Roland Aira Photos, Videos And Technology Overview


Roland has released another set of Aira teasers today, for the first time clearly showing that they’ve got four new devices on the way.

Here’s the new teaser video, which showcases the Roland Aira line’s sound & blinkenlights action:

Roland-aira-boxesHere’s what they have to say about the Roland Aira line:

With roots in the very origins of electronic music, AIRA is the new series of products designed to meet the evolving needs of today’s electronic musicians. In the studio or on the stage, AIRA brings genre-defining sound and modern performance features to a new generation.

Roland also released a video that covers one of the technologies used in the Aira line – Analog Circuit Behavior, which appears to be a type of circuit modeling technology.

Here’s what they have to say about ACB:

Roland’s newly developed Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) faithfully captures the sound and feel of some our most revered classics. ACB is the technology behind the authentic sound and responsive behavior of the AIRA products.

It utilizes original design specs, consultation with original engineers, and a detailed, part-by-part analysis of each analog circuit in Roland’s own pristine units.

Here’s an overview, with Roland’s Yasuyuki Watanabe:

“With this project, we really focused on analog instruments. However, this does not mean we only wanted to reproduce the analog gear, rather that we wanted to create a new technology to produce new electronic instruments,” says Watanabe. “We wanted to create the next step in electronic music, and I believe that with ACB technology we just might have succeeded.”

Check out the previews and let us know what you think!

via Edward,  Roland US

159 thoughts on “Roland Aira Photos, Videos And Technology Overview

  1. Interesting, but getting a bit sick of the teasers. Check out the 1:32 mark in the lower video on the page. A-B comparison and it sounds pretty close.

  2. I’m really rooting for Roland with these products. The success of these new products may largely determine Roland’s future interest in knobby gear.

    I know lots of guys wanted analog… I’m one of them… but the truth is no one has actually heard these things yet. Specs haven’t been released. Hopefully Roland has been listening to their customers.

    1. I don’t think it makes sense to be an analog purist these days. All the guys who make analog synths (except maybe some modulars) have sacrificed real analog FM for tuning stability. I’m pinning my hopes on the drum modeling engine having some killer FM modes to work with.

  3. First I said that they “will not dare to announce a new TR machine and then not make it analogue”.

    Well, now there are two voices in my head: one is really set up because of this “blasphemous” step to do it digitally… but the other voice is making another logical essence out of it: IF they dare to do it digitally they godamn have to have a reason to have the balls to do it this way, so my conclusion is to not prejudge just because of the used technology. This would be as dumb as technological “racism”.

    I should judge by my ears how it sounds. If it sounds great or even f**king great or unbelievably great – why should I change my opinion then because of a non-expected technology.

    If it sounds good, it sounds good.

    I am now open to receive whatever they did, and with the step to make up my mind and free myself from analogue prejudice patterns, I am purely excited about it.

    Counting the days…

  4. the more teasers and hype they produce, the more disappointing it will be, even if ithe new gear will turn out to be quite good. and also: COME ON!

  5. “Roland’s newly developed Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) faithfully captures the sound and feel of some our most revered classics. ACB is the technology behind the authentic sound and responsive behavior of the AIRA products.”

    So nothing new here, they’ve invented yet another “analog modeling” method. Yawn.

    1. Why the yawn? At some point of VA development, analog modelling will sound exactly like actual analog circuit. It will output identical measurements in any test. So then the only real difference is VA is cheaper, more reliable and easier maintain. Who wouldn’t want that? I wonder if we’re there yet.

      1. There are elements of analog gear that no analog modelling technique has even begun to address (as far as I’m aware).

        For instance analog circuitry is affected by temperature, not just in the environment but depending on use. Also no 2 analog synths of the same design will sound exactly the same due to small differences in the components even when manufactured to the highest standards.

        Also any knob twiddling you do in the digital domain will be in discreet steps no matter how small they are.

        I’m not saying that these instruments won’t be good but by their very nature analog and digital will always be different.

          1. If all you care about is the end product then pick out your favorite DAW, load up Omnisphere or similar, and write your “actual music”. Some people enjoy the tools and the process as much or more than the end result and that is a completely reasonable approach. For those who care about the tools, the nuances of timbre are often very important, even if very few listeners can perceive them. Most people can’t tell the difference between oils and acrylic, but choosing to use one over the other is a valid artistic decision.

            1. “For those who care about the tools, the nuances of timbre are often very important, even if very few listeners can perceive them. ”

              Very well-observed.

            2. I cringed when you said “actual music.” The fact that you think there is any other kind is unnerving. “Validity” is not an emotion. Puffing up and saying that your music is ‘valid’ is as much as admitting that you have to defend your lack of broader ideas. Ordered sound isn’t necessarily musical. If you want to call your tools ‘instruments,’ you should play them, not merely operate them. It doesn’t matter if a glass is half-empty or half-full when its the wrong size for the job. Too much synth noise is to actual music what Hitler’s stiff watercolors were to painting. Even so-so music always had to meet a certain standard, before consumer electronics turned banality into a virtue. You don’t have to be the next Bach just because I say so, but at least try to pull your d*ck out of the mashed potatoes and play with a little more FIRE. The better you grasp that idea, the less you’ll have to argue over your validity. You may now start throwing things.:D

              1. Fungo, I put “actual music” in quotes because it’s so frequently used to suggest that miniscule differences in timbre are unimportant to the end-listener and thus should not be quibbled over. My point was that may be the case for some, but others derive enjoyment and value from the process of playing and experimenting and discovery more so than from the finished product, and that neither approach is more or less valid. To the former kind of musician, said miniscule differences may be extremely important indeed, and to the latter their near-imperceptibility in the final mix makes them irrelevant or and least unnecessary.

