Roland System-1 Plug-out Synthesizer Overview

The new Roland Aira System-1 synthesizer puzzled a lot of synth fans when it was originally introduced, mainly because it introduced a new ‘Plug-Out’ technology that promised to let the System-1 have different sonic personalities.

Now that several ‘Plug-Out’ synths are available, it’s easier to appreciate the System-1 as a platform. In this video, Sweetwater’s Mitch Gallagher offers another look at the System-1 platform and shows how Rolland’s Plug-Out technology lets you use their soft synths as a hardware synth. 


  • Four oscillators for buckets of fat synth tones
  • 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
  • The most compact Roland synth ever

The Roland System-1 has a street price of about US $600. Additional Plug-Out synths, including the SH-101 Plug-Out software synth and the SH-2 synth, are available at the Roland site.

11 thoughts on “Roland System-1 Plug-out Synthesizer Overview

    1. There are three plug outs available now, The system one, the Sh2 and the SH 101.

      Roland has made this confusing though, because not all of them are available as plug-ins

  1. It’d be cooler if you could put any VST on the System-1; otherwise Automap with Novation’s midi controllers like mkii is better IMO since it can any map settings to any virtual synth.

      1. Are the convertors providing something vital to the sound? For instance, would I want some (what I assume) are relatively cheap DAC’s from Roland or would I rather use my Apogee? I’m asking seriously, as in, do they contribute to the “flavor” of the instrument…. Because I don’t see that prima facie as being a selling point. Still not sold on these “yet”, like some aspects, … and if I bought it, would I be able to use the synths without the “dongle” keyboard? or would it always require it being around?

  2. It reminds me the Roland VariOS from 2003 ¿remember that one?
    the same speech about virtual analog synths (in those years Jupiter 8 and TB303). They promise support and future upgrades and at the end nothing happens. Not sure if Roland is a company that offers real and trustable support for their software products.

    Also not sure about these product built quality, the market offers many cheap plastic keyboards that promise many wonders for low cost, and at the end one or two years later the product is forget.

    If Roland creates a future V-Synth 2 with additional Plug-out technology maybe it will be the product to trust.

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