B3 vs. Moog Etherwave

Posted: 2/17/2009 8:46:12 PM

From: MD

Joined: 2/17/2009

Is the difference between these two in quality equivalent to their difference in price? Any feedback would be appreciated.


Theremin n00b Jon
Posted: 2/17/2009 9:21:26 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

These are the differences between the B3s and the Moog Etherwave Standards.

B3 original (small one) B3 Deluxe, and B3 Pro all use the same non-removable thick wire type volume loop, and telescoping (multi-segment) antennas, as well as the same circuitry as each other. (all 3 sound alike).

B3 Original comes in short plastic cabinet with externally attached mic stand mount. (remove for table top playing. )

B3 Deluxe comes in 18 inch long wood cabinet painted black with textured paint. Recessed mic stand hole

B3 Pro comes in more fine detailed 18 inch wood grain / stained cabinet, available in wallnut, cherry, and sometimes tiger mapple, and features a touch plate mute switch with LED power / mute status indicator. Recessed mic stand hole.

All 3 models only have pitch and volume knobs. There are no controls for tonal charactor. However, the B3s sound like a soft cello in the low notes, and gradually change to a more gentle female vocal tone in the upper notes.

The B3s are excelent for classical works because of their soft, string / vocal charactor.

These are simple theremins, but I prefer them as student instruments as there's nothing to distract you from learning your techniques.

The B3s use 2 prong wall-warts.

The B3s just slip on to a mic stand. No spinning.

All B3s warm up in less than a couple of minutes.


The Moog Music Etherwave Standards come in a larger wood cabinet, are heavier, and use larger diameter (3/8 in) nickle plated brass tubes for the removable volume loop and pitch rod which thread on to the instrument.

The EW Std also features a built on threaded mic stand mount which requires that the instrument be spun on to a mic stand. They have feet which allow for table top use.

The EW Std has in addition to the pitch / vol sense knobs, two controls for tonal charactor. Namely, wave-form, and brightness.

The sound of the EW Std is more of a bright, and loud brass instrument. I use the EW STD for jazz, and blues.

The EW Stds also feature power cords which use 3 prong grounded wall-warts.

As of this past month, Etherwave Standards are now available with CV outputs, power LED, Pitch Preview, and more. Upgrade kits are now available for existing EW STDs.

Etherwaves take between 10 and 20 minutes to fully warm up depending on conditions.


These two makes of instruments are not about getting what you pay for, it's about which one is right for the kind of music you perform, and where you're at in your development with the theremin.

I hope this helps.
Posted: 2/17/2009 9:33:45 PM

From: MD

Joined: 2/17/2009

That helped immensely, Thank You! Also, I must say that I've been enjoying your web videos over the past week or so. I really liked the Vocalise and I see what you mean about the B3 being good for that genre. I see myself playing more contemporary styles, so I would imagine that perhaps the Moog might be better initially. Thanks again.

Posted: 2/17/2009 9:40:44 PM

From: MD

Joined: 2/17/2009

Oh, one more thing. I heard that telescoping antennas were not as good as non-segmented varieties. Maybe I'm again mistaking different for inferior?
Posted: 2/18/2009 3:18:08 AM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

There is not yet a scientific proof for this theory. Since telescopic antennae are mostly used in cheaper theremins there may be other factors with more impact on the quality.

Even the top-level theremins built by Tony Henk (Lydia played such one for her CD recordings) had a telescopic pitch rod which allowed to set up the pitch range by varying its length.
Posted: 2/18/2009 12:07:58 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

JJarzyna, Thanks for the kind words.

There is one advantage to multi segment antennas, and that is, if you find yourself getting interferance, you can actually lower the antenna a bit, and tune out the interferance. You will have to adjust the pitch knob to compensate. But, if the interferance goes away when adjusting the antenna hight, you'll know it's external interferance. Can't do this with fixed rods.

Fixed rods of 3/8 inch diameter have the advantage of slightly better linearity. However, I must point out that Burns has made serious improvements recently in the linearity of his instruments. Allthough still a non-linear theremin (like the Etherwaves), he has fixed a linearity issue where his older B3s just kept spreading out the notes as you went out from the antenna. Now, it does not do that. The notes are just closer togeter near the pitch rod.

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.