Roland’s Aira toolkit is further expanded with the release of three “compact” instruments based on the company’s rich heritage: the T-8 Beat Machine; J-6 Chord Pronunciation Machine; and the E-4 Voice Tweaker.
It can be hard to tell what sets an Aira product apart from a standard Roland product – the Aira mini, for example, features a TR-8S drum machine but not the TR-6Sits skinny close cousin – but it’s pretty clear what the Compact is all about.
These are “fun, affordable, easy-to-learn” boxes that are designed to be used individually or together, in a similar fashion Volkas Korg. Being Roland, everything is completely digital.
Once again, Roland’s Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology works, and each model comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that promises plenty of uptime.
The T-8 seems to be the most straightforward of the three: it’s a six-track drum machine that includes sounds from TR-808And TR-909 And TR-606. You can also get a bass part based on a file TB-303temporarily take the device to the groovebox area.
Obviously, there is a sequencer – which can be up to 32 steps – with features like step ring, change of pattern and probability that let you add variety to your grooves. You can adjust the bass, and there are reverb/delay transmission effects.
The J-6 Chord Synthesizer is arguably a more curious suggestion — it mixes a Juno-60 tuning motor (presumably the same motor you’ll find in the new full-size Juno-X) with a chord regulator. It is very designed to be used by non-players; 100 chord groups are included, with each one allowing you to play the chords and create a progression using the built-in keyboard. You can also order variations (arpeggios and guitar-style playing, for example).
Of course, you can just use the J-6 as a synthesizer (like other Aira CDs, it has a MIDI connection) although other than the audio selection itself, editing is limited to filter controls and envelopes. Again, there are delay and reverb effects as well.
Finally, we come to the E-4 Voice Tweaker, a compact sound effects box that promises everything from standard processors to full audio transducers. There are tonal and mod sliders for instant gender switching, bot voice effects (among other things), and you also get the usual text/formatting and voice-encoded options.
You can capture your shows with a 24-second loop, while a scatter handle enables you to call in slide effects.
The three Aira Compact are now available at $200 each. Find out more on Roland website.
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”