Zep Theramin Without Amplifier?

Posted: 10/31/2014 4:42:14 AM

Joined: 10/31/2014

Is it possible to play the Zep theramin without an amplifier? The reason I ask is because I cannot afford an amplifier at this time, and am trying to spend no more than $100 total. I have considered getting the Burns handheld theramin, but I don't particularly like how it sounds. So, is it possible to play the Zep theramin by itself, or should I just get the handheld theramin? Thank you.

Posted: 10/31/2014 4:54:24 AM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

Hello voice,

Of course you can play it without an amplifier and your performance won't sound bad either. Problem is there will not be any sound. My first concern is that a theremin is most happy with a good earth ground. I bet the Zep gets this through the ground side of 1/4" plug into an amplifier that has a three prong power plug.

If you have a set of computer amplified speakers try that for now but you still need to get a earth ground from somewhere to have a better sound and theremin response.

Not knowing what country you are in limits my suggestions. Judging by the hour of your post I place you in the western side of the USA.

Someone might chime in with a work around.

Good Luck


Posted: 10/31/2014 4:59:51 AM

Joined: 10/31/2014

Thank you for replying, RS Theremin.

I am in the U.S.

Would a mini guitar amp work? Like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-Guitar-Amplifier-AMP-MP3-Input-3-5mm-with-Earphone-By-JOYO-JA-01-Black-/141385929206?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20eb4211f6

Or would another model of mini amp work?

I wish my budget wasn't so limited, but...it is what it is, haha.

Posted: 10/31/2014 5:09:43 AM

Joined: 10/31/2014

Or this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/3W-Mini-Portable-Electric-Guitar-Amplifier-Amp-FREE-SHIPPING-WORLDWIDE-/320868545579?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ab541742b

Posted: 10/31/2014 5:34:44 AM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

I can't recommend either one. Old amplified computer speakers are probably better. Then there is that ground thing.

You need something powered from a three prong plug into the wall. I am off the I-15 frwy at Pechanga Reservation and could give you something. I like to encourage youthful enthusiasm.

Theremins are about learning what does not work, that is the fun that drives us mad.


Posted: 10/31/2014 1:45:13 PM

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

Joined: 12/17/2010

It is possible to play a therEmin... Possibly not a therAmin :)

Posted: 10/31/2014 6:58:08 PM
Chainsaw Willie!

From: Just a short walk away from Nike Missile Site S-13/14

Joined: 1/28/2011

"Or would another model of mini amp work?

I wish my budget wasn't so limited, but...it is what it is, haha."



Unfortunately a $16 mini amp "is what it is".  

You will really be sorry about the sound quality, and you will be -$16 with something you can't dump on craigslist.  Sorry to be a downer on your idea.  I know what it is to do things on-the-cheap.  You don't need to pay for "the best", but you really do need to stay out of the "not good enough" portion of the curve.  Buying an amp with a soup-can-telephone voice will make the whole Theremin experience a huge dissapointment and will suck a  $100 void in your pocket.

Either wait through a few more paychecks and skim a few bucks off your budget, or figure out something you can do to generate extra funds.  Somebody in your Craigslist zone will be selling a used Peavey Rage for $30 in the next two weeks.  A cheap guitar practice amp certainly is  not "the best" but the price/suck ratio is far better than the toy amps.  This is a "good enough for now" solution.  A year from now you will still be able to dump the Peavey on Craigslist for the same $30 you paid for it.  The $16 squak-box will be as valuable and attractive to a potential buyer as the stick of Wriggleys Doublemint that has been at the bottom of your mothers purse since 2006.

Posted: 11/1/2014 2:01:35 AM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

Hello Voice,

I understand having little money. On Christmas morning I use to purchase tamales from the local deli so my son had something to unwrap. Today I have extra and give most of that away.

Here are two items to get you started if you can figure out what I explain. One is a cool HoneyTone amp $16.61 and the other is a wrist strap  $4.49 which some have reported good results. Your cable between the theremin and amp you want to take a razor blade and trim off some of the rubber to expose the shielding mesh. To this spot you want to connect the alligator clip on the wrist strap. Wear the wrist strap on your extra hand while playing. Compare with it on then off to see if it adds to your experience.

Do you have a cable?

Not knowing your theremin output could overdrive the amp but that is another thread. Using an Attenuator

To have free shipping Amazon requires you to spend $25 on Prime products. You may want to add something onto your order. You would need to buy another item for $9. Maybe a 9v wall-wart  $9, this is designed for it.

The above is the barely get'en by approach. lol


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