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Microphone Month 4

Akai Professional EWI USB Wind Controller Reviews

4.0 stars based on 11 customer reviews
Questions about the Akai Professional EWI USB Wind Controller?

Questions about the Akai Professional EWI USB Wind Controller?

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  • Lucien Lewis
    from Nevada May 17, 2017

    Remarkable Controller

    The EWI USB Wind Controller a next generation musical instrument giving musicians a vast palette of sounds. It is easy to install I am using it with FL studio 12

  • Kevin M.
    from Murfreesboro, TN December 17, 2015Music Background:
    Novice with the EWI

    Great Instrument

    I have wanted a wind synthesizer (or Electric Wind Instrument - EWI) since I first saw one in Denver many years ago played by a member of the band Images. The instrument is very versatile, being able to sound like many different instruments. High prices and the complexity of the setup kept me away for years. One had to buy the instrument itself and a MIDI unit and it all seemed pretty complex. Once I saw the EWI USB priced as it is and that it is essentially a self-contained unit (one does need a computer, either Mac or Windows though) I was sold. It was an added bonus that Sweetwater carried it since I have had nothing but excellent service from Sweetwater on multiple purchases. I'm still learning the instrument but it is great fun to play. It is capable of being set for different fingerings as well as a multitude of instrument sounds. As other reviewers mentioned, the owner's manual is not much, but there are resources on the Internet including different sounds and software. I don't know why manufacturers don't feel the need to make a good manual with their product, but it seems to be the norm now. This is a great product for the price and as far as I'm concerned, you can't beat Sweetwater's service. I also bought a Samson computer stand to hold my MacBook Pro and I love it as well. By the way, the Garritan ARIA software included with the EWI USB works great on the Mac. As of the writing of this review, I have had the instrument for several weeks and am becoming more comfortable with it as time progresses. I played the clarinet and toyed with the saxophone and flute for quite a few years. The feel of the EWI is familiar, but different from a conventional instrument. The "keys" don't move, but are touch sensitive. The octave rollers replace the conventional thumb hole and key, so that is different, but pretty easy to pick up the feel. The instrument is fairly light weight, but you do need to use the enclosed neck strap since you need to keep your thumbs in certain places and it is a little tricky to just hold the instrument without the support of the neck strap. If you are a woodwind fan, I think you will get a kick out of this instrument. I'm running through a MacBook Pro via a USB port and out of the headphone jack and then to an Ampeg BA 108 amp that I already had. (I'm a bass player too.) I got the cables from Sweetwater as well. (3.5mm to 1/4 inch jacks on a 10 foot cable) The setup gives me plenty of sound. I'm very happy with my purchase and rig!

  • Jeff Hogsten
    from Flatwoods Kentucky July 1, 2015Music Background:
    Professional gospel musician. Audio engineer for daystar TV


    What a great value. Tracking is awesome. The sounds of course is dependent on your software. Check out Bernie Kennerson. This is capable of sounding real. Awesome product

  • Curtis Swift
    from United States June 5, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    EWI Tracking is Amazing

    I have owned a WX7 from Yamaha and currently own a EWI 4000s. This one has quickly become my favorite. It is lighter than the 4000s. The tracking is amazing. On a Windows machine it is not so good, but on a Apple, it is right there. Had a little trouble with a note not responding, so I contacted tech support and found out that I wasn't holding it properly for a reset which fixed it right away.Supplied sounds are good. This is a great product. I should have bought it sooner.

  • RMac
    from Brisbane, Australia June 29, 2009Music Background:

    EWI USB Incredible Value

    Just arrived. Always wanted a wind controller but they were always too expensive. Now I have one and it rocks. I installed it on my Mac and within minutes I was playing the superb Garritan instruments it comes with through the included Aria software. The jazz tenor (th) is a highlight, as is the double bass (that's right...playing the DB with a wind controller!) Also works great in Logic. Had a blast using it with Sculpture and with a guitar sound with "metal god" preset in Logic's amp simulator. Wish it had a stand, could be used wireless and had a sturdy case. Still for $299 I'm not complaining. Money well spent.

