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Topic: Akai EWI USB and World instruments

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  1. #1

    Akai EWI USB and World instruments

    Hello everybody,
    I am new to the forum.

    I am an EWI player and I love world music. I am thus interested in getting Garritan World library, but I am afraid it won't suit my needs - that is: to play "live". I don't care about composing, at all. What I only am into is having fun while playing at home, with beautiful and realistic sounds - and with a realistic feeling as well.
    I am so far using the Aria sounds that come bundled with the EWI USB. I like most of the synths, and some of the sampled instruments, but I am not impressed by the realism of the latter. Can I expect something closer to the real instruments sounds with Garritan World Instruments?

    I am especially concerned about built-in vibrato. As far as I read in this forum, vibrato in Aria is controlled by VibSpd(CC17) and Aftertouch; I also read that aftertouch knob is hidden in the interface thus unavailable to tweak.
    I would like to achive vibrato ONLY with my breath pressure, while getting a steady, boring
    sound if I keep my breath pressure steady.

    I would please love to know if that is achievable before buying something that could not fit me.

    Thanks to everybody willing to share her/his knowledge!!

  2. #2

    Re: Akai EWI USB and World instruments

    I have the Akai EWI USB but I do not have the world instruments. I know from my experience that the saxes and clarinets (and any other instrument that does NOT have a sampled vibrato) can produce vibrato fairly easily on the EWI. But, either I haven't learned all about the EWI or I am mistaken as to what you are saying about EWI vibrato. I get vibrato on the EWI by biting the soft mouthpiece on it as if I were using jaw vibrato on saxophone. I have never gotten vibrato by wind pressure changes. If that is possible than I haven't learned how it is done.

    Any of the instruments that do not have sampled vibrato will produce the correct vibrato (using the jaw) when the EWI is set up in the settings dialog do recognize it. I have had no problem in doing so on any of the instruments in Jazz and Big Band samples or the Garritan Personal Orchestra samples. Again I remind you that vibrato can only be controlled on instruments that don't already have vibrato sampled into them (like strings). I don't think you can do vibrato on keyboard instruments as well (since they don't have vibrato anyway).

    I hope this gives you some idea that it will work. Maybe others in the forum have used the EWI with the world instruments and can give you some more insights.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  3. #3

    Re: Akai EWI USB and World instruments

    Quote Originally Posted by guachi View Post
    ...Can I expect something closer to the real instruments sounds with Garritan World Instruments?

    I am especially concerned about built-in vibrato. As far as I read in this forum, vibrato in Aria is controlled by VibSpd(CC17) and Aftertouch; I also read that aftertouch knob is hidden in the interface thus unavailable to tweak.
    I would like to achive vibrato ONLY with my breath pressure...
    Thanks, Rich, for giving Quachi the info - I was hoping an experienced EWI user like you would chime in.

    I'm not an EWI user, Quachi, but I have a few things to add.

    I don't know what the instruments are like that come bundled with the EWI, but otherwise, the Garritan line of software instruments are known for their realism. I own and use all of the Libraries, and I can tell you the World collection is stellar, with very natural samples of its huge collection of instruments.

    So Rich told you how to use vibrato on the EWI - I don't think you need to worry about CC17 and AfterTouch the way keyboardists do. But you're misunderstanding about the AfterTouch knob in ARIA - It isn't there for tweaking. Its basic purpose is to audition the vibrato, and it moves when you're using AT to add vibrato. But you wouldn't ever push that knob up and leave it going non-stop.

    What you said about breath pressure doesn't seem right to me either - That controls the volume of instruments on a wind controller, using CC2.

    Randy

  4. #4

    Re: Akai EWI USB and World instruments

    What you said about breath pressure doesn't seem right to me either - That controls the volume of instruments on a wind controller, using CC2.
    Yes, what Randy mentioned about volume is correct. I forgot to include that. That is also set up in the settings menu of the EWI which has to be done in the stand alone version of the EWI ARIA player. It seems to be saved and the settings are available in the regular ARIA player that you would use for World Instruments in a DAW. But, of course you said you are using in live so you would be using the EWI stand alone player which will load any Garritan instruments that you have (at least mine does).

