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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay,

I've read most of the applicable threads on this. But my needs are a little different. I don't want a wind controller to practice with or to use as a primary performance instrument. Instead, I want to be able to play some music that's rattling around in my head and have my computer record it as rough sheet music using something akin to Finale or even my beloved Noteworthy Composer with the right plugin.

So, which controller do I need? It needs to fairly emulate the key layout of a sax and provide midi inputs just like a midi keyboard. I've been looking at used Yamaha WX controllers on eBay but I don't know which one is best for my needs. Do I need a WX5, 7 or 11? Or do I need another brand? And what else do I need to get this plugged into my DAW PC? And of course, cost is always a big concern for a true cheapskate like me. :bluewink:

Thanks for you help...
 

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Depends on what you want to spend. The WX-series probably has the most sax-like fingerings, and you'll probably get a bunch of recommendations for everyone's favorite in the series. I like the wx5, since you can buy it new, but I haven't tried any of the others. If you go with a WX, you need to find some softsynth that you can play with your DAW, or go with whatever your notation software will play, which is generally a wavetable synth from your operating system. To get a softsynth that will sound pretty good with a wind controller can be a pricey undertaking, if you care about how good it sounds. WIVI Band seems to be one of the cheaper options. There's also the hardware options out there.

If the EWI line has a close enough fingering for you, the EWI USB is a pretty inexpensive option at $300, and the player will run as a VST in your DAW. The EWI series is more different from a sax, in that it doesn't let a whole bunch of air through, and some recommend that you let the air out the side of your mouth around the mouthpiece. My own observations just from reading the forums is that the EWI USB has more "issues" surrounding it than the WX's or the EWI4000s, but many play it with no problems. The engineer in me really dislikes some of the things associated with the resistive keypads, like the need for a ground plate and problems some of the people with dry skin talk about, but once again, I haven't tried them, and many people really like them a bunch. With either one of the EWI's, they either have their own tone generation (the 4000s) or come with a pretty reasonable softsynth (the USB), so there's less to worry about from that end.

If you want to get a bit creative and save some money, the Casio DH100 is real cheap, if you can find one used, and is a full MIDI horn. The breath comes through differently than it does on the WX or EWI (its aftertouch), but for your purpose that's not a real problem. A bigger problem is that the fingering is closer to recorder than sax. Most would not consider it pro grade or road worthy, and they're probably right, but it is a cheap option. Also, the air goes through them more like a sax than with an EWI. For making a sound, there's a dirt cheap on board analog synth, or you can dig up a soft- or hardware synth (much like for the WX). You might need to map the aftertouch to the standard MIDI breath signal, but that can be done with free software.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Casio-DH-100-Di...ltDomain_0&hash=item2563e55ec7#ht_1104wt_1090 For some reason, these seem to be going for about $200 on ebay right now, but my experience is that they can probably be got for about $150. [UPDATE: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?160868-Casio-DH-100-for-sale-170-shipped ]. Just about every DH-100 has a squeal problem resulting from the deterioration of a capacitor (http://tedkeys.com/dh100/hornrepair.htm). If you're not using the on-board cheap analog synth, just turn the volume down and just use the MIDI output. Otherwise, buy one that's already been repaired, or if you're handy with a soldering iron, fix it yourself for about $2 for the replacement cap (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/paul.fox4/casiofixes.htm#squealfix) (I've done it, and it's no problem so long as you've soldered to a circuit board before. If you haven't it could get adventuresome).


Just about all the notation softwares can take input via MIDI with no fuss or muss. For the EWI USB, you won't even need a MIDI to USB adapter, but you will for all the other options. That would be in the $30-$40 range. I use the Yamaha UX16 without problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Scotts.

Anybody else got any advice on this?

Checking around on the web, all these brands and models appear fairly inexpensive if they are second-hand.
 

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Also, with the older WX's, the WX7 and WX11, they don't have a MIDI out, and you need to have or make the adapter. If you go that way, try to make sure you get the adapter with the controller. It's the BT7. I don't see much reason to go with the 7 or 11 over the 5, personally, especially for your stated uses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So the WX5 has the MIDI outs on it and it is the newest model? Does it lack any of the features of the 7 or 11?
 

