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EWI USB - saxophone effect?


I can get numerous saxophone sounds from my EWI but not that dirty rock'n'roll tone.

How can I get that please?




Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
You'd need a virtual instrument. You're not going to make the EWI sound close to a sax with the built-in sounds. https://audiomodeling.com/swam-engine/solo-woodwinds/swam-saxophones is possibly the best sax library out there.

The saxophone is probably the most difficult instrument to create a virtual instrument of. The above SWAM Saxophones are supposed to be the best, the audio examples on the website are from folks using breath controllers, and the examples are all performed by professionals, and all of them are probably paid to do create those demos. I'm still not at all fooled by any of them.
Thanks - so you are more or less saying only a real sax will do?

I get a nice sop effect from the EWI plus a very believable trumpet sound, but I just cannot get a good sax sound.
SWAM SAXOPHONES - could I use those as a VST in my DAW then access them through the EWI please? Really don't like the idea of playing woodwind as keyboard. Thanks.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Yup. More-or-less.

Yup. MIDI is MIDI is MIDI. If one controller (keyboard) can access the sounds, any other controller (EWI) is able to. Take a look at this pic to see what kind of fun MIDI mapping you can do for effects.

I started to do more searching to see if there was something else out there in the virtual instrument world for saxophone. I had to stop because it started to drive a spike through my head. I would recommend that you do more Googling. There are a lot of instrument libraries out there and you might find something you like. Well, like enough that you don't want to pay in the $500 to $700 range for a
somewhat decent student saxophone.
Thanks. May persevere with the EWI - if I can even get close to those Swam tones I'd be very pleased - I notice the mapping even has a 'growl' button :) Looks fun.
I read about a way to map a side key on a Yamaha WX to trigger a growl sound. I never used it though. It has to be a feature available in the patch. The Patchman patches for the VL70-m Have them. Old hardware now but still good stuff.
Can't wait - I'm not a horn player but I found - to my delight - that I can get sounds from the EWI. Anything scale-wise is difficult but I can eventually get correct notes. The default scale (I know there isn't one) when I play the EWI freely, looks like a mode of melodic minor; but that's just me. Useful, because I like jazz scales, even though I find them limited in application. Cool, even though it's rather warm today :)
IMO the VL70-m with the Patchman TURBO patch is the way to go. It makes you feel like you are playing an instrument instead of controlling a synthesizer - at least with the WX series of controllers.

Here is a synth sax clip. It's very old, recorded in 2004 on a pre-iPod Archos Juke Box, on the gig, and ripped at a very low mp3 bit rate, so the tone isn't there (It's way too tinny). But saxophone expression is there.

WX5/VL70m TURBO sax

Another 2004 Clip.

There is a throat growl on the VL70m, not all the sax patches respond to it (sadly) and it isn't one of the VL's best effects, but it's much better than none.

That sounds cool - that's what was fazing me, the EWI on its own gives a carboard 'default' sax effect with none of the expression, if you try to add some grit (distortion) to it, it takes you further away from any sax sound.
That's one of the reasons why I opted for the Yamaha controller. I simply did not like the EWI sounds for the kind of music I make my living by playing.

I needed sax, trumpet, trombone, guitar, and other more emulative voices than the synthy sounds.

I also didn't like the fact that the bit sensor didn't give me full control over the vibrato "return to pitch zero" speed. Instead a capacitor discharge regulates that, making a vibrato like a slow leslie speed impossible.

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