Which theremin? Etherwave of B3 pro?

Posted: 9/22/2011 12:42:56 AM

From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joined: 1/1/2011

I love this forum and all the experience that is shared! Eventually I will no doubt get into synthesizers and the like for modifying the sound of my theremins. However being a beginner who has played less than a year, the B3 Pro, an amp and a laptop is enough to contend with for practicing and improving my technique and skill. Having said that, I did just install the ESP301 in my Etherwave standard and I must say that it really tamed the sound. Adjusting the waveform and brightness as Thomas Grillo suggests in his video can create a softer string-like tone similar to the B3 Pro. The lower bass end of the scale is smoooooooooth!
Posted: 9/29/2011 12:37:55 PM

From: A Coruña, Spain

Joined: 9/26/2010

[i]coalport said:

If you like the warmth of the tone produced by tubes rather than transistors, a unit like the TLAudio 5051 can radically improve the timbre of your theremin - even if the theremin you are playing is essentially a toy. You can pick a 5051 up on ebay for about $500.00.[/i]

From what I see in the TL Audio website, the 5051 is "preamp, compressor, equaliser and noise gate all in one easy-to-use package". Which of these components is the one that can improve the timbre of a theremin? Or is it a combination of them all? Or is it just the tubes and anything without tubes won't do much?

I ask because I have some software that can act (among other things) as a compressor and/or EQ, I have been fiddling with it but I haven't been able to get any improvements at all. Of course I wasn't expecting a $150 multipurpose software to work like a $500+ device, but it would be nice if I could get at least some improvement without spending that kind of money!
Posted: 9/30/2011 5:57:41 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

The function that alters the sound of your theremin is the EQ. Options like compressors, "de-essers", etc., are used mainly for voice.

No device is is going to make a theremin mini sound like an RCA. Timbre is a very personal thing, and the best approach to getting what you want from your theremin is to take your instrument to a friendly music store and try out different devices. High end devices are going to cost more but they will give you more options, more control, and they are quiet. Most thereminists end up with items made specifically for guitars because these are usually the cheapest and most widely available add-ons for your setup.

As for the big question of vacuum tube versus solid state, I have a Millennia STT-1 (http://www.mil-media.com/stt-1.html) that cost and arm & a leg, and it has both tube and SS circuitry in it. You can switch from one to the other at the touch of a button. Tubes are not superior to SS, and their sound is not always preferable. It depends on what you are going for and how the other elements of your theremin setup interact with each other (your speaker, your amp, microphone, recording device, etc. etc.....all variables). The more sophisticated your setup, the more control you will have.

If you are recording your theremin, you have control over the sound that goes onto the track, then you have further control during the post-production mixing phase. Many people use computers to record their playing, and there are software programs that can do all sorts of wonderful things with your sound.

$$$$$$$$$$$....Alas! IT ALL COSTS MONEY...$$$$$$$$
Posted: 10/2/2011 5:46:43 PM

From: A Coruña, Spain

Joined: 9/26/2010

Thanks for all the useful info!

The problem with trying before buying is that it's difficult in a relatively small city like mine. Even for something as simple as a small amp, shops here have a couple of models and they buy the rest by order. I think I'm going to take advantage of a trip to Madrid I'm making in November to spend an evening at a good music store trying EQ's. Let's see if I can find something I like for a cheap price or I'll need to save.

It's probably going to be the latter... one of the first things I noticed when I started playing is that music is expensive! But at least one feels better spending money into this than, say, into alcohol :)

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