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Topic: Anyone use an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with Garritan libs?

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  1. #1

    Anyone use an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with Garritan libs?

    A friend played me a clip from a song where he is playing an Akai EWI4000. This thing sounds wonderful. It comes in with a simple synthesizer module built right in and even the basic sounds this module provides come to life when played by the EWI. It seems that it makes a very natural musical interface that provides lots of expression. It would be very difficult to play a musical phrase with all the expression the EWI provides using a keyboard or editing midi data in a midi editor. It is also a midi instrument, which got me thinking about using an EWI to play back sounds from my Garritan libraries.

    So I'm curious if anyone has any experience with an EWI? Anyone used an EWI with Garritan libraries? Finally, does anyone know what the differences are between the Yamaha Midi Wind Controller and the Akai EWI?

    Cheers,
    Kenny

  2. #2

    Re: Anyone use an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with Garritan libs?

    Kenny,
    I use a Yamaha WX5 wind controller - if you wish, you can play it through the Yamaha VL70 physical modeling synthesizer and get remarkably realistic and expressive wind instruments - sax, trumpet, clarinet, flute, tuba, trombone, etc... or you can use it to perform other synthesizers or sample libraries, like the Garritan libraries.
    Gary's libraries are ideally suited to being performed on a wind controller, because the libraries' programming technique match so well the expression capabilities of a wind controller. Attack velocity shapes the attack, wind velocity (cc2) can be remapped to cc1 (Gary's libraries) for volume, and so forth. The use of a wind controller can give instantly realistic 'shaping' of performances, and avoid the need for endless editing of midi continuous control.
    So, you're on a very good track with your deliberations. To pursue this further, you might want to check out the windcontroller group at yahoogroups
    http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/windcontroller/
    There are many professional musicians using windcontrollers as mainstay instruments, and these guys will be in excellent position to advise you about the various flavors of wind synths.

    Trond

  3. #3

    Re: Anyone use an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with Garritan libs?

    Thanks Trond,

    I checked that link out... a lot of good information out there.

    Thanks!

  4. #4

    Re: Anyone use an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with Garritan libs?

    I recently got the Akai EWI USB along with "The Trumpet" and "The Trombone" software (from Sample Modeling). (The supplied Garritan library is okay, but not nearly as rich and expressive as the Sample Modeling libraries.) I am really amazed at how well these products work together. I'm even able to play a real vibrato (not recorded). The only problem is that now I don't want to do anything but play trumpet all day! As a former wind player, this is the most expressive way for me to play MIDI music.

  5. #5

    Re: Anyone use an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with Garritan libs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xangoxum View Post
    I recently got the Akai EWI USB along with "The Trumpet" and "The Trombone" software (from Sample Modeling). (The supplied Garritan library is okay, but not nearly as rich and expressive as the Sample Modeling libraries.) I am really amazed at how well these products work together. I'm even able to play a real vibrato (not recorded). The only problem is that now I don't want to do anything but play trumpet all day! As a former wind player, this is the most expressive way for me to play MIDI music.
    I've been thinking seriously about getting one myself. The only problem is that I'm not actually a wind player (unless playing clarinet for a few months in sixth grade counts).
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  6. #6

    Re: Anyone use an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with Garritan libs?

    I use the EWI USB for woodwind solos. I love it. I'm a trumpet player so I have it configured for trumpet fingerings, but I love the true solo sound I get!
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  7. #7

    Re: Anyone use an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with Garritan libs?

    I've been using a WX5 for several years now with the Garritan Libraries. Gary programmed his libraries especially to work with wind controllers.

    You asked about the differences between the WX5 and the EWI. I'm not an EWI player, so a lot of this is second-hand info, but here goes:

    The main differences are the keys - levers on the WX5, immobile resistance pads on the EWI; the octave buttons - all the same on the EWI, in a pattern on the WX5; breath control - you push air through the WX5, I believe the EWI is a closed system that responds to the static pressure of the air; and vibrato - the WX5 has a reed like a clarinet or sax (which I don't use, by the way), and the EWI you bite the mouthpiece to control "aftertouch".

    I mostly like my WX5, but would probably have bought an EWI USB had it been available when I made my purchase. Great entry price into wind synths.

    Good luck, and with either one I predict you WILL NOT regret it!

  8. #8

    Re: Anyone use an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with Garritan libs?

