Dave Smith Instruments, Pioneer DJ Announce Toraiz AS-1 Monophonic Synth

2017 NAMM Show: Pioneer DJ has announced a new collaboration with Dave Smith Instruments: the Toraiz AS-1, a monophonic synthesizer for music production and live performance.

The Toraiz AS-1 features a fully-programmable, true analog synthesis engine, based on the discrete analog circuitry in Dave Smith Instruments’ Prophet-6 synthesizer , which is itself a modern reboot of his classic Prophet-5.

The controls include parameter knobs that let you make both subtle and dramatic changes to the tone of your music to create your own personalized sound. You can use the touchpad-style keyboard and slider to manipulate sounds during performances. And it’s easy to manipulate the seven on-board effects, which – with the addition of a brand-new digital distortion – come from the Prophet-6 synth.

Here’s the official intro video:

You can connect the TORAIZ AS-1 synth to the TORAIZ SP-16 live sampler via MIDI and use the sampler’s sequencer to create more complex patterns with the analog sounds you’ve created in the synthesizer. The two TORAIZ instruments can also be connected to your DJM mixer via Pro DJ Link and MIDI, creating a set-up where the CDJs play the track, the TORAIZ SP-16 adds loops and one-shots, and the TORAIZ AS-1 can generate unique analog leads, in sync with the BPM of the music.

Pricing and Availability

 

The TORAIZ AS-1 will be available starting in March 2017 at an SRP of €549 including VAT.  See the Pioneer DJ site for details.

67 thoughts on “Dave Smith Instruments, Pioneer DJ Announce Toraiz AS-1 Monophonic Synth

    1. This is VCO, not ACB. There is no comparison with Aira, unless you’re talking the color scheme which is Pioneer DJ’s idea.

      This is far more tasteful, at least.

  1. There we go, another synth brand targeting the DJs. I am tired of seeing those mini synths with no playability, specifically design for non-players wannabes. Getting to learn an instrument it’s much more rewarding than clicking your mouse or pushing buttons. But apparently we live in an era where DJ is the deal. It’s quite sad.

    1. It’s like people post without knowing anything about the product at all.

      It’s a great sounding instrument, with elements of a great polysynth, I don’t get this whinging. Pioneer has a “DJ” brand but DSI’s credibility and legacy is incredible.

      Don’t like it? Don’t buy it! But this finances Dave Smith’s P8 Rev2, and more synths in the vein of the OB-6 and P6. But something comes out that you personally aren’t interested in and the complaints stream forth, independent of DSI’s business model and any amazing products that’re possible due to these additional income streams.

      The synth market is so very fickle and short-sighted.

      1. Indeed I don’t like it as you guessed. Because DSI is trying to make money by selling a single voice of their own Prophet 6 with too many menu diving, unbearable touch pads instead of keys and nothing new except “just-another-mono-synth” in the market. If you want a monosynth, go for a Moog Sub37. They are packed with much more musical features than what DSI offers. As for their cash flow strategy, it doesn’t make it any better, if you need to sell crap to sustain overpriced products, there is a problem in your marketing plan. They surely need cash when companies like Behringer is flooding the market with actual new stuff that people want to buy. Not because it’s new, but because it’s a real instrument with loads of possibilities. And for live conditions, I would rather rely on a sub37 to instantly tweak the parameter I want than staring at the small AS-1 screen while trying to remember the menu-path to access such and such setting. But I guess this device is designed for such users: menu-divers. One hand on the laptop, the other on the mono-crap. Don’t get surprised if people get bored to see DJ’s on stage, they surround themselves with boring instruments. At least a theremin player would actually wave hands for something real.

        1. company trying to make money? quick, someone call the new president. only HE can stop this travesty!

          this seems to be a case of pioneer licensing dsi tech. its a collab where they are most likely to be picking up the tab and good for dave smith too.

          what a hateful man you are though. the amount of prejudice and subjectivity on display here is quite stunning. your “analysis” however is so simplistic and superficial its actually sad. not trying to be insulting, its just so plain to see.

          there is a product out there – buy it or dont. you seem to be utterly disgusted by it existing and have the need to insult anyone potentially using, all based on a first promo blurb
          that in my mind is a sign of insecurity of the highest degree.

          also your categorizing instruments in “real” and “unplayable dj mono-crap” is so cute in its vitriol.
          i bet you are a well accomplished musician lauded by everyone.

          this same thinking has disregarded 303, 808 as not “real instruments” only to become genre and era defining. sad, really.

