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http://akaipro.com/news/articles/ha...akai-professional-introduces-the-wireless-ewi

Hi everyone. I'm a long time lurker and rare poster on the boards here. I'm a sax player and I also work for Akai Professional.

We just announced last week the EWI 5000s:

HARNESSING THE POWER OF WIND: AKAI PROFESSIONAL INTRODUCES THE WIRELESS EWI 5000

Akai Professional, creators of the original EWI, announce the EWI 5000, the most expressive and versatile wind instrument in the world. EWI 5000 includes an array of advanced features, including digital 2.4GHz ultra-low-latency wireless connectivity, a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 12 hours, and more than 3GB of built-in traditional and progressive sounds from SONiVOX, a leading creator of premium virtual instruments and software synthesis technologies.

With an entire orchestra of sounds built in, EWI 5000 gives wind instrumentalists a new level of expression and includes the latest in wireless connectivity plus a 12-hour rechargeable battery.
Cumberland, R.I. (January 23, 2014) – Akai Professional, creators of the original EWI, announce the EWI 5000, the most expressive and versatile wind instrument in the world. EWI 5000 includes an array of advanced features, including digital 2.4GHz ultra-low-latency wireless connectivity, a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 12 hours, and more than 3GB of built-in traditional and progressive sounds from SONiVOX, a leading creator of premium virtual instruments and software synthesis technologies.

“We’ve created EWI 5000 to address the needs of today’s modern wind players, and we’re especially excited to see what modern musicians can do with it to push the boundaries of wind instrument performance,” said Dan Gill, Akai Professional Product Manager. “Calibration is automatic and setup is easy. EWI 5000 is a smart instrument. It automatically adjusts to your playing style and offers authentic sounds, wireless convenience, rechargeability, and the expressive freedom EWI is known for.”

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 thumbcontrolled 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.

Akai Professional will unveil EWI 5000 in Hall A, Booth 6700 at the 2014 NAMM Show, January 23-26 in Anaheim, California. For more information, visit http://www.akaipro.com/WNAMM2014.
 

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Here is Mike Phillips demoing the unit at NAMM. I have personally yet to get my hands on the prototype, but I'm hoping to soon.
http://youtu.be/KJnw-r1e9jQ
 

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Here is Mike Phillips demoing the unit at NAMM. I have personally yet to get my hands on the prototype, but I'm hoping to soon.
http://youtu.be/KJnw-r1e9jQ
Around 4:00 into the video:

Guy from the audience: "Let us hear the new sax patch!"
Mike: "Sax? I have sounds for days!"
Guy from the audience: "Let us hear the new sax patch!"
Mike: "Ok, -to Akai guy- which one is trumpet?"
Guy from Akai: "Six"

And then long synthetic trumpet solo.
I guess the sax patch is less than satisfying.
 

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LOL why would anyone use a sax patch on an EWI?
I give you my humble opinion...

The real question is: why would anyone use a EWI?
If you are into electronic music in a studio there's little you can do with an EWI that cannot be done on a keyboard controller (that is also immensely more flexible).
If you are into live electronic music it could be nice (even if keyboards are still immensely more flexible) and you surely don't need a sax patch. Or a trumpet patch on the other hand...
If you just want a tool/toy to practice late at night or when your toddler/wife is sleeping a decent sax patch cames in handy.

Most of EWIs in my area where bought for the last reason and promptly sold second-hand when someone realizes that it's not a viable substitute of a saxophone.

Furthermore, someone asked for it at Namm and it was not demoed. I had the impression that Mike was clearly told not to play saxophone with the EWI, but of course I can be wrong.

Oh, and Akai includes a sax patch: apparently they are also of the opinion that someone could use it ;)
 

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The real question is: why would anyone use a EWI?
to make interesting sounds - expand one's pallet of available timbres - saxophones almost always sounds like saxophones - while an EWI can sound like most anything
to play expressive music while leveraging breath control and digital (fingering) skills learned as a saxophone or valved instrument player
one might wish to emulate Michael Brecker or Nyle Steiner or Sal Gallina
as a compositional tool - a way to get musical ideas from the fingers into notation
perhaps someone has lost the physical skills needed to play a woodwind, wants to continue to making music
anyone who does not find a keyboard controller the same kind of intimate experience as a wind controller

folks who worry when synthetic emulations of acoustic sounds don't sound exactly like acoustic sounds kinda miss the point

of course an EWI is not a substitute for a saxophone it is simply a different sort of musical instrument

If you don't care for the sounds a synthesizer makes, then fine - please change the channel - there's no need to torture yourself. If you like keyboard controllers better, go ahead and play one.

I wonder what the motivation is for folks to criticize the tools someone else chooses to create and manipulate sound?
 

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Around 4:00 into the video:

Guy from the audience: "Let us hear the new sax patch!"
Mike: "Sax? I have sounds for days!"
Guy from the audience: "Let us hear the new sax patch!"
Mike: "Ok, -to Akai guy- which one is trumpet?"
Guy from Akai: "Six"

And then long synthetic trumpet solo.
I guess the sax patch is less than satisfying.
That was funny.....,,


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I wonder what the motivation is for folks to criticize the tools someone else chooses to create and manipulate sound?
Maybe I got lost on translation... I was not criticizing the EWI: I like it (albeit it does not fit the music I play), I liked how Brecker played it and I also liked the YouTube demo that was posted.

