Introducing The Roland Aira Line (Video Overview)

At the 2014 NAMM Show, Roland’s Brandon Ryan gave us a sneak preview of their new AIRA line, which features four new pieces of gear:

  • The AIRA TR-8 Rhythm Performer – a $499 drum machine;
  • The AIRA TB-3 Touch Bassline – a $299 bassline synth;
  • The AIRA VT-3 Voice Transformer – a $199 vocal effects processor and vocoder; and
  • The AIRA System-1 Plug-Out Synthesizer – a $599 virtual analog synthesizer that can transform into a variety of classic synth, and act as a hardware controller for a new line of software synthesizers.

In the video, Ryan gives an overview of the line, talks about Roland’s new Analog Circuit Behavior modeling technology, and gave us a quick demo of the new gear.

Check it out and let us know what you think!


47 thoughts on “Introducing The Roland Aira Line (Video Overview)

  1. The price is right, I hope these little friends deliver the quality of sound we are all expecting and help Roland win that part of the market again. Want them already!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3
  2. The path Roland took with AIRA System-1 Plug-Out Synthesizer is what I was hoping for with the Akai MPC Ren but sadly they didn’t. Long live this true hybrid system.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3
    • brendon – many vendors do this at NAMM, because so many people come to the show, but the show floor itself is pretty terrible for talking and doing demos.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1
  3. would be nice to hear how they sound without all the BS and flashing lights (and metronome for that matter). = (

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
  4. I will but them all . Nice one Roland. The System 1 sounds perfect .
    Really good gear and all valuable things to have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5
  5. Cripes. Roland are releasing something that isn’t a hideous session musician preset machine named after a classic synth! I hope this is the start of a return to form. It sounds really promising.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3
  6. bah , due to the poorly thin sounds of nex devices , value of jp8000, tr and tb and famous VT1 cant be only reach sky …
    if you have old roland product , you have Gold Ingot !!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10
  7. Digital 303 just doesn’t cut it for me, everything else is alright, but raw dirty analog 303 is what it is and special for a reason. The rest is cool.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 12
  8. Yip does sound good, the keyboard has most interest but the TB sounds wicked. More connect ability with legacy gear would have been nice but all in all excited, a Roland product thats not embarrassing:)

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
  9. Looking forward to them all but System-1 has me most interested. That said, he said they are releasing their classic synths as VSTs, so this makes the System-1 more of a clever MIDI controller with a PC on-board. So for ITB the sound would be the same using VSTs as using the System-1. And I’ve already got my MIDI controller keyboards. Hmm.

    Pricing seems reasonable, but certainly not “must-buy” cheap.

    Overall I’m fairly happy. I don’t think owners and aficionados of 303s and 808s were ever going to be satisfied, even if they were pure analog.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
  10. If this deliver in sound, Roland has nailed it! Love the prices. Power to the people! I still would like to hear how those plug out modeling sound before I purchase. Saving up though. Nice. Made my Valentine’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
  11. You go Roland….trying to break the cycle and release more obtainable good gear for the masses. I have a Gaia laying in my studio along side my analog stuff and I use it in my mixes….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  12. I like the plug-out idea, as long as they come up with some good VSTs. In the gear junkie video, the guy at Roland Euro HQ mentioned a Pro-Mars VST. I don’t know if it’s forthcoming or he just brought it up as a possible example. I wonder how close they could get to my Jupiter-4? (which is basically a 4-voice Pro Mars)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  13. Why go through all of the trouble to analyze and studio the analog components, schematics, etc just to model them? Why not just re-create the analog components and build an analog version that is digitally controlled???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
    • Because it’s been done many times already – just without the ‘Roland’ logo.

      Why would you not want the increased sonic flexibility that you get with a good modern design? This is 808 + 909 + all the mods people have done over the years + MIDI + USB audio and MIDI and a lot more.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  14. I bet 90% of you ‘analog purists’ would fail a blind A/B test between the originals and these.
    Stop fetishizing so much and just be happy that we have new options available now.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 8
  15. HA! Everyone was so sure they HATED this line as an offensive upstart when it was just dark videos and now they’re lining up waving their checkbooks. I expected as much; its a predictable pattern. My only issue with it is the same one as usual: can’t anyone find something creative to do with these things that ISN’T DANCE? Its just too simplistic to be the only style you play and no, the thousand sub-genres don’t make any difference. I’m casually impressed with AIRA as a well-designed system, but the first person who takes it AWAY from dance of any kind and gives it a new voice will be my new hero. The whole field is festering with dubstep and really needs a better voice. This one is creatively tapped out. I’m not suggesting a total return to bloated 20-minute prog rock epics, but 20 minutes of trance is no better. It looks like a great setup that deserves to be broadly embraced and not merely sync’d up. Don’t you want to hear more than only the most basic goodies? Boom-Bap alone isn’t a style. Its what you play *over* it that will define you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3
  16. Hey but it’s not analogue. The micro miniscule variation in sound between these and the originals will make a huge difference to my tracks. The punters will spot this straight away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
    • Live already done a blind test on 303’s with no mastering, analog 303 is easy to pick out, just because you are too noob to catch the difference doesn’t make it fact or a trend sorry.

      Live Analog 303 is unmatched dirty.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  17. Looks and sounds quality. However, it seems like a vst stuffed in a midi controller, and thats ok for the performance and price. At the end of the day its about being inspired and having fun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  18. I won’t even recommend this stuff for beginners, take it from someone else’s bad experience and go for something real and don’t settle for this cheap plasticy toys

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
    • I second the idea of “real.” Its perfectly okay to buy cheapo or mid-range things while you learn, but I really started understanding what I was doing when I bought a flagship workstation. It didn’t require anywhere near the same compromises in sound or usability as my first pile of doodads. I grew by leaps and bounds as the framework became more clear. I learned to draw a bit from every synthesis method of sound creation by learning their pluses and minuses. You have to *produce* to some degree, because its rarely about just one instrument; the whole studio realm is the real instrument. I think the majority of us have both hardware and software devices, so don’t ask if a new tool is any “good” as a stand-alone item; ask how it could enhance your whole team.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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