Akai offers EWI players a taste of wireless freedom
By Paul Ridden
February 4, 2014
Akai has unveiled a new addition to its series of electronic wind instruments, dubbed the EWI 5000. Billed as the world's the most expressive and versatile wind instrument, the new "ee-wee" comes with an orchestra of built-in sounds, has its own rechargeable battery, and gives the player the wireless freedom to groove in every corner of the stage.
Joining the company's EWI-USB and 4000s models, the new EWI 5000 cuts down on cable clutter with a 2.4 GHz ultra-low-latency wireless connection between the instrument/controller and its receiver box, which sports stereo 0.25-in output jacks for onward connection to an amplifier. A 3.5 mm headphone jack also caters for private practice.
The EWI 5000 comes stuffed with over 3 GB of onboard SONiVOX-created traditional and progressive sounds, including representatives from the digital orchestra's horn, woodwind and brass sections, as well as synthesized and "non-traditional" voices.
Akai says that players can expect up to 12 hours of continuous use between charges of its built-in Li-ion battery, and promises easy setup and automatic calibration. It's also claimed capable of auto adjusting to a user's playing style.
The instrument's mouthpiece senses air pressure, for control of volume, and bite for vibrato, its top face is home to 12 touch-sensitive metal keys and there's a thumb-controlled octave roller featuring eight wheels to the bottom. A further eight control knobs are placed at the user's disposal, for fine tuning and parameter adjustment, and an EVI (or electronic valve instrument) fingering mode developed for brass players also features.
The digital wind instrument can also be used as a controller for software-based synths or MIDI modules thanks to included USB and 5-pin MIDI ports.
We've no official word yet on pricing or availability, but it will ship with a USB cable, wall adapter and neck strap.