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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Yep,

I was going to hold off buying one of these until after I my boy gets settled in college. But I made a low-ball bid on one on eBay and I accidentally won it.

First thoughts are that it is smaller than I imagined. I figure it’s about 20.5 inches long with the whole key layout only around 9 inches. The key placement feels pretty sax-like but the small size makes the keys fairly close together like on a clarinet. This is a little tight for someone like me with big Neanderthal hands. But it’s okay.

The WX-7 is fairly light but seems well-made and moderately durable. The chassis appears to be 0.75-inche metal tubing with the plastic keys bolted on top and plastic plates bolted on the bottom with the controls and thumb rest. As you can see in photos, the “head” of the thing is a larger square plastic piece that is about 1-inch wide, 2 inches tall and 8 inches long with the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece is very sax-like, and with the plastic reed, it feels just like an alto sax mouthpiece while playing.

The WX-7 is hooked up via a belt pack. This belt pack is also known as a BT7, but mine just says WX-7 on it. It has a WX cable hard-wired to it that plugs into the WX-7. It will take 6 double-A batteries or a 12-volt AC/DC adapter. It’s strange that the six batteries only produce 9 volts of power, but the adapter has to be 12 volts. The belt pack come in a very nice leather case with a belt loop and strap attachment. The belt pack also has the ONLY midi output. Unless you own a Yamaha tone generator already with a WX input and the appropriate cable, you cannot use the WX-7 at all without this belt pack adapter since it’s the only way to get both power and midi data to and from the WX-7.

Once in hand, my first thought was to just plug it up to my PC and try to play it without reading the manual. I already have a midi to USB adapter cable, so I hooked that to the WX-7 belt pack. I quickly found a compatible AC/DC adapter out of my drawer of power adapters (yes, I have a drawer full of random power adapters) and then I hooked the WX cable from the belt pack to the WX-7. I started the Noteworthy Composer program on my PC and started to play.

I was able to get only a few notes to respond so I figured the WX-7 would need adjustment. There is a bunch of “trim” screws and dip switches on the bottom of the head that can adjust just about everything. After fiddling with them of a few minutes I was blowing notes through all five octaves on the WX-7. And Noteworthy was recording every note. It was a beautiful thing to see.

And for the down side, my PC appears to be a poor choice of a tone generator for this controller. There’s no breath control and with Noteworthy, the WX-7 only play the first or second midi channels. So if I have a midi “set” loaded, only the first two instruments are selectable. I have to go into Soundfont Manager and load each soundfont instrument I want manually into the first or second channels. After reading the manual, I know the WX-7 can select between at least 5 different channels and can use two at once in some modes. But I would need something better than my PC with Noteworthy Composer to make this happen.

Overall, I think the WX-7 is going to be a great for transcribing music that I play by ear. I can often play anything I hear in my head but have a hard time getting it on paper before it’s gone. The WX-7 will greatly help with this. And while Cello, violins and string ensembles sound pretty good played through the PC, I would really need a quality tone generating syth with breath control to make this little dude performance-ready. I may spring for an inexpensive WT11 to get me going. But I really want a VL70m. At least that’s something for the Christmas list. :mrgreen:
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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Keep an eye out for a TX81Z - that was the original mate to the WX-7.

It sounds like you've found a great application for these. I was drawn to buy several of them over the years but never got sufficiently comfortable with them to take them to performance level.

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
One issue I haven't been able to resolve is volume of my first note. If I play a note without any preceding key movement, it is very soft and then the next note after key movement is loud and strong. I've been compensating for this using the "Kenny G" voicing where you figure one note below the one you plan to play and then slur up to it. But I know there got to be a way to adjust the WX-7 where this does not happen.
 

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It's pretty rough fixing problems like this unless the patch is correctly set up for wind controller. In the MIDI stream, CC#2 generally is the breath control (though I think you might be able to set that to channel aftertouch on the WX7, but I'm not sure). The idea is that you can set your patches to change volume based on CC2, and not something like velocity. If you plan on getting a softsynth or a hardware tone generator that's more wind-friendly, it may be worth putting tweaks like this on the back burner until you do.
 

