Roland has finally released full details of its much-anticipated new AIRA range.


Finally, after an agonisingly drawn-out teaser campaign, we can reveal full details of the AIRA range, a series of virtual analogue instruments modelled on Roland’s vintage analogue classics.

While the fact that all four AIRA models are entirely digital might not appease the analogue purists, the very competitive prices might just swing the balance for anyone who’s still on the fence.

The TR-8 Rhythm Performer drum machine is a virtual analogue unit which is able to recreate the sounds of both the TR-808 and TR-909:


The TB-3 Touch Bassline synth is inspired by the TB-303 but features a large Kaoss Pad-style touch sensor on the front panel for an easier approach to step sequencing:


The System-1 Plug-Out Synthesizer is a digital synth with an interesting concept. It can be loaded with software emulations of Roland’s classic synths, starting with the SH-101:


The VT-3 Voice Transformer is an update of the classic Boss VT-1 vocoder/harmoniser:


The AIRAs will sit in an interesting position in the market. It’s impossible to ignore the fact that they’ll be significantly more expensive than Korg’s analogue-based Volca series. But they’re also quite a lot cheaper than products like the Acidlab Miami, x0xb0x and BassBot TT-303 which emulate the Roland classics with analogue circuits. Will musicians be won over by the virtual analogue sound engines of the TR-08 and TB-03 when you can already buy excellent software emulations from the likes of D16? Time will tell.

The TR-8 and TB-3 will go on sale next month, priced at £399 and £249 respectively. The VT-3 will be priced at £159. The System-1 will follow shortly afterwards, price still TBC.

Find out more at Roland’s AIRA mini-site.

14th February, 2014


  • I’ll cautiously wait for some in depth reviews. They are very good looking machines and appear to have very hands on interfaces. The prices seem fair too. I guess it just comes down to the sound. I’m all ears.

  • As someone who bought a Roland MC303 expecting the techno heavens to open,
    only to sell it in disgust 6 months later,i would approach with caution.

  • Sound aside these look very tacky. But yeah TB sounds poor to me and
    TR I’d like to hear in person. Looks like RYTM for me.

  • Sold! I’m buying them all – no question about it.


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