    And by the way, CC1 can also be used for volume. At least that is the CC I use for volume on my EWI. I am not sure what the difference is between CC1 and CC2 but I am sure Randy has a better grasp of that.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  5. #5

    Re: Akai EWI USB and World instruments

    Quote Originally Posted by RichR View Post
    ...And by the way, CC1 can also be used for volume. At least that is the CC I use for volume on my EWI. I am not sure what the difference is between CC1 and CC2 but I am sure Randy has a better grasp of that.
    In the standard MIDI spec, CC2 is assigned to Breath Control - that's why I always mention in it when talking about wind controllers like the EWI - But it has the exact same results as CC1 and CC11, it's the volume controller. Sounds like maybe EWI is non-standard, and uses CC1, but it doesn't matter, whatever the defaults are.

    EDIT: Hmmmm, I'm thinking back now to the breath controllers on some synths - Yamaha? A mouthpiece on a tube that went to the keyboard- THAT's what used CC2. Haven't thought of that in years - OK, so I haven't been getting that right. Breath Control and the current Wind Controllers are two different things, and the EWI uses CC1 for volume - Fine. There ya go--Confusing enough? lol.

    Guachi, you already have your EWI and ARIA set up, so you would just be loading World sounds into your ARIA once you have the Library, like Rich says he's loading his other Garritan Libraries in that same Player. Hope you go for World.

    Randy

  6. #6

    Re: Akai EWI USB and World instruments

    I purchased World instruments for pretty much the same reason and have been happy with it for noodling around. There is a large selection of wind instruments to play with and I have found the quality of these to be above the quality of the Aria samples that are included with the EWI USB.

    As far as vibrato and breath control are concerned, this by default will work the same as with the EWI-Aria samples. The breath control will send CC1 (Mod) or CC2 (breath) and Aria responds to both of these as the same MOD wheel expression controller. Unless you've changed the mapping both the bite sensor and the pitch bend plates should be mapped to "pitch bend."

    By default you can do a bit of vibrato using the bite sensor in the mouth piece but I myself find this exhausting on the jaw muscles. You can make a vibrato like warbling effect my modulating your breath pressure but I wouldn't consider this true vibrato.

    Now, with World Instruments and ARIA you do have controls for the vibrato speed (CC17) and vibrato amount (aftertouch). Both of these controls are visible on the "instrument controls" tab of the aria software so it is possible to add vibrato effect, the question is how to do it with the limitations of the EWI controls available.

    My first thought is that you could manually set CC17 to an acceptable level and then remap the bite controller using the EWI-ARIA configuration software from "pitch bend" to "aftertouch." That way vibrato would be added with a constant bite pressure rather than constantly gnawing at the mouthpiece. (Note, I haven't actually tried this myself yet.)


    I'm curios:
    1) are you using the stand alone EWI-Aria player or are you using it in a DAW or other VST host
    2) do you have any specific patches in World your particularly interested in?

  7. #7

    Re: Akai EWI USB and World instruments

    EWI USB works well with World instrument. I prefer the jaw-vibrato, that is turning off sending Aftertouch, and just send Breath control.

    You can listen to the sound of EWI and Garritan library vibratos in my small excerpts:
    https://soundcloud.com/bertalan-fodor/adono1
    https://soundcloud.com/bertalan-fodo...-a-fifth-lower

    The first is Tenor sax in Jazz and big band, the second is the Duduk from the world library. Both played live with EWI USB, no controller drawing etc. after the recording.

    For a better vibrato (for me) I adjusted the Bite sensitivity (lowered it to 30, instead of 64), to make it less artificial for natural instruments. (For a synth a higher setting is better.) Then I use biting and breathing vibrato together.

  8. #8

    Re: Akai EWI USB and World instruments

    It's an EWI users convention! - Thank you so much Rich, Daniel, and Briff, for helping out Guachi. And it's helpful you guys actually have the World Library that Guachi was specifically asking about.