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I´m playing several WX7s and an EWI4000s since they were introduced. The problem with the WX7 is that the velocity information is only sent at the beginning of the note plus it is always a bite late. In my eyes it is simply unusable.
The trick is to remove all the velocity mapping from the synth patch you´re using as a sound source and map aftertouch or breathcontroller info to the former velocity mapped parameters. Get that? Sounds rather complicated but I hope you got the idea.
 

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And for the down side, my PC appears to be a poor choice of a tone generator for this controller. There’s no breath control and with Noteworthy, the WX-7 only play the first or second midi channels. So if I have a midi “set” loaded, only the first two instruments are selectable. I have to go into Soundfont Manager and load each soundfont instrument I want manually into the first or second channels. After reading the manual, I know the WX-7 can select between at least 5 different channels and can use two at once in some modes. But I would need something better than my PC with Noteworthy Composer to make this happen.
You just need a software that responds to the CC control signals for breath.

Kontact, Garritan Jazz&BigBand (I use it), Samplemodeling.com's saxes and others are set up to do this.

If you go for a vl70-m, get one from Patchmanmusic.com with their turbo sound chip.

Have fun!
 

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There is a very cheap soft synth (i.e. it's free) that can be made to work with the WX, I've used it a fair amount, and you can get some OK sounds out of it. Not great, but OK. It's the Hahaha CS33 V2, and it can be found here: http://rekkerd.org/pethu-updates-hahaha-cs33-to-v2-0/

The main point for a WX user is that every control on the screen can be mapped to a CC. So what I do is map breath control to the main volume, and the filter frequency. There are actually two controls that are made to map CC 2 to those things, but only the filter one works. Then set the envelope to the shortest attack possible, and short release (but not quite the shortest possible), and you will get some nice sounds. It's a good little synth, but you need ASIO4ALL to get acceptable latency. I have used it in Reaper and Live Professor with no issues.

The above points to the basic way to make a sound on ANY synth that allows mapping CC values to parameters - map breath (CC #2) to volume (so that your breath controls volume) and also map it so that higher levels brighten the sound. How you do this varies from synth to synth; for the Hahaha CS 33 v2 it's the filter cutoff frequency and perhaps resonance, for a FM synth it is the level of the modulator operators. Velocity is out of the question.

Another great synth for WX instruments is the FM8 from Native Instruments - downloadable from NI for $79. You can use all the patches that Sal Galina wrote for WX7 and TX81z, and Patchman has a bank of DX7 patches that are just gorgeous, that can be loaded directly into FM8.

I am not sure about the MIDI mapping capabilities of Noteworthy Composer; I created a small plugin in Reaper that allows me to spit breath control into as many as six different controllers, and scale each one. That lets me have use the full range of CC 2 for, say, volume on the CS 33, and a second CC (say 17), scaled to a smaller range, to map to filter cutoff so that the min and max aren't full out.
 

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I used a WX7 for a llloooonnnggg time and then sold it to Dr. G and then bought a WX-5. In some ways I like the 7 better.

B
 

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Welcome to the world of wind controllers! It's tons of fun, the community is very supportive, and of course, everyone has to get their two cents in, so here's mine!
The trick is to remove all the velocity mapping from the synth patch you´re using as a sound source and map aftertouch or breathcontroller info to the former velocity mapped parameters.
Dr_sax above gave a very simple formula for adding breath control to whatever patch you might be using in whatever soft synth you might be using. His suggestion is a great way to get started.

Everybody has their own favorite PC based synth ('soft-synth' if you want to get hip with the lingo) and mine is Propellerheads Reason. It just fits my way of working perfectly, it might fit yours as well. Reason gives you a virtual rack stuffed with all manner of synths, samplers, and effects. You can map any parameter to breath control and it's solid as a rock. I would recommend checking it out along with all the others.

At any rate, welcome. I've always wanted a WX7 - it was the first wind controller I played back in college - my sax teacher let me borrow his for a few weeks one time and I had no clue what the heck I was doing. I forgot about it for a while (concentrating on my sax playing) but eventually got an EWI-USB for playing in a pop band and for being able to play without waking the family at night. I just have a lot of fun with it, I hope you do, too.
 
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