Part of Roland’s return to the modular world took the form of four effect units. Each piece was made to work both standalone as a tabletop unit, and as part of a eurorack system. Roland’s AIRA line features the use of their Analog Circuit Behaviour technology; taking Virtual Analog to the next level by digitally recreating hardware from the inside out. It was first employed in re-imaginings of classic pieces that took shape as the TR-8, TB-3, and VT-3. However with these effect units they’re creating something entirely new for Roland.
The AIRA modules look great all racked up together and possess a reassuring build quality with larger knobs for primary functions and smaller knobs for the attenuation and secondary features. Each unit features a USB connection that functions as a 24bit/96kHz audio interface, and also sends MIDI and Sync information. The controls boast a resolution of 16 million steps to avoid any audible stepping or aliasing and ensure smooth sweeps as you twiddle and tweak.
Squeezed into the 21HP footprint are 11 patch points, 7 knobs, and 2 buttons; except in the case of the Scooper, which has 5 knobs and 3 buttons. Each unit has a dedicated volume knob, so you can quickly control the level of your signal. The 1/8” dual mono inputs make them compatible with a eurorack setup, but limit their intended use as tabletop effect boxes with other equipment. Roland would probably benefit from offering or including an adaptor or cable that takes stereo 1/4” and/or RCA connections and outputs dual 1/8”, similar to Elektron’s Audio/CV Split Cable Kit. To power the units, they cleverly come with both a standard wall wart, and a ribbon power adaptor.
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