Roland Intros Aira MX-1 Mix Performer ‘The Nerve Center For A Modern Electronic Music Rig’

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2015 NAMM Show: Today Roland is introducing their MX-1 Mix Performer, a performance-oriented mixing instrument, designed to bring together synths, drum machines, loops, DAW tracks, AIRA gear and more.

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According to Roland, the new MX-1 functions as “the nerve center for a modern electronic music rig.” The MX-1 works with AIRA devices such as the TR-8, TB-3, and SYSTEM-1, as well as other music equipment.

Here’s the official video intro:

The MX-1 can mix up to 18 audio channels from a computer, and AIRA devices are able to communicate directly via USB alongside other analog and digital gear. The MX-1 boasts versatile input selection, intuitive layout, and numerous tempo effects with step and real-time control, and the company is promoting it as “a unique and powerful tool for delivering spontaneous, dynamic musical performances.”

Simple to use, the MX-1 provides high-quality sound at rates up to 96 kHz, plus mixing features, and master tempo control (with fine and tap functions) to synchronize the MX-1’s effects with all connected devices via USB and/or MIDI.

Up to four AIRA devices can be connected to the MX-1 via standard USB cables. The AIRA Link USB connection provides both 96 kHz audio transfer and MIDI tempo sync information over a single cable.

The MX-1 is also equipped with multiple analog inputs for connecting gear such as synths, drum machines, even smartphones, tablets, and other various gadgets. A coaxial digital jack can be configured as either an input or output, and stereo send/return jacks are provided for connecting external effects units.

Each input channel on the MX-1 features a smooth level fader with six selectable volume curves, a Tone/Filter knob with ten different settings, and quick-access mutes that work with the LED-lit faders to clearly show their status, even in dark environments.

Scene memories allow users to recall previous mixer states that include all settings and effects configurations. The DJ-style cue function can be used to monitor input sources without affecting the main mix outputs.

The integrated tempo-based effects of the MX-1 allow users to “enhance” performances with “dramatic, pulsing” effects. Beat FX (Filter, Side Chain, and Slicer) can be applied to each channel independently, and the effect tempo is automatically synced to the clock master. The 16 TR-style step sequencer buttons allow the processing to be triggered at specific steps. Master FX such as Scatter, Roll, Bit Crush, and others are included as well.

The MX-1 integrates seamlessly with Mac and Windows computers, functioning as a high-performance, 18-channel 24-bit/96 kHz USB audio interface. MIDI over USB is also supported, allowing the MX-1 to send or receive tempo information and provide control surface functionality for music production software. Audio outputs from the computer can be mixed in the MX-1 alongside external devices to create a powerful and versatile software/hardware music system.

Pricing and availability for the Roland MX-1 Mix Performer is to be announced.

48 thoughts on “Roland Intros Aira MX-1 Mix Performer ‘The Nerve Center For A Modern Electronic Music Rig’

    1. I didn’t see that coming but recently wished for something similar from Elektron!

      I’m not into this stuff at all, but there’s no denying that Roland got vision!!! Very cool!!!

    2. Hopefully they sell enough of them to get Elektron thinking they could make a better one.
      I’ve really been waiting for this kind of idea to emerge and flourish.

    3. this kind of stuff can be done using, for example the audio inputs on the analogfour with parameterlocks on the fx track / envelopes on the track with the audio.
      i have a submixer in rackform to determine how much of the signal from my other boxes and synths goes through the a4 and use it this way all the time.
      maybe i don’t understand right, but to me it seems that the mx1 wouldn’t/couldn`t do per-step changes? correct me if i’m wrong!

    1. if you go to the roland site and look at the specs the I/O is not that extensive. I also reckon this is cheaply made. Korg needs to bring the zero8 back!

  1. This is a wide-open market. Korg went there briefly with the Zero 8, which had an amazing feature set, but lots of stupid issues, so they abandoned it.

