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Wind Controller Akai EWI

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
507
Locality
Nr. Bandung, Indonesia
I'm thinking of investing in one of these - they're relatively cheap here in Hong Kong. But, I'm a complete novice in the whole area of electronics, and the retailer is being helpful but we have a bit of a language problem.

So I wonder if someone can please help with these questions:

1. Do they work? - I watched Leonard Cohen's sax player on the London concert DVD doing some wonderful stuff - but is that possible with a "consumer-level" EWI?

2. How do I get the output from the EWI through to an amp at a gig? I'm assuming there is some sort of adaptor that converts the signal, but I've no idea what.

3. The cheaper one is "USB" - which I assume means that the expensive ones aren't. If so, what are the trade-offs? Although this is largely for fun - I'm not giving up the Selmer - I don't want to finish up with a glorified toy.

If there's a book or website that anyone can recommend rather than typing answers, I would be most grateful - but words of one syllable please!
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,902
Locality
brighton by the sea
1- The guy from Cohen’s band is using an EWI running into "logic" on a computer to provide his sounds. Basically- the playability of his set up is standard but he's using more impressive sounds

2- plug it into an amp and they're good to go. No adaptor necessary

3- The USB requires a PC or laptop to work. It also has a rather less elaborate set of keys- only 3 octaves as against the 4000's 5 octave range. Also no portamento or pitch bend controls.
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
507
Locality
Nr. Bandung, Indonesia
Much appreciated - may push the boat out this week! Probably get the basic one and play with it - and, if I'm then in love with the whole idea, trade up.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,902
Locality
brighton by the sea
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
507
Locality
Nr. Bandung, Indonesia
Thanks again - starting to get a real picture of it all now.
 

espiritocz

New Member
Messages
1
Dear Mr. Kingsley,

as a (non-professional, unfortunately) saxophonist I miss my instrument here in Hong Kong - where I should work now for following half-year.
May I ask you how are you satisfied now with your EWI instrument?
You were speaking about EWI being relatively cheap here. May I ask you to give me some ideas where I can buy one? I think I will need to practice and this instrument is very interesting (not only that one can practice also silently in a room).

Thank you very much,

with kind regards

Milan


I'm thinking of investing in one of these - they're relatively cheap here in Hong Kong. But, I'm a complete novice in the whole area of electronics, and the retailer is being helpful but we have a bit of a language problem.

So I wonder if someone can please help with these questions:

1. Do they work? - I watched Leonard Cohen's sax player on the London concert DVD doing some wonderful stuff - but is that possible with a "consumer-level" EWI?

2. How do I get the output from the EWI through to an amp at a gig? I'm assuming there is some sort of adaptor that converts the signal, but I've no idea what.

3. The cheaper one is "USB" - which I assume means that the expensive ones aren't. If so, what are the trade-offs? Although this is largely for fun - I'm not giving up the Selmer - I don't want to finish up with a glorified toy.

If there's a book or website that anyone can recommend rather than typing answers, I would be most grateful - but words of one syllable please!
 

Another Colin

Member
Messages
51
Locality
Northamptonshire UK
I've been using for Ewi 4000s for some time. It is possible to midi it out to other sound sources and sound like what ever.

Unlike the usb version, it also has internal sounds which tend to be synth like rather than samples. I tend to stick to a big fat squelchy synth sound. It takes batteries and has a jack lead output which you can connect to an amp or pa. It takes 4 aa batteries or 9v adaptor and I really like the 7 ( I think) octave range which is accessed by rollers with your left thumb. It also has a glide strip which you access with the tip of your thumb. It is possible to transpositions so mine stays in Bb. The fingering is simple enough (for a even a trombonist!) with 6 main touch keys and 2 side keys for each pinky. There are also buttons to allow either a drone or doubled octave. Accessing all other parameters such as fine runing response or the 60 onboard sounds are via a 2 digit led display which can be irritating. The instrument is quite rugged though and tough enough for pub gigs etc. Unlike yamaha wind synths the mouthpiece is a simple blow -no reed and easy to unscrew to wash it.

