Etherwave "Waveform" knob question

Posted: 2/28/2008 4:19:38 PM

Joined: 2/28/2008

I just received my first theremin earlier this week (!) -- an Etherwave Standard (new).

Testing it out, I don't notice much effect from the "waveform" knob, just a very subtle change in timbre. Is that what I should expect?

[FWIW -- testing this, I've made sure to adjust the Brightness control various ways, with the assumption that higher levels will make Waveform adjustments easier to hear. Still, the effect of the WF knob is usually so subtle I have to listen very hard to discern it doing anything.]
Posted: 3/2/2008 5:58:51 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Hi kuru, welcome to Theremin World.

I've just been listening to my etherwave at various settings, and the differences are more apparent when you're playing musically than when you're just listening to the timbre and moving your hand randomly. That may have something to do with it.

If you have an oscilloscope application on your computer (there are plenty of freeware/shareware ones around - I use the one in Amadeus Pro - a low budget audio application for Mac OS X) you can compare the output of your etherwave to mine at various settings...

So, how do you like your new instrument?
Posted: 3/2/2008 10:36:41 PM

Joined: 2/28/2008

Thanks GordonC.

I'm enjoying my new theremin quite a lot!

It's true, as I've started playing the instrument rather than simply testing it, I notice changes in the timbral knob settings more, although the effects of the "waveform" knob remain subtle. The instrument definitely has its own characteristic "sound", which is gently altered rather than dramatically affected by the two timbral knobs. Since I trust Moog to make quality products, I assume this is the intent, but don't actually know, being new to the instrument.

In any event, I like the sound of my instrument. And it was a pleasant surprise to realize how similar the right hand technique is to trombone playing!

Posted: 12/29/2014 2:44:23 PM

Joined: 12/29/2014

I find that the Waveform control on my Etherwave (standard) has so subtle an effect as to be hard to detect.  In fact through a Roland cube amp I could hear no difference at all.  I tried it through a much cleaner M-Audio studio monitor, and there is a very slight change if you turn it all the way.  The Brightness control has a much bigger effect, and is actually useful musically.

I am wondering (reading the old messages above) if this is normal, or whether the Waveform pot might be faulty.  Should I get someone to test that it is working as it should?

Posted: 12/29/2014 3:10:31 PM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

The audible effect of the waveform knob depends on two things:

a) the setting of the brightness knob => The more brightness you set (clockwise), the more you hear a difference between the different waveform settings.

b) the frequency response of the audio chain. If you use a keyboard (or any other linear) amplifier, you will notice a wide spectrum of different timbres which you can set with the waveform and the brightness knobs. But if you use a guitar or a bass amp, you risk a) to overdrive these since their inputs are much more sensitive because magnetic guitar and bass pickups have a much lower output voltage than a theremin which has line level, and b) to get a muffled sound and muddy timbre because of the integrated "cow tail" equalization for the non linear frequency response of the pickups.

With a good audio chain, you should get a violin timbre with the waveform knob at 11 o'clock and the brightness knob at 3 o'clock, and a clarinet timbre with both knobs at 3 o'clock.

When fixing or adjusting theremins, I always use a Yamaha MSP-5 active near field studio monitor, to make sure that I hear everything.

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