Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

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Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:02 pm

Animoog engine, MIDI over USB, scale quantizing (isn't that cheating?), CV out, stereo delay

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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:32 pm

I was mixing a friend of mine's band tonight, he's one of the best theremin players out there and he was very unimpressed by the quantisation on this one.

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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by Cumulus » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:36 pm

What's his beef? I realize that may sound sarcastic but mean it in the nicest way possible.

I also play theremin and I haven't played this one but i understand that you can dial back the amount of quantizing all the way down to zero, so it behaves like a normal theremin.

It's getting trashed on TherminWorld, partly for the pitch correction. As someone who has spent years learning to play an instrument with no tactile feedback I guess I can understand the attitude that all that hard work is wasted because now anybody can be spot-on with their notes. I don't agree with it but I can see how someone would think that way.

i think it's like auto-tune. Used correctly and nobody complains or even notices. Abused and it makes me want to pour hot lead in my ears.

Other problems people on TW have are the looks and the fact that it uses a digital synth engine for its sounds. That's a plus for me.

So is MIDI since an Ethervox is out of my price range.

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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by Cumulus » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:43 pm

I guess I also understand some of the criticism about how it looks.

When I heard that Moog were working on a new theremin I had something like the E-Pro in mind so this is quite a departure from that design.

I still can't wait to try to out, though.

I could use a little pitch correction form time to time.

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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by zoomtheline » Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:02 pm

With that logic we should all do away with DAW's and get back on tape etc etc. And to be honest I'd partly agree but convenience brings creativity too.
I guess at least it looks so different so the Theremin OG's can sneer at it when they see it being used by a performer rather than irritably question how good the person is at the instrument.

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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:13 pm

Those features could be cool for people who have never played theremin and are still learning.

But for the price, I think I'd just buy the regular theremin. This would benefit from being a cheaper option from Moog.

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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by tcheuk » Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:32 pm

bonjour !
Has anyone tried to drive a midi synthesizer (like a dx7) through the theremini, using the usb plug? I bought a cable that has classic midi plugs at one end and an USB at the other, then a cable USB --> mini USB... but i cannot play my dx7 through the antennas...

thanx in advance for your advices!

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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by Bitexion » Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:43 pm

"Oh noes, we OG theremin hipsters can't have the instrument to ourselves anymore, o woe is this!"

It can't be THAT much worse than all the people playing "theremin" patch with lots of portamento and vibrato on a keyboard.

I wonder if modular users in the 60s were as angry with the Minimoog. "Oh c**p, now EVERYONE can make music with a synthesizer, it should be illegal!"

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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:54 pm

While it's easy to dismiss the quantization issue with "they think it's cheating," that's not the real problem with it.

The notion that it is a "theremin education aid" is untrue. Learning to play the theremin with quantization is not at all, in any way, pedagogically or physiologically beneficial. Yes, it is very challenging to develop the ear and muscle memory to play a theremin, but when you quantize the values, you are actually interfering with the body's way of recording movements spatially in combination with its measurement of frequency. Your ear and your body have to be working in tandem to create the muscle memory necessary to effectively play the theremin. By making spacial placement and pitch measurement "easy," you're actually not encouraging pitch recognition development, physical spatial measurement, or the resultant brain physiology requisite for playing the theremin without those things. The learning takes place as the body deals with those challenges.

Humans learn from going from simple to complex... but with musical instruments, the simplicity isn't in the creation of sound, it's in the music you learn. With quantizing, it's like you're playing a violin where you don't need to worry about bowing or pitch. And you simply cannot learn to effectively play the real violin that way. At some point, you're going to have to start at zero learning to bow, and start at zero learning to recognize the connection between pitch and your physical actions.
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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by Bitexion » Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:40 am

Thats deep, maaaan. good to see you, Marc

I guess you could use the same analogy as Guitar Hero. Even top guitarists fail the most basic songs, even their own songs in the game. Because it's nothing like a guitar, you're just pushing 5 buttons and push/pull a bar with the other hand, But to the player who plays it on expert, it's just as good an experience there and then, and that's why that series went haywire a few years back. I loved it too.

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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:48 am

tcheuk wrote: Has anyone tried to drive a midi synthesizer (like a dx7) through the theremini, using the usb plug? i cannot play my dx7 through the antennas...
You're going to need a computer in the middle...

Theremini USB -> computer USB -> some sort of MIDI routing software, a DAW will work -> MIDI interface out of the computer (this could be the one you bought already) -> DX7

Or this Kenton USB to MIDI box will work if the Theremini is class compliant

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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by ninja6485 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:15 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:While it's easy to dismiss the quantization issue with "they think it's cheating," that's not the real problem with it.

