Yamaha WT11 Wind Synthesizer

Yamaha WT11 Intro

Yamaha's WT11 is little known outside of MIDI wind controller users. Released in 1989, the WT11 is a Yamaha TX81Z synth in a sleek, curvy, very 80s, desktop form factor designed specifically for wind synthesis and MIDI wind controllers. The WT11 includes the special WX connector for Yamaha's WX7 and WX11 MIDI wind controllers.

It uses the same four operator FM synth engine as the famous TX81Z (Yamaha YM2414 a.k.a the OPZ FM chip), meaning that the WT11 has eight waveforms to choose from to use as carriers (oscillators in non-FM synthesis speak) as opposed to the original DX7's sine only carriers. And yes, for those of you asking, that does mean that the WT11 can load the “Lately Bass” patch although i'm not sure how that would sound coming from a MIDI wind controller.

Yamaha WT11 Pics

Yamaha WT11 with the Space Dust patch loaded on the LCD The Yamaha WX input port on the WT11 Yamaha WT11 Wind Tone Generator logo and menu structure printed on case Yamaha WT11 showing off its curvy case Yamaha WT11 serial number and manufacturer's label Yamaha WT11's rear audio and data ports Yamaha WT11 volume and controls areaa

WT11 Secret Mode

Normally the WT11 cannot be programmed from the front panel. It requires a patch editor (YSEDITOR on Atari or Steem is a great choice for Yamaha 4 OP FM patch programming) or use of another Yamaha synth to program custom patches.

Through the use of the “WT11 Secret Mode” however, you are able to edit voices and performance setups directly from the front panel. To enter this special mode, power off the WT11, hold down the DATA ENTRY+1 button and the EFFECT button simultaneously and while keeping both buttons held down, power up the WT11.

There is an excellent PDF available on WindSynth.net that covers how to access and utilize the features available to you once you have entered this mode.

You can visit the WindSynth.net for the “WT11 Secret Mode” PDF file. It's in the “Hardware Hacking” section near the bottom. of the page. It's a great site for anyone interested in MIDI wind controllers and wind synthesis so have a look around while you are there.

WT11's Internal Effects Processor

The WT11 has ten built-in digital effects to choose from.

  • Hall Reverb
  • Room Reverb
  • Plate Reverb
  • Delay
  • Left and Right Delay
  • Stereo Echo
  • Distortion and Reverb
  • Distortion and Echo
  • Gate Reverb
  • Reverse Gated Reverb

How to Reset the Yamaha WT11 to Factory Default Settings

Power off the WT11 and hold down both the DATA ENTRY+1 and EFFECT buttons. Power on the WT11 and keep the buttons held down until you see the greeting on the LCD (this actually puts the WT11 into secret mode first).

Now press EFFECT and STORE to put the WT11 into test mode. You will first see some version numbers and then in a moment you will see "TO: enrty test?". Press YES.

Now use the EFFECT BALANCE +1 button to cycle through all the test mode options. Once you get to "TF: factory set?" press YES and the WT11 will be reset to factory presets.

Yamaha WT11 Manuals

Please feel free to visit our WT/WX warehouse page containing manuals for the Yamaha WT11, WX series and even the service manual for the EW20 (mentioned below).

Yamaha WT11 AC Adapter Information

Original AC Adapter Model Yamaha PA-1505
Output Voltage 15 Volts DC
Max. Current Draw 500mA
Pin Configuration center positive
DC Power In Connector Outer Diameter 5.5mm
DC Power In Connector Interior Diameter 2.1mm

Even More Obscure Than the WT11: the EW20 “Wind Jamm'r Electronic Woodwind”

Not too many people remember this one. Released in 1989 and primarily marketed to high school band students, the EW20 was a Yamaha MIDI wind controller and wind tone generator (a.k.a wind synth) combo set. Neither the EW20 tone generator nor the wind controller where sold separately. The EW20 was actually marketed and sold by Yamaha's band instruments division and this probably has a lot to do with the fact that very few remember it.

The combo set was comprised of the Electronic Woodwind tone generator and a wind controller that was setup similarly to a recorder. Many people, including some from Yamaha, state the the EW20 tone generator is just a WT11 in a significantly less cool case. I have no way of knowing this for sure, but i do know that it was a basic Yamaha four op FM synth module.

The EW20 used a special controller cable to communicate with the tone generator. This cable/connector is NOT the same as the Yamaha WX connector (which in itself is a “special” connector), but rather a cable specific to just the EW20 rig. So if you run across one and consider buying it, definitely verify that the cable is working and in good condition. I'm sure the pin-out can be copied by someone but i would not want to go through the hassle. The EW20 tone generator does have MIDI in, out and thru. Because of this, you can certainly use the EW20 tone generator without the wind controller but keep in mind that you cannot hook a WX7, WX11 or WX5 directly into the EW20 tone generator. You would have to go through a BT7 or similar first and then output the MIDI. As for the EW20 controller, unfortunately without the appropriate cable it is effectively worthless.

Considering that the EW20 was designed with high school students in mind, it was less expensive (around $700 USD on release) than either a WX7 or a WX11 and WT11 combo. Where there are price cuts, quality cuts cannot be far behind. For instance, the EW20 used buttons in place of leavers for the action and this was not too well received. The end result was that the EW20 did not prove to be a commercial success and was discontinued a few years.

Interestingly, unlike the WT11, the EW20 has it's power supply (and cord) built directly into the unit. Maybe they thought that high school kids would misplace an AC adapter, who knows…

I remember seeing one of these used at Art's Music in Dothan Alabama and really wishing i had the cash to pick it up just for the rarity of the unit. This was in the pre–eBay days when stuff like that was not easily had. If you're wondering what the EW20 looked like, decent photos on the web are hard to find but there is one excellent photo on the Yamaha Bell and Barrel blog.