sound optimization

Posted: 3/15/2005 5:00:05 PM
Cortex 007

From: Sarasota, Florida

Joined: 2/14/2005

I would like to revitalize this topic
I'm always looking to more closely approximate that warm sound of clasic valve theremins. I work a little reverb/echo/chorus in there to "fill" the sound a bit and I use a preamp and play through a keyboard amp. Does anyone have any experience with sound compression for live play, not recording?? Does compression produce any tonal changes that are going to make me march out and get a unit??
Posted: 3/17/2005 5:52:29 PM
model citizen

From: Auckland, NZ

Joined: 3/8/2005

Not on Theremin (still awaiting my beastie to arrive), but I use a ton of FX with my guitar, bass and keyboard/sampler/noise units.

Short of running through a valve preamp, the best way to achieve some valve warmth is to run the signal through an overdrive pedal before it hits the amp/recording interface. Now, different OD pedals give different sounds, so it might take a while to find the one that interacts with the tone of YOUR theremin (and your own tone preferences). Some units (my SansAmp Tri-AC for example) have quite powerful EQ and tone-shaping controls that allow you to dial in a number of different sounds.

As for compression, the type, ratio, attack and release all will affect the sound to a certain degree. Most noticable is the increased sustain across the whole tonal range, plus more focussed low-mid and bass frequencies (tighter, not more). A small amount of soft-knee compression can warm up an instrument without being noticable, and again valve compressors are where it's at.

At the end of the day, if you're pretty happy with the base tone of your unit and are mainly looking to "warm" or "sweeten" the overall tone, try and stay away from EQ. EQ is only really useful for radically shaping a tone, or helping an instrument sit in a mix. If you do use EQ, place it before any other processing.

I'm looking forward to hooking my Wavefront up with my bass' pedalboard!

I've just thought of something - are there any RF/interference issues with theremins and older valve amps? My mainstay amps are '60s and '70s Jansen (NZ copy of Fender) and Ampeg valve heads.
Posted: 3/17/2005 8:18:16 PM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

You will love the sound of the theremin throught the effects processor! The guy I got my Etherwave from generously included a Boss ME-30 effects processor but I didn't like the sound of it as much as my old Art SGX 2000 rackmount guitar processor.

As far as RF interference, That should not be a problem unless you set the Theremin right on top of the amp or something.

ALthough I was in a band with a guitar player whose amp was old and a bit shabby. Every once in a while during a rehearsal his amp would pick up radio stations. One of the wires was acting as an antenna and right in the middle of a slow ballad you would hear a baseball game being announced or a commercial for some car dealership.
Posted: 3/17/2005 8:58:32 PM

From: chicago illinois

Joined: 2/15/2005

i have a whole lotta guitar pedals and effects and have been plugging my theremin into em with some success... a good wah on a theremin sounds sweet, and my metalzone makes it sound like some kinda futuristic lazer war it is pretty sweet
Posted: 3/18/2005 2:55:53 PM

From: Evansville

Joined: 3/10/2005

If you want a more classic sound, first and for most you have to have a decent theremin. Then from there if it is not tube and that is what you are going for, get a tube preamp. ART makes one that are really inexpensive, like $100 or under. Other than that a litte reverb or delay might smooth some things out.
Posted: 3/18/2005 4:46:55 PM

From: chicago illinois

Joined: 2/15/2005

i agree with you mainly but i think think my theremin sounds pretty good and classic even without a tube preamp

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