Breath Controller Facts

A Breath Controller measures the pressure/flow produced by blowing into it. The Yamaha Breath Controllers deliver an analog output voltage representing the applied pressure. For a complete history of Breath Controllers, see the Wind Controller FAQ provided by Patchman Music.

Yamaha BC1 Yamaha BC2 Yamaha BC3a
Yamaha BC1 Yamaha BC2 Yamaha BC3, BC3a

This type of breath controller is intended for synthesizers with a special Breath Controller input and must be plugged into the dedicated input jack. The Yamaha series of Breath Controller products (BC1, BC2 and BC3, BC3a) was intended for Yamaha synthesizers only.

But all synthesizers have MIDI inputs. So if the Breath Controller could deliver a MIDI output instead of and analog control voltage it could be used with any synthesizers. Some companies such as MIDI Solutions sell Breath Controller-to-MIDI converters to address this problem.

Some years ago Yamaha discontinued the production of the BC3, BC3a. Since this was the last Breath Controller available on the market at the time, this was a major disaster for the community using this kind of devices.  Even an online petition was started to convince Yamaha to start up the production again and gathered many hundred signatures, however to no avail. Used Yamaha Breath Controllers can now occasionally be found for sale on online auction websites at prices ranging between 3 and 5 times the original new price.

As musicians ourselves, we decided to take the Breath Controller concept one step further and designed the TEControl USB MIDI Breath Controller for our own use as an affordable USB-MIDI class compliant device intended for use with Windows/Mac computers and/or any USB-MIDI class compliant host system.

Our device incorporates a state-of-art piezoelectric pressure transducer, converts its analog output into MIDI CC, Aftertouch or Pitch Bend messages and transmits these over USB instead of a traditional MIDI connector. The need and expense for both a Breath Controller-to-MIDI and MIDI-to-USB converter is therefore eliminated.

The MIDI messages generated by the TEControl USB MIDI Breath Controller can be used to control any set-up that accepts USB MIDI, such as MIDI synthesizers, MIDI sequencers, etc... Extremely realistic performance can be achieved when a breath controller is used with sample libraries such as EWQL, VSE, LASS etc... or softsynths like Samplemodeling or Wallander Instruments products.

We also designed the UNI MIDI Breath Controller, which has exactly the same functions as the original USB model and an additional standard MIDI DIN plug that can be connected directly into any synthesizer's MIDI IN port. The UNI MIDI Breath Controller can be used with a computer, a synth/keyboard or both at the same time.

Our latest creation is the USB MIDI Breath and Bite Controller 2, which is capable of sensing four variables: breath pressure, bite force and head inclination in two directions (tilt/nod). It is now possible to control - hands free - any four parameters of virtual instruments, including for example expression, vibrato, pitch and many others.

The chart below illustrates different configurations of Breath Controllers, converters, synthesizers and computers.

Breath Controller Connection Chart