I got a theremin for Christmas! Okay, I got it from me. Also, two days after Christmas. Still, it’s the thought that counts.

It’s the OpenTheremin V4.5 from GaudiLabs.

Front face of OpenTheremin on a tripod. There's a button accordion in the background.

It’s not for theremin purists: It produces its sound digitally, not the old fashioned way. But it’s still controlled by capacitive sensing with two antennas, like the 1919 original. Output jacks give you not only sound, but two control voltages and a gate, so you can use it as a synth controller.

Some assembly required: Attaching the tripod mount, the potentiometer shafts, and the antennas. As supplied, it’s otherwise just a bare PCB, no case, but there’s a link on the website to an STL file if you want to print a case. I did, and I made it red.

OpenTheremin board on left, antennas on right, and small parts in the middle.
Oblique view of OpenTheremin on a tripod. You can see the sides of the red case. There are two button accordions in the background.

I don’t know how to play theremin, and all I’ve done with it is to goof around a bit. I need to improve my setup with a better way to feed it USB power and to listen to the sound. Also a smaller tripod, maybe a desk one, would be good.

It’s pretty tiny — the size of a 10 HP Eurorack module. It doesn’t have a Eurorack power header, and the jacks are on the side, but on the site is a description of how you can nevertheless mount it in a small Eurorack case along with a few modules. One of which, if you want to cheat, could be a quantizer! I might do something like this at some point.


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