Eventide Synthonizer Pedal and the Theremin

Posted: 3/13/2015 3:18:41 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

The Eventide Synthonizer is a guitar pedal that takes an input and basically lets you mix a configurable proportion of an additive and subtractive synthezier to it. Interesting that the additive component is referred to as adding an organ or theremin like sound in the manual. 

Well I actually got the new Eventide H9 Max pedal, which basically has all the Evenide pedals incorporated into the box with a bluetooth interface that lets you edit on you ipad. Wow. This is a killer pedal that also has a looper function (only 20 seconds though) and zillion effects (some of which are not all that great for theremin but some are wonderful). I might talk about some of the other pedal functions in other effect threads, but it was this Synthonizer function that called me like a lemming to a cliff.

I just got a Burns B3 Pro, which looks really nice, but puts out a very low signal to my ears as compared to my Etherwave (which is still in the shop). It has a nice tone (but also seems very susceptible to AC noise compared to the Etherwave). Anyway, nice tone, but it's just got no bite to it like those beasts of old. So I wondered if I could simulate adding that grittiness I'm after through this Synthonizer function. Brought up the iPad interface and played around with mixing the synths and delay function until I had a setting that I liked. 

Played in a little old style accompaniment in my DAW and then improvized a tune on the Burns. Redid it through the Synthonizer with my setting. I was surprised that I got a sound that was close to what I was looking for. However you can only play so high before some strange aliasing effects come in and there is a bit of delay going through the algorithm which makes it a lot harder to keep in tune.

Eventide Synthonizer with Theremin

 

 

 

Posted: 3/13/2015 11:46:07 AM
Amethyste

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

Joined: 12/17/2010

I have an Eventide Space and a Strymon Big Sky pedals and I love them... But I don't have a burns so I am not aware of any problems with the theremin when I use them...

Posted: 3/13/2015 2:53:42 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"However you can only play so high before some strange aliasing effects come in..."  - rkram53

Poor output filtering is another dirty little secret of many Theremins.

 

Posted: 3/14/2015 11:25:00 AM
elmo7sharp9

Joined: 10/11/2012

 

"Poor output filtering is another dirty little secret of many Theremins."

Aha! A lightbulb appears above my head !

 I've had varying results, using different Multi-FX units.

I always thought that the aliasing was due to cheapskate processors - sampling at a Nyquist rate that is unlikely to trouble guitar and bass players - that was being "exposed" by the theremin's top octave.

I hadn't considered that ultrasonic harmonics were getting into the ADC and that the absence of this effect is more likely due to anti-aliasing filters in the Multi-FX input stage than the sampling rate.

It's not necessarily "bad"... it can be useful to have a "freaky ring modulator" effect on tap, in a physical range that you don't use for melody.

 

Posted: 3/14/2015 3:25:12 PM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Elmo7#9: I also thought it was because the pedal was not designed to handle tones in the top theremin range. As to it being created by very high partials in the waveform spectrum, that's very possible as these pitch-changing pedals are not only sampling but envelope following and also trying to create a secondary harmonic output doubling at octaves, adding other tones, etc. I can see if that's the real story by feeding the pedal a pure sine tone and then find the breaking point (though the theremin waveform I started with is very sine like - that's the whole point of my exercise - to create a much more complex harmonic waveform).

But when I heard it, I thought the same thing you noted. It was actually a very interesting sound (one that "Beat Frequency" would love) that could be quite useful in some kinds of works. I'll experiment with that a bit.

Posted: 3/15/2015 4:32:38 PM
bisem

From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joined: 1/1/2011

RK thanks for the post.  I have a B3 Pro and I love what the eventide does for the sound on yours!

Posted: 10/13/2015 12:51:48 AM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

Wow... That's not a cheap pedal.  Have you kept up using the H9 Max?

Posted: 10/13/2015 1:47:20 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

No it's not a cheap pedal in one sense, but an extremely cheap pedal in another and you can buy in at a very affordable price and add on functions as you go if you don't want to buy the H9 Max. You can start with the H9 Core and add on. Still use it (my guitarist son has appropriated it for a bit), but my goto pedal for simple reverb is the TC electronic Hall of Fame (everyone will have their favorite). I use that in conjunction with the H9 too. Lately I haven't been doing too much effects stuff though. Need to get back to that. Maybe I'll put up a demonstration of the H9 arpeggiator and some other functions. But arpeggiation gets old, really fast.

Look at that video Carolina just put out. One argpeggiator pedal at $225. You add up all the other Earthquaker pedals that do all the H9 does and you'll be paying thousands of dollars and have a real pedal board nightmare - and I'm not convinced for better sound and function. The only issue with the H9 is that you can't chain sounds, so what you can do is get an H9 Max and then an H9 core as you can transfer sounds from the max to the core. Or use it in combination with pedals most will already have. And it's all controllable over bluetooth on your iPad or computer. So you can easily edit all those thousands of parameters without tweaking dials and then download to the box.

This is why people that quibble over the price of any of the standard theremins you buy are loosing track of the fact that you'll pay a lot more for all the accessories in playing a theremin than for the theremin itself. The theremin is a very cheap instrument. Just look at the price of decent flutes or trumpets or oboes, clairnets... forget pianos. Of course if you don't have the money that's another story. Yes, your pedals are going to cost more than your theremin in most cases - unless you buy a custom boutique theremin.

Posted: 10/13/2015 5:05:21 AM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

Very good points. I like the idea of controlling it from an iPad. I can imagine having that on a music stand next to the theremin so I don't have to bend down to change settings or mess with foot switches. 

Carolina's latest video was quite inspiring, to say the least. I've also been using TableTop on the iPad lately, and the idea of having a completely virtual pedalboard that I can easily reconfigure and call up easily is pretty compelling.

Just 23 more years to retirement, and I can finally get to all this musical exploration I've been craving!

Posted: 10/14/2015 4:06:55 AM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"I can imagine having that on a music stand next to the theremin so I don't have to bend down to change settings or mess with foot switches."  - Jason

There's very little middle ground between rack-mount effects and floor effects, when ironically most of us probably want something in the middle.

"Just 23 more years to retirement, and I can finally get to all this musical exploration I've been craving!" 

Dude, quit as soon as you can barely afford to.  Life's too short to make someone else who is already rich even richer with your precious time.  Quit while your brain and body are still functional.  I'm serious.

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