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Roland AIRA SYSTEM-1 - Plug Out Synthesizer

Written by

Ollie Mason

Are you looking to explore a spectacular sound spectrum that's just as weird and wonderful as the album artwork of the original 1970s electronic synthesizer music? If so, take a good, hard look at the System-1: Plug-Out Synthesizer from Roland!

Roland have been at the forefront of electronic synthesizer instruments ever since they introduced the SYSTEM 100, 100M and the SYSTEM 700 way back into the 1970s. These may seem to be old-timers, but they sure knew how to push the boundaries and have been used by many ground-breaking artists from that time, still being used today!

Quickly fast-forward to the present day and you will find Roland, once again, take centre-stage with a brand new synthesizer that the world will have never seen before... Let us introduce Roland's SYSTEM-1 Synthesizer! Providing you with an absolutely incredible array of synthesized sounds, the SYSTEM-1 also boasts undeniable usability and response, allowing it to puff out its chest and strut.

You can expect all of the character traits we have all come to recognise and expect from Roland, seeing the SYSTEM-1 offer an authentic and bold charm, showcasing incredible versatility, yet still allowing you, the player, the freedom to manipulate its schizophrenic multiple personalities, giving you all of the control!

Analogue Circuit Behaviour (ACB)

Featuring Roland's newest show-stopper, Analogue Circuit Behaviour (ACB) technology enables you to achieve extremely in-depth and detailed analogue sound, yet still experience all of the benefits of its digital usability. Offering you a wealth of sound and variety, the SYSTEM-1 provides intricately blends the authentic and classic with the unlimited and the modern, seeing you at the command of its almost unlimited sound-scapes. 

The stand-alone SYSTEM-1 is capable of hosting software recreations of classic Roland synthesizers, allowing you to experiment with older and more authentic Roland Synth sounds. Simply use plug-in versions of these older sounds and achieve classic sounds, and switch back to the new and modern sounds of the SYSTEM-1 with ease.  Extremely responsive and completely easy to use, Roland call this feature "Plug-Out" and are definitely on to something very exciting!

Plug Out Synth

The System1 has another unique new trick up it's sleeve called plug-out. The idea is similar to that of a plug-in on your computer's DAW, in that you can insert a brand new synth sound to route through the keyboard for a fantastic set of sounds.

The difference with a plug-out synth is that you can download the sound onto the System-1 and play this whole new synth out on stage and nowhere near a computer. You'll be able to build a library of plug-out syth options, and switch out the synth of your choice. The memory on the System one allows you to switch between its main instrument and the plug-out synth of your choice. All the knobs and dials are perfectly mapped to the system 1, so it feels just like a fully analogue piece of gear.

A range of Plug-out Synth options are now available for download on the Roland Store if you want to build your library of sounds! 


“Forget NAMM 2014, the show really has been stolen” - Andy Jones (published Jan 26th after seeing AIRA in secret room at NAMM 2014) - Music Tech.net

“But for those of you wondering if it's good enough to live up to the hype - I say yes in this case - Roland 1 - Critics -0” - Sonic State

“This is the future of electronic music—and it's for everybody” - GIZMODO

What Roland say about the System-1: PLUG OUT Synthesizer:

Back in the 1970s, Roland launched the SYSTEM 100, 100M and the now almost mythical SYSTEM 700. These modular and semi-modular synthesizers are heralded to this day for their flexibility and character of sound.  Over the years, they’ve been put to great use by visionary artists on countless classic tracks.

Modern Vintage - 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 our new Analogue Circuit Behavior technology (ACB) which we use to carefully analyse every aspect of analogue 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. Sound good?

There’s more...
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. We call this wizardry “Plug-Out” – and we’re pretty excited about it.
And we think you’ll be excited too once you experience the supreme authenticity of the upcoming SH-101 soft-synth, 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 that proclaim – unashamedly - “I am synthesizer. Hear me roar.”

A few more things:
- You can connect the SYSTEM-1 to your computer via its USB jack to send and receive Audio and MIDI data.
- The SYSTEM-1 can receive MIDI clock information to sync with external devices including other AIRA series units.
- The SYSTEM-1 is designed to work seamlessly and look great with other products in the AIRA series.

Key Features:

  • Four oscillators for buckets of fat synth tones
  • Oscillator colours 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 with dynamic, real-time control over 10 stages of depth
  • 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 yet the most compact Roland synth ever


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