Roland AIRA Compact Hands-On Demo

The latest Sonic Lab video features Roland’s David Ahlünd giving an in-depth demo of their new AIRA Compact range, which debuted today ahead of Superbooth 2022.

The Roland AIRA Compact line features three new devices:

  • T-8 Beat Machine – this features Roland drum and bass sounds from the TR-808, TR-909, and TR-606 drum machines, paired with the dynamic TB-303 Bass Line. The six-track TR-REC workflow with deep tools like step loop, pattern shift, probability, and
    others to generate dynamic performances.
  • J-6 Chord Synthesizer – The J-6 Chord Synthesizer pairing a powerful chord sequencer with tones of the JUNO-60 synth.
  • E-4 Voice Tweaker – The E-4 Voice Tweaker combines voice transformer tools and standard vocal effects with a hands-on interface.

All three are class compliant USB-C connectivity with 2 in, 2 out audio and MIDI over USB, a built-in rechargeable battery, MIDI and Sync input and output.

Pricing and Availability

The Roland AIRA Compact series devices are available now with a street price of around $200.

27 thoughts on “Roland AIRA Compact Hands-On Demo

  1. Interesting sounds and features, I just really hate this “MINI” trend that a lot of manufactures are perpetuating. When will the “MINI” trend end? I want an instrument that will fit my hands properly. It would also be nice to be able to see it properly too. (I know this comment will bring out the trolls. So, lets hear it. what’s the retort?)

    1. It’s not a ‘MINI’ trend, it’s a cheap trend. People are buying cheap synths.

      volcas and Behringer knockoffs are selling like hotcakes and meanwhile, everybody’s bitching about the prices of serious gear.

      So companies are making a lot more cheap gear, and cheap gear comes with compromises.

      1. Exactly, and also portability and the fact that people like things that don’t take up too much desk space.

        1. Sorry, you completely missed the point of the comment.

          “It’s not a ‘MINI’ trend, it’s a cheap trend. People are buying cheap synths.”

  2. T-8 : Cool little acid box!
    Critic:
    Why is “decay” a button and not a knob when it has only one function?
    Forcing the dual function on the tune knob here is a fail.

    J-6 : Cool Chord machine.
    This is a creative quick fix, focusing on one thing and delivering!

    E-4 : This or the VT-4 ?
    Same function different interface it seems.

    1. Totally – you will reach for Decay many times more than you would reach for Tune

      A few more ACB algorithms too – you will get bored of the preset Drum sounds very quickly

      The 909 kick sounds good when you have the rest of the 909 – personally I don’t think it sits well with the 808/606 sounds

      A kick, snare, hat, clap from each of the 909, 808 and 606 would have been more useful than the combo of Toms they put in

      Can’t fault the rest – the 303 is well done, small but useful sequencer, battery powered

      1. True a hand full of drum kits/algorithms would have been nice.
        You can alter the existing sounds quite a bit tho via menudiving (with a seven segment display).

        Then again it kinda short circuits the process of selecting sounds.
        So the concept definately is making music instantly.
        Switch on and go!

  3. “scatter”?? what? OMG LOL thats so corny and stupid, its not hip and cool like REAL music stuff

    sidechains… now THATS the ultimate music fx… its so trendy and hip and awesome to get that super awesome PUMPING sound that is so like totally awesome you guys OMG

  4. The presenter seems uncertain about the j6. He visibly stutters in trying to explain it, and keeps calling things “wrong” I. E. Style vs arpegiator etc. His heart just doesn’t seem into it

    1. Please stop with the ridiculous comments and trolling. A little bit of digging would tell that the person is David Ahlünd who has been demoing Roland gear for a very long time and is very good at it regardless of your opinion of the gear. You know nothing about him yet you have an opinion on the him. Hubris much?

    2. @Nikola There’s a big difference presenting directly to an audience vs presenting to a camera. I have seen many an excellent public speaker fall apart when in front of a camera in my 40 years in the video production business.

  5. Love the E4, hope you’re listening Santa, especially with looper built in, nice. And the scatter, who doesn’t love scatter.

  6. Just what we need, more mediocre software plugins inside tiny, fragile plastic boxes with even more fragile connections. Future landfill material, who tf buys these toy instruments? Save twice as long and get proper gear used..

    1. It’s not valid to dismiss digital instruments as “software plugins” or “VSTs.” Unlike software, these little instruments will continue to function for years to come, they feature standard audio and MIDI jacks and they they include physical controls.

      Your unspoken elitist criticism is that only expensive tank-like analog instruments are “real” synthesizers. It’s a painfully false claim; there are many extremely good digital and hybrid instruments capable of sounds that are impossible from traditional analog subtractive gear.

  7. Doesn’t look like T8 bass synth – TB303 doesn’t have ‘slide’ function of the original.
    That is a major omission and makes TB part sound very static.
    Otherwise, none of the three impress me enough to consider buying them

  8. these would probably pair well with a novation circuit tracks, i absolutely love the idea of usb-c rechargeable gear you can take anywhere and connect together with a minimum of mess.

  9. a CPU running some code in a box…. May as well use your iphone to get the same sounds…why oh why does Roland persist with their (failing) digital agenda

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