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The Roland AIRA range has been the first significant release from them for some time, across four distinct models - Roland TR-8 Drum Machine, System-1 synthesizer, VT-3 Vocal Processor and the TB-3 TB-303 remake.
We were visited by AIRA specialist David Ahlund who gave us a run through of the major firmware features across the range. David also gives us another look at the SH-101 plug-out - finishing up with a performance. (Roland Canada have a blog post on Plug-Outs)
All are based in DSP and can therefore recieve significant operational updates to the firmware. Today sees the first major update eand applies to the entire range, check the Roland AIRA microsite for full details.
The VT-3 gets some especially cool updates, including pitch from MIDI input, excellent for talkbox and vocoder effects, but all are given a wide range of new functions based on feedback from users and innovations from the boffins in the labs.
Also officially announced is the SH-101 Plug-Out - the first of the additional synth models that can be loaded in to a slot (activated by the Plug-Out button) in the System-1 memory. The SH-101 is a recreation of Roland's classic 80's monosynth.
To go along with the Plug-Out, there is a Plug-in version which runs under VST and AU from within your host DAW. Patches and control can be applied to the hardware, or it can just run as a usual plug-in instrument.
SH-101 plug-out/in comes free to System-1 owners - you can download it free from the Roland site, with further models being developed. We shall see how frequently these come along, but I'm hoping for a Jupiter 4 (next please!)
I've been waiting for a review version to drop, and hope to get this shortly to go along with our first part 1 review of the System-1.
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Prior to our full review, we take a listen you ask the questions