Moog Theremini!

Posted: 1/24/2014 1:52:50 PM
FredM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

 

" And somehow Moog bringing this into an affordable instrument (where it can be bypassed) is a betrayal of their legacy?" - Justin

I think the main "betrayal" is that this instrument caters ONLY for "hobby"/ "toy" market, and has absolutely nothing for those who want a "real" theremin..

Its not (IMO) the sound production method, and its not the note quantization which "upset" me - I actually think that optional quantization is a good idea.. And there are other good ideas - seems that note span is adjustable..

And its "toaster" look wouldnt "bother" me either.. The thing which, to me, more than anything else confers "toy" status on this instrument is its "loop".. Also, I dont know its physical size - but it LOOKS like its way too small for anything other than a toy - with pitch and volume antenna displacement being hopelessly too narrow... But I cannot be sure of this without dimensions.

But the loop is the big glaring "toy" aspect IMO .. Not because I am a thereminist who loves the loop, but because I am a developer who has researched what thereminists want - and one thing they were all saying is that the loop - the real loop - was imperative.. And that even theremins supporting small loops (which were much larger than that on this theremini) were inadequate.. They want a loop they  can put their hand through comfortably! Finding ANYTHING that all thereminists agree on is a real challenge - but the loop was one thing where there was absolutely no question about what thereminists want!

I argued, as I feel that a straight horizontal volume antenna was simpler and as good.. But I never found a single theremin player who agreed with me! - they ALL, without any exception that I can remember, insisted that a full size loop was ESSENTIAL.

Moog Equipment have not bothered to ask - they have not consulted any competent thereminists - Or if they have, these thereminists have been ignored - Of this I am almost certain... They have not looked at postings here or elsewhere to see what thereminists want - Or if  they have, these postings / comments / opinions have been ignored.

And by the looks of it, they have produced a toy instrument which wont satisfy the basic requirements of perhaps 99% of thereminists here..

But we arent their main target - what we want has been utterly disregarded - we perhaps represent less than 5% of their target market.. It is our purchasing of their extortionately priced theremins (the EW, for what it is, is a Rip-Off) which has provided Moog with a small but steady revenue stream..

All it would have taken for Moog to have an enthusiastic welcome for their new theremin from everyone here would have been for them to listen to some of whats been said here, and to implement the core requirements - then add quantising etc for the other market.. Stuff that made the instrument appealing to learners and wanna-be's and expanded their sales potential, but not at the expense of essentials.

But they chose to write us off.

Having seen their appalling service and lack of interest in securing reliability on their recent products, I think past customers will probably write them off.

So Moog becomes a musical toy manufacturer, and targets new and less discerning customers. The hoards of screaming synthesis wanna-be's who dont know the difference between a VCO and a VCF but think that if they own a Moog they will sound like the Prodigy, and the theremin wanna-be's who are tone deaf.

As long as theyr happy, who cares! LOL ..

A few years from now, when the number of theremini type "theremins" in circulation exceeds the total quantity of all other theremins, and **Chinese manufacturers have jumped on the band-wagon and produced even worse theremini and the market is saturated with musical junk, we will look back on these days with some awe I think..

There are other serious theremin developers who do listen, and some day some / one of us will get a great theremin into production for our little geek club! ;-) Rather than expanding our "club" I think the theremini is likely to make our group even more isolated.

Fred.

>> ** To be honest, I have been expecting the "theremini" for a long time - I just didnt expect it from Moog... I expected it from some (probably small) Chinese or Japanese manufacrurer.

Posted: 1/24/2014 2:09:36 PM
kkissinger

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

Here are some random thoughts:

I would suspect that a suggestion that I need to play a pitch-corrected theremin would be an insult.  This is probably not a good gift idea for a thereminist, just sayin'.

I don't want to play an instrument that is encased in plastic.  I really don't.  It is just "a thing" with me.

The holy-grail of theremin-playing is to play on pitch.  Be careful what you wish for.

The rod appears to be too short.  I want a volume loop.  Again, just a kind of "thing" with me.

I have a Keppinger vacuum-tube theremin that I have not built (the project has languished for a few years).   I may build it.

The journey is more important than the destination.  A pitch-corrected theremin deprives one of the journey.

People keep forwarding me the video of the cat playing the Gakken (toy) theremin.  Please stop.  And please note that if the cat plays a pitch-corrected theremin, I'm not really interested in that either.  Cats are not good musicians.  I like cats a lot -- don't get me wrong -- but I really don't want to hear them on musical instruments.

And while I am on a rant, I have noticed that most grocery stores only carry ground coffee.  This is a complete outrage.  Can't even get expresso that isn't pre-ground.  Heck, they might as well pre-drink it for you -- no different than hay that has already been through the horse.  Expresso MUST be fresh ground or it just isn't right.  I almost had a melt-down at the grocery store over this.  I want to grind my own!

