Pitch Preview

Posted: 2/2/2006 5:01:44 PM

Joined: 1/31/2006

I play an un-modified etherwave and want to try pitch preview, but I dont fancy messing with the innards. Can I get pitch preview without hot rodding my machine (plug it into amp)? Can anybody suggest any makes or models for me to look for? I'm also after a tuner with visual note diplay.


Posted: 2/2/2006 9:16:42 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

You must mod the Etherwave to implement a pitch preview. You may want to contact Moog Music about this. If you are uncomfortable working on it yourself, you can send your Etherwave to Moog Music and have them do the mod.

I have a little Korg tuner with a pitch display that assists me when tuning instruments.

To be honest, I have found a visual pitch display useless for Theremin playing -- the response is too slow. Ultimately, one must tune each note by ear. The pitch preview is very helpful and will let you hear the pitch before you raise your volume hand and reveal the note to all.

Thus, you may want to save the $200 you would spend on a tuner/visual display and install the pitch preview.
Posted: 2/3/2006 7:27:14 PM

Joined: 1/31/2006

So is the mod a difficult one? I remember receiving a document with the theremin illustrating different hot-rod ideas - but I've lost it. Guess I should try contacting moog...hmm.

Thanks for the advice.
Posted: 2/3/2006 8:39:40 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

I have been told that the mod is not a difficult one.

Since I don't actually own an Etherwave standard perhaps someone who has installed the mod will be willing to fill you in on it.
Posted: 2/4/2006 12:57:43 PM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

spudzmonkey - I believe that the hotrodding manual can be found on the Moog website. . . . let me have a look. . . .

Yep. Here it is:


And the manual's here:

Posted: 2/6/2006 2:56:04 PM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

If you have any of the Zoom 500 series pedals (like the 508 delay or the 506 guitar processor) they will show you the note you are playing when they are in Bypass mode.

This is quite handy to me when I am playing something unfamiliar.

The 508 delay is still pretty pricey at about $120 on Ebay but I recently purchased a 507 (?) Bass processor for $12 on Ebay and the others are sometimes equally inexpensive.

In addition to the delay they made several models, one for guitar, another for bass and one that just does reverb.

Any of them should do the trick and all you have to do is plug your cable in one end and another out the other end to your amp.
Posted: 3/13/2006 9:06:56 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

I just got my EWPro back from Moog having had the volume and pitch preview modifications done.

It's great, EWPro feels absolutely perfect and the pitch preview works just as I'd hoped (you hear the exact same output but without volume control) and it can still work with a tuner if I want it.
Posted: 5/15/2006 10:53:40 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

I have a Pitch Preview-Mod'd EWPro with a Headroom headphone amp stuck on the side for the earphone and tuner.

I've found the ear *bud* type of monitor to be uncomfortable, it tended to slip out and also even the cheap ones block too much sound. The clip on the ear bandless head phones (with the right one cut off) have been working much better for me, they feel and sound better and stay on my ear.

They tend to be more fragile and when the last of the free airline phones broke I had to buy a real pair.
I ended up getting the JVC HA-E130VS - Bandless Ear-Clip Headphones with In-Line Volume Control. {c. 15 USD in NYC stores, c. 7-12 USD online}
It sounds great, *much* better low end response and the inline volume is really handy, I can set the gain structure at the little amp then easily adjust the headphone's volume as needed during playing.

So pros and cons of the clip on the ear style for me:
~ Much better frequency range
~ More comfortable
~ Stays on the ear better
~ Better "bleed through" so it blocks very little of the live sound

~ Now-a-days bandless headphones targeted for "portable audio" have no warning they may have lopsided chords (the R. one being longer) so when you snip off the un-needed phone you end up with a shorter than expected chord
~ More fragile some of them shatter when dropped and the stress on the single chord can make them wear out faster
Posted: 5/27/2008 8:01:15 PM

From: UK

Joined: 4/15/2008

I have a number of questions I'll be asking at some stage ... but, as far as possible, I'm searching through back-posts/topics to avoid annoying everyone with new posts that are a repetition. However ...

I'd really appreciate a little clarification about "pitch-preview" ...

Am I right in understanding that, via an earphone/earbud, the player can faintly hear notes played by the right hand while the left hand is silencing the volume loop?

Which theremins, if any, have this fitted as standard? How, with practically no mechanical aptitude and living outside the USA and therefore not able to easily return my E-standard to Moog, would I get it modified? Is there anyone in the UK who can be paid to do the adaption? Or would I be better off searching for a theremin with pp included? I'm also not clear whether the E-Pro (which I was too late for) had pp or not.

For general playing, I'd prefer to play without pitch-preview, and learn to rely on ear/fingering ... however, for recording of theremin playing, it's often awkward to "come in" on the exact note, especially when playing with accompaniment. Presently, I pitch-fish ... but no matter how quiet, this can be noticable on recordings.

If, in the distant future, I reach a stage when I feel able to play in public, I feel some form of pitch-preview would be vital. However ... I'm not convinced that having an earbud in one ear is the ideal answer. Surely it would block out a certain amount of external sound ... and just look, well ... odd.

I've wondered if a more useful kind of pitch-preview would not be audible but visual. I have an amplifyer that displays notes, (but this is useless as it only displays when the amp is in silent mode ... and once you've clicked the switch you've lost where the opening note is). I certainly think a visual display of pitch would be best avoided whilst playing ... but purely to find just an opening note only (in complete silence) it would be incredibly useful ... and would avoid the distraction of an earbud. It would also work well if there' a break in the piece while the accompaniment takes over and, after a while, you have to find a "new" starting note.

Alternatively ... I seem to remember reading somewhere that Clara Rockmore's custom-built theremin had a small bulb that would light up whenever she played an "A". This must have been just as useful (almost), as surely one could sort of "grope" around for the "A" in silence, then it would be possible, (with fingering-positions), to determine the place of your starting note so many tones/semitones up or down.

Any thoughts/advice appreciated.
Posted: 5/28/2008 3:00:32 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Hey Thereminstrel,

Yes the pitch preview (or tuner output) is a separate constant audio signal without the control of the volume antenna applied, it's always on.

I do not know of any theremins now that have it standard. the EWPro had a tuner out which was very high pitched and had to be modified to be a true pitch preview. I've heard the modification is not difficult to do on a EWStandard, I had Moog apply the mod to all of mine. You may also need a headphone amp for audio use.

You could use a tuner with, or instead of, the earphone. Your ear is still faster and more accurate, but the tuner would get you very close. A small one can easily be stuck to the top of your theremin.

I had not heard about an "A 440" indicator light on Clara Rockmore's theremin. If you find out more please let us know.

Good luck, keep playing!
hth - John

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