Shopping Suggestions Wanted

Posted: 7/31/2009 10:39:43 PM

From: Asheville, NC

Joined: 1/25/2008

I've heard the B3 ( Deluxe and Pro theremins have a more mellow, string like sound, less buzzy than the Etherwave, and the price is right. I haven't played one myself, though.

Also, there isn't anything at all digital about the Etherwaves. Analog through and through, just with a buzzier sound.
Posted: 7/31/2009 10:55:19 PM

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 . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

[i]"Also, there isn't anything at all digital about the Etherwaves. Analog through and through just with a buzzier sound."[/i]

This is true for the "standard".. not, I believe, so true for the most sought after EW's on this planet... but I have not confirmed this - and cannot say any more until I find the truth for myself (much as I would love to, I am bound by the fact that the person who gave me the information asked that I did not disclose it.. I had already scheduled an inspection of the E-Pro, and will determine how it 'ticks' and then disclose what I find - not what I have been told).
Posted: 7/31/2009 11:35:06 PM

Joined: 7/30/2009

Great! I'll certainly look into the B3, I didn't know those existed.

Thanks for the suggestions Fred M! It went completely over my head, but will luck my more knowledgeable electrician friend can translate it to english for me. :D
Posted: 8/1/2009 1:22:34 AM

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 . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

You will need to download the EW Technical reference ( for what I said to make any sense..

The capacitor I am talking about is in the DETECTOR section of the schematic (just before the VOLTAGE CONTROLLED AMPLIFIER)

If you do try this, I would be interested to get feedback here (or email me if thread has closed.. email in in picture <---) .. it is about as simple a mod as is possible, and if it results in a sound you like, others may like to try it.

[b] ** EDIT ** [/b]
It may actually be wiser to leave the original capacitor on the board, and tack the larger capacitor in parrallel under the board - this way you wont need to worry about matching the capacitor type, and can use any cheap ceramic capacitor - Bigger capacitors tend to have higher resistance (ESR) and replacing the original capacitor could (although its unlikely) allow some high frequency "Sum" signal to be inadequately filtered.

Posted: 8/1/2009 9:48:55 PM

Joined: 7/30/2009

Ok, some updates.

I've had no response either via email or phone from Mark Keppinger. So it seem that if he is still building as his website indicates that perhaps he is too busy for new orders. I also spoke with the folks from regarding the B3 theremins, and they seemed to think that the B3 would be a downgrade from the Etherwave for me. Oh well.

So, we decided to try Fred M's mod. Got the correct capacitor (47nF) and connected it to the bottom of the Etherwave's board to the ends of capacitor #23 with a pair of tiny clips. From the diagrams in the document Fred linked me to this seemed to be the one.

The effect was immediate. As in, my Etherwave immediately became completely non-functional. Removing the new capacitor did not restore function. Broken instrument.

Good thing I was already shopping for a new theremin I guess...

So, any other suggestions for a source of a new theremin that isn't a Moog or a Paia?
Posted: 8/1/2009 10:30:18 PM

From: Toledo, Ohio United States of America

Joined: 2/22/2006

Are you absolutely sure that you clipped the the paralleled capacitor onto the correct position on the underside of the circuit board?
Fred, is almost never wrong, when it comes to things electronic.

Posted: 8/1/2009 10:57:01 PM

Joined: 7/30/2009

Ok, the initial update was slightly premature. Seems that the capacitor had nothing to do with it. My diligent electronic savvy friend discovered that moving the board around had loosened a few of the solder points on the power connector. He thinks after the five years I've owned it this may be normal wear. So! he's re-soldering it and he said he'd go ahead and solder the capacitor to the bottom of the board so that it gets a good connection too. With luck he'll bring it by tonight and I can post the results.
Posted: 8/1/2009 11:02:16 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

Carricre - Since you already tried to contact Mark Keppinger I was going to let him tell you, but I guess I will.

Mark Keppinger stopped building and selling his tube theremins back in 2005. Other people have depleted his stockpile of components in the intervening years.

His website has been in the same state of "under construction" for at least the last seven years.

Mr. Keppinger is a very generous and accommodating gent, but he's also very busy, so I wouldn't get my hopes up if I were you.
Posted: 8/2/2009 12:16:41 AM

From: Asheville, NC

Joined: 1/25/2008

I've always been intrigued by the sound of the B3. My main issue is that I can't get past the small, weak antennae.

Can you expand on how the B3 would be a "step down" from the Etherwave after talking to the Burns folks?

Posted: 8/2/2009 12:30:19 AM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

The B3 can considered as "step down" because...

... it has one and only one sound which cannot be modified because of missing "waveform", "brightness" and "filter" knobs.

... it is not as linear as the Etherwave standard and has a smaller pitch range.

... it is more sensitive to external and unwanted electromagnetical fields. That's my own experience in a European Country where still lots of long wave radio stations exist.

The B3 has also a big advantage and that's why I recommend it to absolute beginners: It is much cheaper than the Etherwave and so better suited for people who want to find out if the theremin could become "their" instrument

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