Yamaha Digital Saxophone YDS-150

Looks interesting. But I have plenty of toys that I don’t play with.

I like the concept. I have played and owned the Lyricon, Akai EWI and Yamaha WX series MIDI wind controllers. All are nice in their own ways, but require that you acquire a lot of instrument specific technique to perform on them and I just didn’t want to invest that much energy into learning to play them well.

I currently play the Roland MIDI wind controller (the AE-10), which is the first affordable wind controller that exactly replicates the saxophone fingering system. Unlike with the other instruments, I was able to perform on the AE-10 successfully the very first day. I really only use it for practicing however.

The AE-10 is great for ear training, running licks in all keys etc. The downside is that the keys are just electric push buttons and that the bis key is located too far from the B key, making the playing experience just a little awkward. That being said, I find the Roland AE-10 to be a very useful and enjoyable tool.

I’m hoping that the Yamaha YDS-150 will, in the same way as the Roland AE-10, be instantly playable while at the same time being as ergonomic as Yamaha’s modified fingering system WX series wind controllers.

Yamaha’s new digital sax, the YDS-150 (they don’t call it a wind controller) has mostly sax sounds, which I would not use, but I’m hoping that one of the on board analog synth sounds will be good for practice or playing a solo. It is not well documented, but I believe the YDS-150 has MIDI out through its USB jack, making it a true wind controller, and which should open up a world of sonic possibilities. I pre-ordered a YDS-150 last week and am hoping for a bit of magic some time in November. We’ll see…

Hmm there’s a lot of these EWIs about now. It would have been good to hear it playing sax sound rather than some electro trip track. I personally want a recorder like instrument than I can plug headphones into for silent practice. No fancy FX or synthy sounds. If I want to play synth sounds I’d get another synth.

Try www.ecorder.com. They make an electronic recorder that seems to play well.

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A good, practical demo.

Sax.co.uk doing excellent work, as always. I like how they explain this is a great tool for silent practicing.

The thing that concerns me about all these EWIs is where does all the moisture go? Water and electronics don’t mix too well…

The moisture drains out of the bottom via a tube. I must say that I’m disappointed with my YDS-150. It’s a great concept, but you have to really squeeze the keys to make sure that proper contact is made and that the correct note sounds. This puts you at risk of health problems like tendonitis and promotes bad finger technique.

Of course @gquarrie got one. Thanks for the quick review. It wasn’t really on my wish list anyways.

Update: Although the Yamaha YDS-150 has proven to be very popular, I ended up selling mine. I found that the concept was great, but that I had to really squeeze some of the keys in order for them to register. It seemed like a formula for a hand injury and to develop bad finger technique so we parted ways amicably.

I have an Emeo digital sax on order, which looks promising as a silent practice instrument and potential MIDI wind controller with true sax fingerings. This new instrument is designed and manufactured in Isreal by a bunch of sax players who are very passionate about their product. They are great communicators and responded to my email inquiries quickly. One of the owners even called me with information prior to shipping. The Emeo is at a higher price point, but has real sax keys and sounds great in several Youtube videos. I’ll review it after it arrives.