fx units

Posted: 2/1/2006 7:11:44 PM
KevW

From: Fife, Scotland

Joined: 2/1/2006

Does anybody run their theremin through multi-effects units? I have a Boss GT-6 guitar processor with reverb and delay, etc., however i'm reluctant to run my etherwave through it as, in my limited knowledge of electronics, I don't know if any damage may ensue.
Posted: 2/1/2006 8:02:09 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Plugging a theremin into an fx unit is fine. And worthwhile.

Welcome to Theremin World.

Gordon
Posted: 2/2/2006 8:25:32 AM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

The only issue you might run into is that the Etherwave (and most theremins) are better suited to keyboard effects & amps because of their output levels. The Etherwave manual inclues a mod though that will show you how to reduce the signal level to the point that it will work better with devices designed for electric guitars.

I found this one today. If you agree to sign up for a new credit card or something, then you can get a free Toneworks multi-effects pedal. More info... (http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/iclk?sa=l&ai=B2b0KDQjiQ6m1KpHwiAGr4ZHmCquZyRO3qI-IAsCNtwGQ9B0QAxgDIMah9wEoBEiOOVDW6ZC__P____8BoAHXueP9A6oBCjg0NjEyMDY5NzOyARV3d3cudGhlcmVtaW53b3JsZC5jb226AQoxMjB4NjAwX2FzyAEBlQIlxSIK&num=3&adurl=http://www.onlinerewardcenter.com/rd_p%3Fp%3D113082%26t%3D636%26gift%3D3136%26a%3D3136-guitar%2520effects%2520pedal&client=ca-pub-3542562528338702)

We get lots of questions about theremins and effects. Would anyone be interested in writing an article with soundbytes on the topic for ThereminWorld?
Posted: 2/3/2006 7:06:51 PM
kkissinger

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

Jason, I recorded some examples and will send them soon... time for dinner now... will send em as soon as dinner is over :)
Posted: 2/3/2006 7:30:30 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

I'll try and knock up a little video clip and demonstrate my very basic delay unit and put it on veoh.

Gordon

(BTW - that google ads effects pedal link, it's free [i]if[/i] you buy two things you don't want.)
Posted: 2/3/2006 8:11:11 PM
kkissinger

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

Ok, Jason... just sent you an email with attachments. :)
Posted: 2/6/2006 2:49:10 PM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Kev, try it at low volume first to make sure there is no problem. The Etherwave tends to run a little strong on the signal strength. I run mine through an ART SGX 2000 effects processor. It's an older model but I like it better for the E-wave than anything else I have tried (and I have tried TONS of effects units!).

The ART has input and output levels so it is easy to compensate for the extr-strength signal the Etherwave puts out.

After the ART I am running it through a Zoom 508 digital delay just to have some instant-on delays that I can access.

It is really a blast and can add alot ot your sound. Be carefule, though. It can be addicitve. You may find yourself making noises and forgetting to actually make music!
Posted: 2/6/2006 7:47:16 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

I've been thinking about the video I said I'd do.

Three or so months ago I did not own a theremin and had no experience of fx units. I would like to include a few very basic comments that would have been useful to me at that time.

As I have no claim on expertise I would like to put my thoughts on the subject up for comment. I wish to not publish advice that is incorrect or misleading or of questionable worth, neither do I want to omit anything which is pretty much fundamental and perhaps taken for granted.



Here goes...

Don't rush to buy. Take some time to get to know your theremin without effects first.

There are thousands of fx units on the market - the best way is to take your theremin to a friendly shop and try them out. Best not to go when they're really busy, and take headphones - you'll be making some horrendous sounds as well as good ones and you really want to listen carefully to how the effects work with various settings and playing styles without too much distraction.

Before you go, experiment with software effects to get an idea of what they do. Depending on your software you may have to record yourself first and apply the filters afterwards, or be able to apply them in real-time, which is better, but not an alternative for an fx box because of the short lag between you playing a note and the computer processing it and playing it back to you.

Choose either a digital multi-effects box for a broad range of effects - they let you use more than one effect at a time - or a cheap single effect box if you have a clear idea which effect you want, they're a bit cheaper in the short term, far easier to understand and don't eat batteries quite so rapidly. Remember, in all probability this will not be the last box you buy.

Chances are your amplifier has some useful knobs on it already - To equalize the sound of your theremin - you may find that the mid-tones are louder than the high and low tones when you keep your volume hand in one place and try various pitches. To dirty up the very pure tone for a hard rock sound look to the gain and drive knobs. To add a bit of zest to a dull tone or sound like you're playing the Albert Hall turn the reverb knob, if you have one, a little or a lot.

These things are also catered for in effects boxes with more control than a single knob on an amplifier can provide.

There is no such thing as an fx box designed specifically for theremin usage. Effects that preserve the pure tone of the theremin to a greater degree can be found in boxes aimed at acoustic guitars, for something a bit more rock-n-roll go for an electric guitar box. For avant-garde experimentalism, delay boxes (they make echoes) are absolutely stock in trade - they can stretch up to a four second delay but shorter delays are cheaper and still very useful. Very short delays can alter the basic sound of the theremin in ways that are good for most styles of music.

Non-rechargeable batteries are not a viable option, except in dire emergency. Consider either a power supply or rechargeables. Ask yourself, which is more nuisance - keeping a 9 volt battery in readiness for when the one in the box runs out or having another thing to plug in and add to the tangle of wires on the floor.

If the input jack is plugged into an fx box, it is switched on and consuming electricity, regardless of any switches marked on/off. To switch it off, pull the input jack out.

Switch on your amplifier last and switch it off first, to avoid potentially damaging surges when you switch your effects box on and off.

Do not pull the cable or wiggle the jack-plug if it sticks - wrap your fingers around the jack and lever it off with your thumb against the body of the unit next to the socket.




So, of this, what would you jettison - I think less would be better, what would you amend, what is darned good solid advice, what did I leave out?

Posted: 2/7/2006 9:15:24 AM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

You seem to be grasping things well, Gordon.

My Zoom delay has a nice 4 second delay that I use for loops. I did see a rack-mount delay unit in a pawn shop once that had up to 8 seconds of delay time. I wish I would have gotten it back then (along with the Westone Rail bass I saw for $100.) Oh well, you can't have everything. Where would you put it?

Another way to try out effects is to ask you fellow musician friends to let you run it through what they have for a bit. That is a pretty good way to try out stuff that may not be in the stores anymore.

The music shops usually only carry what is currently in production, leaving out a vast array of "obselete" units out there to languish on Ebay.
Posted: 2/7/2006 9:22:04 AM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

OH, one more thing. Among guitarists, the current trend is toward using a string of individual stomp boxes (single effect units that only do one thing, such as distortion or chorus).

Some players swear by this type of setup because it gives them more control, or so they say. (There are also people who like the sound of viyl over CD's but that is also a matter of opinion)

Multi-effects units are still popular as well and there are lots of new ones hitting the market every year.

As Gordon said, try out a few before you make your decision.

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