MATRIXSYNTH: AIRA -- The evolution of the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Machine

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

AIRA -- The evolution of the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Machine

Published on Jan 14, 2014 RolandChannel·828 videos

"Roland Engineers discuss the initial concept of the TR-808 which was conceived and built in 1980. Although it was designed to create 'backing tracks', creative musicians started to use the Rhythm Machine as an instrument and music changed forever. Now the evolution begins again."

Follow-up to this post.

Some discussion on The MATRIXSYNTH Lounge & the MATRIXYSNTH Facebook Page

Update: image, price and details of AIRA:

Update2: I'm hearing from someone in the know that none of the following is correct.  Apparently it's the KORG Volca description.  As always, you never know with leaks and time will tell.  If none, then not analog?  The image does looks valid based on what you can see in the video.

"Analogue Ryhthm Machine, 6 Analog and 4PCM-based Drumparts, Loop- and Step-Sequencer, Stutter-, Active Step and Step Jump-Functions, Multitouch Trigger Pad / Step-Button, LED-Display, Build-in Speaker, Sync I/O 1/8" Mini-Input female Mono, MIDI In, Headphone-Out 1/8" Mini-TRS Stereo, Power via 6x AA Battery or optional Power Supply (KA-350; not included), Dimention: 193 x 115 x 45 mm (WxHxD), Weight: 372
698 Euros" ~ $948.93.

Update3: Rumor is it will be virtual analog. via the MPC forums: "I got to play with prototypes back in November. Non disclosure agreement expires now that the Aira site is up. All 4 Aira machines are digital, but will use modeling technology rather than PCM. The TR-08 has 909 sounds as well. They are not software controllers. This new division of Roland is dedicated to hardware since software has taken a huge chunk of their sales. Pieces are solid and well built. Pricing will be extremely un-Roland (low) from what they told me. I'm not going to quote them here, though. Aira units are geared toward live performance rather than recording. One of them will have a very promising functionality. I really can't say much more in a public forum, but feel free to inbox me with any burning questions. Only 2 of the 4 prototypes were operational, TR-08 being one of them. Played with them for about 45 mins. Great fun."


AIRA — TR-909 Rhythm Composer

Published on Jan 20, 2014

"Roland engineers discuss the technologies involved in getting the right sounds for the successor to the TR-808. The TR-909 Rhythm Composer evolved from the TR-808, adding digital samples and MIDI. House and Techno were born. Now the next step begins."

AIRA — it's coming.

Published on Jan 26, 2014 RolandChannel·827 videos

"With roots in the very origins of electronic music, AIRA is the new series of products designed to meet the evolving needs of today's electronic musicians. In the studio or on the stage, AIRA brings genre-defining sound and modern performance features to a new generation."

Update: latest updates from this post.

New Roland AIRA Details - Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB)
AIRA — Analog Circuit Behavior

Published on Feb 6, 2014 RolandChannel·831 videos

"Go behind the scenes and learn how Roland's newly developed Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) faithfully captures the sound and feel of some our most revered classics. ACB is the technology behind the authentic sound and responsive behavior of the AIRA products. It utilizes original design specs, consultation with original engineers, and a detailed, part-by-part analysis of each analog circuit in Roland's own pristine units."

Update: It's worth noting the Creamware ASB boxes also employed analog circuit modeling and Tone 2's True Analog Modelling went down to the capacitor and resistor level: "We carefully analyzed & modeled the circuits of many classic performance synthesizers, including even single capacitors and resistors to provide an extremely accurate analog model, faithfully capturing the spirit and character of these old machines." I forget what Novation's ASM technology used.   The short of this is there are different levels of modeling.  The idea according to the video above is if the closer you get down to the very base level of modeling the building blocks of an analog synthesizers, the closer you will get to analog sound.  In the end it is the sound and interface that ultimately matter.  But for those that were hoping to pick up a brand new analog TB or TR clone, it looks like that is out.

Update2: added some notes below the lighter screenshots further below via cheater who sent in the pics. Also see the Facebook discussion links there.

Update3: See this post for a perspective on old analog circuitry from PHILSYNTH.

AIRA — it's coming soon.

Published on Feb 6, 2014

"With roots in the very origins of electronic music, AIRA is the new series of products designed to meet the evolving needs of today's electronic musicians. In the studio or on the stage, AIRA brings genre-defining sound and modern performance features to a new generation."

Two pics lightened by cheater who made the following points: "just visited the AIRA website. So it's digital. No modding possible, no uniqueness of sound, no soul... what a disappointment. Roland still don't get it. Korg and Moog are lightyears in front of them. Anyways, as a second place prize, I've modified the pictures to show the hidden details that are in the shadows. You can see a VA groovebox, synth (probably poly), what looks like an effects box, and a drum machine. You can't see much but you can see much more than on the websites."

The bottom black and white pic is via Robert on The MATRIXSYNTH Lounge where you'll find some discussion (some discussion on this other thread as well).


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. watch the vid at 1:07, 1:08 .. its not a photoshop job...

  3. The specs are the Volca, the image appears to be real based on the glimpses in the video.

  4. yeah I agree, the specs are fake... but the vid glimpse and the photo match


To reduce spam, comments for posts older than one week are not displayed until approved, usually same day. Do not insult people. Do not ask if listings are still available. Click through auction links to check yourself. Posts and pics remain for historical purposes only.


Patch n Tweak
Switched On Make Synthesizer Evolution Vintage Synthesizers Creating Sound Fundlementals of Synthesizer Programming Kraftwerk

© Matrixsynth - All posts are presented here for informative, historical and educative purposes as applicable within fair use.
MATRIXSYNTH is supported by affiliate links that use cookies to track clickthroughs and sales. See the privacy policy for details.