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.
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: