SYOS

Wind Controller EWI4000s what were your'e first impressions?

Col9

Member
Messages
58
Location
Northants, UK
Hi all, been wanting an EWI for around a year now. Last week bought one on impulse from the devils junkyard. Postie bought it on Friday.
Not sure what I was expecting. I played through the 100 voices and wasnt that impressed. They all sounded the same. It has the patchman voices which are supposed to be awesome but I was left dissapointed. I turned to the manual and found that I had reverb or chourus turned on. I turned it off and what a difference. Sounds amazing the brass sounds can be a bit cheesy but there are some flute/pipe sounds which are incredible. I think I'm gonna like this thing. Played for 4 or 5 hours Fri night and just about got the hang of breathing. The octave shifting is really weird but not so bad today. Its all about where you don't put your thumbs and fingers as much as where you do.
Seems like there are loads of settings to play with so should be an interesting diversion. Opens up a whole new world of GAS with loopers, modules and other words I don't yet recognize :)

I think it was designed purely for playing 70's and 80's Sci-Fi themes and Axel-F ;}

Anyway, I remember a few people on here have them or have tried them. I wondered how it compared with you're expectations when you first played it. Was it what you expected or was it different in a good/bad way?

Col.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Got the standard voices on mine, awful but when used as a controller for decent samples like Pete's Sample Aid, terrific. You should hear my version of 'Red Sails In The Sunset' using Pete's growl tenor. On the other hand, if you prize your ears and sanity, better not.

It is very handy making backing tracks as I don't have an alto or a baritone but with the EWI, it is possible to reproduce a full reed section. Sadly my arranging abilities are crap.

Possibly the Yamaha might be a better bet for a saxophonist as they have keys that act the same as normal woodwind keys but the Akai is touch sensitive, so Pete's Sax O Glue is a definite no-no.

As such Pete, do let me know when you are flogging your WX, please.
 

cherrybyte

Member
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110
Location
Dulverton, Exmoor, West Somerset
Yeah, I got one when they first came as I have always been interested in wind synthesis... had a original Lyricon in the 80's then WX7/5 and finally a 'Synthephone'.

Back to the EWI..its not like playing a saxaphone, sure the fingering is similar(up to a point, no side/palm keys)..it will not tolerate 'sloppy' technique, I'm quite a precise player and I had to go back to the scale books/Langley for some consistent/regular 40mins a day for two months before it got relatively glitch free, if your prepared for that your 50% on the way, otherwise you'll hate it.

Internal sounds...its a good internal synth, quite analog sounding so bear that in mind, cast your mind back to the sounds of mini moogs/oberhiems etc..thats what it does..if you want string sections/pianos/acoustic guitars ect. you will have to invest in either software synths or as I have still stick with rackmount stuff..I use 2 X Yamaha VL70m's with special Patchman voiceROMs for acoustic emulations, Roland XV5080 for 'acres' of things, Yamaha TX802/TX81Z for those strange things that only FM synthesis can do, although again I have also purchased all the special Patchman sound banks for all these units as well. IMHO although wind synthesis seems easy on the surface(I.E. I'll just do a quick flute/Tuba/Trom part) the more you get into it the more it requires a different mindset...visit the patchman site, its a wealth of information and then follow the links of the various people using stuff...look for Jeff Kashiwa and Michael Brecker, they are great examples of fabulous technicians/musicians that apply different mindsets to wind controller/acoustic saxaphones...but back to the point...the ewi on its own is not enough and is difficult initially...stick with it....
 

h4yn0nnym0u5e

Member
Messages
168
Location
Cambridgeshire
As such Pete, do let me know when you are flogging your WX, please.
OG, would you be interested in a WX-11? Now I have a WX-5, and am suffering from impending severe GAS, I think I may be needing to sell this on... No sound module (I'm keeping the VL70-m), but does have a cable and a BT7 if you wanted.

Cheers

Jonathan

P.s. I'll transfer this side-thread to yard sale if there's any progress, Pete.
 
