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Korg NTS-1 as a versatile sound module for EWI

Updated: Jan 9, 2022


Korg NTS-1 synthesizer is a cheap($99.99) but a very powerful digital synthesizer and effect processor. It can be used for EWI playing as its filter cutoff can be controlled by breath midi signal (midi cc #2). You can achieve the best result if you use a DAW and some midi & audio plugins together. I uses a Cantabile performer here.



Demo 1 : Where Jesus is, `Tis Heaven

Demo 2. various synth sounds


1) NTS-1 setup


- Go to global setting : turn Legato on.


2) EWI setup (like EWI 4000, EWI 5000, EWI solo, EWI-USB)


A. If you are going to use a DAW software, which allows midi mapping, you don't need to change anything . (make sure EWI will send midi cc #2 )


B. If you don't want to use a DAW software, you need to set EWI to send breath signal to midi cc # 43 - NTS-1 recognizes this as filter cutoff.

- In this case, set EWI to send max volume ( no volume change by breath) . So you can have breath controlled filter cutoff to dictate overall volume of the sound.


3) DAW setup : MIDI mapping (in Cantabile performer)


1) Set EWI to keep sending max velocity. This help you to get steady velocity with breath level. Otherwise, the tone's volume will be fluctuating .


2) MIDI map - breath cc # 2 to control NTS-1 filter cutoff (midi cc # 43)


3) To increase the dynamic of the synth tone, EWI midi cc#2 is mapped into output gain of SPL Transient Designer Plus VST


4) I also set up a Blue Cat's remote control VST to monitor/adjust NTS-1 effects parameters real time.

** NTS-1 can function as a mini midi controller as its knobs can transmit midi data. You need to use usb cable for this midi function.


5) Recently I started using a NTS-1 editor VST, which also comes with great sound library. You can save and load your patch instantly.


- Free Editor : https://nts-web.oscarrc.me/



- Commercial Editor : https://korg-nts-1-editor-soundbank.jimdofree.com/





I wish Korg NTS-1 could ...


1) It does not support glide / portamento.


2) It only has a headphone output(not line level output). so you may hear relatively low volume when you connect NTS-1 into your mixer or audio interface. To overcome this, I use an stereo active DI box. (costs $56)





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