                Of course musicianship and arrangement are crucial to writing a good piece of music. This is not, and has never been, up for debate. What I was doing is pointing out that the above question (“how does this analog nuances and imperfections help creating actual music?”) is attempting to create a false dichotomy; “real music” vs “caring about minor elements of timbre”.

                    1. Are you saying you don’t have at least one keyboard, sampler, or groovebox sitting next to your computer? If you can’t touch type complaints about unreleased devices while simultaneously noodling out a melody and programming V.A.S.T then don’t even talk to me you filthy pleb.

          2. Because happy accidents make me happy when recording!!!
            This is not to say I’m not interested cause this is digital, when my head cooled down after the first anouncement, I was 95% sure they would take that route.
            Honestly what I want is full on control ergo no menu and a beast sound, I am just a tiny tiny bit sad but I can always get a acidlab miami and a xoxbox if I really want.

            1. I often use the same argument to explain my preference for analog; the components will degrade differently over time, making it unique. It is especially true of older gear. However, when dealing with percussive sounds its not as noticeable as the tones are so short. Analog kicks and snares are a must for punch, but I don’t really care how my hi hats are generated as long as they sound good.

              1. Well if we’re going down the aged transistor “Analogue is like a fine, aged wine” route then nothing but 20+ year old technology is going to have the character you’re after. Not even modern analogue like the Miami or x0x.

              2. In reality what I said can be applied to digital as well, some glitch are welcome.
                ANd for the miami and xox is more about the fact that they’re cool and they’re available so if I ever want I can get them, no comparison with roland product to come as I haven’t tried any of those product in reality, the roland to come for obvious reason.
                What I can say is when I spent a couple of hours on a 808 after the first reaction of “what the f**k is that a fisher price toy” because of the crap plastic is made of, I looooved the sound and had so much fun with those 2-3 paramters for each sound. All done live!!! working hard on the fly was a real pleasure, then listening and cutting the good bits was like a reward. Now I tend to have the same workflow with the machindrum(that I love) but I want to have something more playfulwith with no menu.
                But instead of getting an analog drum machine I’ve been waiting to see what come next for over a year now, in this time minibrute became part of my little family of instruments and it proved me that for MY way of working, presets are completely useless and all parameters layed out is a MUST!! Then for sound engine technology I want variety and good sound and that’s it!
                Also now use a lot the app i’m developing flexydrum(tiny bit of spam here ^_^ ) straight in sound card or through the moog filter for adding punch or use microphone and piezo to record my drum samples. After years of trying sooo many ways of working finaly found out I just want to record every sound composing my song because that’s the way I get the best results and I find it a good way to spend my time. That’s a good reason for me to think serously of the modular route, but a playful drum machine that sounds awesome is on the top of my wishlist.
                Sometimes I have preconcepts on things, then I remember they’re often a not useful limitation.

              3. FWIW, if the DAC & output line amp can generate the same peak voltages as their analog counter part, then digital will be equally as punchy as analog.

            1. That drift isn’t unique to analog or even present in all analog synth designs (like DCOs), and can easily be included in patches on digital synths. A lot of people don’t put that sort of effort into the patches that they create, and so you end up with really sterile sounding patches as a result!

          3. Nobody said that they did.

            However if you have gear which sounds slightly unique then the recordings you make of it will have a quality which is unique to your setup thus adding a personal charm/character to the sound. Differences in tone may even effect your compositional choices or you might also stumble upon some beautiful accidents that you end up using due to something like a synth falling out of tune.

            I love computers and digital gear but there is still a big place for analog electronic, electric and acoustic sound sources which won’t be going away anytime soon.

        1. This is true and I’m an analog purist for most things. On the other hand some folks with VA do some pretty freakin cool things. Case in point, I *love* the sound of my Supernova II because of their “chaos filters” idea — they made a point of introducing slop into numerous things to specifically replicate the transient inconsistent nature of some analog gear, and it still, to my ears, can sound really amazing vs many plugins or “pure” VAs like the Nord Lead 3 (which I also love for its own character). On the other hand some VAs take forever to catch up to good ideas from the 80s like, oh, say the Virus finally getting bucket brigade chorus which was a hallmark of most of us with mono gear like the Prophet 600 to thicken it up, or the built-in chorus that made many of the classic Roland and Korg polys sound so much better with their thin single oscillator (and sometimes single filter) designs. As with all things — it still comes down to how it sounds TO YOU, and whether it inspires you to make music. Many folks who own expensive analog gear never put out any worthwhile music (oh boy another arpeggiation for 20 minutes with filter sweeps… yawm .. learn what chords are mr so called musician) … but seriously, point was (too late), some VAs do sound mahvelous. Some suck compared to REAL analog (and I own Matrix12, Minimoog, CODE8, etc.).

        2. A sine wave is a sine wav…if you want your synth to sound like shit because it’s cold i’m sure some programmer can write a way to check the temperature and then put your gear out of tune accordingly…it would be trivial to implement. reality can be modeled with math, deal with it.

