Category Archives: Articles

The Never Ending Quest for an EWI4000s Battery Clip-in

So, I don’t know exactly how to tell the Akai parts people what I need. Basically, I lost the clip in battery holder thing for my EWI4000s. So the first time I called to get the part, they sent me the clip in part…..without the metal connectors. Which is completely useless.

This week, I called them, and the guy seemed to know what he was talking about, and I received two parts. PT1530105, which is the Cover inner. It’s the clip in part which I already had. And PT1504404, Cover terminal. Which is the part that goes over the Cover inner. BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE THE METAL connectors to complete a circuit! Ugh.

Anyone have any ideas what exactly I need to get from them? Part number??

UPDATE

Ok, this is what you need. It is called a Torsion Terminal. You need two of them.

So, in total, you need:
1 – PT1530105 – Cover Inner
1 – PT1504404 – Cover Terminal
2 – MT1510101 – Torsion Terminal

Now we have battery power back!

REVIEW: iRig and iRig HD

For a while now, I’ve been using an iRig with my EWI. It works rather well considering the price. It allows me to hook up my EWI to an iPad/iPhone/iPod and use programs like Garageband to add effects. You can also even get Looping apps so you can layer sonic creations on you iOS device.

My one complaint about the iRig would be that it is rather noisy. You can hear a lot of audio noise while using the interface as it plugs into the headphone/microphone jack on your iOS device. Latency isn’t a factor at all, which is really the bigger thing I was concerned about. Nothing sucks more than have a delay between when you physical sound a note (i.e. blow into the EWI) and hear it. My EWI settings are all tweaked to make it near instant (so no effect usually on the patches). For $30 (actually, look around iRigs are cheaper than that now) the iRig strikes a good compromise between features and audio quality.

The iRig HD fixes two issues in the original iRig. First, it fixes the audio quality problems by now plugging into either the 30 pin connector, the lightning connector, or via USB. So the signal is, I think, all digital now. Second, you now have a gain dial right on the device, so you can dial in the right amount of gain (and help eliminate noise). It’s about 3 times more expensive compared to the iRig, but it does come with the ability to unlock some amp sounds in Amplitube.

Which to get? Honestly, the original iRig works fine on EWI. The noise level is totally acceptable (sorta sounds like audio tape hiss…..so sorta retro sounding). If you plan on using the iRig with a REAL guitar as well as an EWI, you might want to get the iRig HD instead. It is sooooo much better than the original iRig in terms of noise when you use an electric guitar.

Check it out.

REVIEW: EWI Case

I first published this in 2012 on Jazz-Sax.com.

Rittercase

I have had an Akai EWI4000S for a while now (5 years? More?) I should probably at some point do a review of it and why you should get the 4000S instead of the crippled USB only version (or maybe that is the review?). But what I can say is that I saw on Amazon the case that I totally love for it, which I had a HELL of a time getting from the Woodwind and Brasswind (backorder hell basically).

 

The Ritter Soprano Saxophone case works great for an EWI. It’s stylish, has enough compartments for your iRig, 1/4″ cable, and power supply. The current cases have a large RITTER logo on them (mine is several years old and doesn’t have that), but the basic design is the same. Check it out.

Ritter Soprano Case 1

Ritter Soprano Case 2

Side note…..if anyone has a line on where to get the clip in battery thing for an EWI 4000S….I need one. Mine is lost.

Learning EWI…..What Fingering Mode To Use

Someone asked me about this recently, and I honestly totally forgot that the Akai EWI 4000S has different fingering modes. If you too forgot, refresh yourself here (reference manual).

I suppose if you are coming from another instrument, say Oboe, flute, clarinet, saxophone, or trumpet, switching the EWI into a mode that emulates the fingerings from the instrument you are coming from makes the most sense. So, obviously, if you play flute, switch the EWI into Flute Fingerings mode. But what about if you play something else, or perhaps you play nothing at all.

The EWI 4000 does offer an EWI Fingerings Mode, which looks pretty much identical to the saxophone fingering mode with a couple of differences. First, the revision D manual I think has a misprint on the EWI Fingerings. G and G# are the same fingerings. I think the meant to color in the next key, K5 for G#. The second thing I noticed when I printed off the two fingering charts (yes, I had to print them off and cross out the fingerings that were the same) was the the EWI fingerings were basically the same exact fingerings as the saxophone mode fingerings. The FOUR differences I noted was that the saxophone fingerings offered 4 alternatives that are absent in the EWI Mode fingerings. These alternates are:

  • Low B Alternate
  • Low C Alternate
  • Low C# Alternate
  • Middle Bb Alternate

If you are coming from an instrument that isn’t offered as a fingering on the EWI 4000, what mode should you use? That is a tough call. I would say saxophone mode, because it makes more sense to me (cause I obviously play saxophone) and also that having more alternatives is NEVER a bad thing.

Michael Brecker’s Logic Environment

I was trying to clean out a folder on my Mac with a ton of PDFs, and came across a PDF that was from an article from the ill-fated Virtual Instruments Magazine.

I’m pretty sure I have the article scanned and saved SOMEWHERE, but as I remember it detailed sort of the magical environment Michael Brecker and George Whitty put together. EWILogic has a little bit on recreating it. Sorta.

