Moog Theremini – The Theremin For Mere Mortals?


2014 NAMM Show: The theremin has long had a reputation for being one of the most difficult instruments to play in tune. Moog Music today introduced a new theremin that attempts to address this issue, without sacrificing the theremin’s expressive power.

The Moog Theremini is a new theremin that offers traditional control, retro-futuristic design and improved playability.

A built in tuner supplies real-time visual feedback of each note as it is played, as well as its proximity to perfection. This is useful for correcting a user’s playing position, or to educate younger players about pitch and scales.

In addition, the Theremini lets you dial in assistive pitch correction. At the maximum position, the Theremini will play every note in a selected scale perfectly, making it impossible to play a wrong note. As this control is decreased, more expressive control of pitch becomes possible. When set to minimum, the Theremini will perform as a traditional theremin, with analog heterodyning oscillator and absolutely no pitch assistance.

The presets section allows you to select from 32 wave or wavetable-based patches, store a selected scale & root note, set and recall a specified playing range, and specify per-patch settings for the included stereo delay.

Recessed in the top of the Theremini is a compact speaker perfect for private rehearsal and quick setup anywhere. Silent rehearsal is also possible via front panel headphone jack. Simply plug in ear-buds or headphones and the built in speaker becomes silent.

For live performance and gestural control, the rear panel features two line level audio outputs, a pitch CV output with selectable range, and a mini USB jack for MIDI I/O and connectivity.



  • Pitch correction w/ selectable scales and root note
  • Built in tuner allows you to learn pitch and scales
  • 32 Wavetable based presets
  • Built in speaker
  • Headphone output
  • Two 1/4″ audio outputs
  • Single Pitch CV output w/ selectable range
  • User selectable scale and root note (stored per preset)
  • User selectable range: highest note and lowest note (stored per preset)
  • Adjustable Stereo Ping-Pong Delay
  • Removable pitch antenna – built in storage compartment on bottom-side
  • Built in 3/8″ Mic stand and Camera stand adaptor High quality rubberized feet

The Moog Theremini is priced at $319.

42 thoughts on “Moog Theremini – The Theremin For Mere Mortals?

  1. This looks fantastic! – The price is right, the design is lovely and it sure will convert a few people to this esoteric and mysterious instrument. a nice tribute to Léon.

  2. Wow – an affordable moog theremin!
    The latest monotribe update included cv – does that mean you could play your monotribe with this thing? That would be pretty cool.

  3. Must have. This is one of the most exciting new products to come out of NAMM 2014. The built-in speaker will be a handy feature for practicing. I predict we will be hearing theremins much more often as a result of this device.

    1. I like it – it reminds me of some of Moog’s 70’s futuristic designs that never made it to production.

      Also – it’s good to see Moog doing something a little risky or ” out there”.

      Lots of griping about the pitch correction – it’s just quantizing, which has been a since at least the 60’s and looks like a great feature to add. It’s something you can dual in, so it should open up new ways to play the theremin.

  4. Interesting… But would have to wait and see how much it’s going to cost here in the UK. Apart from the price, how does it compare to the Etherwave?

  5. It’s interesting that Moog mixed the traditional analog heterodyning oscillator with wavetables. I was curious when Moog would apply the ideas developed for Animoog to a dedicated instrument. I suspect there’s a low cost digital keyboard on the drawing board at Moog HQ – a prospect I suspect will fill some with horror.

  6. Bravo Moog. I love the retro futuristic design (naturally). I have an Etherwave and just cannot master the whole “playing in tune” thing. It is at least as difficult as a violin, possibly more so.

    It seems to me that this has lots of usable extra features, will integrate with other gear, and open up new performance possibilities.


  7. I think I read an interview with Charlie Clouser where he explained this is how he used the theremin on tour with NIN… ran it through an autotune on a very slow/soft correction setting. Result was great, and everyone thought he was the greatest theremin player ever.

  8. FYI, its digital. Its not an analog theremin – they are wavetables from Animoog. This was explained in detail to me by one of the reps. Not that thats a deal breaker, but i thought the article didn’t make that clear. You also can’t get into the guts of a sound and change it. It’s essentially a preset-machine version of the engine for Animoog, with a scale knob, a built-in digital delay, and a heterodynamic theremin-style controller attached.

      1. Amos from Moog explained to me that it uses a classic analog heterodyning circuit for the antenna array, but its output is digitized and used to control a digital synthesis engine. The notion of allowing user-defined wavetables in a future version was knocked around as well.