        3. “Also any knob twiddling you do in the digital domain will be in discreet steps no matter how small they are.”
          This sentence is utter nonsense. In a mathematical VA model you can have any parameter use the maximum computable resolution. This resolution can be higher than any resolution possible with analog encoders! You are talking about MIDI CCs with only 127 steps. We are now far beyond that. Ask Mr. Dave Smith if you don’t believe me.

      2. this is so not true. ask anyone with an old VA synth that needed fixing. if any of the chips go, you’ve basically got a box of nothing. VA synths use parts that are difficult to get your hands on and difficult to repair. analogue gear is far more easily repaired or modified. a basic understanding of electronics and a soldering iron will repair most old analogue synths. not too mention the parts used are far more widely available and interchangeable.
        as for the sound, analogue and digital circuit behaviors are so fundamentally different that no amount of digital modeling can fully recreate an analogue sound.
        sound is by definition analogue in nature. analogue sound waves are continuous. digital signals, of any type (PCM, ACB or whatever else) are not continuous. they use certain values to represent analog information. it doesn’t matter how close analogue modeling comes to analogue, the fact is it never will be.
        this whole aira thing has been a case of the simplest solution being the right answer. to recreate this range of analogue instruments they could have used analogue circuits but didn’t. no doubt this ACB modeling will be redundant in a few years when they decide to try some other type of “analogue modeling of the future”

        having said all that i am intrigued as to what these machines will sound like. and i will be the first to admit it if they sound good. but if the demos and the hype related material is anything to go on, then i think i am going to be disappointed

        1. you have a misconception of what digital means. The waveforms are discrete that is correct, but what comes out of a D/A chip is ANALOG not digital! And if you sample a wave at 96kHz no human can. tell the difference between the analog or digital storage. Oh! Yes they can because the digitaly stored signal is free of noise! But people love noise these days after decades of hating it.

          1. Not really true. I can hear the difference between analog and VA filters. Same with some oscillators. Even the Access Virus TI2 (imho the greatest VA I have the pleasure of owning) aliases like crazy. I can promise you an analog optical compressor will sound different than a plugin trying to emulate it. Same with some valve stuff. And to me, the difference is huge. VA is getting better every year though….

    2. I judge with my ears – and I’m hearing that classic sound. Looking forward to checking these out – especially the vocoder.

    3. It almost sounds like they’re making a hardware version of Rebirth but the images look like they’re creating a range of drum machines / sequencers. SO if they’re not JUST making VA X0X boxes, that’s exciting.

    4. Half the people getting upset about Roland , probably don’t know their Drexciya, from their Cybotron, their DJ Pierre, from their ‘Wheres your child’ BAM funkin Bam. Voodoo Ray , from Techno City,Basically this new Roland gear will rock those of us who are still plugged into disturbingly beautiful acid and techno.
      it will push all the dead expensive hard to use shit to the side and hopefully create perverted, twisted, and funked up dark acid and techno tracks that will go to vinyl.
      All the sophisticates who missed out on acid on its first landing , will probably miss the point of all this gear ‘flawed gear ‘ any how.
      I think those of us into Acid , techno and Electro are going to have a funkin good laugh , with Rolands news synthesizers. We have new weapons to offend those making tediously bland music . The market can take another 303 machine . The people slagging Roland off for this gear , I wonder how many Roland synthesizers they own or have owned, or use regularly. I think the middle class , are still upset that acid and techno was not their music and they jump on the band wagon donkeys years after.
      I own Roland gear and I am very much looking forward to adding this stuff to my studio.

    5. sounds like dcam with a different name

      these might be great though nonetheless

      the tb sounds weak and sterile, and no “wow” with high accent being shown at all, the resonance is thin and frail

      curious on price

    1. Where did you get the source images to do that with? I can only find JPGs on Roland’s site, so obviously you can’t pump up the shadows or clarity. For shits and giggles I took those into Lightroom, but got the predictable mess. So I’m wondering how you pulled this off? Where would they have shared a RAW image that would retain of that extra data?

  6. Looking good Roland! I for one am not bothered that these aren’t analogue so long as Roland have done an exceptional job in modelling these devices, and they certainly have the resources to do this properly. I’d like to see total integration of hardware and software for this, so you can use the sounds without the hardware if you want to, but with the advantage of a dedicated hardware controller.

  7. I do not own a single Roland instrument, yet I would consider purchasing this, if not to simply hack the technology behind ‘ACB’ and examine and study it.

    I applaud Roland for not reaching back, rather moving forward.

  8. The whole video was basically “analog modelling 101”. ACB Technology is basically “branded” VA. Still, part of me hopes they pull this off and nail the sound, just to shut up the anasnobs 😉

  9. Roland claims they are Designing the future.
    By creating digital models of their classics?
    I do not se the logic in this. Roland is dead as far as I’m concerned. Korg & Moog: take my money!!

  10. If its essentially just software in those boxes, maybe they will come out with a software version? Fifty bucks for the TR08 Rack Extension would be a nobrainer.

  11. I am not a purist when it comes to sound generation. Where Roland may be missing out is a lack of interfacing. The huge increase of devices with control voltage interfaces in recent years will make these AIRA ACB devices a non-starter for me if they won’t interface with cv. There are more digital sound generators with cv all the time. The type of control offered by control voltages should not be overlooked.