    Now, to better answer your question about using EWI with Garritan libs. Some of the instruments are a bit disappointing. But, after reading Pablo Casal's book (Sorrows and Joys) this morning, I pulled out Bach's "Suite 1 for Cello Solo" and tried playing it on the Garritan cello. Ha! I soon understood why Casals spent his life working on these suites. My playing was laughable, but it was great practice for moving between octaves (my biggest challenge on the EWI). More to the point, the sound of the Garritan cello is pretty nice. I compared it to a recording I have of the Bach cello suites, and although not nearly as rich, it is certainly recognizable as a cello. And as I noodled around a bit with it, I found it quite enjoyable to listen to. However, I noticed that I kept playing as though I could create my own vibrato (as with the "The Trumpet" software). Unfortunately, one must settle for the pre-recorded vibrato. Nonetheless, until Sample Modeling comes out with more instruments, the Garritan library is probably your best best (as far as I'm aware) for the EWI.

    Dan: Your not being a wind player might be an advantage. I find that I keep slipping into recorder fingerings (which I'm used to from many years of playing Medieval and Renaissance music). And trying to read the Bach cello suites in bass clef was especially challenging as I'm used to using F-fingering instead of C-fingering when reading bass clef. So, you won't have any fingerings to unlearn.

    —Jason

  9. #9

    Re: Anyone use an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with Garritan libs?

    I have an ewi4000s that I bought to use with GPO4 and the samplemodelling sax family. Originally had a Yamaha wx7 which was also great for controlling the GPO4 library (particularly with the auto legato feature under the aria engine). With some reverb the GPO4 sounds are great and there is adequate control to record midi events into a composition. I prefer it to using a keyboard but it meant learning a new instrument altogether to be able to do it. You can really play in expression into your music.
    The ewi is the same but with more midi continuous control parameters than the wx7.
    However, I find myself rarely playing the GPO4 library these days because I purchased a Yamaha vl70m module with the Patchman ROM chip upgrade that brings a new level of expressiveness due to it's physical modelling engine. Not comparing apples to apples though since the Yamaha is several times the cost of the GPO software but the VL70 and the Samplemodellling saxes are the instruments that invariably get used theses days. If I want string sections then GPO provides those though since the other two options are all monophonic.
    GPO is a good starting point with an ewi / wx-series wind controller. You can get good results. Looking forward to Garritans world instruments too.

  10. #10

    Re: Anyone use an EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) with Garritan libs?

    I just recently purchased the AKAI EWI USB. I'm having a lot of fun learning it. I'm an Irish Whistle player in an acoustic duo that plays live around Austin TX. I will say that as a whistle player I was most interested in trying to use the flute patches and emulating whistle and also flute but of all the patches in the Garritan software, that comes with it, the flute is the most disappointing to me. It has a real loud breathiness to it, louder than the note in the upper octaves. I called Akai and they just said it was the nature of the flute patches and to look for other flute patches. The guy also seem pretty clueless honestly. He told me to download ableton and try it. I'd already done that and installed the sfx as a vst plugin and there was no breath control it was either on/off. I'm a total newbie to midi and am just now surfing around looking for a really good newbie midi tutorial. Not the standard MIDI is not music but control info stuff but more meat, like abc is the best sound font and itt works best in xyz sequencer. I currently have ableton live, cubase 4 LE and full blown Adobe Audition in house. I haven't loaded the sfz vst into either the cubase or AA yet. That all being said and hoping to find some help there, back on track with the original question, I love some of the sax patches in Garriton and am working on the Trumpet as well. These don't have the overbearing breathiness at all. Thanks for any direction that you could provide. Ken the nooob!

    Quote Originally Posted by slavedave View Post
    I have an ewi4000s that I bought to use with GPO4 and the samplemodelling sax family. Originally had a Yamaha wx7 which was also great for controlling the GPO4 library (particularly with the auto legato feature under the aria engine). With some reverb the GPO4 sounds are great and there is adequate control to record midi events into a composition. I prefer it to using a keyboard but it meant learning a new instrument altogether to be able to do it. You can really play in expression into your music.
    The ewi is the same but with more midi continuous control parameters than the wx7.
    However, I find myself rarely playing the GPO4 library these days because I purchased a Yamaha vl70m module with the Patchman ROM chip upgrade that brings a new level of expressiveness due to it's physical modelling engine. Not comparing apples to apples though since the Yamaha is several times the cost of the GPO software but the VL70 and the Samplemodellling saxes are the instruments that invariably get used theses days. If I want string sections then GPO provides those though since the other two options are all monophonic.
    GPO is a good starting point with an ewi / wx-series wind controller. You can get good results. Looking forward to Garritans world instruments too.
    Last edited by klloyd; 07-15-2010 at 03:22 PM. Reason: change sfx to sfz

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