  9. I am a precision thereminist. I actually can play a theremin (this site even featured me playing the theremin using a Talking Machine) ~ I have put in a lot of hours and dedicated myself to the instrument. This pitch correction theremin will NEVER feel and be like a real person with talent/knack playing the instrument. I actually think this is not a tribute to Leon theremin: I bet that even Robert Moog is rolling in his grave. We live in an instant gratification world and this theremin is a great example of it.
    I know you all think I am retarded, which is fair I suppose, and that my ranting about this “new” toy is completely unjustified. I cannot wait to see all of these Newfound thereminists playing the Moog “Gakken” theremin look a like interpreting their very best version of the Swan with grace and beauty…

    1. I’ve never played a theremin, but I knew that the fact that it could do pitch correction (including snapping to a scale) would upset traditionalists. Never mind the rumored wavetables. This thing requires all the talent that a Kaossillator takes – none.

      Anyone who knows what the theremin is all about knows that a good player is on par with a master violinist. Half the amazement of seeing a great player is knowing they put time into a technique that is quite difficult to get good at. Any decent analog synth can produce similar gliding solo tones with vibrato, locked to pitch – but we don’t hold the average kid with a MicroKorg in high esteem, talent-wise.

      There’s going to be a lot of YouTube videos of newly minted thereminists, and then a lot of eBay used sales. Moog’s Sub 37 is great, this thing is going to be a controversial dud at best. Just release a small simple affordable entry-level theremin, or stop calling this thing a theremin.

    2. Why does the idea of a Theremin with scalable pitch-correction (scalable to 0%) and a built in tuner seem like a terrible idea to you? Wouldn’t this be a great way to educate people on the joy of playing the theremin as well as assist them in learning this very difficult instrument? The built in tuner would aid in correct hand positioning and aural location of pitch, while the pitch-correction could act as training wheels.

      If someone where to DEDICATE themselves to this new instrument (and learn to ride without the training wheels), does that make their ability to “actually play a theremin” somehow less significant than yours?

      1. If someone was to dedicate themselves to actually learn to play the theremin on pitch with musicality and music in their soul, I would consider their playing to be on the right path. You cannot really compare one player’s play technique with another. Some are more gifted than others when it comes to spacial control. As long as the result is pleasing to the ear, I am all for it! Most likely, if someone would dedicate themselves to the theremin, and REALLY loved the instrument, they would most likely have “other” theremins to play. I have 3, and they are all sounding different. They would probably fall in love with it’s history and previous built and would seek the “real deal”.

        1. Imagine if someone came out with a violin (very hard to master) that had digital guts. A kid picking it up for the first time would sound like a master with perfect tone, no wrong notes no matter what random positions they articulated. It would look exactly like a violin, and the manufacturer would market it as a violin with extra features.

          Would “real” violinists celebrate it as a glorious fix for that old problem of having to practice for hundreds of hours? The journey is the destination, to coin a cliche, and this new Moog is a shortcut through someone else’s backyard.

          1. Since pitch correction can be turned down to zero, I think a kid picking this up and learning to play could be likened to a kid learning to ride a bike with training wheels.

    3. Are you actually insulted by the creation of this product or is it a convenient opportunity to express just how “terrific” a thereminist you are. Personally, I own an Etherwave Plus which I have had some success with but consider it still a struggle. If you wanted to be a real purest, you wouldn’t play an
      electronic instrument at all. Just my point of view but then again, I am just a mortal. (Interesting
      expression you use “precision thereminist.” Isn’t a theremin an instrument that requires precision
      to successfully play it at all)?

  10. I think all the analog purists are missing the importance of CV/Midi control. Use it to control a small synth and you have any analog/digital/whatever sound source you like with complete Heterodyne control.

  11. I’m sold – but I’ve learned to be wary about Moog CV control. Which is ironic if you consider how 1v per octave was a Bob Moog innovation. I have a Voyager and a Little Phatty and I love ’em – but If you’re looking for precision CV, make sure you read the specs very, very carefully.

  12. Pitch correction, nice. Maybe it won’t sound like a dying cat so much.. And wavetables, so your not stuck with that 1 sine wave sound forever (a traditional theremin is as much a synth as a toy Casio IE the sound is synthesized but not editable). For what it’s worth I actually like the original theremin. Let the down votes commence!

  13. Auto tune, bpm sync, quantization, heck just push a button like Yanni and perform everything with ease and precision. Instant gratification is key here and a sad thing indeed. Plastic body, pitch correction, pathetic. Melt them all down and move on.

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