OP
Col9

Col9

Member
Messages
58
Location
Northants, UK
Cheers for the replies, the soft synth thing seems to be worth trying. "The Trumpet" looks good wouldnt mind trying that. To do it with hardware looks very very expensive thats quite a list above might have to sell the children to match it ;} Yes very analogue sounding but very good as well.
Well 3 days in and 12 or so hours playing time. I love it! The initially tricky octave rollers are now easier to get my thumb around. The sensors I've tweaked to suit me a bit better and now it plays OK. Found a few voices that work with different things. It seems to like playing Worksong and Georgia, oh and Doctor Who lol . Seems a bit strange bending notes with my thumb and vibrato with a nibble of the mouthpiece. Found myself changing embouchure pointlessly for low and high notes. Mostly the fingerings OK just a few notes to think about. It makes funny unexpected sounds/wrong notes every now and again when the side of my hand touches something it shouldn't and its strange when a note ends prematurely on account of one voice or program being different to the other. It is different to playing a sax but the sax playing gives a hell of a head start.
I thought it would be a saxy type thing to mess around with and play when I fancied a change, but I now I think its an instrument in its own right that just has similar fingerings. The last thing I started to learn was the Oboe, the EWI seems a lot easier than that lol.
I must have watched every EWI video on youtube some are great and some not so great. There is one with a woman playing "in a sentimental mood" which is awesome. Love to be able play it like that.

Anyway onwards and see what this week brings.
Col.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
OG, would you be interested in a WX-11? Now I have a WX-5, and am suffering from impending severe GAS, I think I may be needing to sell this on... No sound module (I'm keeping the VL70-m), but does have a cable and a BT7 if you wanted.

Cheers

Jonathan

P.s. I'll transfer this side-thread to yard sale if there's any progress, Pete.
Sadly the big TV died on Sunday, resulting in the MotoGP looking like the binoculars were the wrong way round and then the planned for broadband bill arrived as well. Bit much for an OAP.

Mainly use the EWI as a MIDI controller as GarageBand comes free with Macs and on the Yamaha 9000 Pro keyboard, maybe a Yamaha Wind Controller would do for me but the EWI is a contrast.
 

Sloth

Member
Messages
102
Location
The cheap end of Brighton
I got one of these this morning, and found this thread looking for octave roller tips, I'm rolling up and down but getting distracted by also pressing on them!

Also I've had trouble getting the software (on Win XP) to talk to it via an M-Audio Delta PCI card, should I be investigating a snazzy MIDI->USB interface for this beast?

First impressions are great for me, I love that synth sound it makes and it gives me the chance to practice in silence - the keys will take getting used to, but I hear this will improve my fingering on the old boneshaker. Does anyone with one of these agree?

By the way I've found a few videos about these by a guy called Alistair Parnell on YouTube which I've found really useful - http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=UMoSH4YH1-U
 
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old git

Tremendous Bore
Sorry, don't see the point of it. (Shrugs shoulders). Not really an instrument, just an expensive way of duplicating a keyboard.

Martin
Martin,
Using Pete's samples, you would find it easy to tell the difference between examples triggered by my keyboard, Yamaha 9000 Pro and the EWI. You might be able to obtain the same control with the no longer available Yamaha Wind Controller/keyboard combination but have no experience of that set up. It is the ability to start a note using tonguing or raising breath pressure, control the volume, choose vibrato or not and end the note using the same way that the original was generated that makes it more natural.

Then consider that you also have the ability to play all the wind instruments for which you have samples. The 9000 Pro triggers reasonable keyboard, bass and guitar samples and one day, I might complete my C Jam Blues Big Band project.

As for the standard sound in mine, never use them and would use the USB version except that it offers reduced control functions.

Apologies for being serious.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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Minster On Sea
Sorry, don't see the point of it. (Shrugs shoulders). Not really an instrument, just an expensive way of duplicating a keyboard.

Martin
But I don't play keyboard. I play sax.

Anyway, why aren't keyboards instruments?

Nick (owner of Yamaha WX5)
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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4,477
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brighton by the sea
But I don't play keyboard. I play sax.

Anyway, why aren't keyboards instruments?

Nick (owner of Yamaha WX5)
actually- you hit on exactly what I was going to post! I used to use a WX7 for string parts and amospherics with an 'art rock' band I used to play with- as a means to an end it worked at treat. Look at live videos of Clannad or Capercallie too- their flute players both double on wind synths for big, fill in chord parts......
 