  • Kip G
    from Seattle Wa January 8, 2016Music Background:
    Long, long time hobbyest

    Akai EWI

    It does exactly what it should and I already had Garritan plugins. I am by no means a woodwind/brass player. I purchased this item to experiment with. My lack of knowledge about ww/brass instruments to have a basis for comparing is the only reason I didnt give a 5***** "WOW Blown Away" rating. I gave it a 4.5****1/2"WOW" rating.

  • Carl
    from South Florida September 3, 2010Music Background:
    performer, singer-songwriter, band member

    Best musical invesment I made in years

    This is the most pleasure I have gotten out of a musical device purchase since I bought my Korg M1 in the 80's!!! And it was surely a lot less money than that M1 was then. So far I've used it as a sax with the included Aria software, but I also created a very impressive harmonica using Sonar's TTS1 virtual synth. I'va tried it with Sonar's Dimension Pro also. If you get all the controllers programmed just right, the results are out of this world. This is total love at first blow.

    I play keyboard in my band, and wanted an expressive device like a wind controller for some of my sounds. I am not a sax player, but have played primitive flutes all my life. So within 2 to 3 hours I was able to get awesome sounds out of this beauty, and used it live on stage within days with beautiful results.

    As far as bad things, the touch plates tarnish very quickly, but that does not affect the performance of the instrument. The Aria software is VERY slow to load, especially as a VST in Sonar. I have not experienced any hangs, but the instrument can initialize incorrectly if not handled properly. Do not touch anything while the device is first plugged in.

    It plays best with very little wind flow. In fact, it takes very little air. So if you are a sax player, you will find it hard to pull back your blowing enough to fall within the sensitive range of the instrument. But once you get used to this, the range of expression is terrific, especially compared to what can be done on a keyboard. If you are a sax player, you'll enjoy controlling other virtual instruments and synths using the expressiveness that the breath and bend controllers can give you.

    In conclusion, I have not been as excited and have not had as much fun on an instrument as I have on the EWIUSB in years. And for the money, it is hard to find this kind of musical fulfillment in an instrument any more. I highly recommend it!

  • David Diaz
    from East Brunswick, NJ January 27, 2016

    Akai Pro EWI

    The instrument was delivered promptly, and secured in a box with bubble wrap. I use Ableton Live and it had no problem detecting it. I enjoy using this while able to use many native instrument and vst plugins. Takes a little getting use to. I already recommend sweetwater,com store to all my musician friends. The service is top notch, keep up the great work.

  • Customer
    from February 5, 2016

    In desperate need of an update

    Don't get me wrong, I love this thing, bought it used for $150 usd but its fatal flaw is its dependency on software to control its features. It used to be an annoyance but now it's a major handicap due to the fact that their software isn't working with the latest MacOS and not only that, it's still being sold at a regular price. They're should be a Bluetooth ewi or an ewi that works with iPad at this point, but if its not a priority, atleast either update the software to work with modern OS's. Great piece of hardware hindered by outdated and lackluster software.

  • Rob S.
    from Lexington, NC October 16, 2009Music Background:
    Professional Musician and Producer

    It's okay, but spend the Money for the regular EWI

    The EWI USB is a good concept and I love playing it, but like all things new and electronic, it is in need of improvements. Most notably with Windows, it hangs quite a bit. A decent driver update would hopefully solve that problem but Akai is pretty famous for taking their time in supporting their stuff. And if my experience with tech support is still on the money, you probably have Akai, Garritan, and most of the sequencer and DAW writers arguing over who's fault the stuck note is. If you are really into the EWI sound; especially professionally do yourself a favor and fork over the bucks for the 4000s.

  • Jack Marek
    from May 1, 2017Music Background:
    Professional musician,arranger, composer 50 years

    EWI usb doesn't work with DAW

    I have had nothing but problems trying to get the EWI to work with its own software. If I click on the controls button it crashes. I cannot get it to interface with Garritan soft ware in Sonar X2. Even though it comes with its own limited Garritan software. As a standalone it would get a good rating. As an interface with a DAW it fails totally. Akai cannot seem to solve the problem either. They have not updated the included software since 2009. Not to be recommend if it is to be used with a DAW program.

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