Ok, so I bought a late Christmas present for myself. An Aerophone AE-30. Finally received it this week.
So, first impressions. Good things first.
I LOVE that they included a case. As a Akai EWI 4000 owner, it was a PAIN IN THE ASS to find a case for it. I did find a case made by Ritter-bags (soprano bag) that I love. But the AE-30 comes with a bag. Points scored.
Mouthpiece. It actually sort is like a saxophone. A reed, and you can lip things up and down. Very nice.
The sounds are great. The synth sounds really are top notch. Even the “trumpet” and other sampled/emulated sounds are very good.
Playing response is great. Articulation, etc. Top notch.
iOS app is nice. They don’t have a computer editor key as far as I can see. And no apparent way to share your patches or save them for backups or future reference. Not sure if it does a SysEx dump.
Now the things so far I do not like.
It feels cheap. For a $1500 instrument, it feels cheap and plastic. Like, it feels like a toy. I know the Akai 4000 has plastic, but it feels WAY more solid and “PRO” than the AE-30. I’d fear taking the AE-30 out on a gig…..it might break.
The keys are terrible. I complained on a couple of YouTube videos about the key noise. It is real. They keys are also rather….meh. I mean, they seem to be sluggish. I think the noise and the sluggishness are tied together. With some use perhaps it will go away? Or maybe some like silicone lube perhaps? Not sure. Not a fan at all of the keys.
Speakers are lame. Still not sure why they have them on it. Perhaps if they got rid of it they could have slimed it down some.
Those are the impressions so far. A little disappointed by the build quality. More to come…..
Retailing for a whopping $1500, it does have a lot of things going for it. It seems to really embrace the synth part more than it’s previous models, or anything Yamaha or Akai is offering up. Sure, there is a lot of cheezy “sax sounds”, and other sampled sounds, but their is also a “zen core synthesis system” which Roland uses in the Phantom and Jupiter X synth lines. This is very cool. And easily puts it way past other EWIs on the market. You’d have to somehow obtain an Akai EWI4000s (which Akai discontinued) to get a synth engine, and it’s not even in the league of the Roland’s. Plus it has Bluetooth MIDI on it. And can be configured from an editor app on your tablet.
Basically, THIS IS THE WIND CONTROLLER you should get. It has the best of everything on it. Sampled sounds, and a synth engine so you can do………pretty much anything.
The ONLY….complaints are the price $1499 is really steep (and it’s mostly plastic…..and at least one reviewer didn’t like the plastic mouthpiece), the insistence of having a built in speaker (why?……I can see this for the “non pro” ones….but the pro? How about losing that and adding a better mouthpiece (ebonite maybe?) or maybe wireless audio from it?) and that these seems to be a lot of key noise. Like cheap sounding key noise.
Would I get this? YES. This is the direction wind controllers/Electronic Wind Instruments should be going. A powerful engine where you can do sampled sounds, but you can also create new sounds. And it’s not looking like some sort of franken-sax. It’s worth the investment. Get something good. Get this.
All the saxophone sounds you need in one instrument
Nothing beats the sound of your favorite acoustic sax, but sometimes its tone might not be quite right for the job at hand. Whatever scenario you’re playing in, the Roland Aerophone AE-10 has the onboard digital sax sounds you need. Choose from alto, tenor, soprano, and baritone sax types that all respond just like their acoustic counterparts to your playing dynamics and articulation, thanks to Roland’s advanced SuperNATURAL modeling technology. Alongside individual sounds, you can pull off a seamless performance with the Full Range feature, automatically switching between sax types by key range.