But I digress.  I want a theremin that has been pitch-corrected for me about as much as I want coffee that has already been ground for me.  Yes, I know either will work but the thrill isn't the same.

Posted: 1/24/2014 2:50:56 PM
FredM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

 

"If would suspect that a suggestion that I need to play a pitch-corrected theremin would be an insult. This is probably not a good gift idea for a thereminist, just sayin'." - kkissinger

LOL ;-)  Thanks for that warning Kevin! ;-) Nice to see you again..

Fred

<< ok - cats playing the theremin has been a bit over-done.. how about 3 guinnea pigs, two at the pitch antenna of the theremini, one at its volume thing.....? >>

Posted: 1/24/2014 3:05:06 PM
Amethyste

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

Joined: 12/17/2010

Kevin, finally someone who thinks in the same line as I did (I could kiss you). People thought I was a bit deranged when I said that I felt insulted that this theremin provides real time pitch correction, listen to me: I did feel insulted!. We all know to be on pitch and being musical are the hardest things to do on a theremin. I sort of felt betrayed by the same company that put out "real" theremins for several decades. I guess they must need money. Since most people abandon the theremin on a large % within the first year or months, why not make a theremin that will make you sound (almost) good right away? Such an instant gratification toy for an instant gratification world we live in. It is disgusting lol.

But I can see why this theremin would appeal to avant-guarde players... that will be interesting to hear and see what they will do with it :)

I have had at least 10 people posting the Cat-Theremin video on my timeline in the last 2 weeks. And let's not forget the Badger-min. Gross.

I cannot wait to see all of these Newfound thereminists playing the Moog Gakken theremin look a like interpreting their very best version of the Swan with grace and beauty...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here are some random thoughts:

If would suspect that a suggestion that I need to play a pitch-corrected theremin would be an insult.  This is probably not a good gift idea for a thereminist, just sayin'.

I don't want to play an instrument that is encased in plastic.  I really don't.  It is just "a thing" with me.

The holy-grail of theremin-playing is to play on pitch.  Be careful what you wish for.

The rod appears to be too short.  I want a volume loop.  Again, just a kind of "thing" with me.

I have a Keppinger vacuum-tube theremin that I have not built (the project has languished for a few years).   I may build it.

The journey is more important than the destination.  A pitch-corrected theremin deprives one of the journey.

People keep forwarding me the video of the cat playing the Gakken (toy) theremin.  Please stop.  And please note that if the cat plays a pitch-corrected theremin, I'm not really interested in that either.  Cats are not good musicians.  I like cats a lot -- don't get me wrong -- but I really don't want to hear them on musical instruments.

And while I am on a rant, I have noticed that most grocery stores only carry ground coffee.  This is a complete outrage.  Can't even get expresso that isn't pre-ground.  Heck, they might as well pre-drink it for you -- no different than hay that has already been through the horse.  Expresso MUST be fresh ground or it just isn't right.  I almost had a melt-down at the grocery store over this.  I want to grind my own!

But I digress.  I want a theremin that has been pitch-corrected for me about as much as I want coffee that has already been ground for me.  Yes, I know either will work but the thrill isn't the same.

Posted: 1/24/2014 3:23:15 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

No you're not a lone.  I cringed when I saw pitch correction on it.  Not so much insulted but disappointed that they would cave and build it in.  It may be a very cool controller, we'll have to see.

My deepest hope is that it will spur other builders, possibly in Europe, to release a new professional theremin that we've all been longing for.

Regarding cats, they have nothing on a tortoise playing the theremin.

 

Posted: 1/24/2014 3:34:29 PM
FredM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

 

" People thought I was a bit deranged when I said that I felt insulted that this theremin provides real time pitch correction" - Amey

Awwww - Cmon Amey! ;-)  .. I think I was the only person who responded to that post, and I dont think you are "deranged" (or at least, no more so than anyone who is involved in any way with theremins ;-) .. And I Do understand your frustration..

All I was trying to say was that, IMO, the theremini isnt going to make one iota of difference to you - Because YOU make Beautifull music with every theremin you stretch your hands over.. Something only a few people will ever manage to do - Something that no pitch correction or electronic trickery of any kind will enable others to do!

As you know, I hate the term "music in your soul" - but it fits you! Without "that" and without the effort and practice you put in, the music you create wouldnt be special.. And the only people who will EVER be have a chance of producing music of the quality that you do, are those who, like you, have "music in their soul" and the devotion required to refine their abilities.

Fred.

@ Ruslan:

Its a lot bigger than it looks! - I missed that information, thanks - Yeah, distance between pitch and "loop" might just be enough..

