Roland AIRA SYSTEM-1
- Synthesizers Ranked #66
- 2 setups using this
- 5 demo videos
The "plug-out" synthesizer.
The SYSTEM-1 is a culmination of Roland's SYSTEM 100 and now almost mythical SYSTEM 700 synthesizers. Born in the '70s, these modular and semi-modular synthesizers are heralded to this day for their flexibility and character of sound. Over the years these two legendary instruments have been used by some of the most forward-thinking artists and recorded onto countless classic tracks, an iconic sound from decades ago.
Meet the SYSTEM-1, a synthesizer probably unlike any you've encountered before. Like its predecessors, the SYSTEM-1 breaks new ground with remarkable flexibility and access to a vast palette of synthesized sounds with the bold and unmistakable character associated with Roland synthesizers for nearly four decades.
At the heart of the SYSTEM-1's sound is Roland's Analog Circuit Behavior technology (ACB) which was used to carefully analyze every aspect of the original instruments analog circuits and then faithfully recreate them down to the finest details. This technology fills the SYSTEM-1 with a fusion of beautifully classic and utterly modern synthesizer tones.
The SYSTEM-1 can control and even host software recreations of classic Roland synthesizers. That's right. The SYSTEM-1 can control plug-in versions of now legendary Roland synths, and those same plugins can be hosted in the SYSTEM-1 itself - with no computer required. You can even switch between the SYSTEM-1's internal sounds and those of the hosted plug-in. Roland call this exciting wizardry "Plug-Out".
You'll be excited too once you experience the authenticity of the SH-101 softsynth, with the SYSTEM-1 providing an intuitive and fully automatic one-to-one control interface that just works. Let's be honest. Who could make a better plug-in version of a classic Roland synth than Roland? And the SH-101 is just the beginning.
The SYSTEM-1 not only sounds amazing, but it also has a totally innovative design with performance ready controls, quality construction, and a dizzying array of lights and knobs and sliders.
- Four oscillators for buckets of fat synth tones
- Oscillator colors create continuous waveform changes from simple to complex
- All parameters can be controlled with physical knobs and sliders with LED indicators
- Advanced Arpeggiator with SCATTER
- SCATTER jog dial offers 10 different phrase variations
- Variety of modulation functions including ring modulation, cross modulation and oscillator sync
- Filter types vary between -12dB and -24dB and include independent high pass filters
- Tone knob for easy tonal balancing
- Crusher knob for modern edge
- Integrated Delay and Reverb effect units
- Tempo syncing for LFO and Delay
- Innovative thin keyboard with 25 normal sized keys that are
- Comfortable to play and extremely compact
- Integrates seamlessly with other AIRA series products
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Trusted musician and artist reviews for Roland AIRA SYSTEM-1
Based on 10 Reviews and 73 Ratings
I love the amount of knobs you have to use. The price range for system-1 gives a really good bang for buck. 64 preset slots is really great, since theres a lot to tweak, you easily find new dimensions in your sound.
Reverb and Delay sound is absolutely insane, haven't so good single emulation in a while.
Big lack for the synth is no tap tempo/delay system, since I use it mostly as a stand alone, I can't really control the tempo (of delay) effectively.
Great Design and Concept, Delicious full sound.
This unit brings to life all the joys of synthesis in an easy to use hands on format. The i/o capability of analog connectivity and digital USB3.0 provides extra application flexibility. Being able to sync the tempo to DAW is very helpful. Plug-Out packages will allow continued product development as well.
Allow me to start by saying that this is my first hardware synthesizer. I have only used VSTs so far, but dang...I feel like I have made a perfect first choice, especially since I'm using other Roland AIRA gear. They Key Hold function makes it simple to create a fat, harmonic drone and the arpeggio function paired with the AIRA line's thematic Scatter makes instant tweaking very accessible, because manipulating the parameters the Scatter function has control of would be nigh-impossible to do manually.
