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Happy New Year! (again)

I wasn't quite as productive as Mike over the holiday period. I had great plans for all that spare time, but I don't seem to have done anything with it. My Monome step-sequencer project is still on hold, and I barely touched a computer. However, I did build a theremin! Quite by surprise, and perhaps heading off my hints for a new synthesizer, I was bought a DIY theremin kit for Christmas. The theremin is a device used for creating ethereal electronic music, and the basic design was patented in 1928. Modern units are still built, but they're a little on the expensive side. It's played by waving your hands over two antennas - one for volume and one for pitch, and the result is that 1950s sci-fi sound that's become a cliché. Imagine the sound of a female alien singing in the cellar, heard through a ventilation shaft.

Step 1: Stick everything onto the green thing

My kit came from Australia, and had around 60 components that needed to be soldered onto a small printed circuit board. You then had to squeeze the whole bundle into a plastic box, and attach an aluminium antenna for the volume control and a normal radio aerial for the pitch. It took me a few days to find the time, and several hours of pain when I soldered one component the wrong way around. But I was able to get it up and running without too many problems.

Step 2: Force the badly fitting PCB into the box

After twenty minutes tuning the various coils on the board, I had a working theremin. While it lacks the finesse and refinement of a Moog, and sounds a little harsh, I love it. I've become slightly addicted to banging out popular 1980s hits with my right hand while I sit at my desk. Highly recommended if you're stuck for a birthday present!

Step 3: Deafen family and friends with your skill


theremin kit plays monty mole from Graham Morrison on Vimeo.


Your comments

"I was bought a DIY theremin

"I was bought a DIY theremin kit for Christmas"

You jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy, jammy git!

It seems you actually had a

It seems you actually had a very productive Christmas. I also love the idea that someone decided they couldn't really stretch to a 2 grand Moog Modular, so they bought a DIY theremin instead :D . The synth for the credit crunch!



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