore, the build quality of the Etherwave was a rather poor. The wood wasn’t sanded well, my case had poor tolerances, and the instrument generally felt light and plasticky. Nothing that would have kept me off the instrument if I had really liked the sound, but it was a small factor in my decision to return it.

If I were going to spend $900 on a theremin, I would look elsewhere. You can get a custom-built subscope for less.

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.