Recording Tips for The Theremin

Posted: 10/16/2014 2:56:03 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Whether I am recording direct to the console or going acoustic with an amp & mike, I set the recording input level on my Roland VS-2400 just at the point where the little red light begins to glow faintly when the theremin is at its loudest. 


The headphone or monitor mix that I use to make the actual recording is a separate operation, and does not interfere with input levels. This is very important. With the theremin, we are entirely dependent on what we hear, and if your recording input levels are tied to your mix levels, then you don't have complete control over balance. 


A substantial percentage of the problems that thereminists have, either in the studio or in live performance, has to do with an inability to hear the instrument properly. 

Posted: 10/16/2014 4:53:38 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Thanks. I'm pretty sure I'm recording too low. I know exactly what you are saying about hearing properly! It's been an issue for me.


Posted: 10/29/2021 11:53:52 PM

From: Edinburgh, Scotland

Joined: 1/3/2021

(refreshing an old post rather than creating a new one)

Is there a way to record from the Claravox straight onto a PC using the USB port?

I've downloaded Audacity, and it's not recognising the Claravox as an audio input. It does however appear in the Device Manager under 'Sound, video and game controllers'. I realise this is probably due to my poor techie knowledge...

With thanks!

Posted: 10/30/2021 12:50:52 AM

From: Portland, Oregon

Joined: 2/22/2018

Buy an audio interface,  you can get a Cheap one for like $50 

Posted: 10/30/2021 3:03:00 AM

From: The East of the Netherlands

Joined: 6/18/2019

The USB connection on the Claravox is most likely not a USB audio interface, but handles MIDI over USB, so a computer should recognize it as a MIDI controller and make it available to software that can be controlled over MIDI. When the computer has a good soundcard with line in, that is one way to get the sound into Audacity from the audio output of the theremin or at the end of your effects chain or the line output of your amplifier, or into an audio interface c.q. an external soudcard if the built in soundcard is lacking quality or doesn't handle the input level and/or impedance well.

Posted: 10/30/2021 8:19:02 AM

From: Edinburgh, Scotland

Joined: 1/3/2021

You guys are ace, thanks. 

Bendra, I don’t think your link worked - be interested to hear your recommendation if you could copy again   

Posted: 10/30/2021 9:17:55 AM

From: Scotland

Joined: 9/27/2012

This is my interface of choice.

Beheringer Xenyx Q02USB

N.B.  Behringer do a less expensive version of this with one less input channel.

Audio Out from theremin ---> Mixer Unit (USB Out from mixer unit) ---> PC and record with your favourite recording software (Audacity for me)

As DreadVox notes, the USB from the Claravox is a MIDI interface, not an audio interface.

Bonne chance!

Posted: 10/30/2021 11:53:56 AM

From: Edinburgh, Scotland

Joined: 1/3/2021

Nice one Roy, many thanks!

Posted: 11/15/2021 5:34:17 AM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

I want to correct one thing that was said early in this thread about good microphones needing a power supply.

That is not actually the case. 

Certain types of mics need power while others don’t and that distinction has nothing to do with quality or cost. Some of the best and most expensive microphones out there are ribbon mics, which will be destroyed in a millisecond if they are connected to a power source. 

Dynamic and ribbon microphones don’t need power while condensers do and there are very expensive dynamics and ribbons out there as well as super cheap condensers.  

I also record theremin and other electronic instruments direct. I will occasionally mic them if I want the sound to be colored by the amp or the room. 

And it’s not cheating to re-amp them. Re-amping is when you record direct and then play it back through a speaker or amp and record that at output with a microphone. 

Guitarists do it all the time and it’s a great way to make the recording sound more real and alive.  

Anything that gets the sound you want is fair game and there’s no such thing as cheating. 

Finally, when choosing a microphone there is no substitute for hands-on experience. If you have access to multiple microphones I would say to try them all out and see what you like. 

A good inexpensive dynamic mic is the Shure SM-57 or SM-58. I’ve also used the Shure Beta-87 (for vocals) and it is a good piece of kit.

My current go-to microphones are the Electrovoice/Blue Cardinal and Raven (condenser and dynamic, respectively) as well as the CAD 77-A dynamic. 

There are some affordable ribbons being produced by Golden Age Project that I want to try and CAD makes a ribbon version of the 77 that is getting good marks. 

Blue also makes the Bluebird and the Spark - both are great affordable condensers. I actually like the Spark better for overall versatility. 

An even more affordable option are mics made by MXL.

But, as has been said before, you should get the best equipment you can afford and there is definitely a correlation between price and quality. 

I hope this info helps. 

Posted: 11/15/2021 9:19:13 PM

Joined: 10/24/2020

Audio direct into your computer is the goal, yes?

There are a lot of interfaces out there, and PreSonus recently discontinued the Audiobox USB it is available really cheap!

Many people dislike the preamps and Analog-to-Digital-Converters that Behringer use, but I've not heard anything negative regarding even the cheapycheap PreSonus products . The Audiobox will act as a MIDI interface *as well* as an audio interface...simply run the patch cord into the front socket for audio, or the rear sockets for MIDI. I have one that I use occasionally...I traded a broken skilsaw for it.  

If you want to use a microphone to record your amp, as per the last post, the Audiobox will supply 48V phantom power for mics that need it, or leave it off for those that don't.

I also like having the headphone line out...that way I can listen to myself play the theremin into the computer, but spare the ears of my kitties. There's an individual mix out control, so I can pipe in music that I am playing to (to the headphones) without recording it at the same time. 

Personally, I prefer to record without mousing, so I use a Tascam DR-40X to record it to SD...then I just whack the SD into my laptop...or even plug the recorder into it. And for super-duper ease of use, it has excellent stereo field mics built's I can just place it on a handy shelf while I play my regular setup, and go from there. 

Good Luck!

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.