B3 Deluxe through the computer

Posted: 12/26/2010 2:48:19 PM

From: Puerto Rico

Joined: 12/26/2010


I received a B3 Deluxe as a X-mas gift and I'm trying to use it on my laptop because I don't own an amplifier. I also got the lightsnake usb cable. I have tried everything I could think of, to get a sound out of it, but nothing seems to work. I have no idea of what I have to do. Can anyone give me so pointers??

Thanks beforehand..
Posted: 12/26/2010 4:57:10 PM

From: A Coruña, Spain

Joined: 9/26/2010


I don't have the lightsnake cable so I can't help you in that respect, but I do have a B3 that works through my laptop (with crappy sound, but it works). Here is what I did (note that these steps worked for me but I didn't really know what I was doing most of the time, so I can't guarantee that they won't fry your laptop soundcard... maybe you'll want to wait for someone more knowledgeable to come by):

- Install Asio4All http://www.asio4all.com/
- Install the free version of Guitar Rig 4, launch it ensuring that no other applications with sound are open so that Asio can use the audio ports.
- Turn off microphone amplification if you have it on the Windows standard sound panel, set the input volume very low (but not zero).
- Connect the B3 to the laptop's microphone jack through an adapter (I use a jack to RCA and RCA to minijack adapters). If your laptop has a line-in jack I guess it would be better to use it, but mine, like most, only has a microphone jack.
- Turn the B3 on with low volume, because if your laptop is like mine, the B3's output will easily saturate the laptop's input and create distortion, so you won't be able to play at high volume.
- With this I'm able to play, I hope it works for you.

Why Asio4all and Guitar Rig? To tell the truth, I have no idea. I had installed them in my desktop computer to be able to add reverb to the theremin sound, but in that computer the theremin perfectly works without them (hooking it to the line-in instead of the mic-in). When I then tried the theremin with the laptop, though, it didn't work (due to the lack of line-in?). And then I installed that software and it magically worked. Perhaps Asio4all is able to use the mic-in as a line-in and the default Windows software doesn't do that... I don't know.
Posted: 12/29/2010 5:08:18 PM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

I think you should start by determining that there is audio coming out of the B3.. Plug it into an amplifier of some sort - or worst case, connect a piezo 'speaker' (the kind found in those annoying musical cards) to a jack plug just to verify that the Theremin is correctly tuned and giving an output..

Alternatively, verify that amplification is actually occurring via your PC.. simplest way is to touch the tip of the jack plug - if you dont hear a hum, you know the PC side is the problem.. get this to work, and you then have a chance of getting the theremin to work.

You have two unknowns - start by eliminating one of these!

Posted: 12/29/2010 9:01:46 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

The Lightsnake cable is OK if you want to record yourself playing the theremin, but I'm not sure I see the benefit of using a laptop as an instrument amp. There are other alternatives that would produce generally better results.

You can use a home stereo or a standard set of powered computer speakers. You can often get an old set of computer speakers for free if you ask around. Of course, you'd need an adapter to go from the mono output on the theremin to a stereo input.

There are also inexpensive mini guitar amps available for as little as $25.00
Posted: 12/30/2010 3:31:50 PM

From: Puerto Rico

Joined: 12/26/2010


Thank you very much! All your advices were very useful.
It never occurred to me that I could plug the B3 to my sound system. I hooked it up to a mixer to bring up the sound, but I really need to buy an amplifier. At least I know it works. =] I tried the ASIO4ALL, but it seems it only works on PC and I owned a Mac. Haven't be able to use it through my laptop, but thanks to you I kind of an idea of what I must do.

Thanks again!

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