Midsummer Theremin Waves - Improvisation with Etherwave and Loop Station

Posted: 7/11/2019 1:28:55 AM
DreadVox

From: The Lower Lands (East)

Joined: 6/18/2019

Midsummer Theremin Waves - DreadVox-on-Etherwave 20190623 (mp3)

A 5 minutes excerpt from my show "Birds of a Feather" on DFM RTV INT webstation 
layering sounds from my Etherwave Plus (-> Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC-100 -> Vox Valvetronix ToneLab ST -> Vox Lil' Night Train into 10" Vox speaker cab + Fender Pawn Shop Greta into 40s/50s Vintage German "BTB" loudspeaker cabinet with a ~10" loudspeaker) -> Zoom H2n -> BOSS RC-202 Loop Station. Playing theremin for about a year now, starting with a Theremini and with a few months (with withdrawal effects) that it was out for repair (they couldn't locate the problem which turned out to be the power adapter injecting a warbly background noise into the Theremini) to the importer. In February I bought the Loop Station and about 2 months ago an Etherwave Plus. So this is a little 'audio snapshot' of just the Etherwave combined with itself and no other instruments or voice as a brief impression of where I am in my budding theremin journey after almost one year of practicing. Comments, critique and tips are welcome.

Posted: 7/11/2019 2:28:50 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Hi DreadVox,

Wow, that's quite an effects chain you've got going there!  Eddie Van Halen's setup has got nothing on yours!

I like your composition, which for some reason puts me in the mind of Radiohead's "Pyramid Song".  It would make a great soundtrack to "Carnival of Souls"!

Posted: 7/11/2019 3:52:30 PM
DreadVox

From: The Lower Lands (East)

Joined: 6/18/2019

Hi Dewster,

Thank you, the audio chain may seem more complicated than it is in practice. The MIC-100 is a clone/copy of the ART Tube PreAmp and is mainly to adjust the signal level. The Vox ToneLab models a bunch of well known guitar amplifiers and the amp modelling can also be bypassed, both for electric guitar as well as for theremin I mainly use 'clean' amp models, for theremin mainly the Vox AC15, AC15 vintage with EF86 pre-amp and AC30 models, with slightly lowered treble. And I use it to add a touch of delay and reverb. The Tonelab has stereo out that some of the effects use, and those usually go into the 2 low watt small tube amps, the Vox Lil' Night Train and the Fender Greta, both are around 1.5/2 Watt output, both are modified with just some tube swapping, out with the new Chinese tubes and replaced with old slightly used 50s/60s tubes, some 12AX7s replaced with ECC81 lower gain double-triodes to get more clean range on the gain/volume dials, because stock both amps are rather hot and going into grit/distortion quickly, some guitar players may like that, but already for guitar I wanted to have more 'clean headroom' on them, which also works out well in my theremin signal chain. The Lil' Night Train is connected to its matching loudspeaker cabinet, and the Greta, which also has a better built in loudspeaker (Visaton) than the factory one has this vintage open back loudspeaker cabinet (likely originally meant for radio/grammophone) connected to it.
Alternatively I plug the output from the ToneLab into a Torque T100K keyboard amp, into which I can also plug the Vox and the BTB vintage speaker as extention loudspeakers, and which has a nice built in spring reverb.

The Zoom H2n is a solid state recorder with a (5) microphone array and picks up the acoustical signal from the amp(s)/loudspeakers and I also have a small condenser mic close miking one of the loudspeakers, and those go into the loop station and via a mixer into a computer for live streaming and archive recording.

I had to look up and listen to that Radiohead song and I can hear what you mean and while searching for it I also happened upon a impressive piano and cello arrangement/performance of that song.



Thank you for taking the time to comment and for the compliment on my improvisation/composition.

Posted: 7/11/2019 7:56:26 PM
oldtemecula

From: 60 Miles North of San Diego, CA

Joined: 10/1/2014

DreadVox, it is good to share sound bytes. Ten years ago we had 10x as many people around here. My hearing is Fuc.. up as I cannot tell a C from a D, so can never play a tune. I always relied on the reaction of the musicians here to figure out what sounds good. I would record stuff that I thought was excellent one day only to hear it on another sound system the next week and it seemed like crap. But I was always learning.

