April 18, 2007

The Theremin is Complete

The Theremin is Complete


My equipment [Sam Gale Rosen]

The Open Source theremin is finished! It works! It makes sounds! Shrill, shrill sounds.

After a lot of advice from Marc McElroy and some pointers from Brendan and my brother, I got started. After an hour or so of soldering, and a couple of barely-avoided disasters (almost soldering in a chip backwards), I was ready to try it out. Actually I wasn’t; I had to go back to Radio Shack to buy a battery. So I ran to Radio Shack, ran back, plugged in the battery, and the thing beeped!

Work work [Greta Pemberton]

Unfortunately, it beeped, then did nothing else. No haunting electronic tones, nothing. I discovered that I could get my theremin to make angry blaring noises if I touched the leads of the wires on the circuit board, but that wasn’t exactly what I had been hoping for. This was discouraging for an amateur thereminist. I was a failure. I was the Ed Wood of theremin construction.

Still working

It’s Solder City in here! [Greta Pemberton]

So, back to the old soldering iron. I went over some of my more suspect joins, and gave it another shot. This time it worked! The sound is a little tinny, and it’s difficult to play. The antenna only picks up movement from about an inch away, so the pitch range isn’t great — two octaves at most — but it’s only a Junior Theremin (and I’m no Clara Rockmore). Now I need to practice some more to get good enough for radio. Meanwhile, I’ll try to record something and post a sound file.


Proud parent [Greta Pemberton]

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