Adjustable linearity and span are big pro's..

"Disgusting sound" - Where did you hear it? .. If the sound is bad, then its all bad IMO.

 

Posted: 1/24/2014 3:43:07 PM
Amethyste

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

Joined: 12/17/2010

Ruslan wrote : Also, Moog is not positioning this instrument as the True Theremin. Why are you guys swearing?

They are sort of implying it is a theremin ~ it is called a "THEREMINi", right? If they didn't not intend it, then they are misleading people.

Ruslan wrote: Onсe one of my friends suggested me to play the Etherwave with tc-helicon pitch corrector turned on and tuned for less than a quarter of musical tone. I can state, that the expression is not lost, but the feelings are the same as if you changed Subscope B3 (nobody wants to buy mine?) with amazing sound but unstable slightly more than etherwave standard's grief to professional model like TVox Tour or Etherwave Pro.

you find your subscope unstable? I find this theremin to be extraordinary. I love it's playability.It is a beautiful theremin in my opinion. Much better than any Etherwave Standard out there. I still have mine and I play it quite often and I will never part with it!

Posted: 1/24/2014 4:02:25 PM
Amethyste

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

Joined: 12/17/2010

 

" People thought I was a bit deranged when I said that I felt insulted that this theremin provides real time pitch correction" - Amey

Awwww - Cmon Amey! ;-)  .. I think I was the only person who responded to that post, and I dont think you are "deranged" (or at least, no more so than anyone who is involved in any way with theremins ;-) .. And I Do understand your frustration..

Well Dear Fred ~ I should have said/pointed out, there are other people on other social media that thought I was flying off the handle (or should it say the loop) easily about the pitch correction on this theremin. Yep, I live my emotions fully and I don't really filter how I express them either. It is who I am and I am not about to change that for anyone :)

All I was trying to say was that, IMO, the theremini isnt going to make one iota of difference to you - Because YOU make Beautifull music with every theremin you stretch your hands over.. Something only a few people will ever manage to do - Something that no pitch correction or electronic trickery of any kind will enable others to do!

Again, thank you very much for the super nice words you just said. I do know I am on the right track, and I am doing it the right way. As Kevin said, part of the reward is the journey... I am surely enjoying mine. You are so kind to me... I appreciate your softness :)

As you know, I hate the term "music in your soul" - but it fits you! Without "that" and without the effort and practice you put in, the music you create wouldnt be special.. And the only people who will EVER be have a chance of producing music of the quality that you do, are those who, like you, have "music in their soul" and the devotion required to refine their abilities.

... I just wish I had more time to devote to my craft. But like many others, I have bills and financial responsabilities that I cannot ignore. I feel that life is somewhat unfair :( Oh well, life goes on and I'll do the best I can to live it fully!

Fred.

Posted: 1/24/2014 4:25:46 PM
FredM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

I am in the middle on this.. Particularly the pitch issue..

You see, I dont think there is anything wrong with giving people the option of pitch quantization - I think it could be helpful to learners, particularly if they can fade-away the correction as they become more profficient.. And even for those who never devote enough effort to become profficient, I see no reason to deprive anyone from whatever satisfaction they can get musically..

So , for me, I do not see this as Moog's greatest "crime" or that providing this is "caving in" - I see it as a legitimate addition, and I think they were wise to include it - It WILL increase the sales potential, and this increase in sales will allow larger production runs, which will lower the price (whether this benefit is passed to customers is a different matter ;-)

If the instrument sounds good, and is playable, then the other features (adjustable linearity* and span) are a bonus and of benefit to all players regardless of their skill level.

*Seems it doesnt have adjustable linearity.. TBC.

This leaves one glaring issue only - The loop... I have no particular affinity to the loop, so it wouldnt bother me (its orientation and flatness makes me think it will be functional).. But this is an issue I know thereminists feel strongly about.

To me, the  most important aspects of any electronic musical instrument are playability, sound and stability - Apart from the loop, I dont think we are yet in a position to judge these.

Other issues (reliability etc) will take even longer to judge.

My earlier comments were before I was aware of its size - where I saw it as about the size of a clock radio or toaster - turns out that its length is about double to what I had envisaged (~2')

ok - many of my prior comments may still be as valid, but also, I may have jumped the gun... So until more data is available I will probably back off now - and advise people to take everything I said before with a big pinch of salt...

;-)

 

 

Posted: 1/24/2014 4:31:41 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Hmm, talking about being insulted, I find myself squarely in the target market for this instrument. Have you read some of the words used to describe people for whom it would be suited?

If I didn't have such a peaceable, forgiving nature I would be compiling a lengthy list of people requiring a punch in the bracket!

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