  12. The key is the sound, the interface and the pricing.

    These look like dream boxes to play with – big, solid and full of controls.

    From the preview videos, they sound good, too. My question is whether they can just do the classic 303/808 sounds or if they can also go further. I’d rather see them go further than try to slavishly recreate old gear.

    The other big question is pricing. If these are $1000-1500, they’ll be getting close to Dave Smith/Elektron territory. I’m hopeful that they’ll come out with more competitive pricing.

  13. I don’t really see the point of sacrificing the workflow of the DAW + a controller in favor of a digital drum machine. I have no problem with digital instruments but this makes little sense to me.

    1. I love a good DAW, too, but real knobs are more fun to play with. Having a standalone box brings its own inspiration and you mix it with your own.

  14. Im eager to hear the filter on the new synth, it needs to sound better than any previous digital filter or else ‘ACB’ is just a gimmick

    pretty difficult to emulate a 303 type filter without it sounding harsh, that is the litmus test

  15. I love Roland instruments, always been my favourite vintage synths. They aren’t giving much away with this are they. I’m really unhappy to say that the music is very dated. It’s like walking between two tents and a music festival 10 years ago. I hope the next demo, they get a bit more creative.

  16. overpriced for europa …
    2000 € for the mono synth sh (such horrific) ,see elektron a4..
    1600 € fot the tb (twist ballz) , see tempest, elektron, artuira , clone or even collector tr…
    800 € for th tr (touch rectal ) … see old tr or clone also ..
    and 300€ fot thr vt (void talk) … see alesis/korg vocoder ..
    roland consider muscians as richest and moroniest they are ..
    roland is an usa or japan corporation ?

  17. i’m not too excited. roland refuses to give the analog regeneration a try, even being the biggest company to be loved for its analog equipment, they refuse to make an absolute killing on some dope new analog equipment!!! its been decades, and i cant even imagine how sweet their new analog stuff could be cheap and absolutely killllller.

  18. The jumpsuits and velcro strap sneaker outfits look polyester based. You just can’t recreate the feel of organic fabrics in a factory process.

    1. So you can combine the sound quality of analog circuitry with the numerous sound processing that can be accomplished in a digital chip that is 1/100th the size of an analogous analog.

    2. Consistency, reliability, expanded options, etc.

      I love my old analogs, but usability and sound top nostalgia any day. I’m hoping that Roland delivers with these new boxes!

  19. This teasing is killing me. Just take my money already! Actually am interested in the 303-like machine. Especially if it’s sequencer can be used with external gear. If the price is right, then Roland might have hit a home run.

  20. My JP8000 is 16 years old and still sounds better than many plugins.
    Now after all this time, AIRA will be the third milestone decades after Moog and the DX7.
    Everything except the originals will sound like prototypes. 😉

  21. I don’t care about them being analog or digital. Both worlds have good things to offer. Basically if it sounds good, it sounds good. Hopefully it will be more than just a remake of the old stuff. It’s not difficult to get those old sounds. It would be nice to have something new that has the same impact the old gear had (has).

  22. And, indeed, stop teasing. It doesn’t trigger me anymore. It just annoys me. There should be a law: 1 month after presentation it should be in stores.

  23. Looks like Roland is embracing the elektron style of post-DAW, performance oriented, modular tools. ( no, not that kind of modular. ) It’s a great, fun, music making style. I do it with elektron gear, old drum machines and eurorack, but that’s expensive and not for everybody.

    I think that’s fantastic! Why should it be analog? Analog is analog, and VA is VA. This is VA, fine. If this helps kids afford good tools (== sounds good, good workflow), then that’s awesome. Bravo Roland!

    I think this move takes balls. The proof of this pudding will be in the eating: sound, price, workflow. Until then, this hating on Roland because it’s not an analog re-issue of the 808 is really stupid. ( I suppose they did partly bring this on themselves by starting this tease so early, without good audio demos, and giving people false hopes about a different avenue, i.e. direct analog remakes)

    That said, I do hope Roland will make some analog gear. But this is something different. I’ll reserve judgement till I can hear and play with it.

  24. I simply cannot understand why some people post negative comments about gear that have never heard or handled in person. We can have the “real” analog vs. virtual analog battle here for all of Eternity and never have a clear winner. The Korg Electribes are VA drum boxes and have sold in the thousands. Some people do interesting things with them, others commit atrocities with them that should require confiscation.

    Wait until they are in the stores, go try them out. If you don’t like them, don’t buy them. That is why the 303 and 808 ended up where they did. They were total failures in the market place and only after they became cheap and available did they fall in to the hands of people who found other uses for them. Save the torches and pitchforks until the product is in the market at least. They might turn out to be really good.

    1. the people who pine endless for “full analog” or whatever are just displaying one of the symptoms of guitar envy. Face it, the analog obsession is just an attempt to make synthesizers meet some bizarre standard of a “real instrument”. “each one is unique”, “better with age”, blah, blah, blah, this is crap people use to describe Stradivarius violins and old electric guitars from the 60s. Electronic music is completely different from that. I think people constantly harping on analog crap just don’t “get it”. If you are so envious of string instruments go buy one! sick of hearing this crap!

