EVI, Electronic Valve Instrument.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by robmatthews, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. robmatthews

    robmatthews New Friend

    Feb 3, 2008
    Jersey CI
    Electronic Valve Instruments! Is this an appropriate subject for discussion. Will Trumpetmaster expel me? As I get older I worry about my emboucher deteriorating. I want to keep on playing something. Is an EVI the answer? I've been looking at the Akai EWI4000S Wind Controller Synth (I've only been looking online). It can be played with trumpet fingering (sort of). I understand that once you get used to an EVI it is much easier to play than a trumpet and, dare I say it, it is also without the limitations of a trumpet . But where would I play? Not in a big band! Would it be OK in a combo? I'm a jazz player but what sort of Jazz would be suitable? Would it be possible to carry on playing a real trumpet. Has anyone tried one? Would I regret paying out all that money?
  2. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    The Brooklyn Philharmonic recorded with Nyle Steiner in the early 70s. I remember being amazed by this instrument.
    The Nyle Steiner Homepage
  3. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    There is a pro in Toronto named Bruce Cassidy who regularly plays one. I have seen him play it with big bands, as well as in the music "Hair."
  4. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    I think James Morrison now has his own EVI brand instrument, so I don't think you'll be expelled from any community for being interested in one.

    In my opinion it's a solo instrument, so if it's something you like and have the money for I'd say go for it.

    Not my cup of tea, and I don't really see it going mainstream when a regular synth will easily replace it, but to each his own...
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I went to a real cool University, and got credit for hanging out with one of the EE profs and messing around with the EVI concept before such existed. Said prof helped Oberheim develop the first (albeit four voice) polyphonic synthesizer. As far as hardware went, he tweaked a Schmidt Trigger (I supplied the ears and input) and was able to get the ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release--the stuff that makes up the sound envelope) under control. My concept was for a four-valve instrument (like a four-valve picc. or trombone with F attachment in theory) able to cover an octave at a time, using "if/then" kind of digital logic.

    A really fun Independent Study project.

    I like the Morrison set-up.

    If you think of the EVI not as an electronic trumpet but rather an alternate input device (ersatz keyboard) with complete envelope control for a monophonic synthesizer, you'll be hitting the mark.

    Fun and musically exciting stuff!
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think that they have nothing to do with a trumpet, but you can stay anyway. There are enough trumpeters using them, so it is like half way there.
  7. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    I have an Akai 4000. I bought the USB version which was like $400 cheaper than the one with the onboard analog synth. I figured if I was ever going to play it live with an ensemble, I would probably be running it through a computer anyways since the onboard sounds are not very convincing. Some people would laugh because I paid like $300 for what is essentially just a midi controller. These EWI/EVI's are basically just a synthesizer hooked up to a wind processor, that has configurable fingerings. The "brass" setting is very intuitive and easy to learn - do your Clarke studies on it and you'll have it down in no time.

    In any case, I have a lot of fun with my EWI. I bought it mostly so I could multi-track record symphonies by myself, playing each part reading from the score :-p I have heard of people using EWI's in pit orchestras or in recording studios to cover instruments.

    You can get some very very convincing/realistic sounds from an EWI - it's really no different from a keyboard player covering a missing instrument. The problem is that it always sounds like a recording of the instrument being covered. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, most people can't tell the difference anyways... When accompanied by mostly other acoustic instruments, you can blend in very easily.

    I think it might be cool to play it in a combo or even a big band. It would certainly be a talking point, and probably be very interesting to the audience.

    An EWI might be a good idea if for some reason you can't play trumpet anymore. It certainly doesn't have any physical requirements as far as embouchure and air compression go. It is fun having a lot of sounds at your disposal, but you don't really develop the same musical voice as you do when you stick with 1 instrument for many years.

    They still have a lot of trouble replicating the sound of brass instruments, but you can get extremely good string, woodwind, and percussion sounds. I was blown away by this sax sound:

    YouTube - Coming Home Baby on Akai EWI USB and "Mr. Sax T" (vst) by Samplemodeling

    I really like this video as well. Reasonably convincing soprano sax. I mostly like how he makes use of the sounds. It's obviously synth-y, but that doesn't detract from the music. You can do crazy things with one of these and a loop pedal (although really nothing you couldn't do with a keyboard and a loop pedal).

    YouTube- Jeff Kashiwa playing the Akai EWI4000s

    This trumpet is much less impressive but it's one of the best I've come across. It's very easy for a trumpet player to hear the difference, but I have no doubt it could fool a lot of people. But again, the problem is that it sounds exactly the same live as it does here, and a live trumpet sounds so dramatically different from a recorded one.... But anyways, check it out:

    YouTube - Real Trumpet or Virtual Instrument? The Samplemodeling Trumpet

    YouTube - Nardis on Akai EWI USB and "The Trumpet" (vst) by Samplemodeling
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010

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