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Akai Professional EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller  

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Overview

  • Electronic wind instrument controller
  • Easy to play, easy to use
  • Powerful, flexible, and reliable
Description & Specs
  • MSRP:
    $499.00
  • Your Savings:
    - $199.01
  • Your Price:
    $29999
3 Used From $150.00

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Akai Professional

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

Experience the exceptional control of the EWI USB—order now.

 

EWI USB Electronic Wind Controller 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
Customer Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
Akai ProfessionalEWI USB Electronic Wind Controller
 
4.1

(based on 16 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

80%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Functional (5)
  • Good quality (5)
  • Easy to use (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Practicing (5)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Experienced (6), 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 16 customers

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    Displaying reviews 1-10

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    5.0

    Excellent for the price

    By Woolyloach

    from Austin, TX

    About Me Experienced

    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.

    Comment on this review

     
    5.0

    Great Controller for the Cost

    By Desertmountaingirl

    from Green Valley, AZ

    About Me Professional Musician

    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.

    Comment on this review

     
    5.0

    Exceptional with right synth - REVISED

    By sweebach

    from north carolina

    About Me Experienced

    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)

        Comment on this review

         
        5.0

        Exceptional with right synth

        By sweebach

        from north carolina

        About Me Experienced

        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

        Comment on this review

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        EWI 4000S

        By Vitte

        from NYC

        About Me Professional Musician

        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

        Comment on this review

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Pretty good!

        By ImBatman

        from Hawaii

        About Me Professional Musician

        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.

        Comment on this review

        (2 of 2 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.

        Comment on this review

        (1 of 3 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.

            Comment on this review

            (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.

            Comment on this review

            (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            2.0

            Beware Does Not Work Under Windows 8

            By EC

            from VA

            About Me Experienced

            Ask me a question

            Pros

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  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.

                  Comment on this review

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