Roland AIRA System-1 Plug-Out Synthesizer


Roland has officially announced the new System-1 Plug-Out Synthesizer – a synth that’s designed to offer a vast palette of classic Roland sounds, remarkable flexibility and hands-on control.



  • Four oscillators
  • Oscillator colors create continuous waveform changes from simple to complex
  • All parameters can be controlled with physical knobs and sliders with LED indicators
  • Advanced arpeggiator with Scatter function
  • Scatter jog dial offers 10 different phrase variations with dynamic, real-time control over 10 stages of depth
  • -12 dB and -24 dB filter types with independent high-pass filters
  • Tone knob for easy tonal balancing
  • Crusher knob for modern edge
  • Integrated delay and reverb effects
  • Tempo syncing for LFO and delay
  • Innovative thin keyboard with 25 normal-sized keys


At the core of the SYSTEM-1 is Roland’s new Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology, which is designed to faithfully model analog circuits.  The SYSTEM-1 also offers performance-ready controls, quality construction, and a vast array of lights, knobs and sliders.


The SYSTEM-1 can control, and even host, software recreations of classic Roland synthesizers. No computer required. You can even switch between the SYSTEM-1’s internal sounds and those of the hosted plug-in.

The first synth designed for System-1 is a recreation of the SH-101. And more PLUG-OUT synths are on the way.


The SYSTEM-1  is designed to work seamlessly with other products in the AIRA series.

Here’s a video introduction to the AIRA series, featuring artists’ first impressions of the new line:

In addition, you can connect the SYSTEM-1 to your computer via its USB jack to send and receive both audio and MIDI data, including MIDI clock information to sync with external devices and other AIRA units.

The Roland AIRA System-1 is priced at US $599. See the Roland site for more information.

89 thoughts on “Roland AIRA System-1 Plug-Out Synthesizer

  1. Out of all the aira stuff this one could be the most interesting, and flexible. I think sonic nick is on the case soon, looking forward to hear them put to the test. Price is appealing let’s just wait and hear first.

    1. Yeah, is it a fucking paraphonic synth?

      It is really good sounding synth, and the amount of control is amazing for the price, and the plug out nature makes my imagination go wild, but now I am in panic. I don’t know for sure, if it is usable synth for me. I have been pushing my synth purchase for far too long and I thought that I was finally in a place, where I could buy a synth while it is fresh.

      I don’t mind digital AT ALL, but what damn use it to make a digital mono synth? I don’t need much, but at least crane for the minimal 4!

    1. Its on the wheel, it says pitch bend or ‘scatter’

      To me it does look like something knew and interesting, especially at the price point they are going for. Cant wait to hear it.

      1. No velocity or aftertouch is a deal breaker most likely for me. Is there some reason they are not needed. Sorry I am somewhat new to synthesizers.

    2. Not including PB or a mod wheel on a controller that’s supposedly will be running Roland VST’s of its legacy synths?

      This is a huge, huge mistake.

  2. This is just the Jupiter 8 remake broken into 4 parts and given a fancy coat of paint. There is NOTHING here new or revolutionary. Same old Roland junk but at least they changed the packaging. Oh and finally no tacky d-beam.

      1. Neither does this junk. There’s a video on Youtube by some dance guy who reviewed it. Basically, in the future you’ll pay Roland more money for cheap emulations of older VA junk.

  3. “Innovative thin keyboard with 25 normal-sized keys”
    What does it mean? What is the innovation?
    Personnally I’d like it with twice the keys or as a module, but I’m intrigued by the concept of this machine. Waiting for review…

  4. the fact that roland has said that the unit will be able to load and host VSTs of different roland synths kind of intrigues me. can’t wait to check one out.

    1. Obviously Roland created this synthesizer around a fixed template design, and since there wasn’t any room for pitch or mod wheel’s, they decided they weren’t important enough to make the cut.

      This is going to hamstring this synth coming out the gate.

    1. “fastest LFO in the world”


      LFO’s can be brought into the audio spectrum on mini synths, analogs included.

      I guess anything faster than that would be . . . an audio oscillator, right?


    1. lol… it’s already a 25 key unit. anything smaller would leave you with something like david guetta’s piano that only seems to play 3 notes.

  5. Might be fun next year when they get blown out for $300. I guess the only way to accept the useless keyboard is to think of the unit as a module with a keyboard for auditioning sounds, kind of like the buttons on a SH-32. But with 4 voice polyphony, 8 user memories and I’m guessing a non-programmable arp, I can’t see a single reason to buy this over a SH-32.

