Stylophone Theremin, a pitch-only budget friendly take on the classic touch-sensitive synth

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Stylophone Theremin is a new budget-friendly touch-sensitive Synthesizer inspired by the legendary Theremin synth. 

One of the first, if not the first, synthesizers was the Theremin. Invented in 1920 and patented in 1928 by Leon Theremin. It wasn’t until much later that synthesizers with white and black keys came along. The extraordinary thing about the Theremin to this day is the exceptional operation.

Instead of traditional keys, you use your hands to move along two antennas—one for the pitch and another for the volume. An instrument that you have to learn from scratch. Dubreq, the developers of the current Stylophone range, have now brought their own Theremin onto the market.

Stylophone Theremin

Stylophone Theremin

The Stylophone Theremin, aka Pitch Theremin, is not a 1-to-1 clone or replica of the original unit. It offers its own feature set with a slightly different concept.

Like the original, Dubreq’s Theremin is also a touch-sensitive Synthesizer that creates sounds by detecting your movement. However, with a major difference! It’s only a pitch-only Theremin, so it only has a single antenna. The volume (VCA) antenna is missing, making it easier to play.

This is not the only thing where it is different from his role model. The Stylophone Theremin has a complete control panel where you can adjust sounds. Analog or digital, not 100% clear. But I think it’s analog. 

The engine features three sections: sound generation/play, a delay, and a slider/trigger. In the first, you can set the pitch for the antenna and for the slider. The synth consists of a two-wave oscillator (sine/square), a decay envelope, a vibrato effect, and a drone mode. FM is possible using the mod switch. 

Stylophone Theremin

It can be played classically experimentally with the antenna and with the slider where you have fixed pitches. Since you have a “slider mixer”, you can probably play both side together. With the trigger button, you can also play sound without using the antenna. 

Further, you can route the sound into a delay with time and feedback controls. According to Dubreq, it also hosts a built-in speaker and can be mounted on a microphone stand. On the connection side, you get a headphone socket and a main output.

The developers promise instant experimental sounds using movement. “Wave your hand around its antenna, move its slider from side to side, and go over the edge with mad modulation, wobbly vibrato, and crunchy echoing delay for crazy, quirky, sci-fi sound creation.”

First Impression

Playing a real Theremin is a challenge and using it musically is training that takes years. That’s why many demos often sound very experimental. I think the idea of simplifying the concept by eliminating the volume antenna is great.

The ability to tweak sounds is good as it turns the “Theremin” into a more versatile-sounding instrument. Unfortunately, a filter is missing. Maybe we will see it in an MK2 version. Also thumbs up for the price. All in all a lovely, funny Synthesizer. 

Stylophone Pitch Theremin is available soon for approx $110, 100€ or £90. You can sign up on the official website to pre-order without upfront payment.

More information here: Stylophone 

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1 Comment

  1. Leaving out the volume antenna makes it NOT a Theramin, merely a type of pitch ribbon. Volume shaping and tremolo effects are key to the Theremin sound.

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