Review: AIRA System-1 Synthesizer Part 1

We take a look at the new Roland Aira System-1 synth. Just the basic synth features in this part, the plug-out has not yet been released. We will cover that in another part.


Vojislav Dimitrijevic says:

Excellent video as always. Unfortunately, like the rest of the Aira series, System 1 also seems rather narrow as an instrument and focused for a very specific and narrow auditorium. Too bad, I was really hoping that it would follow what Gaia hinted at earlier on. Remains to see what the plug outs and dsp updates will bring, but as it is right now, it seems more like a toy rather than a tool, a very overpriced toy 🙁

Ludvig Olin says:

Why do you state that it’s paraphonic? I would say it’s not.
Did you possibly have the [LEGATO] button on?

paradroidx says:

crusher effect, ffs talk about a marketing gimmick sheesh. thanks for the review man.

Keith Spicknell says:

I am also interested: Nick, what are you using for an oscilloscope?

Also: paraphonic, duophonic, polyphonic, monophonic—I understand half of those. Is there a source that defines them all, clearly? Cheers!

gurudeclan says:

No velocity. Are you fucking kidding me Roland?????? Christ I’m fucking done with Roland.

John Doe says:

I want a Gaia 2 with the front panel and features of the Gaia but with this System 1 engine. Please do that Roland.

Ron Grippeling says:

Sonic state, I do not like your reviews for the following reasonsToo overly comprehensiveMinimal adjustmenst merely to show of its functions. Come one show of what that beast can do show some 10 minutes soul into it then go explain for the rest of the time..I can read the manual myself..I want to hear what the beast can me that will impact buy factor way more. I have yet to find someone playing the synth in xtc I do always stay away from your reviews

Andrew M says:

well it looks cool.

DjSinae says:

WTF roland.. put fully rotating endoders with leds contours for values… what the point in having the plugout system if you dont have fully rotating endoders… (WITH NO TICK PLEASE.. you should copy kore 2 encoders and values screen.. use that for all modules..

come out with another one soon before native instruments do a similar kore 3 keyboard..

Loic Rathscheck says:

Yes, just did subscribe. I wonder why I did not do this earlier. I always watch your videos. This was quite an in-depth review of the System One for a so-called “not in depth review”! I will keep my eyes/ears open for the second part. 

Andrew Piatek says:

Okay, JD-800.  Five octave keyboard, velocity and aftertouch, high quality materials, great look and feel.  JP-8000, we lose one octave, and we lose aftertouch.  Now, we lose two more octaves off the keyboard, lose velocity, lose key travel.  Do people still play keyboards, or just twiddle knobs?

halion9 says:

Great review, thanks for posting

Big Bang says:

green is the way to go ?

Elliott Hampton says:

Thanks Nick , but I’ve seen enough of your reviews to be able to tell how little you like this. I don’t like it either. Save your money for micro and mini brutes ,Volkas , and maybe a sub 37 but not this flashy junk!!

cresshead says:

Many Thanks to Nick…just bought a System 1, your excellent review/demo video helped in my decision process

ScotchScotchScotch says:

Gotta agree. This synth emulation is WEAK compared to the softsynth world right now. This system is the weakest link in the AIRA line so far in my opinion.

Evig Poesi says:

Very nice introduction! Thanks!

Jake Butler says:

Despite it’s faults to me personally roland has saved themselves by making a synth  with a hell of a lot more features then similar monophonic synths in its  price bracket. They could have easily just made a remake of a vintage synth but instead made something that is unique and expandable which is something i have never seen before fro a relatively cheap synth.  You’ve got to give them credit for that at least.  The tune knob thing is a bit fucking weird though it doesn’t even need to go  a full octave just 11 semitones will do along with the filter mod hopefully if enough people bitch about it they will fix it because that really makes no sense at all. Other then that I definitely want to buy it. 

rhampton1914 says:

I just purchased one and i have to say that i’m impressed over all with the features.. Looks really cool, very light, well built and lot’s of knobs…Sound wise it’s ok..nothing really special..Hopefully the Plug-out’s will make a difference….over all i still like it tho for it’s Sonic Possibilities….

G says:

Couldn’t be happier with the TR8 and FA-08.  And I’d bet that Roland bashers are going to change their tune about the System 1 after watching this SH-101 Plug-Out Synth video below. 

Roland SH-101 PLUG-OUT Software Synthesizer

6DeadlyVenoms says:

Ah! I just got it and also wondered why in the LFO won’t fully open filter!