  25. While I was definitely hoping for, and would be just fine with a reissue of the 808, I see and dig what Roland is going for. However, I just think it’d be killer if you could connect it with all of Roland’s classic 80s line. I would love to connect this to the Juno 60 and link it with my Volca Beats.

  26. After watching this I am definitely more intrigued …. Roland has obviously heard the blowback and reacted with something that seems more exciting then a hyped up modern mc303groovebox…. If anything, at least Daft Punk will have something new to use behind their plexiglass shields for their live show! 🙂

  27. Too bad dozens of other companies reproduced the Roland sounds atva fraction of the cost. Once again Roland fails to listen to its beloved customers. Luckily for us other companies are re creating the Same analog circuits.

  28. After studying the videos above and carefully reading through all of the comments, at this point I’m 70% certain that Aira is going to take up serious desk space beside my SH-201.

  29. I have no problem with what roland is putting out except for the fact th putting out two mono synths and a drum machine…if this technology truly is a new cutting edge va engine why not put out something polyphonic? My guess is something closer to stripped down supernatural synth engine that’s cheap and the whole new aspect is fancy marketing.

  30. Roland as a company is very adamant about building new tech and not rehashing the past, but having visited the Roland headquarters as a salesperson during the Jupiter 80 and Juno launches, I found it disingenuous that they would evoke the past in name and design but not in function. Most of their products over the last 10 years appeal mostly to performing musicians and not the studio community. I suspect that few of us want or need a new fantom and I don’t see a good reason to upgrade my xv5080 for an Integra7. Supernatural is a great technology but I will always use
    Software for realistic instruments. There is just more power, flexibility and upgrade ability there. What I can’t get is a fun, knob laden, analog signal path. So I have a Juno 60 and an sh101. But I would much prefer an updated “Juno 600” with USB and a delay built in. Or an SH w/ preset memory. Clearly there is a market but they don’t seem interested. Also, if they are keen to create modern instruments, why don’t they have any iOS synths?

  31. Okay, this is better than I’d expected. Firstly I have to admit it looks ‘cool’. I know looks are not what really matters – some great modular synths look hideous – but it matters to me. I can see this as a good replacement for the SH-01 Gaia that I’m fast getting tired of. But second, at least from what I can see from the enhanced pics, the System 1 synth looks like a proper synth rather than a preset box. Sure, I’m certain there is a degree of diving into sub-functions but most of the essentials are one knob per function. Good. Thirdly I like the fact that Roland are marketing this as a collection of instruments in the same way Korg do with the Volcas. This reminds me of the Roland System 100 in a way, which happened to be the very first synth I’ve ever played back in 1978, and I’ve lusted after one ever since – sadly too expensive now. But although Aira does not replace the System 100 on my lust list, it follows a similar principal – four instruments working as one in a system. I also wonder whether the ‘system 1’ synth is the basis for some future expansion options in the same way the System 100 ‘Model 101’ keyboard could then connect to the ‘102’ expander, or the way the original Korg MS-20 could connect into the SQ-10 and MS-50. In terms of it being analogue modelling, well…of course I would have preferred pure analogue. That is the benchmark as far as I’m concerned today. But if it sounds good, is highly creative, and priced competitively I’d be tempted to get an Aira. I need to hear more in terms of how it sounds, and want to see the Sonic State review by Nick Batt before I put it on my buy list. But its hovering off in the background as a strong maybe.

  32. I have owned allot of Roland products going back to the mid 80’s, I will never sell my analog Super JX10.
    I wish Roland luck on this ballsy new product line attempt, I hope they do a good job pulling this off.

    Me personally, I am saving my money up for that new Moog Sub 37, it’s been a long time since I have lusted after a synth, I can’t stop watching Videos that are showing it.

    1. yes I too can’t stop watching it. I love roland and korg like a brother but this time moog has made a home run. I already ordered one down payment and all.

  33. R.I.P. Roland.

    They had the chance to regain some credibility, and release modern analog gear.
    They chose to destroy the legacy of the TR/TB/SH name, and ignore the reason why this old kit was still so popular.
    In effect, they have raised a middle finger to all those musicians who have dreamed of owning some proper analog Roland kit, and who would be first in line to purchase.
    They have completely ignored what the marketplace was telling them.

    I agree, that these new digital boxes are potentially good instruments, but that is just not the point.

    I can buy any number of digital boxes, and VSTi’s that replicate the old analog sound faultlessly.
    My virus is a perfect eg.

    Sheesh, even in ableton alone, I can make plenty of TR TB SH sounds that all but the purists could distinguish the difference between.. So Roland really missed the boat here.

    After seeing the debacle that became of the Jupiter name I am not surprised at all that these boxes are trashy digital boxes that look like an Indian truck, or a house at xmas, but, it is still disappointing.

    1. I mean, yeah, it would have been nice to see new genuine analog devices from Roland. And it’s a bit tacky to use the old naming convention on the new gear which is unrelated in technology. And I get what you’re saying re: the point being missed, regardless of quality.

      But I still think that, if the TR-08 is decent at all, that it at least is a decent reading of the current market. Did you, like me, wish that the Arturia Spark was a standalone piece of hardware when it came out? Well, here it is. I’m hoping that, since it’s digital and not analog, they’ve got some deeper drum synthesis options under the hood than the original TR-line. An ER-1-alike with greater complexity? Yes please.

