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Wind Controller Playing My Yamaha WX11 For The First Time

Jazz Is All

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Last night I finally got to try out the WX11 and WT11 I received last week. Since I'm keeping it under wraps for the moment so as not to get blasted for yet another instrument from you can imagine who, I have been waiting until a night after 12 p.m. when that person is asleep and I myself am not similarly inclined. Last night was the night and I played around with it for 2 hours trying out all the sounds in the 3 banks of sounds that are standard on the WT11 tone generator. What follows are my experiences and first impressions.

Okay, right off the bat it is very easy to use. Pressing power on and play with the WX11 plugged in I was playing synth sounds right off the bat. Of course, I was using headphones, so there was no messing around with hooking up to my stereo system and no way it could disturb either the neighbors or sleeping beauty.

The instrument itself is very light and easy to handle because it is curved to fit the body rather than being straight like a straight sop. The only thing I found uncomfortable and a bit annoying is the placement of the strap hook which causes whatever strap you used to rub down on your thumb on the flat left thumb res formed into the plastic of the body. You have to have your thumb there, so you can operate the 5 octave keys above and below it and the fact that the strap presses against it made me press them incorrectly more than a few times. That is also because those keys are very sensitive and close together and there are 3 above the thumb rest and 2 below it. Truthfully adapting to them is going to be part of the learning curve since developing the coordination to press the right key for the next octave when playing arpeggios over each break and then back down is very different than on a mechanical sax. Furthermore, on my real saxes I often don't even press the octave key anymore to play the second octave because I tend to over blow without even thinking about it.

So I found that my timing was off with this new configuration and system and I also hit the octave key above the once I wanted by mistake simply due to lack of finger memory of them. All in due time I suppose, but I wish there was a way to keep the strap cord from pressing down on my thumb. I tried an old alto Protec foam strap I have, and it was awful because of the width of the two bands coming together at the hook, so I switched to my Sax Holder shoulder support strap with the thinner cord that the hook is on but that also pressed down on my thumb, but not as annoyingly and didn't inhibit my movements as much. There has got to be a better way to play this with a sax strap that doesn't do that because the so-called thumb hook is not really a hook at all but more like a overhanging protrusion in the plastic that doesn't provide enough support by itself I think. I'll try that the next night I play to see if I can possibly play it strapless and thus avoid the strap annoyance.

Okay, as to the sounds, there are 96 programmed ones that come installed in the WT11 Tone Generator. It actually has 3 banks of 32 sounds each, but the last of these is one you can upload your own sounds into, so that gives a lot of leeway to have a good variety of sounds. Switching among them is not really that easy unless one gets the two foot pedals that are extra accessories to allow for that, but you can quickly choose among 5 sounds at least.....that's what I have read. Last night I just kept pressing the change buttons and playing with all the sounds in order through the 3 banks. Of what is there, some of I like and others I won't use. Among these are the saxophone and trumpet sounds which all sound really false and more like an accordion or harmonica than the legit instruments they pretend to be. The tuba however is not bad nor are the strings and the cello and at least one guitar, one bass and a couple of organs are not bad either. What I like most are the synthetic sounds that we know as synthetic to begin with and not imitations of real instruments. I can't say which ones I liked by name yet because I didn't mark them down in the manual or on paper and just played them to hear how they sound in the different octaves.

The other thing I did was to try the lip zero adjustment control. I have to say that I find it inconvenient because the wheel you have to turn is so tiny you hardly can get your finger on it if you chew your nails like I do. It is hard to turn and frankly although I tried it in both the tight lip and loose lip mode and right in the middle of both, I couldn't hear or feel much of a difference being made when I played it in all those positions. I suppose I need to try it with a tuner to see what that does. I have a plug in guitar tuner that I can use, so I don't need to have speakers plugged in to do it.

So that's as much as I can say so far, other than that I'm very happy I got it. More to follow after the next learning session in a day or two.
 

TheChu

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I'm looking for something I can use to practice without bothering the neighbours (I have not been playing for years so probably sound awful!!!). This looks ideal, but I'm not usually very good at the tech stuff. Is it easy to understand the manual and all the features?
 

Jazz Is All

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790
Locality
Barcelona, Spain
I'm looking for something I can use to practice without bothering the neighbours (I have not been playing for years so probably sound awful!!!). This looks ideal, but I'm not usually very good at the tech stuff. Is it easy to understand the manual and all the features?
So far so good. However, it's not exactly like a real sax, so the fingering is not going to help you if you are trying to get back into playing. Finger memory is instrument specific, and you are going to be building that up for the WX and not for the sax. A better option, although not ideal either for other reason, is to get an E-Sax mute -- one of the Japanese baby white beluga whales. I had one for two years, and it did allow me to play quietly, although it was not ideal. The one good thing is that you are actually playing your sax and not an electronic approximation of one, although you will have to deal with the built-in difficulties that it creates to doing that. The closest to a real sax however now seems to be the $1,500 EMEO practice sax discussed in another thread on this forum. A real sax in terms of key work, fingering etc but of course electronic and on top of that quite pricey for many pockets. Then again, for people who seem to find paying several thou for a Yamaha, or 12 Gs for an SBA, that is probably a non-issue.
 
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