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Roland AIRA Are Here – Synth, Bassline, Drum Machine, Vocal FX – Details, In Depth

It’s official: Roland’s much-teased line of four new products called AIRA are here. And they appear to represent a new course for Roland. They’re affordable and accessible in a way that we haven’t seen in recent products. But they’re also simultaneously closer to the sound of beloved vintage gear as they are more modern in taste and presentation. Let’s get right to it. CDM got to speak to Roland prior to today’s announcement to get the details. And we’ll have more insight soon into the design process and approach to modeling. But let’s cover the basics. This is component-modeled analog. …

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AIRA - maybe you'll just want to use it in the dark, or on a table designed by Stanley Kubrick.

Roland’s Four AIRA Instruments: Now We Know a Lot – Keyboard, Component Analog Modeling, Too

Roland’s AIRA will be public this month, and you can bet CDM will have all the details we can get from the company. But through its various teasers, the picture of AIRA is already pretty clear. The new line reflects a new approach for the company, one that would seem to show, paradoxically, both greater respect for the company’s legacy and greater interest in today’s tech tastes. And most importantly, Roland has revealed their approach to new component modeling of analog circuits. That may not please analog purists, but it could be a way to balance the versatility of digital …

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Leaks: Roland Aira-08 Will Be an Emulated, Digital 808 Synth

The “new” 808 successor from Roland will be modeled in digital form, possibly using virtual analog modeling, and perhaps with some sample sources. Roland’s Aira-08, as readers noted, is already leaking in product descriptions as a “virtual analog” synth. (Among other sources: there was a Dutch retailer that revealed the info, before removing the page.) Unless Roland has managed some epic disinformation campaign, that means you won’t see an analog remake as KORG did with their MS-20 last year. What you should expect instead is one that uses digital models to capture the sound of its predecessor, in a new …

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Roland Aira TR-08: Remix, Not a Reissue, of 808 – But What Does That Mean?

Roland, it seems, is not interested in reissues. Each time the company has revisited its past classic models, it has reinterpreted those nameplates with new designs. And for lovers of the originals, that has caused mixed emotions. The obvious comparison is Korg, who dominated last year’s NAMM headlines with a surprisingly-authentic remake of the MS-20, to say nothing of MS filter recreations across their products. Moog, Dave Smith Instruments, Novation, and others have also more faithfully reproduced some earlier models. But the Aira TR-08, a new drum machine Roland is now teasing, could still be a new direction. Labeled the …

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TR-808 DIY: 379€ Lets You Built Your Own Part-by-part Analog Clone, Plus Sequencer

An irony of the 808 is that it began as an everyman’s machine – a disliked relic that no-name musicians could acquire for prices approaching free. It helped that Keyboard infamously likened its sound to “marching anteaters.” (Note to self: idea for DJ name.) Yet now, the quirky Roland original commands high prices that have transformed it into an (often-unreliable) luxury item. The fall and rise of the 808 isn’t just arbitrary, however. There is something distinctive about the sound design and usability of the original beast, the result of a twist of fate and history that compelled Roland engineers …

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frauAngelico: Lo-Fi, Playable, Open Source Drum Instrument and Sequencer [Gallery, Video]

A hackable, playable drum synth not afraid to sound digital: count us in. If you liked last week’s Dam-Drum 2.0, here’s yet another grungy beauty with four triggers and knobs. The frauAngelico also features nicely-low-fidelity drum samples, performance controls, and a built-in sequencer, just like Dam-Drum 2.0. It has some tricks up its own sleeve, though, with built-in MIDI capabilities (promised for a future drum synth from Bleep), some very cool effects and performance controls, and an open source, Arduino-derived foundation for easy hacking. (The software is open source, as is the Arduino-style basis; the hardware itself appears not to …

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80s Roland engineers never imagined ... this. Welcome to the age of the Real. Photo: Jürgen Lösel.

A Robotic, Physical 808 Machine Advances Weird Science of Music, Tech Alike

So, you’re really hot stuff now that you’ve got a vintage Roland TR-808, huh? Ready to have your pride taken down a few notches? If you haven’t seen it, have a look at this. The MR-808 is a “real-world” replica of the Roland sounds. And when people throw around buzzwords like “post-digital” to try to describe the spirit of the age in which we live, this is what they’re trying to get at. In some sense, this creation is a tribute to the 808’s minimalism and essential design. And this is still a creation of the digital realm. The robots …

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808, SP1200, MPC, NS-10 Reborn in Miniature as Beautifully-Detailed, Tiny USB Drives [Gallery]

File these designs under “do want.” Some of your favorite gear is rendered in miniature: Roland’s TR-808, E-MU’s SP-1200 sampler, Akai’s MPC 2000XL, and (coming soon) even the Yamaha NS-10 near-field monitors. It occurs to me that someday soon, such tiny things might even work in some form as functioning music equipment. For now, you’ll have to settle for tiny classic gear that contains an 8 GB flash drive – enough to carry especially-precious samples or demos or backups. The drives are US$39.99, but contain extraordinary levels of detail and use Toshiba flash memory (not something overly generic). They work …

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Beatseqr: 808-Inspired DIY Step Sequencing Controller, and Making Just What You Need

God bless you, 4/4. Yes, there’s still something about that four-beat, sixteen step bar that gets toes tapping and booties shaking and floors fouring on the… floor. So, when musician and maker Steve Cooley decided he wanted more physical control, he didn’t want some perfectly generic controls, and he didn’t want rows and columns. He wanted sixteen steps and faders alongside. The result is Beatseqr, an Arduino-powered hardware controller recently spotted at the Maker Faire outside San Francisco. Because it’s just a controller, they’ve built Roxor, a Mac software step app that sends OSC, and Steppa, a Max/MSP patch, though …

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TR-808: The Pillow, Plus Other Soft Synths

Mike Payne sends this our way, from a blog post he just wrote: it’s a pillow rendition of the legendary Roland TR-808, courtesy Gwendolin Taegert of Berlin. (Being Berlin, I could imagine them soon having their own IKEA-style furniture store, exclusively for synth and music geeks.) Now 808 fans have something on which to cry themselves to sleep each night after losing an eBay bidding war / realizing Roland still won’t reissue the original 808. (Roland? Please?) Full post, and other pillow creations, on Stylecrave: Softmachines: the Icons of Music Making Get Cuddly Now, I’ve seen some synth-themed pillows before, …

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