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Audiofanzine put the Waldorf Streichfett digital synthesizer to the test. Released earlier this year, the small box is designed to replicate the sound of vintage string machines.
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Roland Aira System 1 Synthesizer Review

Submitted by on May 12, 2014 – 9:44 am No Comment

For a long time, Roland has attempted to create a digital version of analog synths in a variety of ways. The Aira System 1 has over 70 controls on the equipment, making it one of the most extensive efforts at digital replication that they may have ever produced. The sounds can be stacked, there are more decay and attack options, and the harmonics of the sounds can be modified from the source to give added depth.

The real question is this: does Roland succeed in making a good synth that can convert some of its most aggressive detractors?

Roland Has Produced More of the Same With the Aira System 1

If you’re just breaking into the field and you’re starting to invest in synths, unless you’re made of tons of cash you won’t be getting the high-end analog equipment any time soon. That’s the industry standard and when you compare this high-end equipment with the digital replications that Roland puts forth, there just isn’t a comparison. The high-end analog synth will win every single time.

With that being said, the Roland Aira System 1 is the most extensive and most accurate replication of analog sounds from a digital source that has hit the market. Anyone can begin to create sounds that are honestly good and will fill out any composition. In particular, I really love the fact that each task has been separated out with this Roland synth because it gives the user a feel of what it’s really like to fully customize a sound.

Does This Prototype Show Promise To Be Great?

Going beyond the actual training mechanisms of using the Aira System 1 to prepare for a high-end synth, there are some good qualities to this Roland prototype that would make the investment within it tempting. The sounds that it can produce can be cold, harsh, and grating to the ear. Adding a saw waveform to this grating tone can produce a sound that can add uniqueness to a composition or stand on its own because it gains the attention of the listener.

The suboscillator on this Roland is also honestly decent because the frequencies of the bass tones are in the perfect range for what the average beginning synth enthusiast tends to miss when creating their own compositions. The lowest of low tones don’t always provide a lot to the ear and they’re often missed until later in the learning process. With the Aira Synth 1, you can just stack on the suboscillator, get depth to the sound, and you’re ready to go!

What Is Your Purpose For Owning the Roland Aira System 1?

This prototype is not going to thrill those who love analog synth. The fact that it attempts to replicate analog synths is going to be disturbing at best and insulting at worst to many folks! From a digital standpoint, however, this offering from Roland does have potential to do something great. It’s all about how you use your tools as a musician and this synth will give you a lot of options when it comes to sound generation.

Will it please everyone? No. Is it a great synth for beginners? Absolutely! It also has just enough uniqueness to make it worthwhile to have one yourself.

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