With a teaser image released ahead of next week’s Musikmesse trade show, Roland looks set to introduce a new modular system as part of the AIRA range.

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Having brought us the TB-3, TR-8 and System-1 last year, Roland’s more recent additions to the retro-inspired AIRA range have focused on utilities (a mixer and a sync box) rather than instruments. That looks set to change at the Musikmesse trade show in Frankfurt next week, where the Japanese giants are due to introduce a new modular synth system. The teaser image above, posted to the AIRA website today, shows what appears to be a central control system and a series of individual modules.

It’s been over three decades since Roland discontinued their last modular synth, but the obvious inspiration for the AIRA modular gear remains that final synth, the excellent System 100m. Unlike the digital AIRA models inspired by the TB-303 and TR-808, it seems likely that the modular system could contain more substantial analogue circuitry, especially given the inclusion of analogue sections in the JD-Xi.

The big question is to what extent the AIRA will be compatible with other modular gear, most notably the incredibly popular Eurorack format. A photo circulated last week showed what appeared to be AIRA modular gear alongside Eurorack modules, so we’re cautiously optimistic that this means fully analogue CV and gate patching rather than a proprietary system.

Full details of the AIRA modular will be revealed next week. To get you in the mood for Roland gear, here’s Zombie Nation jamming on his System 700 and System 100m:

8th April, 2015


  • Please no. Stick to making D-beams and leave modular alone. It’s the last niche where small manufacturers are making quality, innovative products with a close relationship to their customer base. The last thing the modular scene needs is mass-market junk. You want “Roland modular”? Support guys like Frequency Central or AMSynths.

  • The nice thing about modular is that everybody is free to do what he/she wants to do. The nice thing about Roland is that they create something new in all areas. They are not just rebuilding old analog stuff like many others who are deep into the commercial stuff. In modular market there are yet big manufacturers and there are also extremely expensive tools. Sowhat? Its all about sound.

  • Didn’t the purveyors of “mass market junk” mentioned by CF3 bring us the Jupiter-8, Juno-106, TR-909……?

  • Jurgen, that was a long long long time ago my friend! Roland haven’t released any quality gear since in my opinion!


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