Almost two years after the first version, Zeppelin Design Labs has released the Altura MkII, which they describe as a MIDI controller that emulates a theremin. A spokesperson told us, “Wave your hands to unlock amazing MIDI possibilities.” The Altura MkII is available as an easy DIY Kit or Ready-to-Play. Here’s the details direct from Zeppelin Design Labs…
It's an ARPEGGIATOR / STEP SEQUENCER -- Easily program any sequence up to 8 steps, including rests and sustains; then play your sequence loops by just waving your hand! Your right hand determines the starting note of the arpeggio. As you move your hand, the pattern plays up and down the scale, always within the key you select. Set the tempo with the Tap Time button. Now wave your left hand to switch to double-time or half-time.
It's a THEREMIN -- Connect to any synthesizer and wave your hands to control pitch, volume, bend, modulation, velocity and portamento time. If your synth responds to portamento. such as the Macchiato Mini Synth by Zeppelin Design, you can recreate that spooky, sliding Theremin sound--but you will always play in tune!
It's a MIDI CONTROLLER -- In X-Y mode, set any two CC#'s and wave to transmit any range of values.
The Altura MkII 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 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.
Pricing and Availability:
From $20 to $169