Moog Theremini Demo With Lydia Kavina

In this video, thereminst Lydia Kavina demos the Moog Theremini and shares her tips and techniques for playing. 

Kavina learned to play the theremin from Léon Theremin, starting when she was 9 years old. She is an active performer, has released several CDs of music for the theremin and has performed on soundtracks to several films.

With the Theremini, Moog challenges many assumptions about the theremin – introducing synthesis capabilities, built-in effects, MIDI and – most controversially – pitch quantization. In the video, Kavina demonstrates using the Theremini in classic continuous pitch mode and also with quantization enabled.

The Moog Theremini has a list price of US $319, but we’ve seen it for around $300 at Amazon, zZounds, and other online retailers. Details on the Theremini are available at the Moog site.

If you’ve used the Theremini, let us know what you think of it!

via SourceDistributionTV

12 thoughts on “Moog Theremini Demo With Lydia Kavina

  1. Its a fantastic instrument for begginers and to do experimental stuff using its quantized CV out as well as the MIDI over USB. Audiotecna, the official dealer for Moog, has them available in Colombia right now!

  2. i can’t wait to get my hands on one of these, the possibilities for an experimental musician, or even an electronic musician just looking to create some source material are huge. the Cv/Gate capabilities mate it an absolute must for someone that uses a mostly modular set up like myself. I think I also read somewhere that you can import patches made on the animoog to it as well. Exciting stuff

    1. The manual (on Moog’s termini product page) indicates that there is only one CV output available – either pitch or volume, but not both. To get both pitch and volume CV you would require an envelope follower.

      Importing animoog patches is not an option, and unlikely to become an option. The theremini iOS app does give access to more settings than the onboard UI though.

    2. Thanks – one thing to clarify is it is just CV pitch out, it doesn’t sadly have a Gate/Volume out. But I do believe you can send MIDI CCs for both Pitch and Volume so you could use it to control software or convert and route CV out via computer?

      1. You can set the CV output for EITHER pitch OR the volume antenna, so if you are a mainly pitch-only player, you can control effects or dynamics with the left hand.

  3. 1. The calibration is not a problem if you take it steadily, read the instructions and don’t rush the process.
    2. Never found the latency to be a problem.
    3. I have had no serious problems matching the internal pitch to the pitch of my homebrew modular VCOs, even though their 1V / octave isn’t hugely accurate. I have built a CV scaling module to help with difficult or really critical situations.

    It’s a great gadget to use in conjunction with a synthesizer. Don’t knock the limitations, rejoice at the price!

  4. The antenna calibration covers two distinctly different parts, and this is the source of much confusion. Not only can you define the precise area around the antennas that your hands will affect, but you can also determine how few or how many notes are available in this “workspace”. This is a much finer degree of control than is available on a traditional Theremin, and is addressable via Midi, as are many, many other features on this instrument.

    The CV out on the current firmware is scaled and changed via the Low and High note selection in the menu, and can be externally scaled and fine tuned to track over 6+ octaves. I built an external range and scale box to accomplish this, but I’m happy to say that the new firmware (available soon) renders it completely unnecessary. A new menu has been added to allow you to very precisely range and scale the CV out to accomodate just about any external CV gear. The antenna CC outputs are now completely settable for CC number and Midi channel as well.

    Keep in mind that if you have the CV out controlling pitch, you can always use the volume antenna CC to control something else, like volume, filter sweep, pulse width, etc by using a Midi to CV converter (I use the MPU 101).
    I’ve never found latency to be a problem with the old firmware…there is some, but nowhere NEAR the whopping 100ms I’ve seen quoted as “fact” on some less reputable sites. At any rate, things are even faster with the new firmware, and response time is now user adjustable to suit an individual preference.

    Listening to Kavina perform (on the original firmware) should certainly dispel any notions of the unit being “unplayable”, “unable to make music of any sort”, “only a noise toy”, and other such misconceptions seen elsewhere .

    This is a serious instrument that doen’t cost an arm and a leg (it’s just a bit more than the cheapest Moogerfooger pedal!!!) and it just keeps on getting better and better.

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