Yamaha WX11 Wind Controller Review

WX11 Wind Controller

Here's a general summary:

The WX11 (now discontinued), now discontinued was very popular while being produced. WX11 instruments are still widely available on the used market. The Yamaha WX series allows a wind player access to a wide variety of synthesizer sounds through the expressiveness of a wind instrument. These controllers do not make any sounds by themselves, but generate a MIDI data stream to any external MIDI synthesizer (tone generator).

If you are a sax player, then a wind controller like the WX5, WX11, or WX7 is just the thing for you. In addition to the expected note selection through saxophone fingerings, the WX wind controllers also send MIDI continuous controller information (like pitchbend) through a pressure sensor attached to a plastic "reed", and breath control information (like volume) through a blow pressure sensor. The combination of these two continuous controller data streams combine with the MIDI note fingerings to create an expressiveness unmatched by typical keyboards.

First impressions review by M.R. Case:
After I sustained an arm injury leaving me unable to hold my flute, a friend loaned me a Yamaha WX11 Wind Controller and a WT11 Tone Generator. The instrument felt somewhat fat in my hands at first. I was able to play at a rudimentary level within minutes due to combination of the neck strap and the somewhat familiar fingering.

I was soon exploring alternate fingerings and octaves, and the variety of patches opened a new window on playing. I was so delighted with the instrument, I bought my own WX11 and WT11. The most difficult aspects of the WX to master for this former flute player have been the octave shift keys and the glitching between C and next octave D. I guess that highlights poor technique on my part, that can't be heard on a flute. I can mostly overcome my sloppy fingering with creative breath pressure to avoid the glitching. Now, I wouldn't part with my WX11. I've bought a WW-Bat from WindWorks Design and have replaced the WT11 (a sweet but antiquated synth) with a Roland JV-1010. I've learned to play both breath-based patches, and some velocity-based patches.