Roland Aerophone Mini Electronic Wind Instrument Now Available For $299.99

Roland today announced the availability of the Aerophone Mini, a new electronic wind instrument that’s designed to be affordable and easy to use.

The Aerophone Mini features an onboard sound engine and can also be used a Bluetooth MIDI controller.

Features:

  • Compact digital wind instrument
  • Six high-quality onboard sounds, include saxophone, flute, clarinet and violin
  • Access over 50 additional sounds with the free Aerophone mini Plus app for iOS and Android
  • Simple fingering based on a traditional recorder
  • 11 easy-to-follow tutorial songs in the Aerophone mini Plus app
  • Play anywhere with the onboard speaker and battery power
  • Headphone jack
  • Light and easy to carry (500 g/1 lb. 2 oz.)
  • Play along with songs on your smartphone via Bluetooth
  • Wirelessly play software instruments with Bluetooth MIDI

Here’s an overview from Alistair Parnell:

Pricing and Availability

The AE-01 Aerophone Mini is available now in the U.S. for US $299.99.

14 thoughts on “Roland Aerophone Mini Electronic Wind Instrument Now Available For $299.99

    1. Soma Pipe contains a microphone, so you sing into it. This is a breath controller, so you blow air into it as if playing a saxophone. Very different concepts.

        1. No, they are different. One measure air velocity the other measure sound pressure.
          The use different types of sensors. Therefore that’s “Very different.”

  1. I’m tempted to buy it. The fingering is extremely accessible and the sounds are decent enough (except for the sax). The video above does a great job of explaining how the AE-01 works: I appreciated how he skipped through the useless stuff like letting us hear the factory sounds (he briefly played a couple bonus sounds but, hey, nobody’s perfect).

  2. Hm, no bite pressure. Pro-tip: bite pressure on a wind controller really improves things. And its essential to use physical modelling instruments with these things. Roland AE-10 has bite and a thumb wheel, but is 2.5x more expensive.

    Unfortunately Yamaha seems to have dropped their WX controllers, last update was in 2001, the WX5, which is a great controller but would have been nice to have a Rev. 2 with USB power and MIDI. I’ll keep using my WX5. I don’t think we’re ever going to see a truly modernized wind controller. So many of the new releases are about substandard feature sets. I think the problem is there just aren’t enough people around buying wind controllers, plus there’s probably too many models to sustain the market and significant new product development.

    As he points out in the video, the software package and features clearly mean this is targeted to the elementary education market for which it is appropriate and will probably be successful there.

    1. I have an Akai EWI 5000. I don’t know how it sounds to listeners, but to play it is a wonderful experience. It is like playing an acoustic instrument, but less stress and more expressive power. Plug it into a physical modelling synth and it is even more amazing. Just to feel that level of organic realtime control from a synthesiser.

      Nonetheless I agree, it would be great if one of the big manufacturers would invest in something really great. The EWI 5000 has many strange quirks and I think WX and VL are now discontinued, which is a tragedy.

    2. Agreed on most points. A few other notes…
      * There are other players in the windcontroller scene, including Berglund Instruments (behind the NuEVI) and Aodyo (Sylphyo).
      * There’s another windcontroller aimed at beginners, the Vindor ES-1. It’s cheaper than the AE-01. I’ve had issues with mine but it’s still something to consider.
      * Bite pressure may not sound like much (it’s typically used for pitchbend), but it’s a large part of the windcontroller experience. Not only for vibrato and glides but for the way you attack a note. Some people on the windcontrollers Facebook group claim that the bite control on even the AE-10 is subpar.
      * As Alistair notes, this device has only two octave keys. Of course, an acoustic saxophone only has one. But it has keys for higher notes and many players use harmonics.
      * The simplified fingerings might ease the learning process a bit for people who are completely new to woodwinds, but it’s quite non-standard and can make things confusing on other instruments. Coming from the saxophone, these non-standard fingerings are close to a dealbreaker, for me.
      * I also play Yamaha devices (WX11 and VL70-m) and it sure is a shame that Yamaha has abandoned us, a while back.
      * There are some breath-friendly synths, out there (Respiro from ImoxPlus is very cool). Also, it’s becoming easier to create breath-friendly patches. These can also be used with a breath controller (like the TEControl ones). Yamaha used to make some, but they dropped those as well.
      * Sure, windcontrollers constitute a niche after several decades on the market. But there are countless young people learning wind instruments in school who could greatly benefit from it. Maybe the time is right for windcontrollers to become a bit more prominent. In fact, there are some signs that expressiveness is becoming prominent in the synth world. MPE is a big part of that, of course, as are alternative controllers (including DIY ones). The work done for windcontrollers can really bring something to the scene.

  3. Good idea and interesting price-tag.

    If Roland should take it one step higher, then they should also add a midi ports and CV/gate, I guess this would open to a wider audience.

    Wind-controllers is really a underrated market.

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