The notion that it is a "theremin education aid" is untrue. Learning to play the theremin with quantization is not at all, in any way, pedagogically or physiologically beneficial. Yes, it is very challenging to develop the ear and muscle memory to play a theremin, but when you quantize the values, you are actually interfering with the body's way of recording movements spatially in combination with its measurement of frequency. Your ear and your body have to be working in tandem to create the muscle memory necessary to effectively play the theremin. By making spacial placement and pitch measurement "easy," you're actually not encouraging pitch recognition development, physical spatial measurement, or the resultant brain physiology requisite for playing the theremin without those things. The learning takes place as the body deals with those challenges.

Humans learn from going from simple to complex... but with musical instruments, the simplicity isn't in the creation of sound, it's in the music you learn. With quantizing, it's like you're playing a violin where you don't need to worry about bowing or pitch. And you simply cannot learn to effectively play the real violin that way. At some point, you're going to have to start at zero learning to bow, and start at zero learning to recognize the connection between pitch and your physical actions.
The whole thing reeks of a marketing strategy:
Q. What's the main reason someone would NOT buy the theramin?
A. They are Intimidated by the fact that it's hard to play, it has a steep learning curve, and it yields a potentially frustrating initial playing experience.

Q.How do we solve it to increase sales/ interest in the theramin?
A. Make the interface more user friendly via pitch quantization.

Q. What about fans of the traditional, non quantized interface?
A. We can make sure the mode can be turned on and off so the theramin can be played the traditional way, thus appealing to both market groups. Of course, those people can also just buy the other traditional theramins that are on the market as well.
From a business/ marketing standpoint, the instrument (viewed as a product) has gotten better, in that now someone has come up with a creative solution for how to apply this solution as a new version of the product that is intended to appeal to a larger group of people.

As expected, the company is not in the business of making synthesizers. They're in the business of using synthesizers to make money. Is it good in this case? Is it bad in this case? Is it neither good, nor bad, but just an additional product that people who like the old way of theramining can safely ignore, or enjoy superficially? It's hard to say.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:51 pm

There is an interesting disconnect... or, let's say "inverse relationship" between an instrument maker and a marketer. The instrument maker does what the instrument maker does, and seeks to make it true to their vision. The marketer seeks to create a product that will sell the best to the most amount of people.

One may or may not make any money at all, but generates an amazing instrument. The other is guaranteed to make a crapload of cash, but may or may not make an interesting instrument.

The thing you want to do, if you want to make money, is create consumer devices. Musical instruments are NOT consumer devices, as they require skill and effort. The more noisemakers you make that require no skill or effort, the more will sell.
In the short run. You'll also lose your musician customers eventually, and lose your market niche.
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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:33 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:The thing you want to do, if you want to make money, is create consumer devices. You'll also lose your musician customers eventually, and lose your market niche.
-- It seems to me that Korg is straddling that fence right now. After years of dominance in workstations, they have stumbled a bit with the M3 and Kronos while they created the low-end analog market. Seems they are heading back to where they were in the 70s and 80s, a lower cost alternative to better instruments.

-- I agree some with Marc about quantization interfering with developing the muscle memory. I went through the same thing when learning the string bass. I used stickers to mark locations on the fingerboard so I could get up to speed playing in tune more quickly. That led to a dangerous dependence of looking at the fingerboard even long after I no longer needed the dots. I still have to remember to not look at my fingers as I play...I'm actually more in tune when I trust my muscle memory.
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Re: Moog Theremini--Digital, MIDI!!??!!

Post by chipaudette » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:23 am

The Guitar Hero comparison is very interesting here. Millions of people have had boatloads of fun playing Guitar Hero. If one were to look down at Guitar Hero becuase "it's not at all like playing guitar", you're missing the point. The point is that it's fun.

I offer that, given the price of the Thermini (ie, low), it should be judged on the "is it fun?" criteria rather than "is it a proper theremin?".

I completely agree that quantization will hurt rather than help learning the theremin. However, having built my own quantizer for my regular Moog theremin, I can say that the quantization makes the theremin a lot more fun (for hacks like me) and it makes it feasible to include the "theremin" in jams with friends. Am I building theremin skills? No. Am I (and my friends who can step up to it and do something not-horrible) having a blast? Yes.

For such a reasonably priced instrument/gizmo, FUN is more than a good enough reason to exist.

Chip

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