Roland Updates Entire Aira Line

roland-airaRoland today announced updates to its entire Aira line, delivering features requested by users from around the globe.

The Aira Update includes enhancements for the whole line, such as backup and restore facilities and better overall MIDI management.

In addition, there are product-specific enhancements, like external MIDI pitch control for VT-3, tuning control for TB-3, and instrument gain control for TR-8.

Roland is also now including the SH-101 Plug-Out software synthesizer as a free download for owners of the new System-1 keyboard.

Here are the details on the product-specific updates:


TR-8 Version 1.1 Update

  • Manage your kit and pattern library with easy backup and restore over USB.
  • Customize kits by adjusting the gain of each instrument to suit your individual style.
  • Rolls are now easier to engage, offer more control, and sound better overall.
  • Alternate unlatched trigger mode engages only while “On” button is held down.
  • Scatter will enable for one cycle and then automatically disengage.
  • Get back in the groove by instantly starting a pattern from the top.
  • Lock the contents of a pattern so you can experiment without losing your original groove.
  • Now you can edit both A and B parts of a pattern without stopping the sequencer.
  • Local On/Off and MIDI Controller modes determine how MIDI data is sent and received.
  • MIDI velocity is variable by the accent setting.
  • Select kits using MIDI control change messages.
  • Scatter On/Off, Type and Depth can be controlled via MIDI control change.
  • Record patterns in real-time from external MIDI devices.
  • Disable sending of all MIDI messages.
  • Toggle whether or not TR-8 responds to PLAY/STOP messages.
  • Control effects using MIDI control change messages.

Here’s a video demo of the updated TR-8:


TB-3 Version 1.1 Update

  • Manage your pattern library with easy backup and restore over USB.
  • Control both pattern tune (-700 to 700 cents) and master tune (430-450)
  • Assign a specific tone to a pattern so sound will change automatically when pattern is selected.
  • Transpose a pattern during performance by simply pressing a note on the touchpad’s keyboard. No need to hold “Keyboard” button.
  • Organize your favorite patterns for quick access in live performance with a custom user bank.
  • Lock the contents of a pattern so you can experiment without losing your original groove.
  • Quickly change the root note of a pattern by shifting its pitch.
  • The sequencer now supports notes from C0-C6 for added flexibility and dramatic slides.
  • Extended Transpose Range.
  • Local On/Off and MIDI Controller modes determine how MIDI data is sent and received.
  • Record patterns in real-time from external MIDI devices.
  • Implementation of both slide and accent pattern by MIDI control change.
  • Scatter On/Off, Type and Depth can be controlled via MIDI control change.
  • Disable sending of all MIDI messages.
  • Note range has been extended from C0-C8 when controlled by external MIDI device.

Here’s a video demo of TB-3 version 1.1:


VT-3 Version 1.1 Update

  • Manage your presets with easy backup and restore over USB.
  • User presets have been doubled to six locations.
  • Volume level of voice characters are more evenly matched for smooth transitions.
  • Control pitch of voice characters, including vocoder, with external MIDI keyboard.
  • Cuts low frequency sensing to improve performance of Auto-Pitch characters.
  • Gates noise to reduce chance of feedback or howling sound.
  • Adjusts level of audio over USB.
  • Change program memory with MIDI controller message.

Here’s a video demo of VT-3 running the updated firmware:

Finally, here’s a video demo of the System 1 with update 1.1:

The updates are available as free downloads. See the Aira site for details.

42 thoughts on “Roland Updates Entire Aira Line

        1. New firmware updates, new plug-outs. New features, performance optimizations, and changes to adjust with the state of the industry like if for some odd reason 128 step sequences get really popular.

          1. Has any company done that ever with music gear?

            If it has audio and MIDI connections, it should work just as good in 10 years as it does now!

            1. I disagree. I think it should work better over time. Like a videogame console. The Playstation 3 had some major firmware updates that meant the console ran much better and faster and opened up more resources for developers. Why shouldn’t this be done on digital synths?

              1. Roland has a history of quickly abandoning far more expensive gear than the Aira line. RIP VariOS.
                When sales dip, they’ll start developing the next-next generation hardware. They’re forever coming up with stuff that finally sounds analog, please forget the previous generation . You’ll be stuck with a couple of Plug-Outs, all of which are less featured than the native System-1 synth, and they’ll be rattling around on eBay for $175.

