One of the most unique and sometimes even considered “freaky” electronic musical instruments out there is the Theremin.
This classic model is distinguished as you can play without touching the instruments. Performers move hands in the space around its antennas to control the tone.
While mastering the Theremin is a challenge, it is rewarding when it incredibly comes to an intimate expression and unique visual feast.
When considering about a Theremin kit, it is not so difficult to get yourself one to start as novice. As a simple construction goes, the overall design has not changed so dramatically since it was released decades ago.
So it is a great way to build yourself a kit out there that saves budget for the decent Theremin. Or otherwise you get some basic things to know about the features and specs before buying a Theremin kit.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Theremin Kits
Here we compare the options available and pick out the top 3 models that you might be interested in regards to the features, budget and value.
Top 4 Theremin Kits for Beginners Reviews
For beginners who are looking for the best Theremin kits, there are some basic things the simple ones should have to enhance great performance. We make a research on the wide ranges and list the top 4 Theremin kits. Let’s have a look before making the purchase.
#1 – Moog Etherwave Standard – Best Quality Theremin
Okay this is the basic model but there is nothing “basic” about it. To get started, this all you need. It comes in something called Brazilian cherry and looks stunning if I may add. It truly gives it that classic analog look.
By the way, the “Etherwave” models are the most original adaptation of the original design by our main man Leon Theremin. It’s a perfect way to pay tribute to it.
Now going back to this instrument, it comes with a 5 Octave Pitch range which is pretty good. It’s like having a 31 key invisible midi keyboard.
The main parts which are the antennas are nickel plated so they act as very good conductors and the Moog team also added an adapter so you can connect it to an amp.
The best part about owning a Theremin is even if you don’t play one, it can be a great conversation piece. I think all music lovers should have it just as homage to the earlier legends that came before us.
If you’re really interested in using this as an instrument in one of your recordings, then I would suggest the Theremini.
Just because it’s more practical.
#2 – Moog Etherwave Plus for Optimal Performance
It is basically the standard version but with a few more features. One of the features that I really like is the “pitch preview” with the headphone output (Not on the standard). That means you can hear what you play before the crowd. Kind of cool but I wish there was a way to hear it and if you don’t like what you hear, you can cancel it. Perhaps in the future?
The Moog Etherwave plus comes with authentic adaptation of original Theremin design. It extends the Theremin playing to analog synthesis and more. That you can control the effects and synthesizers easily while playing.
Giving classic Theremin sound, this musical instrument comes with some excellent features. That covers different controls over the volume, waveform of audio output, pitch and more.
In a case for travelers, you can remove the antenna connectors. And it has a power led indicating the power status.
#3 – Moog ThereMINI – Easy Learning Theremin
Theremini is kind of re-imagination for one of the oldest musical instruments. When playing Theremins you only need to move your hand around the antenna. That might be a little challenge for beginners who have not played the instrument before.
No worry it offers built-in scales for you to select and play. And the root notes available get you on key always. If you have challenges learning to play, use the built-in tuners to settle on a suitable scale and pitch.
The Moog Theremini has, let me see, up to 32 sound presets. With some of them you can produce 50’s sound effects sourced from a sci-fi blockbuster. As well you can create modern effects from it.
Provided with a USB MIDI and CV/Pitch outputs, it enhances a handy control for the hardware and software synthesizers.
#4 – Moog Etherwave Theremin –Modern Instruments
This is a Theremin on steroids (Modern version of Theremin basically). It’s what the Theremin would look like if it was invented today. It literally contains the same engine as the one of the famous Moog synthesizers.
Likely you’ll get some awesome drones out of this one. That is highly recommended for today’s music producers. It has 32 built in presets and own built in speakers as well.
The antennas come with authentic shape for comfortable playing. That gets users nickel-plated 3/8″ brass from it.
The 1/4″ TS phone jack on the front panel enables decent audio output. And you can deliver the audio ahead to your own amp or speaker.
This covers 2 continuous rotary controls including waveform of the audio and the brightness.
The Best Theremin Kits for Beginners Buying Guide
What Is a Theremin?
This Theremin instrument looks like any other electronic device, but when you play it and especially “the way” you play it would freak anyone out.
In fact, it’s pretty much the only instrument out there that doesn’t require ‘touching’.
