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Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller

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The Akai Professional EWI USB electronic wind controller is for musicians seeking an easy-to-play, easy-to-use instrument. Akai Professional's decade...Click To Read More About This Product

Available 01-05-2018

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OVERVIEW

Use your computer and this electronic wind instrument for unprecedented control over your sound.

The Akai Professional EWI USB electronic wind controller is for musicians seeking an easy-to-play, easy-to-use instrument. Akai Professional's decades of experience in wind and electronic musical instruments are rolled into Akai's most user-friendly-and most affordable-EWI controller ever.

Premium Akai Pedigree

For over 20 years, Akai Professional has studied the art of playing saxophone, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and other traditional wind instruments and developed electronic wind instruments that enable wind players to enjoy the same expressive control as in an acoustic instrument. Akai Professional designed the EWI USB to give wind players the expressive musical capabilities previously found only in much more expensive instruments.

Akai Professional Performance

EWIs are the only choice for serious wind players looking to make music electronically. While EWI USB is easy and fun to use, it's also powerful, flexible, and-most importantly-reliable enough for use on stage and in the studio by professional musicians.

Computer Control

The Akai EWI USB controller is extremely flexible because it harnesses your computer to generate its sounds. Its USB interface means that all you need is nearly any Mac or PC and the included EWI USB software, and you're ready to practice, perform, create, and record with a full collection of wind instrument sounds. Aria Player software was produced specifically for use with EWI USB, providing wind players with an unprecedented level of expressive control.

FEATURES
Electronic wind instrument controller 
Easy to play, easy to use
Powerful, flexible, and reliable
Plug-and-play USB connection to Mac or PC
Custom Garritan Aria Player software, contains wind instrument sounds
Multiple fingering modes: sax, traditional EWI, flute, oboe, and EVI (electronic valve instrument) fingering for brass players
Expandable sound palette
Removable, dishwasher-safe mouthpiece

Includes:
EWI USB wind instrument
Neck strap
Cleaning cloth
USB cable
Software DVD
Quick start guide
Safety instructions
SPECIFICATIONS
Sensors: 
Mouthpiece: air-pressure level sensor & bite sensor
Note Keys: 13 touch sensors
Octave Rollers: 2 mobile, 2 fixed touch sensors (5-octave range)
Bend Plates: 2 touch sensors
Ground Plates: 2 touch sensors

General:
Class-compliant, plug-and-play USB device
MIDI Output Channels Over USB: 1
Mac and PC compatible

Hardware:
Dimensions: 2-3/4" W x 23-1/8" L x 2-3/4" H
Weight: 1.3 lb.
Power: 100mA, 5V via USB
Terminals: 1 slave connector (MIDI over USB)

Minimum system requirements:
Mac: OSX
PC: Windows XP or Vista
USB port
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Akai ProfessionalEWI USB Electronic Wind Controller
 
4.1

(based on 20 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

86%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good quality (8)
  • Functional (7)
  • Easy to use (5)
  • Improves sound (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Practicing (7)
  • Recording (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (8), Professional musician (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Great purchase!

It's an excellent buy!Read up online about what this device can do (no space here to explain, 1000 words are too few).It's a wonderful device, but I'll tell you where it...Read complete review

It's an excellent buy!Read up online about what this device can do (no space here to explain, 1000 words are too few).It's a wonderful device, but I'll tell you where it failed me; which is often a bigger determening factor for some to buy or not to buy:Needs external ASIO driver (asio4all)Instruments need tweaking to get a good sound, though can be made to sound like a nice sax!Limited good samplesThe neckstrap is a bit too long (needed to put knots in it to get it the right size)EWI COntroller too heavy! I opened the device and removed the internal weights.Comes in a cardboard box, but no gigbag. Difficult to find a suiting gigbag; but the cardbox will hold 2 years of twice a week gigging, with care!EWI does not support growling, tonal wise you are locked to the breath sensor in Aria; you can't make a sharp sound on a low volume, or make a soft sound on a high volume.Keys show some corrosion after 2 years, but not enough to interfere with the conductivity

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Akai EWI USB

Pros: Fun to play with, lots of instrument sounds, good idea, stationary (theoretically more durable) keys and less expensive than the Yamaha

Cons: Octave rollers difficult to manage,...Read complete review

Pros: Fun to play with, lots of instrument sounds, good idea, stationary (theoretically more durable) keys and less expensive than the Yamaha

Cons: Octave rollers difficult to manage, pitch bend not intuitive to use, hard to hold the instrument without inadvertantly touching trill keys or the pitch bend plates, and (in my case, at least) early failure.
As a former sax player , now playing bass/guitar, I thought it would be fun to have a variety of woodwind instruments to play without having to buy them all. The EWI USB seemed just the thing.