    Seriously, no velocity, no pitch bend wheel or stick? This really looks like something designed by someone who has never actually created music. Weird.

    1. I have to sadly agree with you, somewhat. For all the screaming over innovation, here we are again with the simplest possible implementation of things like 4-stage envelopes. It sounds good, but its in no way fresh. Its mostly a new dance box, because its not suited to serious sound design and its clearly not for actual keyboard playing with no velocity sensing or a practical pitch bender. I can’t really see the desire for a modeled ProMars as impressive when I can build the same sounds easily with what I’ve had for years. Its a real clash between Vintage Gear Lust and the crazy clamor for something so new as to be otherworldly. Its this kind of eye-rolling clatter that sends me back to a Rhodes with a delay pedal. 😛 Its far more real.

  6. Me like, me buy, when its ready that is… 😉
    Definitely pick of the bunch, 303 and 808/909 I have that covered by Props RB-338 on iPad 😉

  7. This is interesting – maybe the most interesting of the bunch – but the also looks rushed, since they aren’t announcing the VSTs at this time.

    What would make this killer, would be if this was open to third party VSTs.

  8. The man in the video said models for Promars and SH-2. Now that IS actually interesting actually as I’ve wanted a good model of either for as long as I’ve played with them. Or what about SH-5/7? Even Jupiter-4 would be possible as there is 4-note poly. That would make me happy if the sound quality is also up there (like I expect it to be).

  9. I want to know more about how the VSTs will work.

    How many will you get out of the box? Is there a list of synth models that Roland is committing to releasing? Will you need to buy them separately for your DAW or will you get both? Will you be able to switch synth models on the fly or will you have to connect to the computer?

  10. This looks great. Lack of bend/after touch will take away, but I believe the scatter will give it a “different feel” that you’re avg synth won’t have, a unique trait. One thing I haven’t seen people say is how much of the panel they used. I have seen people bash so many other units, analog or digital, for them not using up all the space on the panel. I was happy to see a panel full of knobs and fun!

  11. Plug out – Remember the Varios? Promised much yet Roland failed to deliver. Here again we have just one plug-out the SH-101. You may have to wait another 2 years before another… then it will be died a death. Come on Roland lets have a bunch of options before it’s released.

  12. Not my cup of tea, but who’s to say that Roland, even now, isn’t cooking up a good
    old (and expensive) Jovian voltage-controlled analogue monster somewhere still;
    something for the folks who keep the old ones going, who developed the desire
    that’s selling ‘Aira’ in the first place. That’d be nice,

  13. I think it’s funny how some people say it sounds good but ……..
    it’s like kids today would rather have something new than something that sounds good, I shudder to think what kind of music that mindset creates. I like interesting new instruments and technology as much as the next person but when you stop listening to songs and begin listening to patches or how state of the art an instrument is over how good it sounds you’ve become useless as a musician and songwriter.

    1. I’m young, I like new sounds & gear and I don’t understand your point. It really makes no sence. I’ve never heard someone complaining about a single sound in a track. And it’s not about how ‘state of the art’ it is. It’s about how useful & easy to use it is for doing MY kind of sounds. Have fun with your real, analog, moogfilterblahablah and 12’000 $ synth. stop complaining about ‘youngs’ already. We are actually pretty nice peeps. Maybe you should get back in touch with us (;

  14. No audio input.

    So no running stuff through it’s filter, synth engine and effects, no future vocoding Plugout possible, no USB audio interface capability (other than it’s own audio out over the USB port.)

    That’s not a deal breaker but it is something to consider when comparing other Vas in the price range.

    I think if the System 1 had a 3-octave keyboard, audio input and 8 voices, it would be a no-brainer purchase even if the price was higher.

  15. Interesting how most of the videos focus on the TR-8 and TB-3. I can understand why, especially if the System 1 is not yet complete. I’ll reserve judgement on the whole Aira thing until I play it – the price looks good though. I think when you bring this all together you are looking around $1500 – so probably about $1999 AUD here in Australia. I’m more interested in the System 1 than the others, being a keyboards player, but worry just what ‘VSTs’ they are going to bring out beyond clearly the SH-101. A System 100 or a SH-7 would be nice in my view, but the problem is that every time I play the System 1 with a System 100 VST plugged in, I’ll be reminded its not actually a real System 100, with the same hardware. If they want to bring out their original synths, just do that – or bring out VSTs with replica hardware controllers.

