Oh notes, you've just given me total GAS. I gotta remind myself that I have no clue how to play regular wind instruments and thus could not utilize these at all, but............I still want them!
The picture is of the controllers, half the magic is in the synth module.
The Yamaha VL70, uses physical modeling software to create the sounds. In layman's terms (the only kind I understand) basically it's computer models of sound generation devices (single reed mouthpieces, double reeds, plucked strings, cup mouthpieces, bowed strings, etc.), resonators (tubes, cones, boxes) and dampers (bells, bridges) and they are all assembled in the module (I do get to tweak the settings though).
So on the guitars, if I tweak the settings right I can do hammer-ons, pull-offs, and bends that affect the tone while the "string" is being bent just as a "real" guitar does. It will only pay one note at a time though.
In the sax models, I can do throat distortion, flutter tongue, tonal changes similar to a sax player changing the shape of his/her mouth, and a vibrato that changes tone with pitch just as a real sax does.
In the brass modes I can do lip slurs, wah wah mutes, flutter tongue, and other brass expressive devices.
And so on for each patch.
They do not replace the instruments that they emulate though. I would say that roughly they can do 80-90% of what the "real" instrument does, but they can also do 10%-20% of things the "real" instrument cannot do. So in my duo, where I bring a sax, flute, guitar, percussion controller, and wind synth to the gig I use the synth sax and guitar to do the things the "real" sax and guitar can't do. Plus it gives me the opportunity to sound close enough to a trumpet, trombone, clarinet, harmonica and other instruments I cannot play. This gives the duo a variety of sounds that if done well (and I try to do it well) keeps the listener entertained. http://www.s-cats.com
I'm a music junkie. I started on drums, switched to sax in a few months, picked up limited parts on bass, guitar, and keyboards while in bands when doubling was needed, bought a flute and taught myself (it's similar enough to the sax to do that), and later wind synth. I started seriously practicing keyboards in the 80s when I decided to learn how to sequence music in a software sequencer, but although I can get around on the keyboard, it really doesn't speak to me like the sax, flute, wind synth and guitar does. But it did come in handy, I learned to write Band-in-a-Box styles and created an aftermarket business http://www.nortonmusic.com
Almost 2 years ago, after years and years of doubling on guitar (mostly barre chords) and a year of playing bass in a band (when saxes fell out of favor) I finally decided it was time to get serious with the guitar so I started putting in 2 hours a day of practice (I don't watch TV so I have the time) and in a few months I was playing simple leads on stage. Now I am competent but definitely not an advanced player. I can do a decent blues/rock/country lead - the year on bass and the knowledge of music theory I already knew (thanks to a livelong study of music) paid off so I got competent quickly.
The more I learn about the guitar, the more I appreciate what a wonderful instrument it is.
What I'm trying to say is while you may have wind synth GAS, I ended up with guitar GAS so put the time in it and got the rewards.
If you like the wind synth clips, get a wind synth (I recommend Yamaha WX5 controller and the Yamaha VL70m sound module). Your second instrument is always easier to learn than the first, as you don't have to re-learn all the things about music that you already know.
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