wind controller recommendations in 2021

  • Phil999
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1 week 6 days ago - 1 week 3 days ago #900 by Phil999
recently my old trusted EWI4000s died. It was used since it was released, many years ago. I made a mistake and powered it with a power bank with 12V instead of 9V. It worked, but the next day it no longer switched on using 9V, but still worked with AA batteries. Then I opened it to fix it, and what I saw was not beautiful. Ugly patina on the boards. During further tests, it also no longer switched on with battery power. Now it's dead, and may take a while to properly fix it. Maybe a replacement of capacitors, or better a replacement of entire boards. Not cheap to do, and time intensive.

Regardless of this mishap, I was already looking for other, more modern wind controllers since some time. But I must admit that I don't have a good overview of new devices. What wind controller would you recommend? Here are the specifications I have in mind:

- normal keys and extra keys, similar to traditional instruments like flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, etc.
- about 7 octave keys/wheels, preferably controlled by the left thumb
- tactile keys/holes
- USB powered. If not, with internal recharcheable and replaceable battery
- USB cable MIDI connection, or Bluetooth MIDI, or both
- suggestion: Open Sound Control (OSC) connectivity to the computer/software for proper resolution
- at least one programmable MIDI CC value from a touch plate, or two touch plates (or three?)*
- lightweight and portable
- robust, must withstand humidity and small shocks during travel

What it does not need:

- internal sounds. I will use it only with Respiro
- internal speakers

* breath is certainly the main CC value for expression, but I also like to add growl and other parameters with additional touch plates.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Edit: added some requirements/specifications. May be used as template for future controllers.
Last edit: 1 week 3 days ago by Phil999. Reason: Will take a decade or two until we're there

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1 week 4 days ago #901 by studiodid
Replied by studiodid on topic wind controller recommendations in 2021
Hi Philggg,
After years of EWI USB I passed from the sylphyo of Aodyo with his Link box and it's a real happiness for the " flutiste " that I am. You will be able to add a photon mouth of our friend Rudy and there I think it will be better than happiness.
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1 week 3 days ago #902 by Paul
Replied by Paul on topic wind controller recommendations in 2021
Hi, I was in the same place a few months ago. Using a WX5 which was very stable, but not replaceable. Looking just for a midi controller as you are, and came down to a choice between the akai ewi usb and the sylphyo. Being in australia impossible to test either in the flesh!!!!! I went with the sylphyo as it seemed to have more possibilities as a controller (lots of ways to send midi cc's) and is still being developed, and watching the things Rudy's friend Pedro was achieving on it! I have not had an akai, but the things in my decisions related to key layout, octave keys etc, which you would go straight to if you went for an ewi. The WX5 has a very similar key layout as the ewi, so that was tempting, but the multiple controller messages possible on the sylphyo was the decision for me. It does have a big learning curve to adjust the muscle memory, and getting your head around new fingering patterns as there are no "extra" keys, but for me it has been worth it. Still slip into old fingerings when I'm tired!! It's a hard decision, but good luck. Also the ewi is cheaper as an emergency replacement!!! I procrastinated for months before jumping in, and although I have had a few quirky issues, I don't regret the decision. This is just my experience, hope it is a help.
Cheers...
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1 week 3 days ago #903 by Phil999
Replied by Phil999 on topic wind controller recommendations in 2021
thank you studiodid. I had the Sylphyo in mind, but did not quite feel attracted to it.
What do you mean by ''adding a photon mouth (mouthpiece?)" to the Sylphyo?

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1 week 3 days ago #904 by Phil999
Replied by Phil999 on topic wind controller recommendations in 2021
thank you Paul. You bring up the main doubts I have towards the Sylphyo, that it has no extra keys. How do you play all the half-tones without extra keys? Every flute, every clarinet, every saxophone has them, for a reason. You want to have easy access to every note, and have different options to play a particular note. Also I expect some problems in tactility, when the sensors are integrated into the main body, when the sensors cannot be felt that easily. The EWI4000s is quite perfect in those two areas.

Only looking at the EWI USB is a disappointment for me. It only has 4 octave wheels. And no plate for the left thumb, which is very important for growl etc.

I realise that it is rather difficult to find a replacement for the EWI4000s. When you have started with one of the best wind controllers available, you don't want to abstain from those excellent features.

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1 week 2 days ago #905 by Paul
Replied by Paul on topic wind controller recommendations in 2021
hey phil, no worries... it's a tough decision. I spent quite a lot of time investigating options, so hope I can help. If you look at an ewi 5000, it's midi and playing setup is identical to what you have now, just with the bells and whistles... plenty of reviews out there to look at. the ewi usb is a cut down version, but at a third the price.... the roland and yamaha instruments coming out at the moment are aimed at picking up the sax market, so seem to be focusing on things with their own sounds etc. the sylphyo seems to be more focused on the possibilities as a controller, with movement and multiple midi sensors. the playing technique is different, it is very responsive when you get the settings right and I am getting more fluid, but still reach for keys that aren't there occasionally!!! you have options for how you play it in terms of the key combinations, so you need to learn the fingerings, but will play any note, and with multiple fingerings. definitely not as easy as having the multiple keys. can't have everything!!!
the photon mouthpiece is being developed by rudy at respiro and friends, but has been delayed by international fun and games... there is info and videos, looks like at least 8 sensors all breath and mouth controlled that will send out midi cc's... more fun than christmas......
hope this is useful in your search...
cheers
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