When do you want to program my synths?
Again, my congratulations on what seems like a nearly impossible mountain to climb.]]>
So if I’m honest, I would advise against using a wind controller as a substitute for sax or clarinet (or flute, the WX5 can also be configured to use flute fingerings). It is clear that for developing your tone (on sax etc.) the wind controller is no substitute. And I also believe that if your goal, as for the original poster, is to study technique (play technical etudes etc. to develop your fingering fluency), that too is best done on the actual instrument itself.
(Note that it is possible to study technical etudes with your instrument without making a sound [e.g. start by removing the reed and put the mouthpiece in your mouth as you normally would]; for the more advanced player studying technique away from the instrument is quite good exercise!)
However, since I don’t want to discourage the original poster and I welcome anyone who wants to try their hand at playing wind controller, I would heartily encourage AG to do so. And maybe you’ll find that playing the wind controller is fun in and of itself! At which point you will become an actual wind controller player, perhaps doubling on clarinet. 😉
Cheers, and let us know what you decide!
Good luck in your musical studies. Let us know how you make out so we can learn and share that with others.
* Akai controllers (USB, EWI4000s, EWI3020) don’t have a reed on the mouthpiece, and instead have a bite sensor. The way the sensor is built it just senses change in jaw position, not absolute position. So you embouchure will not be developed to the same extent as a real reeded instrument.
* Yamaha controllers (WX5, WX11, WX7) have plastic reeds to sense bite pressure and they do measure position, so your embouchure will stay in better shape. But it’s still not the same as biting a real reed. Like the Akai, it’s fingered in octaves, not 12ths.
* Yamaha controllers are not USB, but you can still run them on a laptop if you get a USB midi interface. But the standard voices (patches) on a stock laptop are not setup for wind control and it won’t sound right. Look at the FAQ on http://www.windsynth.net about 3 up from the bottom – that will explain it. This will happened with any wind controller, and the Yamaha has a switch setting to help, though it’s not as good as having breath controlled voices. These voices are available, but you have to either buy them, or instead buy a Yamaha VL70m or older WT11 standalone synth to just “plug and blow” with a Yamaha controller. Akai solves this problem with the USB-EWI by including decent breath voices in with the laptop software.
In summary, the Akai USB-EWI is the lowest price, most turn-key solution. Plug into a laptop, install the software, and start playing. The downside is a bite sensor vs reed. Both brands of controllers are octaves, not 12ths.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions.]]>