      1. Ha. Where is your on topic constructive comment? Sounds like a personal attack. He made some very good points about about the longevity of a business in a changing market. If Nike only made sneakers, where would they be, you know.
        And no one likes the guy who says whines “its not for me” just because he has a computer and the internet.
        This company has such a strong following for a reason, they didn’t accidentally become awesome. And its a collaboration with a DJ tech company, maybe they would be making products for…DJ’s.

    2. Are you doing alright? Dave smith has no intentions of shifting their brand solely to DJS, but companies need to make money right? They’re simply offering a new live solution for producers, as well as DJs. Nowhere does this say “ONLY FOR DJS!!!!” If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. They have a plethora of other synths, and I highly suspect that you would be upset about something if they released a new polysynth that was $4000.

      Not everyone starts off being able to afford a $3000+ flagship synth, nor does everyone start off learning how to get into the synthesis world on a Moog Model D. Not to mention, some people don’t have the real estate to place another 37, 49, 61 keyboard in their studio. Everyone has different taste and purpose in the music world. No sense in getting upset because not every synth that is released, isnt catered to your specific needs and desires.

      I don’t know when you’re living, but the Era that we are in now houses things like the OB6, prophet 6, moog model d reissue, deepmind 12, etc. Etc. Etc.

      Take a deep breath and realize that companies make business decisions that will further their profits and new R&D for future products. These” wannabes” you’re pissed off about who are buying this synth, are actually funding the company who may very well utilize this new revanue source toward production of a new synth that you will go apeshit over.

    3. what sad is this elitism right there. there are plenty “playable” synths out there. too many infact.
      having a product fit a different niche is actually a good thing.

      there is this thing called midi. i heard only wannabes use it though.

    4. Why? Do us musicians have to be elitists? ANYTHING that allows more people to play and experiment with music, or sound for that matter, is a good thing to me. YES – even Guitar Hero and Rock Band are good things even though one may not be creating music. I have never seen this kind of thinking in other industries – are carpenters mad that a hardware store sells beginner tools or simple how-to books? Damn you, Home Depot!!!!

    5. >>no playability

      You know this has the same architecture as the Prophet? While it only has a couple knobs on the front this has some extensive and nerdy menu diving for tons of synthesis and programmability. Not to mention they’ll pronably end up letting you control most of those parameters via CC. I see this would have amazing potential as a sound module with an external midi keyboard.

  2. Glad to see MIDI DIN i/o. The small footprint is nice and the included touchpad keyboard & mod ribbon are nice touches as well. I don’t doubt the oscillators sound good and that the basic sound is there. It’s a little disappointing to see ranges of 0-127 for things like cutoff, for which having greater resolution is nicer. In a teaser they wouldn’t necessarily mention whether or not 14-bit control ranges are an option, but that would help for things like amp & tuning where having a smoother range of control would be ideal.

  3. Honestly, unless the street price ends up way different, that’s quite steep in my book for a mono synth with very limited front panel editability. Seems like a lot of menu-diving tbh

    1. You’re right. Top left. What is that? It seems to have sequencer knobs and envelope knobs on the right (if it follows that pattern of the other synths), and a label with four capital letters including V and R?… but I don’t recognize the overall configuration.

      1. P08 rev 2. Figured it out last night due to the position of the mod and pitch wheels. YouTube video just went up. 16 voices. Disappointed. If you’re going to rev 2 anything, it should be the poly evolver.

        1. yeh i thought it said “rev 2”, and turns out it does..

          overall its a really disappointing unit… basically a rehash with a couple tiny updates..

          the Deepmind 12 took a huge bite out this market, and will most likely seriously weaken DSI’s overall position and influence.. especially considering the comparative price points, as well as Behringers promise to release more units with different capacities

        2. The Poly Evolver is truly a unique synthesizer and yet it left many people with a sour taste in their mouths. (Combo mode?) DSI seems to be pretty bad in the sequencer department and I feel that concentrating on the more traditional keyboards surely shows their strength.

  4. Dave Smith is a business man after all. Roland recycles their technology in their own products (SN, ACB etc..) and DSI now recycles it in their own modules but also by licensing tech out to anyone who wants it for different market segments. It’s cash and probably wont cannibalize P6 sales. Nothing wrong with that. It’s just that this is not much news on the innovation front of synthesis. P.S behind Dave, that is the DSI Voyager 6. 🙂

  5. for me the point of analogue is one parameter one knob or as near as you can get it, the least menu diving the better. There looks to me like there is going to be too much menu diving on this and on that tiny little screen I cant help feeling people are just going to be tweaking the presets and not actually sculpting their own individual sounds. If is sounds great I can see a niche for this but perhaps its needs to come down in price a little as there is just so much competition sub £1000 price range now.

