All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

Saxophones Yamaha Digital saxophone - or is it?

Filip

Member
Messages
53
When you're away from home it's complicated to play the real thing. But it would be a nice break from a day's work...

You don't have to tell me... I spent my first year of playing taking the sax with me as an electrical installer, it was played anywhere ranging from the van through empty warehouses all the way up to cars of hotel owners... The next job included business trips to Poland to do site surveys, practice locations included b&bs, trailers, forests etc... still remember armed security asking in a couple of places "what the f*** is this and why are you bringing it here"

... still sound rubbish though.

Oddly enough i found settling down at one address both the best and the worst thing - prior to lock down i could have a blast for a couple of hours knowing there isn't anyone to listen... These days i have a 2 hour window between end of work of the neighbors and beginning of my night shift.... I became really concious to the point of moving into current work accommodation (nursing home) and putting some of the money saved towards a sax partner, plan is to find some local connections that would allow me to use community halls etc in exchange for some cleaning or something in order to play my bare horn once in a while...
 

StebaSax

New Member
Messages
28
Saxmute? Currently waiting for mine to arrive...
Actually, I had a saxmute in the past (one of those bulky white cases). It reduces the sound, but you can still be heard clearly by people nearby (or the next room). In my present situation, I need to be completely silent after a certain time (meaning: babies asleep).
A teacher, some time ago, suggested me to practice fingerings without necessarily blowing for the difficult passages when I need to be quiet. I could never bring myself to do that: I still need some feedback in the form of a pitch.
So, I do hope the new Yamaha toy's fingering feels close to a real saxophone. For real saxophone sound, I can still play my real saxophone earlier in the day.
I'll have to find out once I receive it!
 

randulo

Living the dream
Subscriber
Messages
5,321
practice fingerings without necessarily blowing for the difficult passages when I need to be quiet.
Isn't that how Beethoven learned to play piano? (or maybe Chopin?) On a fake keyboard he drew. Maybe that's a myth :)
 

saxyjt

Saxus Circus Maximus
Subscriber
Messages
4,303
Here is another video on the subject:


I can't say the demonstration is that convincing, but what they are saying brings some additional infos about the product and its components.
 

randulo

Living the dream
Subscriber
Messages
5,321
I think they would have been better off to give it a new name, as Roland did with the Aerophone. It's a synthesizer with a physical model as a saxophone. It doesn't sound like one, and every demonstration, including this one, demonstrates this fact very well. I think it has many uses, but it shouldn't have been called "Digital Saxophone".
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,590
Here is another video on the subject:


I can't say the demonstration is that convincing, but what they are saying brings some additional infos about the product and its components.
I think it sounds awful. If it were any other (keyboard based) synth it would be laughed at. The breath control part doesn’t have the immediacy of the Akai either. I think a melodica is far better - a classic sound.
 

h4yn0nnym0u5e

Member
Subscriber
Messages
316
Agree, the more I hear the less good it sounds. Having said that, it’s clear from the interview that it’s not really aimed at the performance market, but (re)starters and people who want to do silent practice. From that point of view, the closer emulation of the fingering is clearly a good thing, compared to the majority of EWIs I’m aware of. (@randulo, I assume that’s what you mean by “physical modelling”, not the synthesis, which is sampled rather than modelling as the VL series of synths did).

I suspect calling it a Digital Saxophone is just good marketing; any alternative name would put off a significant part of the target market.
 

randulo

Living the dream
Subscriber
Messages
5,321
Agree, the more I hear the less good it sounds. Having said that, it’s clear from the interview that it’s not really aimed at the performance market, but (re)starters and people who want to do silent practice. From that point of view, the closer emulation of the fingering is clearly a good thing, compared to the majority of EWIs I’m aware of. (@randulo, I assume that’s what you mean by “physical modelling”, not the synthesis, which is sampled rather than modelling as the VL series of synths did).

I suspect calling it a Digital Saxophone is just good marketing; any alternative name would put off a significant part of the target market.
Yes, I meant is it "modeled" after the physical saxophone. I own a WX5, and it can be made to sound better than the demo above, much better. However, yiu have to drag around a sound module and it's tethered to that by a special cable, so you can't add wireless to it. If I was in charge of marketing, I'd have called it something else!
 

randulo

Living the dream
Subscriber
Messages
5,321

Mark Hancock

Member
Subscriber
Messages
444
In answer to the title of this, "No, it isn't a saxophone".

I think with more work, the new instrument will be a lot of to play in public. I hope to ready by then, say next June? Meanwhile, I won't be taking over Toots' spot in the hall of fame, but it's fun to get the expression and timing better. It's one of the main challenges.

https://soundcloud.com/randulo%2Fblues-shuffle-yds-150 View: https://soundcloud.com/randulo/blues-shuffle-yds-150
That's a great demo Randy! How do the keys feel - they look like they should feel pretty much like a real sax(?)
 

randulo

Living the dream
Subscriber
Messages
5,321
But wait, there's more! Messing around on one sound.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1yIWslrG9Y


Love the feel, solid build, feels just like a "straight alto" to me. The lack of lip sensor is terrible, they will probably come out with another model, or an add-on someday, if they get any interest. As I've said, it does output clean MIDI via USB, which they don't mention anywhere for some reason. I think if I spend another few days, I might just get it right.
 

Ivan

Undecided
Subscriber
Messages
7,515
I get the music making element of this and other wind controllers

I don't get the spiel that they imitate the idiosyncrasies of the saxophone which generate its tone and expression
 

randulo

Living the dream
Subscriber
Messages
5,321
IMO it's all about the physical feel in the hands. The sounds have little to do with a saxophone.
 

StebaSax

New Member
Messages
28
I received my new toy yesterday and had some time to spend some time practicing with it.
Here are some first hour impressions:

Mouthpiece and embouchure: the YDS-150 comes with a mouthpiece shaped exactly like an Alto saxophone mouthpiece with a plastic reed. It looks like a real saxophone mouthpiece-reed combination, but that's where the similarity ends. Blowing and making a sound with it felt like playing my little nephew's melodica. Actually, I was able to obtain the very same sounds by removing the mouthpiece and blowing directly into the tube.

Key action: at a first look the keys appear a bit too plasticky for my taste. However, when in hand they felt immediately like an ordinary saxophone and I had no issues playing scales over the whole range. The action is quite soft (if that makes sense), but I'm quite spoiled by my Yanaqisawa real alto which (in my personal opinion) has one of the best key actions. I had only some minor troubles finding the correct thumb position for the octave key, but I think I'll get used to it. On a real saxophone, switching octaves is always a mix of octave key and overblowing, and that's clearly difficult to emulate on this digital instrument.

Sounds: I still need to explore this department. There are a few sounds, besides sax, to try out and some parameters to tweak to manipulate the instrument's response. I also need to get used to the thumb control to emulate note bends. The basic sax sounds are not really too bad for practice, but that's perhaps because my initial expectations were quite low. I'm not sure I would like to perform or record with those sounds, but as practice feedback, they're not too bad. Some of the sax sounds have embedded vibrato and reverb that make them not too boring.

Silent practice: this is the area where the YDS-150 is more useful, at least to me. I was able to do some shedding for about an hour with a headset on and one of my baby girls sleeping in the same room. At least with regards to the key action, I felt I was practicing on a real saxophone. At the moment, I have no other way to practice during that time of the day so, this digital instrument has already found a role in my practice schedule.
 
Top Bottom