Superior to the Ethervox !? ROFLMAO!!

Posted: 11/5/2010 4:31:05 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

Horst Gruhle has removed the unjust snipes at other Theremin manufacturers, which caused me to react vehemently, I have therefore edited this posting - we all deserve a 2nd chance, even if we have been really out-of-order!

The claim:

[i][The Horst wave-theremin is][/i] "a Midi Theremin alternative that is far superior to the Moog Ethervox Theremin "

is still there.. but, actually, I now view this claim as more laughable than offensive

The Ether-Vox is a superbly crafted musical instrument, with exceptional linearity (Horst states about his 'theremin': "The Theremin's pitch range is linearised and fully adjustable for each instrument setting" - Which might mean almost anything.. it does not state that the pitch field is linear - but it does imply this, however the fact that the demo's never show any tune or recognisable scales being played points to the likelyhood that linearity is not good).

The Ether-Vox is a great Theremin,and probably the best MIDI outputting gestural controller ever built.. And The Ether-Vox has both Pitch and Volume antennas (as ALL REAL THEREMINS MUST HAVE) and outputs Pitch and Volume data from its comprehensive MIDI control unit (which also features MIDI Input, an essential requirement if replaying of performances via the Theremin is required, and one of the many things lacking in the Horst box). I am no fan of MIDI Theremins generally - But there is NO comparison between the Horst box and the Ether-Vox.. It is like comparing a pedal trycycle to a Rolls Royce, and saying that the trycycle is "far superior".

Horst, in my opinion, by making this claim, is claiming way too much - to the point where he could be seen as delusional!

.. With inclusion of a volume antenna, The Horst box would be a Theremin.

Last time I commented on a Horst "theremin" I became involved in a "discussion" with an 'advocate' of this "theremin" who I believe was Horst or a representitive of Horst.. I will not engage in "debate" about this Theremin - There is no ambiguity this time..

< I have removed the old argument I repeated here>

This discussion degenerated to personal shit-hurling (from both sides) and I dont wish to go there again.. There is nothing more to discuss!

I do not dispute the fact that there may be a place in the market for the Horst box, it has some pleasant sounds and could suit some musical applications.. BUT as a Theremin, it cannot compete with, and is GREATLY INFERIOR to EVERY Theremin (Ether-Wave, Jaycar, Burns and obviously the Ether-Vox) which the Horst site his box to be superior to.

The new Horst "wave-theremin" can be seen at:

I feel there is a really sad side to all the above.. Horst is obviously an extremely skilled electronics engineer, and the sounds his instruments produce are good.. He has spent 2 years developing this instrument, but it seems that he has not consulted any person who really plays a Theremin or has any idea about what is really needed in this market.

Seeing what he has done in 2 years makes me believe that he could have developed a great Theremin - If only he had consulted Theremin players and learned what a Theremin is..[i] < And if he had refrained from making u
Posted: 11/6/2010 6:05:51 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

[i]The Ether-Vox is a great Theremin,and probably the best MIDI outputting gestural controller ever built[/i]

Time for a metaphor.

Dear Sir,

The pedigree of your racehorse is beyond question, and I do not doubt the skill, ingenuity and craftsmanship with which you attached wheels to it. However...


[i]How can one person get so many things wrong all at once![/i]

To reiterate what Fred said, as I agree with it - From my perspective as an experimentalist there are a lot of good ideas here but from what I have seen and heard on the website the implementation just keeps missing true north by quite a few degrees. I'm sorry, Mr Horst, props for taking advice from electro-acoustic composers, but your consultation process should have included a thereminist.

Thank you for removing the snarky burns reference from your home page by the way. It did not do you credit.

Posted: 11/6/2010 9:17:16 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

The Horst MIDI Wave Theremin is a pitch-only toy. There is a substantial market for these kinds of gestural gadgets - probably a greater market than there is for professional level concert theremins - but the Horst is much too expensive to exploit it. The group that will be attracted to the MIDI Wave Theremin consists of white males between 15 and 25 years of age and without a great deal of disposable income. For this particular bunch, $1500.00 represents a major purchase.

Horst Gruhle has been wise in that it seems he assembles his MIDI Waves to order and does not stockpile. According to the website, he has only ten units on hand. He will be lucky to sell that many, especially given the extremely bad publicity the company is getting within the international theremin community.

My copy of THE INTERNATIONAL CYCLOPEDIA OF MUSIC AND MUSICIANS, published in 1939 and edited by Nicolas Slonimsky (whom you may recall from ELECTRONIC ODYSSEY), defines a theremin as "a space-controlled electronic musical instrument provided with two antennas: one controlling pitch and the other volume...."

By this definition, the Horst MIDI Wave Theremin is not a theremin at all.

Posted: 11/6/2010 6:03:10 PM

Joined: 9/26/2009

I can't believe I'm here again. To resolve the question "is this a Theremin or not" let's ask the expert Fred Mundell, also known as FredM and (in his own words):

[i]" ….. not many people have seen Theremins I have built ….. I have only ever displayed one completely assembled and working [b]Theremin[/b] publicly - and this was basically a toy (a prototype pitch-only Theremin built into a pair of small PC speakers .…. "[/i]

And here it is (one antenna only):

Fred's pitch-only Thermin (

more on Fred's pitch-only Thermin (

Does he have a double standard ? I think yes.

Is Fred a [b]nice person[/b] for rubbishing someone else’s work the way he does ? Well, make up your own mind ...

See what else he has to say about himself:

[i]"... ..My problem is that I am a perfectionist .….