As I understand it, the usb version is lighter with less on board features. It is cheaper and relies on usb for both its power and soundsource. Less hassle to access pc/mac softsynths/samplers but on the otherhand dependent on your laptop for gig use.
 
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ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
Hi Kingsley, how much is the 400i in Hong Kong? Did you buy one? Looks very interesting. Nice sound in the clip above.
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
507
Locality
Nr. Bandung, Indonesia
Apologies to esprito - I only just picked up on this thread.

I didn't buy one in the end. Just not suitable for what I was playing at the time. I can't remember the exact price but I think about 500 sterling from the main music shop in Hong Kong - Tom Lee.

I really do like the idea though.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
Same price as the UK. There is one on eBay for £275 however. Mint condition.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
These electronic saxophones seem intriguing and I want to learn more about them. Exactly how do they work?!!! Does anyone on the forum use them in any way? What else do you need to enable them to work? A laptop?
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
507
Locality
Nr. Bandung, Indonesia
I looked into it a few years ago - eventually decided not to go ahead. Not because there's anything wrong with the idea - I just had a better use for the money! I was "inspired" by i) fighting over loud guitarists and I thought an electronic instrument might help, and ii) listening to the saxophonist on Leonard Cohen in London, who doubles on the EWI.

This is the first of a series of videos that I found helpful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMoSH4YH1-U

But there's a lot of stuff on YouTube.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,540
Locality
The Palm Tree strewn Wandle Surf Beach under the o
Have a 4000S and a Yamaha WX7. The sounds from the 4000S are 'orrible, although an American Company Patchman produce an alternative set, that are not keen about exporting them. Use mine for playing samples of wind instruments not played, sounds more convincing than using a keyboard.

If you want to sound like That Nice MrThomas, he sells some excellent sax, trumpet and various other samples but as they are samples, the pitch is fixed and not alterable by the thumb or octave adjusters. Those and a really good amplifier, up to 11 or 12, should cope with any guitarist.

4000S is sturdily built whereas the WX7 feels flimsy in comparison.
 

Pete Thomas

Well-Known Member
Commercial Supporter
Messages
15,385
Locality
St. Mary's
These electronic saxophones seem intriguing and I want to learn more about them. Exactly how do they work?!!! Does anyone on the forum use them in any way? What else do you need to enable them to work? A laptop?

it's basically a MIDI controller like a keyboard, but in the shape of a WMD instrument. It's a mistake to think of it as an electronic saxophone, although of course you can play modelled or sampled saxophone sounds.
 

Koen88

Sax Drinker / Beer player
Messages
426
Locality
Netherlands
it's basically a MIDI controller like a keyboard, but in the shape of a WMD instrument. It's a mistake to think of it as an electronic saxophone, although of course you can play modelled or sampled saxophone sounds.

but it does have the same finger layout as a saxophone?
 

Another Colin

Member
Messages
51
Locality
Northamptonshire UK
Yes it is basic woodwind fingering and can be set to saxophone mode which I not tried.

I think it is possible to miss the point of the 4000s. It has analogue style synth sounds Eg. Squelchy synth leads or basses or cosmic panflute. It is not intended to sound exactly like any particular wind instrument. It has a large range and a glide strip - 7 octave glissandos! Where it gains over a keyboard is the way it can gliss or respond to slurs and vibrato like a wind instrument.

If you want to sound like a sax or flute you are better off using one. Failing that, you are better off using the usb version.
 

Koen88

Sax Drinker / Beer player
Messages
426
Locality
Netherlands
I'm mostly intested in an EWI combined with sibelius for faster note input or in combination with recording software where you can edit the sound/replace it for an other..
 

Another Colin

Member
Messages
51
Locality
Northamptonshire UK
I'm mostly intested in an EWI combined with sibelius for faster note input or in combination with recording software where you can edit the sound/replace it for an other..

That would be the usb version then.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
Thannks guys. So...one would get an Akai EWI, laptop and what specific software?
 

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