The Akai EWI 4000S wind instrument is a big step forward in the development of MIDI controllers and synthesizer instruments. It offers customizable sax-style fingering with advanced controls and funct... Read More
The Akai EWI 4000S wind instrument is a big step forward in the development of MIDI controllers and synthesizer instruments. It offers customizable sax-style fingering with advanced controls and functions for expressive performance and makes a number of higher-end synth features available. For more information on fingering options, download the PDF Manual on this page that contains fingering charts.
Most significant on the MIDI wind controller is an onboard sound module so you no longer have to play tethered. By using MIDI and an optional wireless transceiver, you can move freely onstage and switch between stored programs from the instrument. Its internal sounds are based on a virtual analog synth sound module and are very responsive to nuances of your playing. Breath, vibrato, glide time, and bend width are easily adjusted to suit your musical style, and you can send multiple MIDI messages via breath for expression and aftertouch changes.
The Akai EW14000S MIDI wind controller is also an octave key and mode that automatically doubles below the note you play, a Hold Mode which sustains a note while you play around it. It has 2 oscillators with separate volume controls, and a voltage controlled filter that can go from 2 to 4 pole filters. The EWI4000S improves breath noise emulation and also has sostenuto.
The EWI 4000S also has a sweep function that is more effective than typical envelope generators. By changing the force of your playing you can alter the sweep parameter to give dynamic shape to your sound.
To keep controls to a minimum, the Akai EWI 4000S comes with a MAC/PC editor program on which to customize your sounds. You can store edited programs and recall settings instantly during performance.
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Reviewed by 4 customers
Displaying reviews 1-4
I tried the Yamaha WX5 controller, and just could not get it to work correctly. The octave mechanism is terrible- at least on the one I tried. The Akai EWI4000s is a solid, reliable controller. I mainly play sax ( 30+ years) and do not have time to maintain my embouchure. This controller, when coupled to the Yamaha VL70 module, lets me play in pits, ensembles, orchestras, bands, etc and cover just about any part thanks to the ability to change the intrinsic key. ( F for horn, Eb for alto sax, C for oboe, etc. ) Do not expect the internal sound generator to sound like any real instruments. Only use this as a controller, and for that is it wonderful. You can set the fingering to be like a flute, a sax, etc. I use sax fingering, and have no complaints. The touch sensitive buttons take some getting used to- if during a sweet solo you move slightly and touch a button, the pitch will change! After years of sax discipline to keep my fingers touching the "pearls" of the keys, it is hard to change to a "flying" finger method of technique. Also, EWIs demand very tight control of the fingers changing with the breath input. Unless your technique is perfect, you will get little "glitches" in the sound between the desired notes. Real instruments do not do this. For live performance DO NOT USE THE BATTERIES! If they go dead it is most unpleasent! Use the AC power adapter for live operation. Batteries are OK for home use / practice only. Someday, when my EWI 4000s dies, I will get another of the same model if possible. If you have to use the internal sounds, plan to spend time doing sound edits, or buy the Patchman collection for this instrument.
I've been a flute player for more than 20 years, but a health problem made me start looking for options that take less wind to play. I settled on the EWI 4000s after doing some googling. So far it's been a pretty easy switch to make. I have my EWI set on flute fingerings, which was one of the selling points for me. The fingerings aren't exact, but close enough. With the option to adjust the amount of air needed to trigger the sound, I can use just a small stream of air to get a nice sound. You do have to allow air to leak around the mouthpiece when blowing. I suppose that would be hard for a clarinet or sax player to get used to, but for me it was an easy adjustment. The hardest thing to get used to is the octave roller. I'm getting it, after a week of practicing. The internal sounds on the EWI are a little synth-y sounding, but there are nice sound patches out there if you look for them. All in all, I'm very happy with the EWI. One thing that should be noted however, is that it's a mistake to look at this as "an electric sax/clarinet/etc." Look at it as another instrument altogether, with similarities to a clarinet or sax. If you understand you're really learning a new instrument that some of your previous experience applies to, you won't be disappointed when you switch, and find that it takes work to make the transition.
I've played winds for almost 30 years, and have played the Yamaha WX5 for the last several years. The EWI and I just don't get along. I can't argue with all the players that give it a 5*, because I KNOW this instrument is capable in the right hands. There are things to love about this thing, and things I don't much care for. Things to love: 1) The touch sensitive controls, as opposed to plastic levers 2) NO dip switches to fiddle with, compared to the 16 dip switches and three pots on the WX5. Other than initial calibration, it's mostly software adjustable using soft switches. 3) The bite sensor is self centering; everything stays perfect pitch unless you bite (the WX5 requires either the vibratoless recorder mouthpiece, or an accurate constant pressure on the "reed".) 4) The weight and construction are superior. Things I don't care for: 1) The internal sounds are kinda weak, and very "synthy," so unless you are after that kind of sound, you are going to want to plug it into an external synth, or spend LOTS of time developing your own patches (which thankfully the software makes very easy to do). The sounds aren't stereo, either. 2) I think it's a bad idea to develop an instrument that REQUIRES a loose embouchure (ie, unless you want to turn blue, you have to relax your lips and let air escape because the EWI is VERY tightly vented.) Every wind player of any caliber will have a hard time coping with this, I think. 3) No phantom power capability. The WX5 has a single slim cable that, if hooked to proper hardware, will give you MIDI plus external power. No bateries required. Not so with the EWI; and it doesn't shut itself off. If you forget to hit the switch, you just drained 4 batteries overnight.
If you are a brass player and want a wind synthesizer this is the ax to get, period. I have been playing wind synthesizers for 24 years, trust me. Self contained sound module, 100 entirely configurable voices, easy voice management software all that and at a price that won't make you cry. It's a no-brainer.
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