    1. The MatrixBrute and Sub 37 are Monosynths and both cost around 1k more?? I think this will be great sequencing doing live bits and pieces.

      1. Baaahahahahahah! How can you even make that comparison? My sub37 has 2 LFO’s, arpeggiation, sequencing, DAHDSR envelopes with looping and latch, mod busses with programmable destinations, 37 ACTUAL keys, a sub oscillator (does this even have a 2nd osc?)…… I could go on.

        1. AS-1 has OSC 1, OSC 2, Sub Osc, LP and HP filter, 1 LFO, FX modules with bucket bridgade delay and more, on board sequencer. and arpeggiator.

        2. It’s not a comparison, I’m just justifying the price point.

          And actually yes, it has 2 Osc, 1 LFO, Sequencing, Apargiattor and a lot more. But again, I know how powerful the Sub 37 so there’s no comparison. And so it should at almost 3 times the amount.

          I think it’s at the right the price point for a Sub 1k synth, don’t you?

    2. Completely agree. Also if this is a “performance tool” imagine performing with it live and doing fancy triple rotation diving from the 10 m Tower into the menu just to change a waveform…. 🙂 (pun intended Diving,,, change waveform)

    3. “point of analogue is one parameter one knob or as near as you can get it, the least menu diving the better. ”
      There are digital synths with one knob per function (Nord etc) and analogue tucked inside 1u racked with zero control (Matrix-1000 etc). I think the discussion of interface is different than the sound engine.

  6. so this thing is like prophet1 which is badass.

    bit pricey for todays discerning cheapskate customers.
    so weird there is no onboard sequencer. that would make it really usable in a live setting.

  7. This sounds good. If there’s a BCR2000 layout for it, I’ll probably buy it used eventually.

    This is more for people who do not already have an analog synth, and I actually thinks it’s perfect for what they’re going for. Live, most people are not adjusting OSC2 volume or anything like that. On knobby synths I usually mark the knobs I actually use live. I do wish it had at least 1 assignable knob though.

  8. I’m intrigued, it’s like a mega monotribe, I suspect the reality might not be as great as it looks though, trawling through that tiny menu screen for presets and fx and I’m guessing other parameters. The upside is that if the presets are well written you may never need to do much sound design on it. And it really does sound great in the ad.

  9. I’m actually glad to see a programmable Mono synth with such a small footprint. The price is a little steep. Would love to play around with this. If you’re dreaming of a Korg Monologue without a keyboard, with effects. could be cool… that said; Where did “Toraiz” come from? hate that name.

  10. this is pretty cool actually – it is kind of like a volca on steroids…. which is a good thing I just hope the price drops a little

  11. For those who want to know, you can control most parameters of the AS1 via midi with a P6, because it’s a single P6 voice crammed in a backpack box. It sounds awesome.

  12. as one of the sound designers on the as1 and owner of a lot of the vintage sci stuff … this box with the increased headroom bangs as hard as a vintage pro one. the sound is absolutely incredible and the user interface is extremely fast and much easier to work with than the mopho. also those touch plates rock … remind me of serge tkb feel.

      1. i don’t have an sp16 to test with but I’m assuming with the pioneer link interface it will be pretty comprehensive and compatible with cdjs

  13. Apart from the digital FX I see (or hear) very little over a Microbrute or a Monologue… actually I see a lot less, there’s a lot more controls and proper keyboards with these two. Expensive for what it is.

  14. I actually played this thing at NAMM today. It sounds really good. I don’t know that I would buy one, but I can see a lot of dj using it for little synth solos or for looping little bass lines on the fly. I didn’t have too much time to play with it, but it was actually more impressive than I thought.

  15. “I am a musician.” No you’re not. You are a pretend DJ in your parent’s basement that didn’t wake up until noon to play Toraiz hooked to your Pioneer synth.

  16. I played this. Sounded amazing. A lot of cranky people commenting on the interface. Sure there was menu diving, and fine tuning of sequences took a little more work, but I had a great time and sequenced pretty easily. Not sure if it’s on my list to buy, but it was fun, compact, and sounded good.

  17. I personally think this sounds much better than a Monologue in what I heard so far. I’m questioning whether I could like it to a Keystep for the same price as an SE-02 and K25-M and if so which I would prefer.

    For times when I want to forget the computer both would seem ideal and both sound good to my ears but the Roland ‘appears’ to be the more sensible choice – like that matters!
    Would like to have someone make a good comparison of the sequencers.

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