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Topic: Speaking of breath controllers

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  1. #1

    Speaking of breath controllers

    Rather than bury this amongst all the advice for how much arwa should charge for his plug-in - by the way, why do marketing people think every number is a "magic price point?" - I want to ask about breath controllers.

    Has anyone heard of one since the Yamaha BC-3? I can't help thinking there must be a market for a really good one.

  2. #2

    Re: Speaking of breath controllers

    There's someone on the Yahoo Windcontroller list who's is working on a mouth piece that responds to more than just bite and breath pressure. I will precisely measure whatever it is that constitutes embouchure, etc. The aim is to make it a module/capsule that can be incorporated into a variety of devices, including aids for disabled people.

    Nothing concrete yet, as far as I know.

    You may also want to search the patent database for recently issued patents in that area, e.g. Yamaha had some patents granted for hybrid acoustic/electronic wind instruments.

    BTW, the BC3a is not bad. Compares well with the breath control of the WX11 wind controller I used to have.

  3. #3

    Re: Speaking of breath controllers

    Guitarist Fredrik Thordendal often uses a breath controller to shape the timbre of his solos. You can get a small taste of it starting at the halfway-point of this song, which I've already linked to, here, in another thread:

    http://meshuggah.net/samples/trends12.mp3

    There's some more great breath-controlling going on on his "Sol Niger Within..." solo project [incidentally, one of the greatest recordings of all-time, regardless of musical genre... powerful and intricate in equal measure].

    He (at least some of the time) uses a "33" breath controller, designed by Johan Haake (brother of Meshuggah drummer Tomas):

    http://33.hemsida.net/

    Apparently some of his earlier units were controlled by a Yamaha BC2/3 .

    It's a pretty cool site, where you can see pictures, read schematics, and there is a very detailed demo page featuring a number of wel-documented .mp3s, and one more thordendal piece... this time, an .mp3 demo of the one-of-a-kind "33" prototype...
    — alanb

    ...........................

    http://alanb.org

    http://www.myspace.com/arsperspicuus

  4. #4

    Re: Speaking of breath controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Batzdorf
    Has anyone heard of one since the Yamaha BC-3? I can't help thinking there must be a market for a really good one.
    Nick, I agree and what would make it perfect would be if one could connect it to a MIDI port, rather than have to use MIDIsolutions Breath Controller as well.

    D

  5. #5

    Re: Speaking of breath controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by Daryl
    Nick, I agree and what would make it perfect would be if one could connect it to a MIDI port, rather than have to use MIDIsolutions Breath Controller as well.
    The output of a breath pressure sensor is a voltage. That needs to be converted into continuous MIDI data (facilities to nominate a particular MIDI channel and CC number may also be required). Then it must be merged with a MIDI stream from a keyboard or MIDI guitar etc. It's impractical to fit all that with the breath sensor in a headset, so you'll need a keyboard or sound module with a special breath controller input or a little converter box like the MIDI Solutions one you mentioned.

  6. #6

    Re: Speaking of breath controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by Udo
    The output of a breath pressure sensor is a voltage. That needs to be converted into continuous MIDI data (facilities to nominate a particular MIDI channel and CC number may also be required). Then it must be merged with a MIDI stream from a keyboard or MIDI guitar etc. It's impractical to fit all that with the breath sensor in a headset, so you'll need a keyboard or sound module with a special breath controller input or a little converter box like the MIDI Solutions one you mentioned.
    But this is exactly the point. If the headset came with it's own little box it would make things much easier.

    D

  7. #7

    Re: Speaking of breath controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by Daryl
    But this is exactly the point. If the headset came with it's own little box it would make things much easier.
    That would be uncomfortable and impractical. You'd also have a thick special MIDI cable dangling from your head (the MIDI cable would have to carry power to the converter box).

  8. #8

    Re: Speaking of breath controllers

    Thanks for the replies, and thanks for the link to 33. I've actually started reading Matt Traub's wind list recently, but I didn't know about that.

    In my opinion the BC-3 is not good. I've misplaced mine somewhere - which is very annoying - but I never liked it. To me it always felt like orthodontia, not like an instrument. The BC-1 feels a lot better, but of course it's not sensitive and tends to hurt your salivary glands.

    I have to agre with Udo that you don't want the electronics in the breath controller itself. You're not holding it with your hands, so it needs to be light. I'd much rather have a little box clipped to my belt.

    Also, lots of things have breath controller inputs. Just looking around my room, the Kurzweil K2500, drumKAT, and Yamaha VL1 all do. The only other controller in here is an EWI, which goes farther than that.

  9. #9

    Re: Speaking of breath controllers

    Just wondering--if you're using a master keyboard that only has one MIDI OUT (for example, one of the Studiologic boards), how would you work with the breath controller? I know you have to get a midi converter box for it, but then where would the converter plug into? a midi hub?

  10. #10

    Re: Speaking of breath controllers

    when using a yamaha wx5 or an akai ewi4000s you can just plug it in the midi in.. no convertion needed. both controllers send midi out.

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