Altura Theremin MIDI Controller


** SOLD OUT!!!**

The Original Altura has been discontinued with release of the swanky new Altura MkII.

The Altura is a MIDI controller that emulates the Theremin, the classic early electronic musical instrument. As you move your hands  in the air, the Altura transmits MIDI data to your synthesizer to control pitch, volume, velocity, bend, modulation, portamento, and more! Use it to control any MIDI synthesizer, such as the Macchiato Mini Synth. Ready-to-play or build it yourself from a fun and easy DIY kit! Get a sleek black acrylic cabinet — kit or ready-to-use — or  make your own cardstock  cabinet using the provided template.

Requires 9V DC power. Use a battery (not included) or pick up a plug-in power supply. Requires a MIDI cable, available separately.

If you are an Arduino enthusiast, you can hack the open-source software that runs the Altura,  or download updates and flash them to your controller.

In LONDON, get it at THONK

In BERLIN, get it at KOMA

Connect with your music: build your own gear!

SKU: ATH Category: Tag:


The Altura Theremin MIDI Controller 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 emits MIDI messages that are interpreted by a separate synthesizer. The Altura 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 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. Please download the Quick Start Guide and Reference Manual for all the details!


  • Altura Theremin MIDI Controller – DIY Kit or Ready-to-Use
  • Black acrylic case, DIY Kit or Ready-to-Use
  • Iridescent cardstock for making your own case. Template included with Altura.
  • 9V DC Power Supply


  • 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
    • Modulation
    • Velocity
    • Channel Volume
    • Portamento Time
    • Data value is adjustable to any range from 0-127, ascending or descending
  • X-Y Mode: Both left and right sensors send Control Change data, any value, any two controllers
  • Channel Select
  • Articulation (responsiveness) adjust
  • 9V DC Power Input — wall wart or battery
  • MIDI Out
  • Power On indicator
  • 3-digit display
  • ISP Header


The Altura MIDI Theremin open-source software is covered by the Creative Commons Share Alike / Attribution  / Non-Commercial License. The Altura code was written in the Arduino  1.8 environment and is available open-source on our Github page.  Arduino enthusiasts can modify the code and flash it to the Altura using a programmer.  Find detailed instructions in the file on Github.



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What You Will Need

Here’s everything you will need to build the Altura Theremin MIDI Controller  kit:
  • Digital multimeter, able to measure resistance
  • #2 Philips screw driver
  • Tiny straight screwdriver
  • Soldering iron, 15-50 watt
  • Wire strippers
  • Flush cutters or small diagonal cutters
  • Clamp or vise to hold the printed circuit board while soldering (optional, but handy)
  • Solder sucker or solder braid (optional, but very handy)
  • Solder, 60/40 rosin core
To make your own cabinet using the provided template, you will need the following:
  • Stiff craft cardstock (available separately), or a cereal box
  • Steel Ruler or Straight edge
  • X-Acto knife or other sharp hobby knife
  • Two push pins or thumbtacks
  • Scissors
  • Butter knife
  • A few small binder clips
  • Rubber cement
To build the acrylic cabinet kit, you will need the following:
  • Steel straight edge
  • X-Acto knife or other sharp hobby knife and/or scissors
  • Plastic cement and/or Super Glue
  • Toothpick
  • Piece of tape


  • Detailed instructions for assembling the controller kit, making a cardstock cabinet, or building the acrylic cabinet kit
  • Quick Start will get you playing fast!
  • Reference Manual contains detailed information explaining every feature
  • See companion video below
Download Cardstock Cabinet Template  (270kb PDF).
    • Your Altura includes this template, but if you need another, here it is. Requires 11x17 printer!
    All source code is available on our Github repository. See the README for detailed instructions on how to:
    • Download the latest binary, or "hex" file (extension .ino.hex). This is the compiled code that runs your synth. Use this file to upgrade to the latest version.
    • Download the Arduino sketch (file suffix .ino) and modify it to your heart's content.
    To send data to your Altura, you will need a programmer -- a little piece of hardware available separately.