Haxophone and Saxophone related MIDI controllers-instruments

Never mind the monosynth. A saxophone with a built in looper!

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I have a saxy friend that I am going to offer to build this for if he buys the parts. I’ll let yez know.

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In my long and troubled musical history, I studied trumpet and soprano sax… and therefore I could not pass by this jewel that I used a lot in live… extraordinary! I think he will put batteries in it and connect it to the Zynthian …


Didn’t you connect it yet?? Come on!!! We want to hear some noize from this jewel!!


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I connected … but… since it was calibrated for speed (in those days I went fast…not now) and being connected via MIDI (it’s not the USB model)… the Zynthian it’s hard to keep up with him… some notes are skipping… probably with the USB model this could work better?

These are three random internal sounds. As clean as they come out, with no effects.
Execution aside (I haven’t touched a wind instrument for 5 years)… note the dynamics and how the TOC of the tongue feels. Surely it is a great musical instrument. :face_with_monocle:

This instead is a solo with a harmonica sound that I recorded way back in 2009 when I was “wasting time” with too many instruments instead of dedicating myself only to piano and keyboards… :roll_eyes:



I believe that there will not be much difference between DIN and USB connection. I have an Akai EWI USB, it works on the zynthian but there are a few buts.

The key is which synth engine is chosen and if the chosen preset can process the dynamics coming through CC2 (or CC11). Alternatively, whether it is possible to switch to Aftertouch, influence the choice of setting the speed of the note on signal and more.

It’s just not as easy on the zynthian as, for example, on the Dynasample XO-mini, which can even calibrate the Akai EWI USB. With it (XO-mini) you really just plug it in and play.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many fans using Zynthian with wind controllers.

Oh, and I’ll make a digression, a very fun and cheap wind controller is the re.corder. I connected it via WIDI Bud Pro to the Zynthian without any problems.


By changing the the breath sense it works much better…

I used the EWI with this Yamaha expander with the modified sounds that weren’t bad at all… I still use it for the harmonica which remains the most beautiful I’ve ever had… It was 2015/2019… .

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This beautiful piece of hardware was put into production in 1996. With a patchman chip it was the holy grail of all professional wind controller players.
So I think that even nowadays it is more than just usable.
I will not discuss the software synth, because I like the hardware synth and in those I would see it as the best options for wind controllers at the moment as follows:
Dynasample XO-mini - hybrid sampler synthesis
Anyma Phi - physical modeling
Zynthian - for those who can help themselves :slight_smile:

Of course there are many others, but they are either extremely expensive, with lots and lots of voices, or one-sidedly focused on one type of sound.


I recorded this piece with the flugelhorn sound played on the EWI (and VL70 with Patchman chip).
Everything else is Native Instruments and the soprano voice (the wonderful soprano voice) is from Omnisphere. A beautiful piece by Andrea ( son of Ennio) Morricone (Love theme soundtrack of “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso”).


The key is which synth engine is chosen and if the chosen preset can process the dynamics coming through CC2 (or CC11).

Hi ! Did you find some responsive to CC2 ? It’s not the same with adapted stuff or use of CC11 , dedicated wind-instrument engines work better especially with native rules for legato .

Plus, my zynthian doesn’t like the overflow of midi messages of my wind instrument

Remember that Zynthian maps MIDI CC to whatever parameters you want. This can sometimes be suboptimal because it applies the absolute CC value to the parameter but as you say, if you find an instrument that has a parameter that expects this kind of continuous control / modulation then it should work well.

Because of the way Zynthian (currently) handles CC mapping (and other MIDI Integration), lots of MIDI traffic can be an issue. I hope to see improvements in this area soon.

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Hi @Wapata,
it is always connected to a specific synth engine, for main engines:

Other usable synths in Zynthian are Vitalium and Surge.

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I spent Sunday preparing a preset with CC2 macro. I was able to connect the CC2 to the oscillator volume. The connection with other elements did not work for me according to the manual. Or I did something differently. Good source is on
There is an option to create Zyn MIDI-learn files (.xlz), but my GUI has very large fonts, so I can’t save it. Also, I’m a little confused because I installed version 3.0.3 and the imprint says version 3.0.4. This made me decide that the rest of the time I preferred to play with the presets in Anyma Phi, where I was definitely more successful.

Thank you for all the informations you give to us after your tests :-*

This is not a DIY item, but looks like a pretty nice digital saxophone for ~$500:
Yamaha YDS120 Electronic Saxophone – NAMM 2023

I am hoping-assuming-guessing that it can be used as a midi controller, as well as with the built in synthesizer-sample player.


Many many years ago… I played the soprano and tenor sax for 8 years… the difficulty of the soprano is keeping the intonation… with this Yamaha instrument there won’t be this problem (even if it works with the reed maybe something will be heard… I don’t know)… but the fingering of this instrument remains critical… I’d like to try it… :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

In this photo, during a concert in a club, I was playing my Rampone & Cazzani R1 Jazz soprano… a real jewel… it had the key of high G.


There is now a Crowsupply campaign:

200$ fully assembled.

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On a Saxophone note, here is a DIY project which adds Hall Effect Sensors to a Saxophone to convert it to a MIDI controller. I did not see anything indicating whether the Sax could still be used as a standard Saxophone post surgery!

Shame that it (currently) takes a beautiful instrument and makes it look a bit ugly! (Am I acting like the public in the classig gothic novel, “Frankenstein”?) Interesting that the addition of wind controller was an afterthought (or at least, late addition). I guess it is similar to me getting a cheap guitar to bolt on my split pickup for MIDI control. I am not a wind player and barely scratched the surface in learning the fingering for sax/clarinet on my Yamaha WX11 so what do I know?

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As a former saxophonist I know for a fact that the fingering of the clarinet and the transverse flute are very difficult compared to that of the sax… That of the sax (a few sharps aside) is very similar to that of the recorder… the big problem of sax is to bring out a sound rich in harmonics, the reed which must be of the right hardness compared to the opening of the mouthpiece… in short, a lot of “problems”… lips dry from the cold, from too much heat. …and the trumpet is even worse…

… and then, unless you play in C, the sax is in Bb (Soprano and Tenore) and therefore you have to have a score shifted in key and this is also a further problem especially if you play with the “damned guitarists” :rofl: who play everything in E which for the sax becomes F# and therefore a scale that has a more complicated fingering…