Loc: Sacramento, California
I recently ran across the Yamaha's Venova, which seems to be another competitor for the "pocket saxophone" market. That makes it different from instruments such as the Xaphoon is that it's got a "branch" in the pipe, which causes it to behave more like a conical bore instrument (such as a saxophone) than a cylindrical bore instrument (such as a clarinet or Xaphoon).
The branch means that the instrument is actually open at both ends. Like a saxophone - it overblows at the octave instead of at the 12th.
This branched pipe is - as best I can tell - something truly innovative. The design apparently first came out of a method for synthesizing conical bores, and later was applied to physical instruments.
The Venova uses a soprano saxophone mouthpiece as a resonator, and is about the same size as a tenor recorder. To make it fit in the hand better, the tube has multiple small bends instead of being straight, and there are keys for low C, C#, D and D# to make it easier to play.
The fingering is essentially the same as a C recorder.
Unfortunately, the advertising campaign seems to be aimed at young hipsters:
Yamaha's slogan is Venova - Casual Wind Instrument. Making music is fun!
Also unfortunate is the sound of the instrument - in most videos it is rather disappointing. I think the jSax sounds much better "out of the box" than the Venova.
This isn't to say that the Venova can't be played well - here's an example where it sounds quite good, if you ignore some of the rather squirrely notes:
It's pretty clear that this instrument isn't a saxophone, and it's certainly not a recorder. Rather, it needs to be approached on its own terms.
The first person I'd heard who actually sounded good on the instrument was Linsey Pollak:
On YouTube, Linsey's claim to fame is the ability to construct instruments out of household materials. For example, he's got a video where he created a clarinet out of a carrot.
After playing with the Venova, Linsey created a Dr. Seuss-ish instrument which he's dubbed the Cylisax on account of it having a cylindrical bore and a sax-like sound. Linsey can make anything sound good:
Clearly, the Venova could be a good instrument. But like a soprano saxophone, it seems to require more than just a "casual" player to sound decent.
I wonder if Yamaha has further plans for this past the "casual instrument" stage.
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Hey, thanks David. I had not heard of this. Fun.
I like the idea of shortening the basic woodwind tube by those short curves. But I don't understand the function of the extra short tube on top.
Funny he would use a Kenny G tune to demo.
He never hit a D (for the horn) squarely; they were all over the place (squirrely, as you said).
The small soprano sax mouthpiece does require more control than a tenor sax mouthpiece as used on the competitor. People ask me what it's like when I play soprano, and I tell them it's like herding cats.
As to the tone, I think I much prefer a wooden tenor recorder to this. Perhaps they are aiming for the fourth-grade flutaphone market, in which case I think it would be great.
Perhaps if they made one out of some denser metal (if possible with those bends) then the sound could have some character.
Thanks for sharing.
_________________________ BIAB 2019 Win Audiophile; [& 2018 Mac UltraPak]. Software: Cakewalk, Adobe Audition, Ozone, Encore; Win 10 64 Pro. Hardware: custom i7, 16 Gb; Roland Integra-7, Focusrite 18i20(2), TCE Finalizer, Behringer X-Touch, Adam sub & monitors.
Summary of changes:
Fixed: Exporting MP3 files would fail if using the 64 bit version of Band-in-a-Box®, and Windows 7 or earlier.
Fixed: Some audio export error messages were blank.
Fixed: The 64 bit version of Band-in-a-Box was not working with jBridge for loading 32 bit VST plugins.
Fixed: If using the Lyric Document window, there will be an access violation when saving the song (64 bit only).
Fixed: Band-in-a-Box would freeze when rendering to audio if there was no default synth selected, and "Use DXi/VSTi Snth" was enabled.
Fixed: The 64 bit version should use "MaxPluginsToScan64.txt" instead of sharing "MaxPluginsToScan.txt" with the 32 bit version
This patch will update Band-in-a-Box® 2019 to Build 613 from any previous 2019 build.
Summary of changes:
Fixed: Songs would not load or save VST data if larger than 1 megabyte, displaying flash message error "VST/FX data is too large to save".
Fixed: It was not possible to use the N key while entering note based lyrics in the Notation window.
Fixed: Recorded MIDI would be erased if also recording audio.
Fixed: The MIDI Driver dialog would not show the selected VSTi or DXi synth after choosing one in the Plugins window.
Updated: PDF and help file documentation.
Band-in-a-Box DAW Plugin 1.9.28 fixes:
There are lots of significant fixes and additions in this patch, especially related to some single track operations not working.
Fixed: Right-clicking generate bass track generated all individual tracks
Fixed: StylePicker, RealTracks Picker, and other style and instrument selection windows would sometimes open behind the main window, requiring you to alt+tab to see them.
Fixed: Loading demo from StylePicker or loading a song when a special track was already present sometimes added an extra RealTracks (special track) to page 2
Fixed: Output directory error.
Fixed: BBW sometimes not receiving message when run as administrator. This would cause some actions to hang or not work at all.
Fixed: Skip grey bars when moving selector through chordsheet.
Fixed: Dragging tracks into Reason would sometimes give a 'Not found' error message.
Fixed: AAX Plugin was not being recognized by Pro Tools.
Fixed: Problem scrolling chord table when crossing PartMarker during highlight.
Fixed: Repaint problem in Reason (possibly other DAWs).
Fixed: Some opened BB songs with realcharts on a frozen track would cause an access violation.
Added: Detailed log file written in BB Data folder bbw4exe_pluginLog.txt.
Fixed: Generation of single tracks would hang the program if the bb folder contained the file MaxPluginsToScan.txt containing Max=0. This file should not normally be present except in rare cases where a DX plugin scan failed.
Added: VST2 FX 32-bit version.
Improved: Installer has options for installing all plugin types. All files are now digitally signed.
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