      (haha it’s going to have a bit of VA with click/decay knobs and a lot of PCM. Maybe a bit of LA synthesis with sampled transients)

    2. I have to admit that this would have been a perfect chance for Roland to introduce new analog gear through Aria. It seems that the Corporate culture at Roland has a repulsion to going backwards and re-creating analog instruments for what ever reason…..not sure why? I have great analog gear by other companies and I have great digital gear by Roland and other companies. I guess what I am saying is that we live in a time when we benefit from both worlds. I wouldn’t want my studio to be all analog nor would I want it to be all digital.
      I bought the Jupiter 80 and have no regrets about buying it, the synth sounds great and fits in next to my Elektron analog 4, VA Virus C and analog Super JX10 and Diva soft synth. It seems like common sense to reap the rewards from all that is out there……analog/digital, computer based instruments…whatever.
      If Roland chooses to rename new instruments with old vintage names…I am not going to lose sleep over it.
      I call my Jupiter 80 “Ralph” who cares?

      But Aria could have been an experiment by Roland to dip there toes back into analog.
      Opportunity missed? we shall see?

    3. For every 1 user who gets their panties in a knot about it not being analog, or re-using names… there’s 50 users who just use it for how it sounds/works, and another 10 who recognize the name is about the type/style of instrument not the circuit design.

  34. I am glad they are not limiting themselves to analog only anything. Why? Because, outside of the group of never satisfied purists, who really cares. As long as the product kicks ass (however defined by individuals) people will readily add it to their arsenal. For me, I am not a Roland guy but this might entice me to get on board. I hope Roland doesn’t disappoint!

  35. Anyone else hate this kind of marketing. Just show the damn product. These mysterious flyovers with only a hint of light make me want to run from the room screaming.

    1. I agree, show the instruments and what they can do and sound like, none of this marketing bullshit!
      I have been part of marketing teams and most teams think they are very clever in their approach to presenting a product but most marketing is bullshit by bullshit artists.

      1. put your smart phone down, and use some analogue patience. 😉

        We used to have to wait for months of keyboard magazine ads to see the real instruments… That’s old school analog marketing. Now they’re using Virtual Analog marketing.

  36. How matter how it sounds, this technology is an imitation of a physical phenomenon. If I want to hear a guitar, the closest thing to a guitar is a guitar, not the “most advanced digital simulation of a guitar ever created”. The only justification to this is a price that challenges any competition, and by any competition I am including all VST re-creations of these past analog roland products(like the LuSH-101 from D16). If it is the hardware that they are trying to sell us, keep in mind that any controller that you have coupled with a good VST is as good (and free, supposing that you have controllers already). If it is the technology, the real deal will always be truer (not necessarily better, better being subjective, but truer).

    In other words, Roland is trying to sell us a guitar-shaped synth that almost sounds like a real guitar (hurray!! what a revolution!). If they are selling the hardware, this is obsolete because any other guitar-shaped controller coupled with a good guitar-modelling VST will do (in that case this is a bad example because there are few guitar-shaped controllers, but in the case of knob-ladden surfaces the argument makes sense, there are tons of knobby surfaces). Now If they are trying to sell us a technology that almost sounds like a real guitar (real guitars being common, not a species in extinction), it better be an economical option (dont charge us the hardware + the software in that case, if you are selling us the software). Please if you are trying to sell a technology make sure that it is a new technology that creates new possibilities for musicians, not a pale imitation of a real physical phenomenon.

    1. I just don’t understand all the criticism;

      VST certainly doesn’t match the sound of analog, but analog stuff are limited in variety of sounds;
      (yeah, I’ll just wait for older, closed minded people criticism there, i don’t care).

      However it would be great for me to ear a digital synth with the characteristic of an analogue synth;
      Isn’t this what the aira team tryed to create? And if they succeded, just say “well done” Roland…

  37. Lol, all these analog purest going on about how Roland has let them down are probably the exact same people that cried foul when Korg announced the price for their new MS20 DIY kit. The reality is analog costs money which means your already small market is reduced by a fair amount. Roland is the Sony of the music industry, they make mass produced (decent) gear at a reasonable price, unfortunately that ethos comes with compromises.

    Saying that I’ve owned a fair amount of both Roland and Korg analog gear and I get where people may be disappointed with the latest incarnations but come on, we need to move forward sometimes. Just remember what the original base price was for the the 909 -$1200! Same for the 808! The Juno60 was $1800!

    So sure we could get more pure analog machines but it’ll be at a price. You can’t have your cake and eat it 🙂

    1. so much bull.
      the resurgence of analog shows that analog might even be more affordable than DSP based products.
      arturia, novation, korg, elektron all are sub 1k mark where the latest nords or viruses are well over it.

      so the argument does not hold water. this is just corporate inertia and total disconnect from the user base.
      its really an absolutely regular symptom of the corporate culture in any market.

      korg turned out to be an exception but apparently only because of a couple of extremely dedicated individuals.

      akai or roland. its just guys in suites talking sales. they dont give a damn how you feel about classic gear.
      they just want to profit from it.

  38. Just show us the damn thing. Nobody is gonna buy it anyways. We’re all just waiting for pics so we can sigh at what will be an utter failure because Roland refuses to innovate. They just keep cranking out the same junk and often in the same packaging.