That said, I feel like I have only begun to explore the sounds that this tit bit of kit is capable of generating. Now, I am only looking more hungrily at the System-1m and delving into world modular synthesis. I'm also looking forward to the Plug-Out possibilities, though I feel like the Roland Boutique line has taken a few of them away.
Good but fiddly to use at times.
I had a lot of fun with this for a while and also liked using other synth reproductions in the plug-out mode but ultimately while I tried to buy into the whole Aira concept (bought almost all the units except the System 8 (which I probably would have loved) but never really had enough arms to take advantage of it. hehe
The best synth controller/synth unit for the budget studio
The AIRA line was meant for DJ's and Live performances, but that doesn't mean it can't be adapted... or rather... just at home... in the studio. It's the perfect companion because it's not just a synth, its 3 different distinct major products (and then some) and contains hundreds of features that could easily replace every single midi controller in your home or mobile rig. Those are some pretty big claims... I can hear you all groaning "B#$#$S$#!: And you will be partially wrong and right and then a lot of wrong... lol...
No Aftertouch, pressure/velocity that dang waterfall keyboard… yeah.. and no CV??? that’s a big one for me but I pushed forward..
Most studios are either Mobile, Fixed, or a mixture and small and light is where its at. With Roland ACB technology that allows you to “plug-in” a synth and use like such with all the sweet sound right from this lil plastic machine. Think about it…you can carry around 2 full synths with complete for the most part analog control. Lets move on….
2 physical Oscillators can be used with 12 waveform types each
SUPER-SAW, SUPER-SQUARE AND SUPER-TRIANGLE, SAW, SQUARE and TRIANGLE, NOISE SAW,LOGIC OPERATION (OR, AND, NAND, XOR.. and more), Frequency Modulation (FM), FM+SYNC, VOWEL, COWBELL
..12 oscillator types that are matched identical to a hardware ancestors configuration through measurements in development of the unit. That's fantastic for us now because we can have a $10k synth in a small affordable unit… 2 of them… the System-1 itself is modeled after its predecessors (SYSTEM-100, SYSTEM-100M and SYSTEM-700) which was the first Modular outing for Roland and has been coveted by many fine artists and labels. If you opt for the System-1M its modular brethren, they skip adding the keyboard and leave the top row of the PCB board with all its outboard goodness. CV galore and that folks is the best particular model for building a base of grades synthesis at the helm. Why that one….
Well it's just that in that lil space, you have everything to integrate so many old and new products that it just works. And its Roland… it works well and lasts.
With 2 synths in one you get a total of 128 customizable patches with 1000’s more to download on the Internet. Check out more here: https://rolandcorp.com.au/blog/ultimate-guide-aira-system-1-plug-synthesizer
What is really, really awesome about this synth is that it is a controller.. a full blown customizable MIDI controller palette.
I have mine configured for all the Korg and Roland VSTs and AU soft synth plugins using the learn feature available in most DAWs.
To activate the controller only feature Press both MODEL buttons System-1 and PLUG-OUT and while pressing both buttons turn the bender wheel so it lets up 3 instead of 2. 2 is full synth and sound… the selection of 3 is for a MIDI controller with no sound. Get to mapping and once done, you have can use all your synths as if they were hardware… almost…
It's great use of all the knobs so when you want the CUTOFF you can map it to the CUTOFF Knob… it's so convenient… most synths don’t have this mapping feature completely setup as a controller. Rolands System-1 was designed as a controller as well… Each Patch button can represent not only a patch, but a different Synth configuration via Mapping. This lends itself to being a toolbox for everything in your DAW… think about that for a second. This synth also has a variation of the Roland MKS Digital Reverb technology programmed in that is amazing; with real-time manipulation of time, so that you can automate that pitch effects and time together… you can record all the modulation movements of all the sliders and pots.. That's something I have not seen anyone drive home yet…and demonstrate. It was exciting to make songs with this instrument. Check out my YouTube Channel for a System-1 overview and deep-dive into using one for production…. AND HOW-TO! Coming Soon! I love the Roland System-1!
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