                1. Roland is going to sell a lot more of the Aira line than they ever did of VariOs. This may lead to more and more products that are compatible with plug out, therefore becoming a standard feature in Roland workstations etc. I doubt you’ll see these on ebay for less that $400 anytime very soon. If the response to the SH-101 plug is anything to go on, they’re going to sell plenty.

        2. It must be about the people who bought into VariOS which had the same expansions features as Plug-out but were never delivered.

    1. Funny how someone like Cevin Key, who owns everything you could want, just last night was praising the TR-8 on Facebook but it’s just not good enough for some dude with a Soundcloud account.

      1. I think the Aira line sounds great, looks cool, and is priced fairly. I just don’t advise anyone to see them as long-term products on the software side. And that’s normal.

        Roland simply does not have a track record of supporting their products beyond the initial sales peak. Hey, maybe the line will still be going strong in 2024, with all kinds of backwards compatible updates and firmware updates and new features. Probably not.

        What was Roland doing 10 years ago, and how exactly is that stuff supported now? Maybe a scanned manual on a legacy archive page, coming soon to a 404-error near you.

        Did the SH-201 get a string of fixes and updates? New features? How about the Gaia? What happened to the MC line? Did it get front panel access to the GM engine? VariOS is abandonware that won’t run on modern computers.

        1. Exaclty, don’t trust Roland in the software support …remember also the MC-909 or the MV8800 lost in time without support.

    1. I owned 707 and 727 and sold both, I sold them cheap too, surprised at the prices people pay for them today as they are just boxes with un editable samples. how can that be a deal-breaker for you?

  1. I had high hopes the other models, or at least one other model (707/727, 626, CR-78) would have been in this update. Slow going at the Roland development office I guess? But I’d rather have updates released slowly and be spot-on, than quickly and full of bugs.

  2. These are smart, needed fixes. If I owned any of these, I’d be pleased to see Roland doing it right. Just the pattern-save upgrade for the TR-8 alone is meaningful. Roland gets dissed too easily for some reason, but this move isn’t a drawback; its a sign of competence. Anyone who offers genuine support gets a gold star, because its not common across the board. Each of these upgrades makes the box more musical. Thumbs-up.

  3. please put out a demo video on the new TR-8 features and how to back up patterns, lock a pattern, disable midi send, etc… I’d rather not spend tons of time figure out how to work out how to use some features. I wanna play!

  4. You know, VT3 might be the only useful thing here if you could process external synths and intruments with it. Such a missed opportunity for a great voice box, seems as simple as just adding an EXT IN jack too.

  5. OK I updated but I can t seem to find this “tr8_v110en.pdf” that they speak of. Guess we’ll just have to figure it out. Now that’s old school. lol

    For real though, anyone know where it is?

  6. The TB-3 update is excellent – accent and slide now has midi control. Should have been on the unit from day 1 given that is the main vibe of acid lines… but whatever – it’s fixed. I’m off to tweak for a few days.

  7. One bug maybe in user bank TB-3. It saves user program but when power of it’s gone.
    Do I miss some setting maybe or can someone confirm this issue.
    Please test en let me know.

  8. I’m sure I’m missing something simple, but how the hell do you route a midi keyboard into the VT-3. I have an Akai MPK-49 controller plugged into my mac, it’s working fine and can control VSTs etc in my Daws. I then plug a USB cable from the mac into the USB-B input on the VT. But from there I have no idea how to route Midi out from the mac via USB, I typically route out to things with a standard Midi input.

    Anyway whatsoever steps\advice would be really appreciated thanks

  9. For the bug user presets, I just found the solution to, backup their personal patterns, in order to replace them later, and then make a general reset of the tb-3 as explained in the manual. And, magic user presets work. It remains to replace its previously stored patterns;-)

    Sorry for my english i’m french

  10. I cannot get my TB-3 restore to work either, on Yosemite OS X10.10 with new driver installed. I copy to the RESTORE folder on the TB-3 but the copy seems to be ignored and patterns stay exactly as they were before. Any idea anyone?

    1. I`m having the same problem. It removes the files from Restore-folder after restart, but the files in Backup are not changed. They even restores to previous settings from somewhere in memory if I delete them before copying anything to Restore-folder.
      Please help

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