Roland S-1 Tweak Synth ‘A Cutting-edge Pocket Polysynth’

At Superbooth 2023, being held in Berlin May 11-13, Roland is introducing the S-1 Tweak Synth, described as “a cutting-edge pocket polysynth”, inspired by the classic SH-101.

The S-1 Tweak Synth is the latest addition to the AIRA Compact family of pocket-sized instruments, which also includes the T-8 Beat Machine, J-6 Chord Synthesizer, and E-4 Voice Tweaker.

Inspired by the classic Roland SH-101 from the 1980s, the S-1 is a micro polysynth with wave manipulation, onboard sequencing, and a range of unique performance features. It’s based on the latest generation of Roland’s Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology, and extends the original’s design with four-voice polyphony and a slate of new features.

Users can build from square, saw, sub, and noise oscillators or craft custom waveshapes on the step pads using the powerful OSC Draw function. OSC Chop unlocks even more harmonic potential, with the ability to cut waveforms into sections, creating metallic timbres. It’s also possible to use the noise oscillator as an independent riser to add sweeps and pulsing sound effects.


  • ‘Legendary Sound’ – S-1’s ACB polyphonic sound engine produces a sound bigger than its size
  • ‘Wild Sound Design’ – Wave Drawing, Oscillator Chop, and Riser lets you create sounds never heard from an SH-101
  • Performance and Sequencing Tools – D-MOTION, Motion Recording, Step Loop, Probability
  • Connectivity – Use AIRA Compact’s unique I/O to enhance a gadget set up, chaining audio and sync between gadgets and to DAW, tablets, and smartphones
  • 64-step sequencer and 64 pattern
  • Motion recording, probability settings, sub steps, velocity, shuffle, and portamento
  • D-Motion controller creates sound changes by moving the synth
  • Step Loop function lets you create live fills and on-the-fly rhythmic improvisation
  • Arpeggiator
  • Portability – Compact, thin, light, and Li-Ion battery-powered

The S-1 also includes a wide selection of classic Roland effects to enhance sounds. Users can add dimension with choruses derived from the iconic JUNO and JX-3P synths, introduce spaciousness and movement with manual and tempo-synced delays, and add studio-grade reverb effects.

The AIRA Compact instruments are designed to be used individually or together to create a compact rig. From one master unit, multiple AIRA Compacts can be mixed and monitored with headphones or an external speaker system. It’s also possible to interface with computer DAWS, mobile music apps, and hardware instruments via USB-C or MIDI.

Pricing and Availability

The Roland S-1 Tweak Synth is available now in the US for $199.99.

19 thoughts on “Roland S-1 Tweak Synth ‘A Cutting-edge Pocket Polysynth’

  1. A little lost on what Roland has been up to lately. They seem to have backed themselves into a tiny consumer groove box world and new tiny companies have really taken the reigns when it comes to innovated designs like UDO who clearly was inspired by classic Roland gear.

    1. The Roland ACB emulation compares well to my original SH-101. It’s not an exact sonic replication, but I wouldn’t call it poorly at all.

  2. seems to sound quite good, and honestly i’m really tickled that there’s an accelerometer in there for more playability, but realistically i think doing much programming and tweaking on this is going to be a major pita. the waveform editing looks truly wacky from this kind of compact panel. might be fun and make sense for some workflows, but… not for me.

      1. scope the embedded video and look at OSC Draw and OSC Chop and tell me that’s an intuitive, efficient process lmao

    1. “small components are not repairable” <- the curse home schooling.

      so, wrong: products built with small components are eminently repairable every day in every way.

      1. I know, right? Just last week I put my broken CS80 and OB-X to the curb. Neither will stay in tune and I’m done with ‘em. Problem is the garbage truck won’t pick them up, apparently they r 2 big.

        Next garbage day I’ll have to cut them into more manageable chunks – good thing I have a bandsaw

  3. That d motion pickup nonsense is such a turn off.. can’t even pretend these aren’t gimmicky toys

  4. “ At Superbooth 2023, being held in Berlin May 11-13, Roland is introducing the S-1…”

    Sure about this? I thought Roland did not participate at SB.

  5. I think teensy synths are appealing for their size as much as anything else. If you’re on a budget, okay, its not a sin to go cheaper. I’d rather save a little and go more upscale. You get better hardware and bigger software that way. The SH-101 voice is too limiting for me. The waveform draw is kludgy here, but hey, it works. I always want a sample bank.

    I find it interesting to contrast an AIRA-type rig with one of the popular “suitcase” modulars. Everything is there within a small footprint. I started on piano, so I can understand wanting to lean into whatever you’re playing. Still, the different trends are amusing.

  6. I really love the performance possibilities. Looks like an instant jam fun machine in a very portable format. Much more flexible as the volcas. No big difference in sound compared to the sh-101.. At this price point a no-brainer for me!

  7. I just got one and I use a midi thru box to connect a sub 37,a typhon and a tr8 but I can’t get this thing to receive start stop messages,using midi channel 4 and I’m set to midi.I must be missing something

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