It’s actually pretty crazy but the sounds produced are awesome. If you’re a fan of Deadmau5’s music, you might hear some similar tones (Especially the drones that he uses).
How Does A Theremin Work?
Invented by Léon Theremin in the 1920s (Yeah it’s that old), a Theremin has 2 antennas.
One on each side.
The way the Theremin works is when you plug it in and turn it on, there is a magnetic field that is produced on each antenna and your hand actually “interrupts” that field.
This “interruption” causes a single or a sound wave to go into a little component in the Theremin which is amplified. This is basically how a Theremin works. it actually broadcasts a signal to itself.
This vertical antenna would control the pitch (Helps you create the octaves), and the loop horizontal antenna would control the volume.
Believe it or not, there is a proper way of playing this so-called instrument and we’ll get into that as well.
What’s up with the loop antenna?
Now the reason the loop antenna is “looped” is because back in the 20s, when the Theremin first came out it had a lot of vacuum tubes and lots of other components that were not in solid state.
Plus the 2 oscillators (The ones that control the pitch and the volume) would interfere with each other.
By the way, the oscillator is just a fancy word for something that creates sound. When you “oscillate”, you are simply controlling the sound. That’s why when you get a synthesizer or a plugin for a synth, one oscillator means one thing is creating sound (Creating electricity basically).
Why Moog Theremin?
If you know electronic music or music production in general, you already know what Moog is. However, before even Dr. Bob Moog (Founder of Moog) made a name for themselves, guess what was the first musical instrument that they made?
You guessed it, a Theremin.
Just like Leo was the man who invented the machine, Moog is the one who commercialized it and brought it to the masses. I guess you can say Moog was the Thomas Edison of the Theremin. By the way, I’ve never mentioned so many old guys at once in my entire life . . . oh boy.
This Moog Theremin or better known as Etherwave Theremin is made by Robert Moog. It is set up pretty much like the original Theremin was just like in the 1920s. Heck even the volume antenna is to the left and the pitch antenna (Vertical antenna) on the right.
By the way, this is only because most people are right-handed and you want your prominent hand playing the pitch, and controlling the volume with your other hand.
If you’re left-handed, simply turn the Theremin around and you’re good to go.
Let’s learn a bit more about Moog Music, which happens to be the actual name of the company.
Founded by Dr. Bob Moog, today they are known for making one of the best synthesizers in the music game. I believe even to this day, their instruments are handmade in North Carolina.
If you already produce music, you’ve probably come across their bass sound samples, etc.
Of course, you can always connect an amplifier to raise the volume on these Moog Theremins so that should be that.
How To Play The Theremin For Beginners
Now to play a Theremin, you first need to get to the lowest note. To achieve this, simply put your prominent hand about 2 feet from the pitch antenna.
This will give you the lowest note right away. This will only happen if the Theremin is in tune.
If the Theremin is in tune properly, you will learn later.
The lowest note should be about an A.
If you want to increase the pitch, simply move your hand close to the pitch antenna (Vertical).
Your right hand which would be covering the volume antenna or loop antenna should remain about 2 inches or less away from it.
That damping of the Theremin won’t make any sound but as you raise your hand, this is when you’ll get the volume. When you get to about 8 inches away, this is when the Theremin swells to its fullest volume. Also it is considered as a somewhat sweet spot.
How to tune a Theremin?
Okay now to tune a Theremin, again you first put your hand about two feet away from the pitch antenna.
Now start tuning it with the pitch controller on the actual Theremin (Using the knob). The trick here is to imagine your hand is on a keyboard, the more you tune, the more octaves (Set of 7 keys) appear. It’s like playing an “air” keyboard.
Once you start experimenting with it, you’ll figure it out pretty quickly. It’s actually quite an interesting experience.
Just like with any instrument, you do need some patience and few practice sessions before getting the hang of it. So don’t rush into playing it or you’ll get disappointed and may put it aside.
Take your time with the Theremin, it’s really something unique.
If you are looking for a best Theremin kit for beginners, our article offers full coverage of the top options and some guidelines you should know before buying. The Moog Theremin performs as one of the leading brands you can rely on. Also there are somethings of the specs and features to be evaluated when you are ready to buy one of these. Take your time to think about it and get the best on.