The EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument)

evi-1The EVI (typically pronounced  Eee Vee) is one of a small family of wind synthesis controllers (or wind controllers).  It’s fingerings are most similar to that of a trumpet.  It does not generate sound itself but when connected to a synthesizer it produces very expressive, evocative sounds with much more player control than the traditional keyboard-based synthesizer (imho). So the EVI is the controller half of the equation.  The other half is the synthesizer itself (and its associated patches).  Synthesizer(s) provide the actual sounds.   Ultimately it’s the synergy of the windcontroller and the right synthesizer that form the uniquely expressive electronic instrument.  In the fairly small community of wind synthesists, there’s a lot of discussion about emulative vs non-emulative sounds.  Emulation refers to sounds that attempt to mimic (or at least evoke the sense of) real-world wind instruments (brass, woodwinds, etc.).  I enjoy programming and playing both types of sounds but most recently I am focusing on emulative sounds.  My favorite synthesizer for this purpose is the Yamaha VL70-m.  It is a true synthesizer that mathematically models instruments in real time, as opposed to a sampler that plays pre-recorded samples of acoustic instruments.

A little personal background

I worked for ARP Instruments for about 18 months back in the late 70’s.  As part of that engineering gig, I attended a NAMM show in Chicago.  At that show I met two very interesting individuals. One was Emmett Chapman, the creator of the Chapman Stick, a very cool family of alternative string instruments.  The other was Nyle Steiner, the developer of  the EVI and EWI (the woodwind cousin to the EVI).  I bought one of his early, pre-MIDI EVIs, before the design was licensed to Akai.  My second EVI started life as an Akai EWI that was modified by Nyle into a custom EVI.  More recently I purchased a MIDI EVI from Nyle.  This is his latest incarnation, one that doesn’t require a dedicated synthesizer but instead outputs MIDI directly, allowing a much more flexible use of a variety of synthesizers (both hard and soft).

EVI Sound Examples

(Still transferring the audio files from the old site. Please stay tuned.  Bruce)

Emulations:  EVI + VL70-m


Trumpets:  Classical, Lead, Mellow, Flugelhorn

Muted Trumpets: Harmon, Straight, Cup, Wah-Wah
French Horn


Alto – 4 examples


Other Woodwinds

Oboe | English Horn | Bassoon

Wind Synthesis Links

Patchman Music – Matt Traum

Art Whitfield’s WindWorks Design

Windcontroller Group on Yahoo

ewi-evi.com – Clay Connor

The EVI Zone – Steve Anderson

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