Goffe Torgerson says:

Nicely done, Nick, as usual.

Iain MacDonald says:

SH101 plug out seems to be free.

Dogboy73 says:

Seeing as this is DSP it seems like there’s some glaring omissions from this thing. It doesn’t sound too bad I think. Better than I expected. But some of the missing features that could & should be in there, along with the lurid green LED’s, make this a bit of a turkey for me.

danmar007 says:

Where’s part 2?

totaltwit says:

Nice no-nonsense presentation. At least I watched it all, some demos are too full of hyperbole.

mistertestsubject says:

It doesn’t really seem all that good

JillmanVideo says:

Emvelope, ist that like saying section och function group?

Zachary Drummond says:

I wish all synths had a scope onboard like the Minilogue.

james murray says:

Hi just wondered if you could help me with a small problem I’m having I just wanted to know the best way to go about recording the midi into my daw as in if I needed to use the system 1 multiple times in the same track is the system 1 multitimbral ? Do the 4 voices allow me to use 4 instances of the synth or do I have to record the midi in and bounce it as audio long question I know if you could help me out that would be great cheers

Yourveryowncarrot says:

I was just looking at the waveform the whole time.

Synthematix says:

Nick you are awesome, you make me decide if I want to buy a synth or not, I really love this little system one.

Troy Rogers says:

I have the System-1 and it is a nice addition to my synth palette. It sits beside my older Roland’s (Juno-60, Juno-106, JX-3p) i really do not care if the System-1 is analogue or not. Haters are gonna hate.

Made In Machines says:

Did they fix the filter mod LFO?

TheMAU5SoundsLikThis says:

I’m thinking about buying one of these. Any advice, are there other company’s who make similar products that I should look at and compare?

digilog099 says:

Nick thanks for your prereview. But one question, have you updated the System 1 with latest Firmware from Roland us, maybe this update fixes your issues!?
Besides there are some news and a short demo about plug out SH-101: Roland SH-101 PLUG-OUT Software Synthesizer
In my opinion that plug out SH-101 sounds really good and the overall concept behind system-1 looks really great so far….

Bibi says:

Isn’t it 4 voice polyphonic? or paraphonic as stated?

Made In Machines says:

With the leak of the new roland jupiter 8 emulation hardware and juno 106 are they really likely to be adding these emulations to system 1? I doubt it. Does this work well as a midi controller for something like u-he DIVA – can you make templates for vsts?

das licht says:

JD800 PlugOut would be lovely 🙂

Martino Fenzi says:

Thank you Nick, you made another great reiew!!
I must say that I really get ispired and also entertained by your videos (the Elektron one was awesome too!!).

marctronixx productions, llc says:

This video further helped me to decide to pick this up. I was on the fence about this synth but wanted to wait until it got into some hands of people in the real world. 

After seeing a few real world videos, i just placed an order for this sucker. I already have the other bits in this series and this completes the system. Thank you +sonicstate 🙂

Ares Kalogeropoulos says:

Paraphonic digital ?

bytex666 says:

I’ve always wondered why some delays distort the pitch wildly when you turn the time knob while playing. Why does that happen? Is it “wanted” or an unwanted artifact?

Pg TrAxX says:

still in the NO-zone with this one…. Nice review though!! can’t wait for more in-depts of this thing!

Savage Parasyte says:

Ivry to like the aria series, but they are just all so bad. I have an 808 and a tr-8, and you know what the tr-8 could have been so much more instead its a product I use when I make recordings I dont take serious, because my 808 can handle real 808 business.

Francesco Bologna says:

Interesting, however, i am interested in the new system-1 modular, can’t wait for it 🙂

Danny Garcia says:

Do i have to buy the system 1 software when i buy the hardware?

dogstarism says:

Roland tried something like this earlier in 2003/4 with the VariOS, an expandable module that boasted to be ‘future-ready with Open Architecture…vintage emulations..or whatever the future holds’.

A grand total of 2 expansion cards (or ‘plug outs’) were created for it before it was abandoned, leaving everyone who had bought one high and dry.

The first expansion card emulated a D-50, and still costs more than the price of buying an actual D-50

The second expansion card (for vocal design) was released in a very limited number and not everyone with a variOS had the opportunity to purchase one.

Never again.

Dave Whiting says:

I don’t see anything resembling analog modelling on that scope. This is possibly the most clinical sounding synth I have ever heard. 

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