The Altura MkII Theremin MIDI Controller DIY Kit emulates the behavior of the early electronic instrument invented by Russian physicist Léon Theremin in 1920. With Theremin’s gadget, as the player moves his right hand closer to one antenna, the device emits an eerie tone that rises in pitch. As the player moves his left hand farther away from the other antenna, the tone becomes louder. The device is very sensitive, and makes wonderful, spooky music – but it is very tricky to play. The performer can only play by ear: there are no frets in mid-air!
Our MIDI Controller version uses sonar range finders in place of antennae, and rather than producing sound directly, the Altura MkII emits MIDI messages that are interpreted by a separate synthesizer. The Altura MkII was designed as a companion to the Macchiato Mini Synth by Zeppelin Design Labs: there are a few special features that will only work well when paired with the Macchiato. Otherwise, the Altura MkII conforms with General MIDI specifications and should easily control any device bearing this mark. Many MIDI devices do not conform to the General MIDI specification. In these cases, you may need to fiddle with your synthesizer some before it will respond properly to the Altura MkII.
You can run your Altura MkII straight into your PC or Mac workstation with a MIDI-to-USB converter (not included).
Please download the Quick Start Guide and Reference Manual for all the details!
- Altura MkII Theremin MIDI Controller comes as a DIY kit – soldering is required! Includes no cabinet.
- Optional Black acrylic cabinet DIY Kit
- Optional Iridescent cardstock for making your own cabinet. Template included with Altura MkII.
- Optional 9V DC Power Supply — or use a 9V battery (not included).
ALTURA MkII FEATURE SET
- Right Sensor – MIDI Pitch (Note On/Off)
- Octave Select – set 1 to 8 octaves, ascending or descending
- Key Select
- Scale Select – choose from 12 different modes
- Left Sensor – Send Control Change
- Pitch Bend
- Channel Volume
- Portamento Time
- Adjustable to any range of values from 0-127, ascending or descending
- X-Y Mode: Both left and right sensors send Control Change data, any value, any two controllers
- Transmit Channel selection
- Arpeggiator / Step sequencer
- Program any 8-step sequence over a 2-octave range
- Use right hand to set initial note
- Sequence always plays in selected key and scale
- Tap Tempo
- Use left hand to multiply tempo
- Save / Read up to 21 presets
- Articulation (responsiveness) adjust
- 9V DC Power Input — wall wart or battery
- MIDI Out
- Power On indicator
- 3-digit display
- ISP Header
The Altura MkII MIDI Theremin open-source software is covered by the Creative Commons Share Alike / Attribution / Non-Commercial License. The Altura MkII code was written in the Arduino 1.8 environment. Look for the open-source code on the Documentation tab.