Tag Archives: EWI

Wireless MIDI Interface mi.1

61VZy9b4kIL._SL1500_About 6 months ago, there was an Indiegogo drive for a Wireless Midi interface. It got funded in June.

“Let your old but good digital piano shine again by connecting your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth wireless MIDI interface.”

Basically, it takes the voltage that is being transmitted on the midi ports and uses that to convert it to Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Which means this little $45 thing you plug in will allow you to talk to your iPad, iPhone, Mac or anything that supports Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth 4).

So, how does this work with an EWI?
Continue reading Wireless MIDI Interface mi.1

Hello from New User!

Hi, this is Steve Scheinberg from the Baltimore, MD area. Found this site, and am newly registered. Looking forward to the discussions and sharing of hints/tips/problems/solutions, etc.

I’m a long time jazz sax player, playing pro gigs in this area. I started with a Yamaha WX-11 and Yamaha VL70m with the Patchman chip a little more than a year ago. Just “moved up” to the EWI 5000.

Finding the adjustment to the new horn not too terrible at all. The WX-11 already acclimated me to the concept of multiple octave keys. Just getting used to the rollers.

Couple quick observations:

As expected, I can play “faster” on the EWI than the WX. I currently have the DL (delay) set to 5 to get the best balance of speed and cleanliness. That may change.

I’m more comfortable transposing up and down octaves on the EWI. Since there’s no thumb rest, it’s less awkward to “re-home” my thumb on the fly.

Gotta stop hitting the left hand bis key when playing a C!!!!

In general, have to learn to not touch keys I don’t mean to touch.

Vibrato still more difficult to get right on the EWI than the WX. With the WX, it’s more natural for a sax player.

I’m really not wild about the built in sounds on the EWI at the moment.  I’ll have to see if I can come up with maybe 2 or 3 “go-to” voices in the event I don’t want to take my VL70m on a particular gig. Hoping Patchman comes up with a set. The VL70m is still in play! May upgrade that to a Motif Rack XS at some point, but the internal EWI sounds are no match for the VL70m.

I saw an article suggesting the removal of the middle right-pinky key. I’d favor that. I took out the screw, and the key did not just pop out. Did not want to force it! Should it come off without it breaking if I pull a little harder??

I do miss the WX’s alternate fingerings that let you jump to several notes in the next octave without changing the octave key. It’s true what many people say — The WX is more sax-like. But as I mentioned, the EWI can be adjusted to with practice.

Looking forward to trying the computer-based editor to maybe tweak some of the internal voices. Might like them better once I doctor them. Seems kind of stupid the way some are voiced in the “wrong” octave, and you have to “home” your octage key thumb up an octave from the default home rollers. I think I can fix that with the editor… right? The VL70m voices are MOSTLY set in the right “home” octave.

Thanks for letting me post, and I look forward to joining the discussions.

— Steve

EWI 5000

EWI5000_angle_1200x750For the Winter 2014 NAMM show, Akai has announced a new EWI.

EWI 5000 comes loaded with more than 3GB of top-quality sounds, including traditional horn, brass, woodwind, and string sounds, plus progressive synths, leads, and other non-traditional sounds. EWI 5000 includes 12 touch-sensitive metal keys on its top and an eight-wheel thumb- controlled octave roller on the bottom. An EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) Mode is included for brass players, and EWI 5000 also includes eight control knobs for tweaking Filter, Reverb, Chorus, LFO, Breath Amount, Bite Amount, Semitone Tuning, and Fine Tuning. Both USB MIDI and 5-pin MIDI are onboard for controlling software synths or traditional MIDI modules. A 1/4- inch output to connect to an amplifier or PA and an 1/8-inch headphone output for silent practice are included. EWI 5000 charges via USB or wall power and also includes a USB cable, wall adapter, wireless receiver, and a neck strap.

So, basically, an Akai 4000s with USB, a built in rechargeable battery, and some sounds.

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.

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, 146 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…..