    Something you said, Daniel, answered a question I had - and I have something to add:

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Bendshadler View Post
    ...Now, with World Instruments and ARIA you do have controls for the vibrato speed (CC17) and vibrato amount (aftertouch). Both of these controls are visible on the "instrument controls" tab of the aria software so it is possible to add vibrato effect, the question is how to do it with the limitations of the EWI controls available...
    I was wondering if the vibrato speed could be controlled on the EWI. Apparently not by default. But if there's a way to re-assign the Pitch Bend - I don't think there's any other available control for this?-- to CC17, it would be worth it. To have the speed of vibrato change over the course of sustained notes is a natural effect that amps up the realism.

    You don't want to use the ARIA control for AfterTouch though, because it would leave vibrato on at what ever level you push the knob up to. It's being triggered by the Bite sensitivity. - I just wanted to make sure that was understood. What would happen actually is that after the first time you use Bite, and then let up on it, that would reset the AT knob to zero again.

    Hope you come back to your thread soon, Guachi!

    Randy

  9. #9

    Re: Akai EWI USB and World instruments

    Thank you very much everybody. This morning I composed a throughtful reply with plenty of formatting and quotes of all of you and... I discovered right now that it was not posted. I probably hit the "preview" button one tenth time when I tought it was all ready rather than the "send" one. My bad

    So you are telling me that by default the instruments *do not vibrate*. That sound in the duduk tune was awesome. Was that vibrato built-in or have you made it intentionally, with your bite or lungs it does not matter?
    Thanks again!

  10. #10

    Re: Akai EWI USB and World instruments

    By default, the World Instruments will behave pretty much the same the Aria USB patches that are included with the EWI USB. This means unless you've remapped the EWI settings the breath pressure should be assigned to CC1 / CC2 which controls the Aria's mod wheel and responds in terms of volume and timber.

    Also by default, the bite sensor on the EWI should be mapped to the pitch bend midi controller. The harder you bite down on the mouth piece the more the pitch will bend. Vibrato can be accomplished by constantly adjusting the bite pressure (which I don't have the chops for and find fairly fatiguing on the jaw muscles.) Also on the EWI you can also accomplish vibrato by lightly varying pressure with your thumb on one of the pitch bend plates.

    I understand that some people can seem to perform limited vibrato on the EWI with just breath control. This makes sense to me theory as the variation in timber of the mod/breath control would produce a vibrato like effect. However, in practice I haven't been able to do this myself. The design of the EWI regulates the flow of air rather strictly compared to traditional wind instrument and it is difficult to modulate the flow of air the in such a way as to produce a vibrato.

    Below is a plot of the pitch bend data one EWI user was able to accomplish for vibrato using the thumb and bite techniques.

    http://www-acad.sheridanc.on.ca/~deg...20Vibrato.html

    Anyhow, these vibrato methods should work as well as in world as they do for the stock Aria EWI-USB patches. You may want to try them out on the Aria EWI-USB patches. (You also might want to check your EWI's configuration to make sure the pitch bend is being mapped from the bite sensor and thumb plates.)

    Now, as I had mentioned World Instruments does provide a fourth option using the vibrato speed (CC17) and Vibrato amount (aftertouch.) The trick, again, is how to utilize these controls with the EWI.

    Technique 1: Dial in a fixed CC17 vibrato speed and reassign the bite controller to send aftertouch instead of pitch bend. This should allow vibrato to be produced with a constant bite pressure. More pressure, more vibrato. This would solve the problem of having to gnaw on the mouth piece as spit escapes down the corners of your mouth. (Isn't that fun to watch onstage.) The down side, as Randy mentioned, this does not produce an ideal vibrato as the speed does not vary.

    Technique 2: (This is much more theoretical and complicated. keep in mind I still haven't got around to Technique 1.) Aftertouch is assigned to the bite pressure and CC17 vibrato speed is sent as a function of both bite (aftertouch) and breath pressure (CC1/CC2) though some intermediate midi software with and adjustable articulation curve. I think it would be a natural response for vibrato speed to chane to vary to some degree with the combination of variations in bite and breath pressure. This would have to be done in a VST/Host or DAW enviornment and would be difficult to pull off using the EWI software in stand-alone mode.

    Sorry for chiming in on things I haven't actually had a chance to try myself yet but I'm trying to answer a question I've had in the back of my own mind as much as I'm trying to answer yours.

    Briff, I was listening to your sound cloud while typing this up. Beautiful stuff!

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