If you look at the PDF, it looks very very complex. It uses a lot of instances of Augustus loop, some Delay plugins, and a couple instances of ES2 and Kontakt.

Now, if the “lore” is true, people who heard Michael and this setup, or just Michael playing his EWI with this, were awe struck. Supposedly his legendary saxophone playing looked meek compared to what he was doing with the EWI.

Sadly, his last album had hardly any EWI on it. I kinda wish he had done an all EWI album. His EWI stuff that he did back in the late 80s/early 90s is STILL the best EWI stuff 20+ years later.

Perhaps there should be an effort by EWI players to recreate this Logic Environment? I’d be game (if I understood the whole Logic environment thing).

  Michael Brecker's Logic Environment (13.0 MiB, 187 hits)
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Artiphon

We live in an awesome age. We have little 4 inch devices that are more powerful than computers that were made less than 8 years ago. Now, there is this very interesting instrument, an Artiphon.
Artiphon

CNN had an article on it:

Is it a guitar? Is it a piano? Nope, it is a crazy iPhone-powered combination of both. Plus it has a built in bass, violin and drum machine to boot. The Artiphon Instrument 1 looks something like a medieval lute, but with a smart phone jammed into its belly.

In 2008 the Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition was established to showcase and recognize the invention of new musical instruments. Commenting on the Artiphon Instrument 1, Gil Weinberg, organizer of the competition and director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, said: “In general, I’m a big believer in using the capabilities of smart phones to power novel hardware. The ‘brain’ of such devices is already in your pocket, so why not use it?

Which got me to thinking….is it possible to take what I think is a severally crippled Akai USB EWI, and use an iPhone as the synth/controller? Hmmm…..

EWITool for Mac OS X

If you use an EWI 4000S and HATE the seemly abandoned Vyzex editor for it? Fear NOT fellow EWI players, Joseph Sheedy has come to the rescue. He has successfully compiled and released a build of the EWITool for OS X. And it works….though it is a little wonky. The interface is a little weird, and the Set Library doesn’t seem to work. The EWI Patch Set does work, which is cool. It is a community group where you can share patches you make. There are actually some nice ones there.

So, go check out EWITool. And grab the Mac version.

Getting Missing Parts For An EWI

Somewhere, I lost the middle piece in the picture. The clip in part where you put the batteries into. I’ve contacted Akai once or twice, and they will send the clip in part, but not the metal connector part. Seems like that is a separate part that screws into it.

Anyone have any ideas on how to get the WHOLE part so I can use the batteries again in my EWI?

Jeff Kashiwa + EWI4000S + iPhone

The Woodwind and the Brasswind has a little subsection on their site that they call “What The Pros Play”. And they have an article with multi-instrumentalist Jeff Kashiwa (of the Rippingtons). It starts with what he plays on and subsequent links to those instruments on the wwbw.com site. Towards the end, there are some fabulous insights on his EWI setup.

His EWI is no exception. Jeff used to travel with the EWI 4000s, wireless audio and midi, with a laptop and interface. Today Jeff uses the Akai 4000s with Patchman sounds, and has moved to an iPhone 4s set up attached to the side of the EWI with velcro.

He is using custom Logic EXS24 Multisamples which have been converted to Garageband for the iPhone app. Garageband is also generating the stereo delay and reverb. The internal audio and sampler outputs are routed with an iRig adapter in and out of the iPhone 4s with an inexpensive Radio Shack 1/8″ stereo headphone extension cable is used as the main output to the house sound system. He is stuck to a cable and not able to roam around on EWI thru the audience, BUT, how cool is that?? The entire system he once drug around on the road is pretty much just an iPhone now. I was impressed.

If you haven’t used iRig (or similar adapter) and Garageband with your EWI, you are missing out. For about $50 you can add a whole world of guitar amps and effects to your EWI. I am not sure why he’d have Logic samples in it though, as the iRig is purely an audio thing, and samples I would think would be controlled via Midi. That is not to say that he couldn’t also have one of the many Midi things available for iOS, like the iRig MIDI and a small little midi cable to the iPhone. Also, why he doesn’t pipe the sounds out of his iPhone into a wireless? Seems like you should be able to do it.

Anyhow, it’s an interesting little tidbit.

EWItool

The Vyzex Editor for the EWI4000s seems to be pretty much dead. Ok, well, the program seems to work alright, but that is about it. It has not had any changes in about 5 years. In the computer world, that is pretty much dead. So what alternatives are there? There is EWItool.

“EWItool is an open source controller for the popular Akai EWI4000s wind synthesizer. EWItool includes a fully graphical sound (patch) editor and patch library management. From version 0.4 onwards there is access to an online patch repository for sharing patches with others.”

Sadly though, there is not a Macintosh build for this. It does work under Parallels though. Is it worth looking into? Totally. There is also an integrated EWI Patch Exchange which is pretty darn cool. And you can submit your patches there too. Awesome.

The project seemed to be dead for a while as it was nearing almost 4 years of no updates, but lo and behold, in September of 2012 there was a pretty substantial update. Still no Macintosh version. Hopefully that will change soon.