    This Roland mixer definitely has me interested…

    1. yes this market is wide open. on closer inspection the zero8 is far superior to this roland thing. (no guitar in, no phono in, no mic in, ….etc…..) but the futurity of the zero8 is uncertain. everyday i turn on my beloved zero8 and wonder how many days are left.

      there is something to be said for a mixer-interface that has creative routing and fx. it inspires the workflow of combining instruments.

      producers these days tend to have a couple of synths, a mic, maybe a guitar or bass, a turntable, etc. who is making an expansive mixing product for this market?

  2. Shame that you have to digitise any analog gear going through it. Some kind of analog pass through with the option to send to effects would of been ideal.

  3. If this really works as an 18 analog input channel interface, that would be great. Hoping it’s not a 2 channel in and 2×8=16 ADAT ports, or 8 channel analog, 2 channel SPDIF and 1×8 ADAT, like so many of the “18” channel devices out there.

    1. There’s 6 analog ins, 4 1/4 inch mono and one stereo mini jack. There’s also a build in usb host for the Aria line and a digital connection that can toggle between in/out.

  4. OK, thanks. I found a picture of the back at cdn dot roland dot com/assets/images/products/gallery/mx-1_back_gal.jpg

    So we got:

    4 mono 1/4 inch phone inputs
    1 stereo 1/8 inch mini phone input
    1 stereo SPDIF digital input
    2 RCA AUX RETURN inputs
    4 “AIRA only” USB plugs, each which presumably carries a stereo signal which is handled in the mixer, and also forwarded to any attached host computer as part of a single composite interface. So 8 channels here.
    Total 18 input channels.

    Yeah that makes good sense if you have a bunch of the AIRA line.

  5. Is it just me or it sounds like there are some sync/latency issues in the video demo? Some beats sound like a rig with timing problems between the various machines. Or is it just a case of ‘sync paranoia’ ?

  6. I’m usually the first hater on most things, but why would anyone think roland would cater to another line of devices. The Aira line is obviously designed to interface with each other from the get go. If you need 18 analog inputs, buy a used mackie mixer and overdrive it to your hearts content. Hoping for a messiah that’s already there. Gosh.

  7. Throwing down the gauntlet here——————————————-

    With all this bring back from dead gear going on, Roland needs to revive one piece of hardware

    TB303 TB303 TB303 TB303

    After all, look how much a use goes for

  8. interestingly at 1:28 in this video I can see a little screen showing a copy of Ableton Live on it. Only a couple of clips active though.

  9. This is exactly the sort of thing I’ve wanted Elektron to do but with a master effects w/parameter locks. I think this is really impressive for Roland and shows they’re dedicated to the Aira concept. Also, the knobs and sliders on my TR-8 feel great (better than a lot of stuff costing 3x as much) and I assume this uses the same hardware. I do wish it had more analog ins or had a way to covert the usb ins but it’s understabdable that it doesn’t.

    1. I wish people would finally do make quality music with minimal rigs instead of making shitty copies of commercial tracks ,trying hard to keep couple groove boxes in sync . This mixer is labelled as a centrepiece for minimal electronic setup and Roland says it is instrument…how many inputs is enough if not 6analog plus many more from your daw?

  10. Love the aira stuff, but this won’t beat using a mackie desk.Four analogue inputs? Really not a lot.
    Most of us using Aira stuff don’t have all the range.
    When is the Aira ten output rack sampler coming out?

  11. Its basically as crude as our old porto studios.
    This is very poor really considering its 2015.
    Howdo you fit a lot of analogue gear into this? Can it take effects units?
    a strymon for example.

  12. nothing impressive. Limited for AIRA users, not for people that have many real hardware synths on stage. I prefer to travel with a Mackie, Soundcraft or a X32. A real profesional mixer.

  13. AIRA stuff caters to the “bedroom DJ” who wants to produce. It’s probably ok for producing cookie-cutter 4-on-the-floor jamz, but the hype around this stiff is hilarious.

    Beatport, we have incoming! LOL

  14. I just got this. Had for about 4 days. I have a TR-8, BS2, MicrBrute, NewElectribe, BossRC-505, Ultranova.
    Definitely not enough inputs and while it’s kinda fun to play, it’s not really what I’m looking for. I’ll be sending it on back.

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