  39. Analog would’ve been nice, but ACB might just be brilliant. There are many 808/303/909 analog clones out there, Yocto/TipTop etc. And more to the point some awesome analog drum machines – DSI Tempest, Elektron Rytm and the fabulous and cheap Korg Volca’s. I suspect Roland will bridge the gap price wise. I’m sitting in front of my modular and building a couple of Frequency Central VCFs I love analog, but still use Logic with all its superb software synths. What Roland look to be doing I would guess is model the randomness and distortion of analog circuitry and the immediacy of tons of knobs/sliders, but with the much larger sonic design complexity of digital. Personally I can’t wait to hear them, and if the price & sound capability is right, bag a TR8 of my own

  40. I’m starting to warm to what I am seeing. The buttons look like they were stolen off a korg electribe.. not a bad thing in my opinion.

  41. I’ve heard this before from Roland… they already analyzed characteristics analog circuitry with they’re V-Synth line of keyboards. The lab coats, and cheesy animations are laughable. I hope it’s not just marketing, they could be on to something, but what they did to the Jupiter name doesn’t give me faith.

  42. Only stupid people writes this off before even heard or tried it.

    The same shit is seen everywhere, like with cars or cameras.

    There are still people that belive that only FILM is the real deal, then they scan it to get it digital and put it out on the internet.

    And if you have heard about the past you will discover that TR and TB products where given away in some cases unused since no one wanted it at the time.

    Maybe use the ears instead of the brain ?

  43. I was expecting some analog stuff like almost everybody. I don’t understand Roland. Almost every company started to make analog instruments (even the “pluginmaker” Arturia!), because they noticed that there is a HUGE demand on them. People getting bored with clicking with a mouse, and analog hardwares are living their renaissance, like in the 90’s, it’s a fact.
    And here is Roland, the company which actually made history, and changed the whole music scene back then with their analog products, made digital, again.
    I do not say that it will sound shit, I just don’t understand their move, and I think I’m not alone with this.

  44. How weird must it be to have made products like the 303 that nobody understood
    for ten years, when at which point only the second-hand dealers clean up. From Roland’s
    point of view they were 150 quid in the bargain basement, and then they missed the boat
    to re-manufacture at the crucial moment when rave took off . Financially very sad for them, this.
    They themselves had no idea that this thing did the things that it was going to do, the thing
    was an unconscious product . Some genii at Roland were like any great artist, a ‘conduit’.
    This was not a ‘successful product’, it was a phenomenon of nature that a machine was made
    that appeared to have a relationship with psychedelic substances. I doubt that it can be made
    to happen

    1. I was around in Manchester in 87 thru to 93 , the psychedelic connection to acid was a media attachment to rubbish the genre. The drug connection came after the first wave of tracks. The term acid was cause Dj Pierre, reckons the sound cut thru you and burned into you .
      I once sold to 303’s in their soft silver cases for 180 quid. 85 pound to 90 was the going price in the North of England in the very early 90s.

      1. Sorry, did I mention acid ?
        I maybe concede about the re-manufacture in the early
        nineties though, that not many would’ve paid a grand at
        that point; in fact I do seem to remember people moaning
        all the way through the price hike to current levels.
        Now though ? I, for one, would be very tempted by a
        Roland ‘Devilfish’ .

  45. With a quick photoshop level effect, here s what we can see… >

    ROLAND TB-3 (TouchBaseline)
    ROLAND TR-8 ( Rythm Performer)
    ROLAND VT-3 (Voice Transformer)
    ROLAND SYSTEM-1 (Plug-out synthesizer)

    Oh yeah baby!

    1. I assume the System-1 is supposed to be evocative of the SH-101? Or is it the System 100 they are trying to revive?

      I think they’ve chosen the right four boxes to make, and assume they will build out the line with more retro recreations.

      It’s an interesting path they have chosen during an analog revival. I reserve judgement until I play with them.

  46. I wanted analog too, but am keen to hear these in action. The irony of the analog vs digital debate is that most of the time we hear A-B comparisons via a digital recording, i.e. a bunch of 1s and 0s that are streamed from a computer and coverted back to an analog vibration. So to say it is impossible to make a bunch of 1s and 0s generated by software sound exactly like the same 1s and 0s captured by digitally recording an analog sound source is nonsense. They will literally be identical. How accurate the model is, though, is down to the software makers. But all of those analog characteristics can be modelled, if you are supremely talented, to be indistinguishable from a digital recording of an analog synth.

    So for releasing CDs or digital downloads, they can sound “perfect” if Roland does what it claims. For live use though, or analog recording, or comparing on a very good scope, there could easily be perceptible differences.

  47. I should add that I’m talking about differences in sound, not the resolution of controls. That will be interesting to see. A lot of gear uses 128 steps for “analog” controls and can be steppy, but that’s not just digital gear. My Mopho, Volca and Microbrute’s LFO have this to varying degrees.

  48. To the pathetic people who moan about Roland not re-creating thier old products; go and die, seriously just jump off a cliff so we don’t have to here your tired little voices anymore. Can’t wait to see and hear more, hats off to Roland for the best marketing campaign ever!! Over at Gearslutz people are literally goong mad with anticpiation…. I do hope they deliver something that is FUN to use that inspires CREATIVITY, that is affordable…. digital, analog, who really deep down gives a ****? As Gearslutz have proven over and over with blind tests, its almost impossible, if not actually impossible to tell the difference between a sound created by analog or digital, so the argument is therfore redundant…. as that matters is if an instrument, whether its a synth, drum, saxophone whatever INSPIRES you to create music…. lets hope the AIRA products do that, all this hate and whining is so tiring…. only a few more sleeps to find out for sure….

