Get Your Hands Off the New Stylophone Theremin
Dubreq confound expectations and ditch the stylus on their latest Stylophone, the Stylophone Theremin. Ready to throw your hands in the air?
Who saw this one coming? Stylophone maker Dubreq Ltd has surprised us all (again) with the announcement of the Stylophone Theremin. This latest Stylophone iteration bins the stylus and reimagines the buzzy home instrument as a theremin – with a few enticing extras like a pitch slider and delay.
What is a Theremin?
If you’re not up to speed with your esoteric gear, the theremin is actually the world’s first electronic musical instrument. Invented by Leon Theremin in 1928, you play it by interacting with a magnetic field created by its two antennae, one for pitch and the other for volume. Bob Moog started his career building and selling them – and indeed Moog still offers a few of them.
Stylophone’s Take on the Theremin
The theremin is notoriously difficult to play. Likely to make theirs more accessible to the everyday musician or hobbyist, Dubreq has done away with the volume antenna. You can use the single antenna, which telescopes from the top of the unit like a radio aerial, to change pitch. Dubreq has also provided a horizontal slider for more controlled note-playing. Use both slider and antenna simultaneously for a “magical intuitive musical experience,” says Stylophone.
The Stylophone Theremin, which is angled like a Korg MS-20, offers separate Antenna and Slide pitch centring dials, a mix slider, octave switch with low and high positions, two modulation settings, selectable waveforms (sine and square), vibrato and a trigger button for momentary rather than drone playing. There’s also a decay knob, which I imagine is only used with the trigger.
Don’t Delay – Or Rather Do
This is already quite fully featured for a theremin but the Stylophone Theremin also includes a delay section. With level, time and feedback knobs, it looks able to provide a decent amount of control. Dubreq describes it as crunchy and echoing, which says low-bit digital delay to me. That would be in keeping with the retro aesthetic they seem to be going for.
All Hands Off Deck
Dubreq’s Stylophone Theremin takes AA batteries and with its built-in speaker, it looks imminently portable. There are headphone and audio outputs for studio use. You can also use it with a mic stand.
The Stylophone Theremin appears to be aimed at experimental musicians. I have to say, with that boombox antenna and retro styling, it’s certainly tempting me to open my wallet. Ever since I saw Jimmy Page attacking one in The Song Remains the Same, I’ve wanted a theremin. However I couldn’t afford the high entry price – nor did I particularly want to put in the time to learn to play one, honestly. This seems to hit the sweet spot of fun and affordable. Also as expected from Dubreq the price is extremely post-pub drunk shopping insta-buy friendly.
The Theremin Stylophone is available for preorder now on the Stylophone page. Price is approximately $110/€100/£90.
If a traditional Stylophone is more to your liking, Dubreq continues to offer a variety of them.
- Dubreq Ltd homepage
- All about Dubreq and Stylophones
- All about synthesizers
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