Hi from the Netherlands, Theremin Newby

Posted: 11/28/2022 9:20:19 AM

Joined: 11/28/2022

Hi all, my name is Ed, on the forum (and some others) my name will be Grumble.
I live in the Netherlands in a small town called Eibergen (that's east, close to the German border).
I am a synthesizer enthousiast/designer/builder and am caught by the Theremin virus and decided to see what I can do designing/building a Theremin my way.
Being a more "digital inclined person" this will prove to be a big challenge, all that analog stuff...
So I have to catch up with antenna's, coils, oscillators and mixers to succeed and I hope to get some info and support here...
Maybe you can look at my Youtube channel to see what I'm up to so far (with synthesizers...)

Posted: 11/28/2022 9:45:02 AM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Welcome Ed!

I'm more digital too, so my Theremin is mostly digital-based.  Your digital synth DIY background is a good place to start as you can use filters and such to improve the noise rejection of the fields, and of course for voice creation.  The main issue with digital is getting enough useful resolution without trading too much bandwidth - a good bandwidth goal is 100Hz.  Resolution can be a problem though if you aren't using high speed hardware like an FPGA.

Posted: 11/28/2022 10:02:15 AM

Joined: 11/28/2022

Thank you!
Being a more digital enclined person does not mean the theremin i've envisioned will be (mostly) digital, though there will be some aspects where a microcontroller will step in to do its thing 

Posted: 11/28/2022 11:06:47 AM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Oops, read you wrong (not enough sleep)!

Not sure how much research you've done, but at the "real instrument" LC level there are two basic types of analog: those with series inductors between the oscillator and antenna, and those with a direct connection.  If properly tuned, the series inductor tends to linearize the near field somewhat, and the inductor boosts the antenna voltage, which helps reject environmental noise.  But "properly tuned" is doing a lot of work there, the process is rather vague and can be quite time consuming.  Directly connected Theremins are much simpler to tune.

You might want to start out with a simple Theremin circuit, like the Burns or the Harrison Minimum, just to get a feel for what RC oscillators can and can't do.

It's entirely possible to breadboard Theremin oscillators and such, but you have to take care to minimize stray C when doing so.

Posted: 11/28/2022 11:16:29 PM

From: 60 Miles North of San Diego, CA

Joined: 10/1/2014


I am hesitant to recommend my “analog” design as I will be unable to help you. For original Star Trek fans my life today is like Captain Christopher stuck in a chair.

Analog has a natural sound that can seem to channel the spirits. Touching this level does not come easy, only due to lack of knowledge. Any theremin can whistle but to reach a level higher takes determination and endless experimenting. My design is fully documented but after 20 years is a bit disorganized.  All the parts are 100% Mouser Electronics, one click ordering. Build each section modular so for improvements it is easy to do. Each LC oscillator on its own board. Some distance between them is important.


My Phoenix Theremin performed by Valery Shamarin St Petersburg Russia 2020

I use my programing skill today, from my chair, to beat the stock market, not coyote spam.  This PDF is updated weekly fully computer generated, my own version of AI.

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