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Go to http://www.patchmanmusic.com/WindControllerFAQ.html, and look for a section titled
"What are differences between the Yamaha WX7, WX11, and WX5"

There are some differences, which to me are minor, but some really see a reason to stick to one of the older models. The WX7, for example, feels less like a toy because of metal construction. The WX7 can send breath information as midi aftertouch, and the WX5 can't. People who have used the older models seem to prefer the relationship between the bend in the reed and the pitch bend that results, and don't like the larger "dead zone" on the WX5. The WX5 offers more continuous and static midi controllers.

Parts for older models can be hard to find if you need them. When you buy a WX7, you're buying a pretty elderly piece of gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The power/output adapter for the WX7 appears to have a midi output on it. It this correct or is this the BT7 mentioned above?

 

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+1 for the Casio DH-100. If you're using it solely for it's Midi output, I would find one that hasn't been de-squeaked yet. You could get it for cheap. BTW, I de-squeaked mine with caps I stole outta something I had laying around, easy peezy.
 

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Here is another approach. An audio to midi converter. This means you can just play your present horn into a mic and the audio will be converted to the midi format. There are several programs of this type around. Here is one example: http://download.cnet.com/Intelliscore-Polyphonic-Audio-to-Midi-Converter/3000-2169_4-10350653.html

Speaking of the Casio DH-100. Here is an example of a recording I did, about 20 years ago, while in my Sanborn stage. The DH-100 was use for the synth into and the solo at 3:25. The synth used was a Roland D-100. I really miss that fat sound!
http://dannyrussomusic.com/Its_only_you.wma
 

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Okay,

I've read most of the applicable threads on this. But my needs are a little different. I don't want a wind controller to practice with or to use as a primary performance instrument. Instead, I want to be able to play some music that's rattling around in my head and have my computer record it as rough sheet music using something akin to Finale or even my beloved Noteworthy Composer with the right plugin.

So, which controller do I need? It needs to fairly emulate the key layout of a sax and provide midi inputs just like a midi keyboard. I've been looking at used Yamaha WX controllers on eBay but I don't know which one is best for my needs. Do I need a WX5, 7 or 11? Or do I need another brand? And what else do I need to get this plugged into my DAW PC? And of course, cost is always a big concern for a true cheapskate like me. :bluewink:

Thanks for you help...
Are you sure this isn't another GAS attack?
 

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Danny, have you used this successfully? The reviews I've read on this seem pretty bad... just checking...
Sorry, having had both Yamaha and Akai windcontrollers, and before that the Casio, I really never had a need for that type software. I only know they exist, and I would imagine if you pay enough you will get something that works for you. Once in a while you get lucky and find a shareware, or better yet a freeware program, that does the job nicely. You will have to do some software installation experimentation to see which one works to your liking.
 

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Concerning the WX5, if I remember correctly it was only directly compatible with the VL-70 synth module. To get a midi out that would be compatible with other midi modules I had to buy an adapter that was over $300.00. This was years ago, so my memory on this is a little murky. Hopefully a WX5 owner can elaborate on this.
 

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QUOTE=Danny Troy;1727372]Concerning the WX5, if I remember correctly it was only directly compatible with the VL-70 synth module. To get a midi out that would be compatible with other midi modules I had to buy an adapter that was over $300.00. This was years ago, so my memory on this is a little murky. Hopefully a WX5 owner can elaborate on this.[/QUOTE]

The WX5 has a MIDI out of its own, and will plug directly into any MIDI synth or USB-MIDI adapter without any extra adapter.
 

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Any of the WX models will do what you want.

The differences:

  1. WX11 has the fewest features - lip control and notes fingered
  2. WX7 adds a thumb rocker for added pitch bend allowing you to remap the reed to something else - but warning - WX7 for me had been the least durable controller and repair parts are difficult to find
  3. WX5 has the most features, assignable up and down thumb rocker plus two toggles for added expression - the reed is a little more difficult to control than either the 7 or 11

If all you want to do is get notes into a sequencer, I'd recommend the WX11.

If you can't find the power supply, check out http://windworksdesign.com/music_wwbat.html

Insights and incites by Notes
 

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Art at WindworksDesign makes high quality gear - highly recommended by me.

Notes
 
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