Need Help With Theremin-Based Project

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Need Help With Theremin-Based Project

Post by morgbert » Thu May 13, 2004 8:12 pm

I'm trying to bring a theremin out to the playa and would like it (and the amp) to run off a battery. I built the theremin from a kit but have a limited knowledge of electronics, so I'm not sure how to go about setting it up to run off a battery and would love to hear from somone who could help with this technical angle.

Also, once it's on battery I need to figure out how to encase it so it can resist heat, wind, and rain-- is there someone out there who has had experience with placing an audio or other electronic project on the playa who might have some advice?


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Post by diggum » Wed May 19, 2004 3:30 pm

i brought a theremin out a few years back and had it available to play with by anyone walking by.

my experience:
wind won't be a problem.

rain wasn't a problem since it was in a good plastic case, and sealed tight. i did put a little hotglue around the antennae bases just to make certain nothing got in there.

heat wasn't a problem, but mine is small and runs off a 9 volt battery.

DUST - that sucked. the thing still has dust caked in the seams. can't do anything about that but leave it in its case. it hasn't harmed it's playability at all, but it looks grimier.

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Theremin = Love

Post by XS » Thu May 20, 2004 11:49 am

I love the theremin and encourage you to follow through with your project. You might want to consider a rechargeable inverter-type power supply, performs even better with a solar panel. It may be a bit spendy but you'll have all the juice you'll need to run your system all week and recharge other batteries etc... Check out for solar panels and inverter power supplies, and you'll see what I mean. Also, plug your theremin through a delay pedal or other fx box. You can get all Jimi Hendrix on that bad boy and rock the playa, theremin style.

Good, good, good, good vibarations.

Much love,

Too much is never enough.

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Post by technopatra » Thu May 20, 2004 4:32 pm

Hey you might try asking the fine folks of Rosin Coven. They had a guest theremin player last year who was amazing, but I don't know her name, so you'll have to ask them

I know she performed at least one show at the Lounge in Trashistan. She was mesmerizing. They didn't even rehearse, she just set her stuff up and jammed. She can probably tell you all you need to know about theremins on the playa.

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Post by morgbert » Fri May 21, 2004 11:16 am

Thank you all for your rockin' advice!

Diggum, the only thing I worried about with a water-tight plastic case was that heat might somehow cause condensation to form inside. Did you not experience this problem?


tesla crushed my ass up in a hail of rocks

Post by Guest » Mon Jun 21, 2004 2:34 pm

i think just build some metal shit around the wires. and a box or something to cover the electronic part so just the theramin part is sticking out.. this would be cool out in the middle part .... a piece some people could wander out too... a generator and a long ass cord would work or just get a hit load of batteries.. i think a generator would kill the spirit of the instermunt though.. theramins are sweet... i would like to buil done myself someday.. he whgy not make a theramin camp with other thermain people so you could play in tandem and drinkee absintheee.. mmm wormwood

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Post by Chumpy Chump » Sun Aug 08, 2004 5:21 pm

You might not want to build any metal shit around the wires whatsoever. The theramin works (thank you Lewes) by producing frequencies in an oscillator and modulating them in accordance with the varying capacitance between the antenna and the charge in your hands at the given time. Creating any kind of metal structure anywear near or around this may compromise the flux of that area and your tone. If you post or email me the power input requirements of your model, or a model number, or whatever else you got Ill crunch your numbers and tell you exactly how long you can run it on what you have and what youll need to do whatever your looking for. yeah.

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Holy Crap

Post by jazzcakes » Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:52 am

Theremin is quite possibly the collest thing ever. I would *love* a theremin lesson. I would happily trade you for a trombone lesson.... seriously, I'll have a trombone.

Totally off topic, but have you ever heard an album by contemporary big band arranger Maria Schnieder? She's got a track that features theramin and big band -- very cool stuff. Be glad to turn you on to it, if you wanna email me directly.

This is my first year, and I'll be slogging 'cakes at Pancake Playhouse, and camping in the pancake annex. Come find me...

Sorry I can't help with the electronic advice...

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Post by Danger » Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:15 am

I built a Theremin this year to bring out but the darned thing doesn't work quite right. :-( I suspect some poor soldering in the volume control part of the board but I haven't been able to fix it. Looks like I won't be bringing her to the playa this year. I hope you get your power system worked out and get that sucker going on teh playa! Don't worry about dust or anything, just go for it and whatever happens, happens.

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Bringing a Theremnin

Post by gnrcman » Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:03 pm

I'll be bringing my Moog Etherwave theremin to the playa this year. I'm camping with Johnny and the Playa Cruizers at 9:00 and Esplanade and hope to set it up for people to play with. Come visit and play with it!

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Post by morgbert » Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:20 am

Heh-- first of all, after reading through these replies again I'm fairly certain that I sat behind Diggum at the burn one year... when he was dressed as Max.

So, I've got it all built, and the innards are in a relatively big box, so condensation won't be a problem. Wiring it for battery was much easier than I thought it would be-- it runs off 8 AAs, and they last a good day or so. The only problem now is that it seems to wander off tune a bit and give off a low-level moan if I'm not around to adjust... but what the heck. I guess it's just announcing its presence.

Danger, I couldn't get the volume control to work on mine either, but luckily it's not needed for the project. I just want it to make sound when people walk by.

So... if you're out on the playa and see a six-foot-tall fuzzy green thing with googly eyes, walk up and say hi.


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