  49. I can understand the disappointment of many people here that were expecting these things to be actually analog. I haven’t heard a perfect analog emulation yet. I’m still interested in these things though. I’m quite fond of the things Roland have done with digital synthesis over the years. They seemed quite ahead of the times with their variphrase concept. The V-synth was a lovely synth with tons of potential. It doesn’t sound analog but I still like much about it’s sound. Maybe these new boxes will be something really nice with lots of
    quirky Roland bits to explore.

  50. These arguments make for a fascinating sociological study. Look at the testosterone squirt as they slug it out for dominance! AIRA is clearly aimed at dance. Even its keyboard is a two-octave item with step-sequencer lights, somewhat resembling the Korg Radias. Its clearly another kind of modular system, conceptually similar to their 70s/80s analog modular mix-&-match approach. Its a good idea, as a looper artist may only want the voice unit; others may only need the synth. Frankly, until I lay hands to an item, I can’t really *know* WTF its about. Video demos do tell you a lot these days, but the real acid test is, does it draw you in when you first play it? The rest is secondary. I feel the same about any new patch set. That first few times in use sets the tone for how you’ll use it and that’s generally been fun. So the main Question should be “Is AIRA any fun?” The answer to that will come after they get through just posting coy videos.

  51. There is a lot of negativity in these posts that is unwarranted. There is too much criticism of musical instruments that none of you have really heard, seen or got your hands on! Give it a rest until they have them available!

    Roland are achieving exactly what they set out to do – create a buzz and get people talking. Unfortunately, those with lots of negative attitude tend to be the people who post criticism. I, for one, am excited to see what they create and I look forward to giving the Aira a go. The videos so far look great – the instruments look rather futuristic in design and from what I have heard of the sounds, they sound great. I own a TR808, a TB303 and a TR606 and I will certainly be buying Aira to really see what I can do with it.

  52. For all the crap people give Roland (and I’ve been among them for recycling their same sample library for 20+ years and then doing time-stretching/resampling for everything else), we all should take a moment to give them props for still being in business at all. With so many music instrument companies from the 70s and 80s long gone, it’s actually pretty cool they are still around to make anything at all. And they sell a heck of a lot of product. There are plenty of OTHER choices for analog drum boxes out there if you want that – how many did you buy? I’m perfectly happy loading up an 808 and 909 set on my three MPCs. I also love the Waldorf ‘attack’ soft synth. I love my various pure analog (and DCO/VCA/VCF hybrids) gear, but it does come back ALWAYS to what you do with it. Owning a race car to buy groceries impresses nobody. If you haven’t bought any analog gear in the past 2 years, then your complaint about lack of same from Roland seems a bit empty headed wind. All complaints and rants aside, the latest video does look pretty freakin’ cool for a modern beat box to compete with Maschine and such like. Go Roland, Go!!! Show us the toys, and stop teasing us. Boys do not like being teased!

  53. The reason why these comments are scathing is because Roland used to be on top in terms of sound quality and creative options they inspired. Then they got blind sided by digital and it all went down hill from there. Watch the “Aira is coming soon” video on Hi Def setting, listen closely to the sound of the digitally created music. The bass has no character or warmth, sure the digital EQ is pumping up the bass, but it lacks compared with analog synths. The two sync sounds sound very very digital, nothing new here, it could be from any VA synth Roland has produced in the last 10 years.

    1. I don’t think they were blindsided by digital. The D-50 and JP-8000 were highly innovative, well loved, and immediately influential.

      I’ll agree that they have been producing uninspiring romplers for years, but I don’t think it has anything to do with how they moved from analog to digital.

  54. I feel more intrigued than excited. So what is the 4th box? We have keys, bass and drums – so is the 4th unit, audio, FX, mixer?

    Sadly we may not get to hear how these sound due to all the whinning from those analogue purists – whah, whah, whah. The odd thing is every time someone does a blind analogue test, they all get it wrong, or back off and don’t take part – why is that case? If anyone wants to make a fool of themselves I’ll be happy to do a blind test between a classic synth and some cheap plugins.

  55. As far as to what the Keyboard Synth is, I looked at a various captured pics and the naming convention (System-1) more than likely indicates this will be a System-100 or 100m variant, think of it like Rolands take on Nords Modular most likely with a software interface for iPad or computer. This in my opinion might just be the best synth Roland has released since the JP-8000.

    1. I had the same thought. Hmm..’System’ implies more than one piece of hardware. A new version of the System 100 would be awesome. I don’t think it would be a new System 100M because that was a true modular, unlike the System 100 which was semi-modular. I’d see this as more 100 than 100M because the System 1 synth is not ‘modules’. I could see an expander unit – perhaps several different variants with different features maybe.

  56. I see the snobs who need uppercuts are very butthurt about this. Watch yourselves snobs, and make prompt dentist appointments.

  57. The TR08 is an excellent machine !
    Sounds great – is fun to play – lets get stuck in and make some TECHNO !

    Stop your crying and go call your mom.

  58. The TR08 is an excellent machine !
    Sounds great – is fun to play – lets get stuck in and make some TECHNO !

    Stop your crying and go call your mom.

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