It was fairly easy to learn to finger (using the sax fingering setting), and was fun to play. The octave rollers took some getting used to. The pitch bend plates were less than adequate - not similar enough to the embouchure method for bending pitch.

There are plenty of instruments and variations to play with. Imagine playing a violin or a doublebass using sax fingerings!
Even after playing with it for several months, I could never get the tonguing to work rapidly enough to consider performing with it. Now, it is having some kind of problem converting the fingerings to the correct pitches - it will only produce 4 pitches, each a half-step apart, and the octave keys work backwards (high produces low and vice-versa).

Evidently this thing has fried itself just sitting on my shelf for couple of weeks. Not a happy ending to this experiment.
Obviously, having a moderately expensive instrument fail after only a few months of use is disappointing. Had it continued to work, I could have rated the value as a 6 or 7.

Reviewed by 20 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(8 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great purchase!

By ProDigit

from Miami, Fl

See all my reviews

Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

It's an excellent buy!Read up online about what this device can do (no space here to explain, 1000 words are too few).It's a wonderful device, but I'll tell you where it failed me; which is often a bigger determening factor for some to buy or not to buy:Needs external ASIO driver (asio4all)Instruments need tweaking to get a good sound, though can be made to sound like a nice sax!Limited good samplesThe neckstrap is a bit too long (needed to put knots in it to get it the right size)EWI COntroller too heavy! I opened the device and removed the internal weights.Comes in a cardboard box, but no gigbag. Difficult to find a suiting gigbag; but the cardbox will hold 2 years of twice a week gigging, with care!EWI does not support growling, tonal wise you are locked to the breath sensor in Aria; you can't make a sharp sound on a low volume, or make a soft sound on a high volume.Keys show some corrosion after 2 years, but not enough to interfere with the conductivity

(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Excellent product, but lacks performance features

By Fred-1wJm9

from Columbus, OH

Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

I'm a semi-pro sax player, and have an old Yamaha WX-7 MIDI wind controller as well, so this is not my first experience.I bought the EWI USB and spent a lot of time with it over a month. The quality is fantastic, the instrument itself is a joy to play. However, it is not geared toward a performing musician. For example - you can't change patches or settings from a MIDI footswitch. Any time you want to change a setting, you have to touch your computer. If you aren't going to be using this as a primary performing instrument, or only plan on using it for some really cool effects, you can't go wrong. The EWI is surprisingly expressive and the sounds are rich and full. Overall, it is a very nice instrument, but look at the 4000s too if you are planning on using it as a performance tool.

(5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Akai EWI USB

By Michael Atchley

from Oklahoma

Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

Pros: Fun to play with, lots of instrument sounds, good idea, stationary (theoretically more durable) keys and less expensive than the Yamaha

Cons: Octave rollers difficult to manage, pitch bend not intuitive to use, hard to hold the instrument without inadvertantly touching trill keys or the pitch bend plates, and (in my case, at least) early failure.
As a former sax player , now playing bass/guitar, I thought it would be fun to have a variety of woodwind instruments to play without having to buy them all. The EWI USB seemed just the thing.

It was fairly easy to learn to finger (using the sax fingering setting), and was fun to play. The octave rollers took some getting used to. The pitch bend plates were less than adequate - not similar enough to the embouchure method for bending pitch.

There are plenty of instruments and variations to play with. Imagine playing a violin or a doublebass using sax fingerings!
Even after playing with it for several months, I could never get the tonguing to work rapidly enough to consider performing with it. Now, it is having some kind of problem converting the fingerings to the correct pitches - it will only produce 4 pitches, each a half-step apart, and the octave keys work backwards (high produces low and vice-versa).

Evidently this thing has fried itself just sitting on my shelf for couple of weeks. Not a happy ending to this experiment.
Obviously, having a moderately expensive instrument fail after only a few months of use is disappointing. Had it continued to work, I could have rated the value as a 6 or 7.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

EWI USB

By Ray-eWrM1

from Sterling, Va

Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

This is my first experience with a wind controller. I'm using EVI fingerings. Been practicing for a couple of weeks now and can hear improvement every day. The Aria sounds are pretty nice. I also bought a V-Machine along with the Ewi. The V-Machine has nice sounds also. Just have to figure out how to load extra sounds into the V.

(4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

WEEE-EW EWI USB!

