Today was a day of experimentation with the AKAI EWI3000m and EWI3000 Wind Controller. Previously I wrote about my adventures with a used EWI3020 that ultimately resulted in taking it back because it was clearly defective after spending several days bashing my head against the wall. I practically ripped my lungs out trying to get that thing to work and indeed it was broken. Almost a year later I decided to try it again with a used but beautiful conditioned AKai EWI3000/EWI3000m set and my first impression was “Now this is how it is supposed to be!!”
I must mention that I am COMPLETELY new at using a wind instrument. I have a fascination for the synth aspect and the idea of using my breath to control synths in a unique way. As the title here says, I like to think outside the box and have always been curious how someone with ZERO experience on a wind controller could do something fun with it. Today, I was pleased to find that I did’t have to be a Wind Controller expert to have fun with the Akai EWI3000 and make music.
I bought the Akai EWI3000 and module used this week along with manuals, cable, and adapter. Everything with this unit is rare to say the least. You can’t find a manual anywhere on the web that’s not Japanese. That’s not a problem for me, but it is for everyone else I know. The adapter is a 15 Volt which is also not very common. Plus the cable itself I’ve heard is rare or expensive if you break it. So I felt lucky that I could get everything in excellent condition. The Akai EWI3000 is often talked about, but for some reason there is no info to be found anywhere about it other than at pPtchman Music. Thank goodness for Patchman Music!
The EWI3000m is an Analog Synth. It sounds very impressive to me and I absolutely “Love” the sync and bass sounds this thing makes. Oh man, this really is a nice sounding analog machine. The battery was low so I had to replace it which required soldering in a battery holder. I then had to scour the web for the reset procedure which I finally found after reading a lengthy FAQ. Patchman needs to either condense or organize that thing a bit. No wonder people ask on the forums and don’t read the FAQ. With that said, I’m VERY grateful he had the procedure there because like the Roland Alpha Juno 2, when you replace the battery, the system is whacked until you reset the unit. Now the Akai EWI3000m oozes with Analog sweetness.
Having no experience with an AKAI EWI3000 or a Wind Controller I feel is a good thing. I’ve read that often Wind Players have to re-learn how to do things a bit when playing either the Akai or Yamaha wind controller. Since I’m completely new, that means I can just jump in and not worry too much about being confusing. This is why I can say that for me, the AKAI EWI3000 is not hard at all to learn. Sure, as a keyboardist and guitarist, I have to learn how to play scales on a Wind Controller and get my breathing down, but for simple stuff ( like a recorder ), it’s not that difficult to pick it up and play some notes…. provided the thing works to begin with!!
Once you get some basic notes down, you can then have fun bending notes with your left thumb under the EWI3000. With your right thumb which is on the rollers underneath, you can slide between octaves. If you have a cool synth bass sound it is easy to create an arpeggio or a wobble like bass sound. If you get two or three notes that you like, you can easily create a bass line and add expression with your breath, tongue, or pressure on the mouth piece. Trills are simple and by blowing hard or softly you can get some cool effects. I mean, you can really get some creative results using a Wind Controller like this. It’s addictive too and you have to be careful to take a break or else you’re thumbs will get stiff and your mouth will get sore…laugh. Geez, after I put my Wind Controller down I just about cramped out. I walked away like a zombie I was having so focused and having fun.
I am no Sax player nor will I probably ever be one simply because it takes years like everything else to master. ( I prefer the keys and guitar, not to mention I also sing. ) However, it doesn’t take much to learn a few notes and scales on a Wind Controller so you can have fun getting creative with such a device. If I find a used Akai EWI4000s, I’ll probably jump all over it. The EWI4000s can use batteries, has internal sounds, and connects to other synths via MIDI. It also has a headphone jack so you could literally take it on the plane with you. How neat would that be?
The AKAI EWI3000/EWI3000m combo is FANTASTIC!!! I absolutely love the sound and as a synth keyboardist, the presets are far from cheesy. I’m glad I didn’t buy the Patchman EWI3000 pathces because programming this synth is not that hard and it really does rock as is!! In no way does the EWI3000 clone a real sax, flute, or clarinet for example. This is a synthesizer and as a result you get nothing but excellent synth sounds. It’s fun now to be able to take out the AKai EWI3000 and create a bass line or a synth chord riff ( Yes it plays chords! ) and get creative results. You don’t have to be a pro wind instrumentalist much like you don’t have to be a pro keyboardist to create that catchy synth hook. You just need to “think outside the box” a little. EnjoY!