If you ask anyone involved with electronic music during the digital age to name an instrument – it would be the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer drum machine. The sounds appear on countless songs from the last 30+ years, and vintage systems sell for steep prices. Now Roland is back with the Aira line that is both classic and modern.
Here is the basic line-up along with the incredibly affordable pricing:
- The AIRA TR-8 Rhythm Performer – a $499 drum machine
- The AIRA TB-3 Touch Bassline – a $299 bassline synth
- The AIRA VT-3 Voice Transformer – a $199 vocal effects processor and vocoder
- The AIRA System-1 Plug-Out Synthesizer – a $599 virtual analog synthesizer that can transform into a variety of classic synth, and act as a hardware controller for a new line of software synthesizers.
Here is the official introduction video from Roland:
Over at Create Digital Music they have written up a great overview of everything we know about the products at this point, with a reminder that the pricing is approximate and that release dates are not official yet – so we know little other than ‘coming soon’.
During NAMM 2014, Brandon Ryan of Roland gave Synthtopia an in-depth hands-on overview of the entire line-up, which can finally be released as the products are official!
For anyone making modern techno or dance music … this is HUGE. There hasn’t been this much excitement about anything out of Roland since perhaps the early 90s (or maybe even late 80s). They seem to be ticking all of the right boxes, and I know my son is tremendously excited – he was trying to save for a TR-808, so being able to get something that does the 808, 909 and more … inspiring.
Here is a great overview of the Roland TR-808 to show WHY people still care: