Friday, January 16, 2009

NAMM 2009: Akai EWI USB Wind Controller

WNAMM09: Affordable Electronic Wind Instrument

This announcement gets a big “YES!!!” in my book. I have always had an infatuation with wind controllers (probably because I am a saxophone and clarinet plaery), but their implementation in hardware has always been spotty because they generally have not been able to work with any synth you plug them into.

Hopefully Akai has been able to get around that limitation with the new EQI USB wind controller. Presumably one would expect this to be able to work within any DAW with any VST instrument, but the details are a little scare at the moment. It does say that there is a platform software for the model but that is it.

Quote: Press Release

EWI USB enables anyone, regardless of wind instrument-playing experience, to perform with the expressive capabilities of the wind instrument of their choice. The wind controller features a plug-and-play USB interface for use with the included Aria software, with Garritan and Akai Professional samples as a sound source. EWI USB is Mac and PC compatible.

Professional players will find EWI USB fully capable of performance for stage and studio with a five-octave range, breath modulation with adjustable threshold, pitch bend, adjustable vibrato, transposition and octave shifting capability, and fingering modes to emulate various electronic and acoustic instruments. Further, the Garritan/Plogue Aria software enables instrumentalists to perform with up to four instruments selected from the full collection of more than 75 orchestral, band and synthesizer sounds.

While EWI USB has full professional capabilities, its attractive price point and easy-to-play design make it a perfect choice for wind students. With a removable, dishwasher-safe, interchangeable mouthpiece[ Ed. Nice touch] that works well regardless of embouchure, EWI USB is excellent for introducing students to the world of wind instruments. Former wind instrumentalists who would like to return to playing will find EWI USB easy to adapt to, eliminating much of the embouchure-building time required with a traditional instrument.

Thanks to multiple fingering modes, EWI USB perfectly emulates saxophone, flute and oboe, as well as traditional EWI and EVI trumpet. The result is completely intuitive performance, even for players who have never picked up an electronic instrument.

"With EWI USB, we are delivering an incredibly expressive instrument to a whole new world of wind players," states Gregg Stein, Director of Marketing, Akai Professional. "Traditionally, electronic wind instruments have fallen into two categories: very expensive professional instruments, and inexpensive instruments of low quality. EWI USB is the first instrument to offer professional quality at such an affordable price."


Anonymous said...

holy post overload batman!

Andrew said...

"as well as traditional EWI and EVI trumpet. The result is completely intuitive performance, even for players who have never picked up an electronic instrument."

Nice, I've always been a bit dismayed at how rare and expensive the EVI has been. Might have to look into this one a bit more carefully - as much as I love my french horn (which uses trumpet fingerings for the most part), I don't really want to haul it out to shows...