.…. (I start to wonder if I will ever be happy ? .…. "[/i]


Cheers !

Posted: 11/6/2010 7:50:32 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

As far as I'm concerned, the basic definition of a "theremin" is quite clear. You can build a go-cart out of a soap box and call it a Lamborghini and people who don't know any better will believe you.

A pitch only instrument is not a theremin. Any instrument that must be touched in order to control either volume or pitch is not a theremin.

Don't forget, there are all sorts of devices that are similar to the theremin but of a different class of instruments: the electronde, the tannerin, the etherphone, the ondes, etc.

Of course, exactly where we are going to draw the line in regard to what IS and what IS NOT a theremin may be a little murky. Strictly speaking, the Moog SERIES 91 theremins are not theremins at all because they do not operate on the heterodyne principle. Personally, I cling to the concept of gestural control of pitch and volume within an electromagnetic field as the defining characteristic of a THEREMIN. Beyond that it's up for grabs.

As for cousin Freddy, you leave him alone! He is at his most brilliant and stimulating (not to mention FUN) when he is fulminating. Was his pitch-only instrument a theremin? No, it wasn't. But it may well turn out to have been an important step toward a new and exciting TRUE theremin.

Freddy never made any claims in regard to his instrument and never attempted to market the thing. And he certainly never put down anyone else's instruments - theremin or not - in order to build up his own!

Fred??.....Fred??....are you there Fred?.......oh, God!

Now see what you've gone and done?!

Freddy?? Freddy!!
Posted: 11/6/2010 8:22:24 PM

Joined: 9/26/2009

Ha ha coalport, such wonderful humour .....

What you guys are all missing is, that this is a [b]truly unique musical instrument[/b].

It is after all the only Midi Theremin currently available on the market (to my knowledge). The Ethervox has been discontinued (I wonder why). I am sure horst appreciates moog theremins as much as anyone else but, that does not help me, if I cant get a Midi Theremin (or have to pay $5000 US). Lets focus on the strong points:

- it is the most exiting theremin I have come across
- it surely sounds superb: check out the videos here (
- it has some astonishing midi features
- it tunes itself
- it is affordable (yes, I am thinking of getting one)
- it is well build (alu case with australian spotted gum sides - very classy)
- it looks awesome too

Posted: 11/6/2010 9:44:58 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

- this is a truly unique musical instrument

Limited edition of ten so yes, fairly unique.

- it is the most exiting theremin I have come across

I guess you meant exciting. Making a joke about exiting would be a cheap shot, so I won't.

- it surely sounds superb: check out the videos here

I did. Opinions vary.

- it has some astonishing midi features


- it tunes itself

You put your hand where you want the field to extend to and press a button like the volume field on a tVox? Wouldn't that make tuning to an interval tricky?

- it is affordable (yes, I am thinking of getting one)

Not affordable for me. It's three times the price of an etherwave.

- it is well build (alu case with australian spotted gum sides - very classy)

Aluminium? Isn't that going to distort the playing field? (Not an expert - serious question, not rhetorical.)

- it looks awesome too

Again, opinions vary.

But... whatever floats your boat. I hope you enjoy it if you do take the plunge.
Posted: 11/6/2010 10:59:08 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

"What you guys are all missing is, that this is a truly unique musical instrument."

Not everyone is missing your point. It is an interesting device and it can do some interesting things. I don't think it's so unattractive and it *appears* to be a well made device.

However, some of the things it claims to be and do it doesn't do so well.

While in some ways it does extend the capabilities of a typical theremin, without the volume loop it can never really be played AS a theremin. That is just too much of a sacrifice in my book.

It can do a few interesting things in the MIDI realm, however, compared to a standard MIDI controller keyboard, it seems to be a bit handicapped. You would still need a volume pedal to have any control over volume and expression. The few things it can do well seem far outweighed by the things it can't do well.

So, considering the few things it can do and all of the things it can't do effectively, is it really worth $1500 as a fun noise-maker? Not to me.

Perhaps, if they were to present a series of video's that show its abilities by being competently played as a serious and useful *musical instrument*, then my conclusion could be modified.

As the saying goes, "The proof is in the pudding". It is up to the maker, not the customer, to validate their claims.
Posted: 11/7/2010 1:03:12 AM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

Well...from my point of view, you seem to be equally biased with your own agenda. Where's your objectivity?

Are you reading, and understanding, what people are actually saying, or are you simply reacting because they are not saying what you want to hear?

Everyone has the right to speak their mind around here as long as they remain civil. Mischaracterizations and name-calling will not earn you any credibility or respect.

BTW...the Moog Ethervox was probably quickly discontinued because it was very expensive, partly due to the added MIDI circuitry and software, and it was probably released a little ahead of its time. Not to mention the full size, furniture grade cabinet. Awareness of and interest in the theremin had not yet grown enough to support such a product. By the time I discovered just what a theremin was, the Ethervox had already been discontinued.
Posted: 11/7/2010 1:23:15 AM

Joined: 9/26/2009

Well Jeff,

“the proof is in the pudding” as you said. I agree. I think if we give horst a chance, he will succeed (I’m an optimist) but if we go after him with the [b]“assassination squad"[/b] ( aka Gorden, Fred and the rest of the team) the global community of musicians will miss out.

So far, the assassination squad seems to relish in talking down this theremin and I guess may even have an agenda other than sharing their so called truth with the theremin community. This is what it looks like to me anyway. I am all for fair play and I don’t see it happening here. I am even accused of foul play – who are those guys really working for ???

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