By Monk E. Mnd

from San Antonio, Texas

Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

The GUI is not very user friendly (knobs are difficult to turn with a mouse), but there is a skin available that fixes that.GIYF!

The real problem is that if you don't have one of the latest CDRW's you will likely not be able to install it as the CD provided will not be recognized on a PC. Works fine with a MAC.

Neither Musician's Friend, AKAI, nor the makers of the SW will be able to help you with this.

You need to use a newer CDRW and burn yourself a new disk, or backup to a thumb drive. I went to a Big Box store, but they charged too much for data conversion. I tried a few of their latest laptops and found one that would recognize the CD ROM SW disk, then copied it onto my thumb drive.

Back home I was easily able to install the AKAI EWI USB SW and was up and running without any other problems.

AKAI really needs to fix this problem with their multi partitioned CD RM.

(4 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Zero support from Akai

By Michael Axel

from Central Oregon

About Me Experienced

Pros

    Cons

    • No Manufacturer Support
    • Not Functional

    Best Uses

      Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

      This is my second Akai wind controller. The first one did not work. It cost me $1300 and Akai would not return emails or phone calls. Total waste of over a grand. Next, I bought this USB model, thinking it would be more reliable. I installed the software and drivers on four computers and the most I got out of it was a squeak. Again, numerous emails and phone calls went unanswered. Very disappointed that I've wasted money on the Akai wind controllers. Both were obviously inoperable.

      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Extra drivers needed with Windows use

      By Edwin Markowitz

      from Florida

      Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

      Bad delay problem with Windows. Fixable with downloadable ASIO4ALL driver. Akai support very poor and suggested not using this ASIO driver. Even cut me off after 6 minutes on the phone and without answers. Aria factory software (2008) needs to be updated with a better driver or even the ASIO. Without extra driver the instrument is not usable. Overall, however, love the instrument sounds, the quality, the choice of fingerings available. The software compatibility is the problem.

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Fun to Use but just okay

      By al

      from california

      About Me Professional Musician

      Pros

      • Easy To Use

      Cons

      • Slow Double Tongue

      Best Uses

      • For Fun Some Recording

      Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

      As a former flute and sax player 15 years ago now a guitarist the fingering came back instantly with the EWI chart help so there wasn't any big learning curve. But when trying to double tongue or quickly accent notes forget it this instrutment doesn't have the response time...something to be expected from a midi but it's really was worst than I expected. Other than that this is really a nice tool for fun and some recording but doesn't come close to replacing a real instrument. As long as you remember it's just a MIDI controller and don't expect nothing too extravagant you shouldn't be disappointed. If you think your going to be another Najee or Euge Groove with this thing your in for a huge letdown.
      Another problem is the fingering keys are so sensitive that you can be off on notes even with the correct fingering so proper finger placement and wearing the neck strap is important. Other than that its a decent MIDI device.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Great buy!

      By Andrew

      from New York, NY

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Functional
      • Good Quality

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Backup
        • Practicing

        Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

        I always thought the EWI was super cool from watching videos and listening to recordings, but it mostly just a novelty item in my mind. When I finally bought the EWI USB, I had a lot of fun playing around with the different sounds (even though I'm still working on getting used to the fingerings). To my delight, the EWI has actually come in very handy for me. I am now able to get some practice time in late at night (with headphones) when I might have been busy all day. Also, when I busted my lip, I was still able to get some practice in with the EWI because it doesn't sacrifice sound for a less strict embouchure. So in conclusion, I am a sax player and the EWI will never REPLACE the horn. BUT it's great as a practice aid and definitely a lot of fun to play.