I like it but I don't see myself buying one for the reasons I already explained. But, again, I don't see myself buying a keyboard controller, an heigenharp, a tuba or a church organ for the same reasons...

The one thing that I was "criticizing" is that the EWI could be very useful to a broader array of people if the sax patches were actually sounding good (and apparently they aren't, since Akai apparently doesn't want to demo them).
 

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I think we are all lucky that the Saxophone seems to be a very difficult instrument to sample or create a good emulation of. I know that there is a soundbank called mr. sax which is supposed to be on of the better ones, but luckily we are not that easily replaced.

I certainly do use my EWI USB as the wife and kids are sleeping option and have found that it is great for learning tunes and working on all sorts of different ideas. Is it the same as practicing the horn ... no, but I'm constantly surprised at how much carries over. There is a learning curve though like with any new instrument, you have to spend quite a bit of time to get comfortable enough to enjoy it. I know that part of me is living my geeky dream of having an EWI after hearing Brecker play it when I was 15. I'm glad that they have improved on it and are at least making an effort to update and produce these. It can't be a huge money maker for them.

To answer the above question though, I am not really interested in emulating acoustic instruments... I want to play some crazy layered sounds and have some fun... and then next time I pick up the Sax it feels fresh and I appreciate it even more.
 

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Would be more interested if they'd publish a list of patches and put up sound examples (as patchman does on his site).

$800 isn't bad but I wouldn't be interested in 3gb of 1970s synth sounds....
 

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I give you my humble opinion...

The real question is: why would anyone use a EWI?
If you are into electronic music in a studio there's little you can do with an EWI that cannot be done on a keyboard controller (that is also immensely more flexible).
If you are into live electronic music it could be nice (even if keyboards are still immensely more flexible) and you surely don't need a sax patch. Or a trumpet patch on the other hand...
If you just want a tool/toy to practice late at night or when your toddler/wife is sleeping a decent sax patch cames in handy.

Most of EWIs in my area where bought for the last reason and promptly sold second-hand when someone realizes that it's not a viable substitute of a saxophone.

Furthermore, someone asked for it at Namm and it was not demoed. I had the impression that Mike was clearly told not to play saxophone with the EWI, but of course I can be wrong.

Oh, and Akai includes a sax patch: apparently they are also of the opinion that someone could use it ;)
A keyboard controller is actually not nearly as flexible unless played with a breath controller, which is still going to leave the keyboard player with the problem of learning how to phrase like a wind player. I use the EWI live ALL the time. It just takes time to learn how to program for it so it sounds good in different settings. There's lots of music where the sax doesn't fit, but the EWI can fit right in. Doing a dance set or R&B set? No problem. Classic rock? Kontakt has your organ patches. Etc.
 

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I believe 8:11 to 8:40 in the YouTube video is supposed to be some sort of sax patch. Sounds like something between a bari and tenor. I could see myself with one of those puppies, when they go down to a more reasonable $599.00!
 

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Interesting. I could definitely use one to practice with at home without pissing everyone else off. And I'm sure that I would find a place for it live.

But, no XLR output on the receiver? really? That's just dumb.
 

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A keyboard controller is actually not nearly as flexible unless played with a breath controller, which is still going to leave the keyboard player with the problem of learning how to phrase like a wind player.
Have you ever heard about polyphony? Chords? Accompaniment? I'm sure you did...
MIDI is a great tool and you can probably put a good amount of work into your setup to "fake" some of them into an EWI controller, but still...
 

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I have in fact heard of polyphony and chords. EWI is a lead instrument, so this is a non issue. However, as soon as I heard about polyphony (last week), I researched programming. Have you ever heard of programming? I programmed diatonic chords and passing chords for each key, an independent constant structure harmonizer with an array of chord qualities to choose from on the fly, and activation mapped to MIDI CC#5. Playing chords on my EWI is as easy as holding down the portamento bar, the way I have set it up. I also have a random harmonizer set up in my rig, made by my friend John Isley, as an emulator for the old Oberheim Xpander effect. There is no way to "fake" polyphony. It's polyphonic or monophonic, period. Or at least, that's what I read when I looked it up last week for the first time.

Now to the area where EWI blows away any keyboard... its capacity for not only breath control, but realtime vibrato, growl effect that combines FM and AM and transmits through MIDI, and let's not forget that it lays as a wind instrument does under the fingers, so the phrasing is far different from any keyboard player's, bringing a totally different element to the performance.



The EWI can be REALLY flexible if you take the time to learn how to use it.

ALL lead sounds are EWI: https://soundcloud.com/danperezsax/ewi-jam-with-band
EWI on bass and lead sounds: https://soundcloud.com/danperezsax/wind-the-clock
EWI bass: https://soundcloud.com/danperezsax/trippy-track-with-marc

 

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Here is Mike Phillips demoing the unit at NAMM. I have personally yet to get my hands on the prototype, but I'm hoping to soon.
http://youtu.be/KJnw-r1e9jQ
Thanks for the link. I have often thought about the idea of getting one of these.
After this demo I can safely remove one of these gadgets from my GAS.
cheers, Mark.
 
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