Electro-Harmonix B9, C9 and Mel9 effects on theremin?

Posted: 5/21/2016 9:39:22 PM

From: Portland, OR

Joined: 5/16/2006

Has anyone tried any of EHX's 9-series keyboard-emulator effects with theremin?  I'm most interested in the Mel9, which sounds like a Mellotron.  I assume they act similarly to each other, just with different voices.


If anyone's played theremin through one of these boxes, how well does it track the note?  Does it get along well with the theremin's range?



Posted: 5/8/2017 8:03:24 PM

From: earth

Joined: 5/8/2017


Tracking is excellent but the bottom range is dicey and the top range just cuts off - but I play a plus 8 octave range so this shouldn't cause any problems for standard play. Some of the samples recycle merging down an octave as you go to the upper octaves so you have to pay attention to the range you are playing - high voice is better than the low voice in this respect.

I had to adjust the volume of the effect down (second knob from the left) to prevent clipping on my mixer - this was not a problem with any of the other EH pedals - about 10 o'clock works well. Before I "fixed" it I was ready to take the damn thing back it was so godawful.

The bottom below range has some interesting effects - especially with the voice selection. But that is a lower pitch than most theremins can reach or most players attempt to play.

This pedal is the holy grail for anyone who wants to do vocal or string sounds with the theremin. Adding it with the talking machine fills things out nicely.

The flute, sax and clarinet patches are not so useful since a guitar amp simulator seems to do the sax and clarinet just as well, albeit without the mellotron artifacts. 

The best "effect" is a slide from one note to another - preferable over an octave or two range - real ziper-like zip. No, it does not Pitch Correct. - you get every note you play, minus the time of the processor.

I bought it yesterday. I have the B9, C9 and talking machine - perfect for non traditionalists.

You probably will be delighted, after you turn the effect volume down.

Posted: 5/9/2017 3:04:59 PM

From: earth

Joined: 5/8/2017

On the second night I played the Mel9 it worked great for 20 minutes, then the effect volume level crashed. The unit is defective and I returned it for a new one. If your pedal clips or distorts, return it.

One problem with the unit is that to recreate the melotron sound, there is a substantial amount of noise in the signal. When you play above the pitch range of the pedal, you just get added noise to the signal. So you have to restrict your range of play.

The other issue with the noise and the samples are that this may interfere with your pitching, so I recommend adding some of the theremin to the mix to make your notes more precise.

Posted: 5/10/2017 4:27:54 PM

From: earth

Joined: 5/8/2017

I got a new one that works and spent more time with it last night. I do not think this is a very good effect for the theremin.

The Mellotron artifact of pulsing/looping gets tired after a while and the noise level rises as you get to the higher notes.

Every so often it glitches while tracking.

Staccato playing??? Forget about it. Legato only.

The worst downside is that when you change the timbre of the theremin the effect tends to change to the point of great disappointment. So, if you go from soft to bright, you need to readjust the effect controls.

This is all problematic for a solo performance.

This effects best used sparingly in a multitrack setting or you can hide the flaws with too much reverb.

The other pedals in this series do not have these problems so much.

This effect was designed for a guitar and that probably is its best use.

Too bad it doesn't have MIDI out.

I do not recommend this pedal. Unless you really need some "AAAAHHH" . . .


Posted: 5/17/2017 3:58:49 PM

From: earth

Joined: 5/8/2017

So I actually played it on Saturday and Sunday. Not as bad as I expected from just testing it, playing brings out its better qualities. This is just the output of the effect run through a DD-20 with some reverb added - three tracks.

Sunday "Mother's Day Suite"


Since the three tracks with echo pedal may be a tad too thick, there are the previous days trials with the Mel 9 located under "National Electrophonic - Decaphon" at youtube - the first one does high vocals.

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