I would stare at sound on an oscilloscope screen for hours wondering why I can I not see beautiful. I would ask the engineers do you see it in computer modeling and it was then I began to realize that the bullshit is everyone is an expert.

The sound of my theremin design today I had ten years ago but had trouble controlling it. I abandoned it because two digital engineers at TW convinced me it would be easier to replicate in digital. I waited as time passed and nothing came about except one of those engineers has since died. The other though he was smart I expected too much from him.

Last year I came out of theremin retirement as that voice in our head that drives us said “you are not done yet”. Somebody in St Petersburg Russia contacted me by way of back channel as he rarely shows up here. I have not heard from him again in a while so I hope he is OK. Until him I had never heard my stuff make music and music it is.

How it is done is now documented and out there, now I can retire. 

When Bendra said that is fantastic, all I could think is yes it is. Over the years I learned many of musicians are miserable people. 

By the way are you in the Netherlands?  (lowlands)

Christopher

This wave form  creates all the Classic Theremin Sounds, the bottom is the throaty part and the slope top is the even harmonic overtones. It is tweaking either side that gives violin or vocal. After I found it I noticed the RCA website also displayed but I did not recognize it at first.

Posted: 7/11/2019 9:20:59 PM
DreadVox

From: The Lower Lands (East)

Joined: 6/18/2019

Hi Christopher.

I'm indeed in the Netherlands. I've seen and heard the video on YouTube from the man in St Petersburg playing your theremin and it did sound pretty good, which is eventually one of the main criteria. As far as one can tell without actually doing some playing, your design can be a beautiful playable musical instrument. I'm thinking that maybe spectral plots may reveal more than looking at waveforms about what harmonics and maybe some formant effects are going on, but listening and experiencing is still the main touch stone I think.

I'm often making some adjustments to approach the sound/timbre I want to hear at the time, both on the waveform and brightness dials of the theremin as well as in the gain and tone settings on what's in the signal chain between theremin and loudspeaker(s), to suit my mood and what I feel will fit what I'm thinking of playing. Some timbres that are possible can remind me of brass, bowed strings, bamboo/shakuhachi flute or the human voice and at times I'm imagining playing such an instrument or singing, to bring some more of the character of it into play. How the waveform and the ratio of harmonics are in a steady pitch also is only part of the story, because while playing and moving the hands dynamically, applying amplitude and frequency modulation by their movements the sound gets 'sculpted' and even small nuances in (micro)motorics, the speed of movement, how it accelerates and slows down, how fast or slow and deep or shallow vibrato is applied, those are all aspects that influence and shape the final audible tones.

With the theremin player literally being part of the tone generating circuitry, how one moves, both consciously as well as subconsciously must be an important contributing part to the sound/voice that eventually emerges and the same theremin on the same settings can sound quite differently when being played played by different thereminists. When an instrument has an inspiring basic voice and range of timbres on its dials that also helps to make it a joy to play it.

Posted: 7/11/2019 11:49:20 PM
Yeapsystar

From: Weert, Limburg, the Netherlands

Joined: 4/10/2012

Midsummer Theremin Waves - DreadVox-on-Etherwave 20190623 (mp3)A 5 minutes excerpt from my show "Birds of a Feather" on DFM RTV INT webstation  layering sounds from my Etherwave Plus (-> Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC-100 -> Vox Valvetronix ToneLab ST -> Vox Lil' Night Train into 10" Vox speaker cab + Fender Pawn Shop Greta into 40s/50s Vintage German "BTB" loudspeaker cabinet with a ~10" loudspeaker) -> Zoom H2n -> BOSS RC-202 Loop Station. Playing theremin for about a year now, starting with a Theremini and with a few months (with withdrawal effects) that it was out for repair (they couldn't locate the problem which turned out to be the power adapter injecting a warbly background noise into the Theremini) to the importer. In February I bought the Loop Station and about 2 months ago an Etherwave Plus. So this is a little 'audio snapshot' of just the Etherwave combined with itself and no other instruments or voice as a brief impression of where I am in my budding theremin journey after almost one year of practicing. Comments, critique and tips are welcome.

Hi Dreadman! Nice to see you here too!

Wow cool! It sounds quite spooky as usually, but really nice too! ;-) You have been improving quite well those last 3, 4 months! Keep going on like this!

Warm hugs!

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