Sloth

Member
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102
Location
The cheap end of Brighton
I think attitudes are shaped by our experience - I was always into sampling and synthesis, then I started on the sax. Therefore this thng is really useful in my opinion.

Those who start out on the sax and only came to MIDI/sequencers as a means of recording the sax would probably see the EWI as a plaything and not a real instrument.

By the way, my problem above is now sorted out, I can link up the PC to the EWI after trying again the next day - and I'm doing my own synthesis, lots of fun!
 

RedRobin

New Member
Messages
16
Location
West Dorset
Hi everyone - This is my first post here. I am not a sax player but have been playing a EWI 4000s for a couple of months and have been playing Native American flutes for about 10 years. If interested, you can hear the sort of music I play on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/redrobinmusic and also SoundCloud. But I have not joined to promote my music.

It's interesting reading this thread and I felt I had to contribute. So:

My first impressions were "WOW!! This is an electronic flute!" but actually it is much more.

I can understand how anyone can feel that the EWI is a toy instrument but it is actually very powerful and enabling. Plenty of quite famous sax players use the EWI 4000s as an additional instrument and to write arrangements etc via MIDI as it's also a MIDI controller.

There are some amazing software sax sounds out there. Samplemodeling's 'Mr T Sax' for example. The EWI is best used for emulating the sounds of monophonic instruments. However, I do not kid myself! It will NEVER match the nuances of a real sax, but does it really have to?

I have a HUGE Respect for sax players but at 64yo I don't really have either the time or inclination to learn to play a real one. For a start I don't read sheet music or know much music theory - I just wing it every time and it works, so why mend it. I don't even count time consciously. If I do, my playing falls apart badly.

I love the fact that I can live out my fantasies as a sax player, or indeed other instrumentalists, on my EWI. It makes whatever sounds it makes and as long as it's harmonious it's all that matters. I recorded a song in 2009 with a female jazz vocalist on which I played a minor key tuned 'Native American' flute made out of plastic plumber's tube and into Logic with a guitar distortion fx - It sounds wild.

As I'm not a sax player my contributions to this forum may be limited but, as I say, I have a huge respect for sax players and love the sound. In due course I'd love to post links to my efforts on the EWI with sax sounds loaded and would be interested in your comments.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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I have a HUGE Respect for sax players but at 64yo I don't really have either the time or inclination to learn to play a real one. For a start I don't read sheet music or know much music theory - I just wing it every time and it works, so why mend it. I don't even count time consciously. If I do, my playing falls apart badly.
Sounds like a natural sax player to me.....

Give it a try, you'd be surprised. Fingering's easier than a flute....
 

RedRobin

New Member
Messages
16
Location
West Dorset
Sounds like a natural sax player to me.....

Give it a try, you'd be surprised. Fingering's easier than a flute....
....Someone called Kev once wrote: "Man is limited by his fears, not his imagination" :D

I really have so much on my plate to learn already: EWI, Logic Pro, Omnisphere, Novation keyboard, Yamaha tone generator, etc etc, and that's without being able to afford to buy a sax. No, I'm happy to sound like one...... Sort of!


^ Not a real sax but still nicely done in my opinion. Smooooth jazz for the Cafe Saxophone ;}

However, if Candy Dulfer is available to give me sax lessons I might reconsider!
 
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old git

Tremendous Bore
RR,
You've come to the best place for sax samples. That nice Mr. Thomas has an amazing set available that were designed to be used in Logic.

Another point is that if you are using your EWI with saxophone fingering, only a few things to get used to, the reed, vibrato and non-touch sensitive keys and touch pieces. Like every other woodwind I've tried, the first three fingers of each hand are the main controllers and anything else movable on the hands, the rest.

If you were a bit closer, could offer you a blow on a tenor and a try of Pete's samples.
 

RedRobin

New Member
Messages
16
Location
West Dorset
Interesting about the sax samples but I've recently bought Samplemodeling's 'Mr T Sax' which loads into Logic via Kontakt. Am about to do my first recording with it.

I use my EWI with EWI fingering. It relates quite well to my Native flutes which of course don't have keys or touch pieces and which have taught me to vibrato via my mouth.



Thanks for the suggestions though - Much appreciated :)
 
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