Open Source MIDI Foot Controller

On the heels of the last post, An Open Controller For Woodwind Instruments comes this from hackaday.com:

MIDI has been around for longer than most of the readers of Hackaday, and you can get off my lawn. In spite of this, MIDI is still commonly used in nearly every single aspect of musical performance, and there are a host of tools and applications to give MIDI control to a live performance. That said, if you want a MIDI foot controller, your best bet is probably something used from the late 90s, although Behringer makes an acceptable foot controller that doesn’t have a whole bunch of features. There is obviously a need for a feature packed, Open Source MIDI foot controller. That’s where the Pedalino comes in. It’s a winner of the Musical Instrument Challenge in this year’s Hackaday Prize, and if you want a MIDI foot controller, this is the first place you should look.

Check it out. Pedalino.

An Open Controller For Woodwind Instruments

From Hackaday.com:

Engineers, hackers, and makers can most certainly build a musical gadget of some kind. They’ll build synths, they’ll build aerophones, and they’ll take the idea of mercury delay line memory, two hydrophones, and a really long tube filled with water to build the most absurd delay in existence. One thing they can’t seem to do is build a woodwind MIDI controller. That’s where [J.M.] comes in. He’s created the Open Woodwind Project as an open and extensible interface that can play sax and clarinet while connected to a computer.

One of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. Believe it grew out of this project. Can’t wait to see what is created with this.

Michael Brecker Archive

Steve Neff has a great article about Michael Brecker’s addition to the Living Jazz Archive.

Steve Neff’s Blog Post:

Dr. David Demsey at William Paterson University contacted me a few years ago to tell me about the “Living Jazz Archives” that the University was building and how they were adding a Michael Brecker Archive to the already existing archives that they already had. The Living Jazz Archives are:

A TEACHING TOOL for William Paterson University Jazz Studies majors, for classes in other academic areas across campus, and for visiting groups of students of all ages from public schools, from other colleges and universities, and the general public.

A RESEARCH CENTER for professional scholars, authors and researchers and for faculty from other institutions.

A MINI-MUSEUM honoring the lives and careers of these great jazz artists and their important contribution to the history of jazz, by displaying their music, artifacts and memorabilia using audio, video and multi-media.

AN ARCHIVE, containing the archived collections of Clark Terry, Thad Jones, James Williams, Michael Brecker, Mulgrew Miller and other collections, maintaining and preserving those materials in perpetuity.

Probably the most interesting thing for EWI players is this:

The latest big news: equipment! THREE EWI’s, including the original prototype, a second model that is new to me, and the final model that places hands side by side.”

Roland Doubles Down On The Aerophone

I like the Roland company. They have a history of making great products. Roland Keyboards, Keyboard Amps, Sound modules, and of course the Roland V-Drums. However, their Aerophone is a rather questionable entry for the company. They are now doubling down on the Aerophone, introducing the Aerophone GO. I think this is their attempt to get into the “mobile space”. Or musician who is “on the go” and just has to have something to play or record when out and about. I’m not really convinced that is really what happens out in the real world but whatever.

Basically, this would be like the Akai USB EWI where you need to tether the device to some sort of computer or “mobile device”. It isn’t “soundless”, and comes with a whopping 11 preset sounds with more available if you pair it with a smart phone. The mobile app also allows you to take a song slow it down or loop it, which could be valuable for learning songs.

The most interesting thing is the addition of Bluetooth LE and the ability to do midi over it. The Roland Aerophone AE-10 does not have this. Akai’s EWIs do not have this. And do we even need to mention Yamaha at this point? Anyone……No?. Midi over Bluetooth is a huge plus for this device, making it a great potential device for controlling software synth rigs (think Omnisphere on a mini PC controlled by the Aerophone). Adding midi to something like an Akai 4000s using Wireless MIDI Interface mi.1 [Rev.3] is dodgy at best.

CMUSE Recommendations On EWIs

Sometimes, there are bad reviews. This is one of them.

CMUSE (which I’ve never heard of) did a list of the 4 Best Electric Wind Instruments. Basically, it sucks.

They put the EWI5000 at the top, followed by the Roland Aerophone, then the EWI5000 USB, and THEN the EWI4000S. They list the “cons” on the EWI4000S as “no specific synthesized sounds, no specific instrument is set for the electronic wind instrument”. WTF?

How about the CON on the EWI USB as “you need a freaking computer to get it to do sounds?”. And the “Pros” on the Roland Aerophone is “Sturdy. Has onboard monitors as well as headphone output playing anytime and anywhere”. WTF? The EWI 4000S had headphone output? Mention that? Nope.

Basically my list would be Akai EWI5000 and EWI4000 at the top, and maybe the Yamaha WX5, and then maybe the Roland Aerophone, and last would be the EWI USB. So lame.

Midi Quest for iPad

Looking for a way to manage your EWI other than EWITool and the Akai Vyzex program? Great news, there is an iPad editor called Midi Quest that works GREAT.

It requires a $49.95 in-app purchase to unlock the whole thing, but it might be a good alternative for people who use more iPad music things than laptop.