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        EWI 4000S

        By Vitte

        from NYC

        About Me Professional Musician

        See all my reviews

        Pros

        • Change With The Ewi Is Go
        • Good Quality
        • Improves Sound

        Cons

        • First Ewi External Module

        Best Uses

        • Practicing
        • Recording Practicing

        Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

        I liked the ability of creating settings with my first EWI I own and still play. The external module had chord patches and tuning and transposition was easier. These 2 aspects are harder on the 4000S with the 2 upper left fingered white oval buttons. You still have to keep your thumb on the lower right metal screen and it is hard to negotiate the 2 oval buttons with your left finger. The 4000S is nice to record and practice, keeping it in your music room next to your computer. The portability excites everyone and is easier for using daily, no setting up. Just practice and record. The first EWI felt like you had a saxophone in your hands. Mobility speaking, it was closer to playing a real sax than the 4000S. The 4000S sounds as good, but the right double lights for your right knuckles, the right thumb screen, the programming playing live, was easier with the original. You do not have all these alternate mechanisms to program while you are playing with the 1st EWI. This effects your feel of the plane of the real saxophone.
        Also, the 1st EWI had a hole on the side of the mouthpiece. I wish they would create a replacement mouthpiece for the 4000S like the original. This hole allowed you to blow naturally and it was easier to set up the resistance of blowing like your reed/mouthpiece combination on your real saxophone. In everything I mentioned, the 2 most important changes that I wish were not changing the older mouthpiece with a truer resistant of your reed, less mechanisms, feeling like the plane of your fingers on a real sax.
        I still use the older version for gigs. No change in sound at all. You are the one that creates the expression with your breath. The older mouthpiece with the side hole felt real and better. My original tag: Sometimes change is not always the best. Perhaps modifying what you have already is better.
        Vitte

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Exceptional with right synth - REVISED

        By sweebach

        from north carolina

        About Me Experienced

        See all my reviews

        Ask me a question

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Great Instrument

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

            Aria packaged software - OLD INFO: great timbre but slow response, not much change when customizing midi controllers --- UPDATE: switched to ASIO and much faster response . . . also you need to select EWI USB as OUTPUT (as well as input) for customizing midi controllers

            Cakewalk Dimension - OLD INFO: much quicker response, great library, but so far not too many (no timbre change) expression options --- still looking here UPDATE: Discovered "midi monitor" which allows custom setup of MIDI CC --- many many creative options, wow . . . great synth

            Roland JV-1010 - OLD INFO: (using Cognitone's EWI-USB Control) Exceptional expression (timbre, modulation, fx) on some voices (chamber woods, horn swell) using custom midi controllers, quick response, expect to spend most of my time here UPDATE: still my favorite, but cognitone will not set up pitch bend at thumb plate (must be done in aria)

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Pretty good!

            By da247

            from Waipahu, HI

            About Me Professional Musician

            See all my reviews

            Pros

            • Functional
            • Not Bad Quality

            Cons

            • Have To Clean Up Skills T
            • Precise Fingering

            Best Uses

            • Concerts
            • Practicing
            • Professional And Hobbyist

            Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

            Read many reviews and some really bad ones. The key to this is to clean up your fingering and use your ears and metronome. Practice your techniques. Once you get the fundamentals down its quite easy. Start slow and let your brain absorb the learning physically and mentally. You may see people pick this up and play with ease. Practice make perfect. Learn in digestible chunks. Very expressive instrument. I wish the touch plates were made of better metal, something that could take more damaging acidic oils from our fingers. Use a good cloth to clean. The instrument comes with one. Don't use metal cleaners. It will pit the metal and more junk will collect one the touch plates and keys. I just wipe, but you can use a very light solution of dish washing soap in warm water and on microfiber cloth (lightly damp, not soak. Don't let water get into instrument. Wipe dry immediately. Wipe the plastic too. USB cord is long enough for short distance. You need a USB 2.0 15' cord to get farther from computer. I don't recommend a USB extension. I don't know why it didn't work for me. Perhaps it was too long but the power is not stable on an extension. I've tried many types of extension including taping the main USB to extension.. The extension I used is USB 2.0 and allows for power. I enjoy this and plan to perform on this.

            (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            2.0

            Beware Does Not Work Under Windows 8

            By Differencetone

            from VA

            About Me Experienced

            See all my reviews

            Ask me a question

            Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

            Had this for a few years and did not use it much. Now I built a new computer and find this is the only gear I own which will not work under Windows 8 (at the time of this rewview). I have contacted Akai but no reply. I do not need the outdsated Garitan sounds because I have better sounds than this. Would like the option to download software with no library and no stand alone version(VSTi). If you lose your original installation disk, you are out of luck because it can not be downloaded. There was one version of it and it is for Windows Vista. These days I expect driver updates at least every few years. I would be willing even to pay for a driver to get this working in Windows 8. Now this device has become obsolete because it has no midi output on it. Better to have bought the pro ewi. This item is still on the market and they had plenty of time to make Windows 8 software for it. Shame on Akai I say.

             
            4.0

            This does work with Windows 8.1

            By caligal

            from Stockton, Ca

            About Me Experienced

            Pros

            • Good Quality

            Cons

            • Fairly Steep Learning Curve

            Best Uses

            • Recording

            Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

            Although this will get the job done, it is not a quick woodwind replacement.

             
            4.0

            ewi

            By Keith

            from Michigan

            About Me Novice

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Functional
            • Good Quality
            • Improves Sound

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Practicing

              Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

              I like it.

