Best sounding Theremin question

Posted: 5/23/2012 3:18:07 PM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

That is why I tune to a 5th, it allows me to be able to breathe and play. it also gives you "space" to perform a nice and expressive vibrato. when it's too "squished", it sounds horrible.

Posted: 5/23/2012 4:47:34 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"That is why I tune to a 5th, it allows me to be able to breathe and play. it also gives you "space" to perform a nice and expressive vibrato. when it's too "squished", it sounds horrible."

Thanks for that info!  How many octaves would you say are roughly linear on your Subscope when it is set up for 5th hand spacing?

Posted: 5/23/2012 4:58:01 PM

From: gretna, louisiana

Joined: 8/10/2005

here is another 2cents.

in early 2005, i heard a theremin for the first time that i was consciously aware of it, and was captivated by the compelling sound (timbre). iirc, it was an RCA theremin on perhaps the moog documentary.

i immediately came across the moog ether wave pro and purchased number 194.

shortly before katrina hit (early august 2005) i attended the asheville event hoping to witness first hand the compelling sound i had heard but couldn't produce on the pro. to my surprise no one at that event could produce the compelling tone. not withstanding that, there were many excellent performers (kavina, kurstin) in attendance. however, no one would even begin to entertain a discussion on the lack of compelling timbre in these modern instruments. to me it was that the emperor wasn't wearing anything and nobody cared to talk about it.

i tried various things, including vintage amps, pre-amps, transducers with re-amplification, all to no avail. 

i came across pringle's work and instrumentation which often included high end pre-amps.

still, that compelling tone is not there (not like those rca). sorry pp.

i do like the woman tone that he gets.

my conclusion is that none of the digital instruments are capable of that compelling tone and that a tube based theremin is necessary for compelling tone.

i would not again purchase any of the digital theremins.

in fact, i have etherwave pro #194 sitting here with some dust on it.

anyone know of someone to be commissioned to build a tube theremin?

some of the independent builders have been less than forthcoming with sound samples.

just my 2cents worth.




ps. the fellow at has produced good timbre in some of his work.

not affiliated.


Posted: 5/23/2012 5:34:20 PM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

mickkotter said: "anyone know of someone to be commissioned to build a tube theremin?"

Get a sound byte!

I would give a kidney to have a local Master Thereminist work with me on identifying when something sounds good or a volume response behaves ideally. Everyone's opinion of what is good varies as much as we are all individual. It's funny most people don't post contact info anymore as emails are hidden. I took mine down a while back because after 10 years it seemed I was "preaching to the choir".

You mentioned pringle's sound, I heard he is more magician than musician?

Yeah that oldtemecula guy is quite remarkable. (-'


Posted: 5/23/2012 6:01:38 PM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

Christopher ~ when you are ready with your theremin, I'd love to play it... I know we live on 2 opposites, but it would be awesome!

Dewster ~ Thomas Grillo and I counted them together and there are a little over 7 octaves with the Subscope. Everyone loves to have a lot of octaves, but seriously, i never ever play the low low notes...


Posted: 5/23/2012 6:11:40 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

@Amethyste: You will, eventually. Ever since I put the ESPE01 module in the Etherwave Standard, I've started using every octave. Usually the low and mid range, but sometimes the upper too.

I'd like to hear the Subscope's low range.

Posted: 5/23/2012 6:54:57 PM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

Dewster ~ are you on Facebook? If so, please send me a friends request: amethyste Spardel. Thanks :)

Posted: 5/23/2012 6:55:52 PM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

Thomas ~ Next time we can skype, i'll have you listen to it :) how about that :)

Posted: 5/23/2012 8:05:58 PM

From: Nashville, TN, USA

Joined: 12/22/2011

I know I'm just a newbie 6 months in, but I was blown away by the tone improvement I got by adding Thierry Frenkel's ESPE01 to my stock Moog EW plus. I know it will never approach a tube instrument for tone.  There is only one tone I like on my modded EW plus, this being the one that Thomas Grillo calls the "flute" tone with the waveform and brightness knobs both set to about 3 o'clock, but I can live with that for now...I'm focused on building my chops as a player,so I'm happy with one good tone....I think I read somewhere on one of these threads that Clara Rockmore also only used one tone exclusively, even though Lev  had modified her instrument with a selector switch for a number of tones...So maybe having one good tone for now is OK....The key thing for me is that Thierry has made a good sounding (although solid state) theremin available for newcomers to learn on at a price of between $550 US for the modified EW standard or about $650 US for the modified EW plus. This is less than the price for some crappy electric guitars, and way less than a nice keyboard work station.  I dream of having a nice Keppinger or other tube instrument sometime in my future, but for now I have something I can work with as I build my technique as a player...

Posted: 5/24/2012 3:57:35 AM
All Souls Night

Joined: 5/22/2012

Everyone, thank you so much for your ideas, inputs and insights. I am so appreciative.

You can tell Clara Rockmore was a violinist by the way she phrases. Just exquisite and so musical. Peter and Amethyste you both have beautiful musicality as well. Same with Thomas Grillo. I am lusting after the height and tone of the RCA. Even just as a rank beginner I got to play one in Tom O'Horgan's house and the tone was so beautiful. The overtones and height in the basic sound was like a really good singer or string instrumentalist.

Hearing all the examples you all so kindly offered me I think I am leaning toward the Italian model from Pegna Musical Instruments. They offer a tube theremin with solid state components for around $448 USD. I am not sure if that includes the shipping which would add another $88, but compared to the cost of the RCA or having a Keppinger built for me, the Pegna seems the best way to get close to that sound I am looking for at a price that I don't need to win the lottery to purchase someday. The linearity is supposed to be good.

Maybe if I get really good at the instrument I will someday have an RCA although I wonder how well they would travel, since I perform in other places than my living room!

By the saying high notes get pitchy to my ear, it sounds as though the note flattens out in quality, like a singer trying to hit a note badly. It makes my throat tight to hear it. The interesting thing in Peter's performance clip of Nessun Dorma, when it goes up higher it adds height to the overtones, like a human singer, which makes me relax. I guess because I come from a classical singing background, I am very sensitive to that! LOL!

You all are opening up such a wonderful world to me and I know there is much to learn. I am very excited! Thank you for your community and passion for this instrument.




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