"Theremin mini" in a japanese magazine

Posted: 10/3/2007 4:14:16 AM

From: paris, france

Joined: 1/16/2007

Don't know if you've seen it, but there's a new japanese toy, a mini theremin (2 and a half octaves), that is available in a Mook (magazine book) : "Otona no kagaku magazine (Science magazine for adults) Vol.17".

The price is 2,300JPY (about 20 dollars).

there's a promotional video of it with Masami Takeuchi playing : http://otonanokagaku.net/magazine/vol17/movie.html?file=flv/cm_telmin.flv

Posted: 10/3/2007 3:07:30 PM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

Great post virani:

It is when the “theremin effect” is fabricated into toys, games and books for children that a new creative musical awakening will arise in the next generation of young Thereminist.

My mentor’s final words:

"Mounds of human heads are wandering into
the distance. I dwindle among them. Nobody
sees me. But in books much loved and in
children's games I shall rise from the dead
to say the sun is shining."

The theremin market is still very small and needs bands as popular as the Beach Boys to promote this misunderstood instrument that Lev never intended to be digital.

Posted: 10/3/2007 10:32:17 PM

From: Fresno, California USA

Joined: 3/26/2006

That promo really is worth watching!
Posted: 11/6/2007 12:30:18 PM

Joined: 11/17/2006

I just received the book/kit and built it last night. A nice surprise was that the circuit was already built so the only building was simply screwing the parts together. The book itself is very interesting and looks to have a lot of great information. It's just a shame that it comes only in Japanese.

I am impressed with the supplier HobbyLink as the product was out of stock, but they sent it to me as soon as more came in, and I received it in two weeks.

I started to tune the theremin with the left pot, to set either with a saw or sine wave. I wasn't able to get much further because it appeared my wife didn't like all the noise coming from my office ;>) Is the right pot used for the actual distance tuning? It doesn't seem to explain it in the book. Also, it looks like there is a kit available for a small amp to attach to the theremin.
Posted: 11/6/2007 2:06:57 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

I purchased one of the little theremins. I added a 1/4" jack to mine. To add a ground connection greatly increases the range. Note that in the videos, the perfomers are all playing while plugged in to an amp -- thus creating a ground for the theremin.

Here are some pics of my modded mini-theremin (you have to scroll down past my Tmax pics):

Posted: 11/6/2007 2:50:24 PM

From: Undisclosed location without Dick Cheney

Joined: 2/21/2005

I believe one pot adjusts the size of the field and the other adjusts where in the spectrum the center of the field is tuned to.

Personally, I found that as-is, I couldn't get it adjusted to have any reasonable spacing or linearity at all... it is *highly* non-linear. One suggested mod is simply to attach a strip of tinfoil to one of the battery compartment contacts and run it outside, you touch the tinfoil and this grounds the instrument, improving it. I found that this dramatically improved linearity. However, I stil seem to only be able to tune it to give a range of less than an octave, over about 8 or 10 inches. In my opinion this makes it pretty useless.

I was expecting it to be a toy theremin: unfortunately, at least the one I got turns out not even to be a very good toy theremin.

The amp stuff they show is not a kit. They're showing you how to modify the instrument to install a jack so you can run audio out, and then they use a small commercially made amp. This is a deceptive aspect of the advertising for the set on ebay, that the kit doesn't actually have an audio out jack, so you have to use the built in speaker which sounds much worse than the little amp they show in the videos.

Also the ones in the videos clearly have better range and linearity than mine. I'm wondering if mine is just bad or what. In the future perhaps I'll play with it, but I have more important things going on right now.
Posted: 11/6/2007 3:04:45 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

I believe one pot is to trim the fixed oscillator and the other for the variable oscillator. Didn't really seem to effect the range in any way.

I am able to "play" it over about a 1 1/2 octave range -- however, I had to use a Takeuchi style technique due to the narrow note spacing. Rockmore-style knuckle extensions just don't work out too well on this instrument.

I just view the thing as a novelty toy -- I wasn't expecting great playability so I wasn't really disappointed in it. And the accompanying magazine is great fun.
Posted: 11/6/2007 8:35:20 PM

Joined: 11/17/2006


Thanks for the feedback. I purchased mine as a cheap way to practice building one but was surprised that the circuit was already done. I'll definitely add the jack and try to ground it to get better linearity. As it is, it's a little tough to play, but this is my first time at both playing it and tuning it. I was able to get about 15 inches of distance but the linearity isn't good, and the volume gets very low at distance. Once I install the jack, I'll plug it into my Roland.

My next project is building the RS Optical Theremin. I've bought all the components from Radio Shack and just need the time to get it going. If it works out, I'll move on to the Ultimate Theremin. It has a nice sound and has recently been updated.
Posted: 11/8/2007 6:12:58 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

So who's the cover thereminist in the red shirt on the magazine attached to the back of the box and also featured in an article?
Posted: 11/9/2007 1:39:50 PM

From: Kansas City MO USA

Joined: 11/26/2006

oh, i have got to get me one of these.

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