               
              5.0

              Excellent for the price

              By Woolyloach

              from Austin, TX

              About Me Experienced

              See all my reviews

              Ask me a question

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Functional
              • Good Quality
              • Inexpensive

              Cons

              • Finicky Fingering
              • Included Software So-so

              Best Uses

              • Home Recording
              • Practicing

              Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

              I played woodwinds back in high school, so when I saw this on sale here at Musicians Friend, it was a no-brainer. Good quality, a nice heft without being too heavy. It takes some getting used to if you're used to moving keys, and the embouchure is quite different as the air doesn't pass through the body much (you have to let the air out the sides of your mouth). It's finicky about touch, you have to hold it *just right* or it'll produce unwanted sounds. This is to be expected on this kind of instrument.

              The only downside: the Aria software that comes with it is almost hopeless out of the box, but you can download an update and all will be well. On my laptop I use the DirectX audio option, no pops/crackles/delays at all.

              Overall, I'm very happy with my EWI USB.

               
              5.0

              Great Controller for the Cost

              By Desertmountaingirl

              from Green Valley, AZ

              About Me Professional Musician

              See all my reviews

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy To Use
              • Functional
              • Good Quality

              Cons

              • Miss The 2 8ves Of 4000s

              Best Uses

              • Live 9
              • Xpression Dynasampler

              Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

              Great wind controller. Lacks the additional 2 8ves available on the EWI 4000s, yet for most live performance situations, this one does the job and works great, especially when used with an Xpression Dynasampler tone generator. Can't beat the price from Musician's Friend....you can buy two and save one to use as a back up for the price you would pay at some of the other music online retailers. Never have had any issues with Music 123 for their customer service...So go for it and enjoy the incredible wild ride of discovering the unlimited possibilities of making music with an EWI.

               
              5.0

              Exceptional with right synth

              By sweebach

              from north carolina

              About Me Experienced

              See all my reviews

              Ask me a question

              Pros

              • Customizable
              • Expression On Good Synth
              • Fastresponse W Good Synth

              Cons

              • Adjusting To Windage
              • Packaged Software Slow

              Best Uses

              • Jamming
              • Performing
              • Recording

              Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

              using with:

              Aria packaged software - great timbre but slow response, not much change when customizing midi controllers

              Cakewalk Dimension - much quicker response, great library, but so far not too many (no timbre change) expression options --- still looking here

              Roland JV-1010 - (using Cognitone's EWI-USB Control) Exceptional expression (timbre, modulation, fx) on some voices (chamber woods, horn swell) using custom midi controllers, quick response, expect to spend most of my time here

              (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great Instrument

              By jeffmhopkins

              from Fort Knox KY

              About Me Experienced

              Pros

              • Expressive
              • Functional
              • Good Quality

              Cons

              • Difficult To Use

              Best Uses

              • Gigs
              • Home Recording
              • Practicing

              Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

              This is a great instrument, but it is not for the MIDI neophyte. The included ARIA software is usable with the appropriate ASIO4All drivers, but the EWI USB really shines in a full synthesizer environment such as Reason.

              I've had the instrument for over a year now, and it is not my primary choice over my Alto Sax and Flute.

              This is an entirely new instrument and not a stand in replacement for a sax or other woodwind, do not think you'll be able to just pick it up and play.

              Check out the Patchman forums, EWI Reason Sounds, and YouTube for some reviews and general knowledge about this instrument before buying.

              I would not recommend to someone who is a computer music / MIDI beginner, however, if you know your way around the computer music programs and know about general MIDI synthesis, have at it. It is a great and rewarding instrument that can really stretch your ability and allow you to truly express yourself.

               
              5.0

              Well Worth The Money...

              By Kris Ranck

              from Tennessee

              About Me Professional Musician

              See all my reviews

              Pros

              • Easy To Use
              • Functional
              • Good Quality
              • Improves Sound
              • Not As Heavy As They Say
              • Plug And Play Is Easy
              • Sound Is Phenomenal

              Cons

              • No Replacement Mouthpiece

              Best Uses

              • Backup
              • Concerts
              • Play With Any Genre
              • Practicing
              • Recording

              Comments about Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller:

              I have been playing guitar for 35 years. I play with different people every week and for family and friends. I have always wanted to play Saxaphone, but never had the courage to jump in. The EWI USB made my dream possible. Pick your sound from the many available, find a Jazz track and start learning. The sound is just amazing. Add a little reverb and your in business. I chose to utilize the EWI Fingering since I have no Sax experience and I will be able to play all the Plug-ins with the same fingerings. It works with Propeller Head software and Garage Band. Get One.

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