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Topic: Advice re Yamaha Controller

  1. #1

    Advice re Yamaha Controller

    Hello everyone,
    I am looking for advice on using the Yamaha WX5 Midi Controller to play as part of a live group of mostly acoustic instruments. I used to play clarinet, soprano sax and tenor sax with this group, but a year ago I developed Bell's Palsy so that the right side of my face has been paralyzed. The palsy is substantially better, but I still am unable to play my instruments. I understand though, that it is possible to play the Yamaha WX5 Wind midi controller even with Bell's Palsy.

    My primary goal would be to play the saxophone sounds or the clarinet sounds in a live situation.

    Has anyone used the Yamaha WX5 midi controller with the Garritan libraries?

    Which works best for single instrument use, the Personal Orchestra or the Jazz and Big Band. What is the difference in the sounds?

    If I am starting from scratch, what else do I need to go along with the Garritan package that I pick?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Suburban NYC

    Re: Advice re Yamaha Controller

    Hi Mike,

    Welcome to the forum. I can't help you on the EWI, but may be able to help you on choosing a Garritan library to use.

    First off, the saxes are only available in JABB ... and what an assortment you have access to! All the way from soprinino down to Tubax-ville! And I think they are very, very good, especially for the price.

    GPO may be of use to you if you are looking for a more classical sound on the clarinet, bass clarinet, and possibly the oboe/cor. There is a clarinet (and bass clarinet) available in JABB too. Both libraries have "C" and alto flutes as well.

    If two of your three acoustic axes are saxes, I'd lean toward JABB.



  3. #3

    Re: Advice re Yamaha Controller

    Consider also the Akai EWI USB model. It includes Garritan and the ARIA software engine. You can hook it up to an inexpensive laptop and take the audio output to the PA system.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Steinway A104030
    Sonar X2 (professional), Finale 2011, JABB 3, GPO

  4. #4

    Re: Advice re Yamaha Controller

    Thanks Dean and Frank,
    It sounds like the JABB is what I need for the libraries.

    I stopped by Sam Ash Music on the way home tonight and checked out the Yamaha WX5 and the Akai controllers. Din't actually play them, I just checked the feel of the keys.

    The AKAI has fixed keys that do not move at all. You just touch them to play. Also, the key spacing didn;t feel like any on my instruments, although I could probably get used to that. The non-moving keys didn;t feel very realistic however. The weight is more like a soprano sax, so that felt OK.

    The Yamaha has moving keys and the spacing is like my C soprano or clarinet. The keys feel more realistic and seem much more like a "real" instrument. The only drawback is that it is pretty lightweight. Still feels sturdy however.

    Based on the "feel" test, I like the Yamaha best.

    Thanks for your help!


  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Bergen, Norway

    Re: Advice re Yamaha Controller

    The WX5 has tiny knobs on the back that can be positioned in many different ways, one of the positions will make the WX5 to act like a modwheel, controlled by breath. The modwheel is the thing to use to continously controll the volume of the Garritan instruments, so this might be the right thing for you. You still have to produce a rather heavy blow though, so perhaps you should just ask to try one before you buy.

    The WX5 can also be changed so as to controll expression, that is useful for bringing life to non-GPO virtual instruments that otherwise only react to velocity.

    ( English is not my native language, but I hope you can understand what I write all the same )

  6. #6
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Bergen, Norway

    Re: Advice re Yamaha Controller

    I forgot to mention that you will need some connection between the fivepins midi out from WX5 to a Midi In connected to the computer

  7. #7

    Re: Advice re Yamaha Controller

    Here's another vote for the AKAI EWI USB.

    The fingerings are configurable. I use one of the valve instrument settings which emulates trumpet fingerings.

    The USB version of the AKAI is not as expensive as the regular AKAI wind controller.

    The "touch key" system is just another system - not an insuperable obstacle. Since I was learning new methods with this controller anyway the touch system (instead of physically pressed keys) was just a very small aspect of the learning curve. There are also less mechanicals to wear out this way.

    One tip that was valuable to me was if playing for extended periods, the water from the mouthpiece tends to build up and drip. Many players put a small terrycloth "scrunchy" (elasticized cloth ring) just below the mouthpiece to absorb condensation.

    There are no latency issues with this unit and not having to carry an external box (just USB plug and play) is great. Many Garritan sounds come with the thing as well.
    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

  8. #8

    Re: Advice re Yamaha Controller

    I've owned a WX7, WX11, WX5, EWI 1000, EWI3000 and and EWI-USB.

    I recommend the EWI-USB. The Yamaha controllers are nice but the EWI-USB costs less, comes with Aria and some Garritan sounds and is ready to plug into your computer. With the EWI-USB you must use a computer. A netbook would work well.

    If you want to go with a WX5 check out


    He makes a souped-up VL70-m TURBO that works great with a WX5. No computer needed!

    Patchman also sells the EWI-USB.

  9. #9

    Re: Advice re Yamaha Controller

    Hmmm. You guys have got me thinking seriously about the Akai EWI-USB.

    The best price I've found for the Yamaha WX5 is $550. Then another $30 or so for a Midi interface and $150 for the Garritan software and the price is pushing up there.

    $300 for the EWI-USB and it looks like I will be playing right out of the box.

    Two questions for the EWI-USB users....

    1) How do I get vibrato?

    2) If I am playing live, do I just connect the analog audio from my laptop to the house amps? Does that sound OK?


  10. #10

    Re: Advice re Yamaha Controller

    OK. I found on the akaipro.com website that the mouthpiece is bite sensitive for vibrato. Also, some great sound samples.

    I'm still wondering how well the computer sound can be mixed into the house speakers?


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