    1. Also will they make us pay for the plugins???
      Will you have a discount if you got the system-1???
      Thi is what I wonder, because if those are plugins it means everyone can use it even without the synth. I don’t think they’ll give out those for free to everyone, the alternative is unlocking the plugins plugin’ in the synth 🙂
      I think they’ll go for the smart business move, don’t you?

  16. iam so sick and tired of all the opinionated supposed experts who are trolling these press releases whining and complaining about gear that they have never even touched! Newflash guys, your amatuer opinions mean nothing…and chances are that you can’t afford real gear, so stick with your cheap korg toys and let the real men discuss real gear!

    1. Knob,
      Thank you for your well thought out and sober opinion. When Knobs like you speak out it adds so much to the conversion and helps elevate the tone, which is what a knob like you is good for.

    2. @toneknob, stick your “real men discuss real gear” in your ass, you’re are just a cheap wanna by musician who doesn’t know shit! 😛

  17. You know what, this might not be for me (can’t say because I haven’t tried it yet) but at least it’s a potentially interesting paradigm shift. I think that as synth players we probably are drawn to some level of comfort in the instruments we choose because there are so many variables that we have deal with, but if it wasn’t for new and (kinda) ballsy ideas, we’d all still be playing harpsichords, so yeah, I really do want companies with resources to start trying to throw stuff at the wall and seeing what will stick. If you still like volcas better, nobody’s stopping you from buying four for the same price. Nobody’s gonna take mine.

  18. 18 -3 pole filter in the TB series sounds amazing and even at the expense of rhythm machine with 12 channels of control is certainly fat, as for me a good job of engineers from Roland developers vocoder sounds sweet

  19. at the expense of system 1 is not yet clear perhaps wait for the conclusions and wait with access to the virus but the rest of the boxes presented sounds fat

  20. Who needs pitch wheels? They just too complicated to use, and as far as velocity, the Jupiter 8 didn’t have it! I can’t wait to load a TB-303 VST into this thing so I can get that analog modeled acid sound. When composing I’ll be sure to leave my plugged-out synth unplugged.

  21. Ok, the people who own the original gear don’t seem too impressed,
    I understand that to a degree.
    The originals were just that good.
    But I don’t own and can’t afford any of them.
    So to me Aira is great news, as far as I can tell the units sound great,
    are exactly what I hoped for, and I would have never dreamed of prices I
    could afford with a little saving here and there over the next months.
    Maybe it’s not made for those who already have TR & TB, SH101&what have you.
    Maybe it’s for the less fortunate.

  22. Between my Korg R3 (lovely) and GAIA (yes I love my D Beam and supersaw) and gazillion iPad instruments, I’m wondering what new things this brings to the table?

  23. Even if these Aira devices sound 100% as good as the vintage counter part Roland set out to emulate, another major factor that makes vintage gear so favorable is really ease of use. Knobs and sliders that do one thing each, positioned in groups that make sense to a player intuitively without opening a user manual. If Aira is going to try and replicate vintage gear on this “made for all” platform, dials might have multiple layers and function keys. Hopefully, these simple ideas don’t translate to an overwhelming interface with an intimidating learning curve. If it’s just a VST instrument in an ugly angular controller, it’s just a VST instrument in an ugly angular controller.

  24. What concerns me in the setup that I am looking to create is that the System 1 doesn’t seem to have a simple built in sequencer like the tb3. I don’t want to have to carry around an external sequencer to gigs as it is just another component I would have to plan for.

  25. Every video i have seen has reverb on every instrument how can i judge a synth if its fx all over the sound.
    The term plastic bass is used a lot, that says it all for me.
    No velocity why bother with a keyboard then.
    4 polyphonic i have 2 hands.
    I never buy anything without reading the manual.
    Even roland now are using flashing lights, its that sad.

    1. How can you judge a synth without using it? from youtube videos? Plastic bass? what does that even mean? Why speculate? I spent a few hours using one recently and it sounds great. Very useable sounds and very organic. The 4 voice was a surprise and adds value. Price is astounding for what you get. This is just the basic model with no Plug-outs. Based on the modelling of the other AIRA gear, it’s clear they know what they are doing. I agree about the sequencer though. Hopefully firmware might fix that.

  26. It’s debatable how accurate one of these will sound to the vintage models without playing one and listening – youtube isn’t always accurate as said!

    There’s a lot of good info here: . It’s released in the UK now as well – anyone getting one?

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