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Declan McGlynn
10 May 2022, 13:50

Roland announces new AIRA Compact drum sequencer, synth and vocal processor

The T-8, J-6 and E-4 are all available for $199 each

Roland AIRA Compact

Roland has announced a new affordable hardware drum machine, polysynth and vocal processor in the form of a new AIRA Compact lineup. The T-8 is a drum machine and bassline synth in the guise of the TR8 and TB-03 previously released by Roland as part of the AIRA line. The drum machine features a 16-step sequencer and sounds from Roland’s classic kit including the 808, 909 and 606, with six tracks of audio so you can build up a full track idea from scratch. The T-8 also features one track of the 303, famous for its acid bassline squelch, so you can build up both your beat and your bassline on one machine. 

The T-8 Beat Machine borrows features from the TR-8 and TR-8S including TR-REC, which lets you sequence both drum patterns and parameter tweaks, similar to automation in a DAW. There’s also step loop, pattern shift and probability to create a bit of randomness in your pattern to stop it from sounding like a loop. 

Roland T8

The J-6 Chord Synthesizer is a mini clone of Roland’s classic polys, focussing more on the chord sequencing side of things, a famous feature of the Juno-60. There are 100 chord sets to get you started, so if you don’t have musical training you can still start making music with the J-6. You can then sequence your chords to put together track ideas. 

The E-4 is a vocal processor similar to the AIRA VT-3 that Roland released alongside the original TR-8. A smaller version, the E-4 Voice Tweaker features vocal harmonisation, auto pitch, vocoder and FX. There’s also a 24-second looper for building up vocal layers. 

All of the new units are powered over USB-C and feature 3.5mm headphone jack outputs for audio. There’s also 3.5mm jack sync in and outs for connecting with other gear. 

Find out more about the new AIRA Compact range on the Roland website. Watch the video below for more info and to see the units in action.