Roland TR-8, 808s, and the “ARIA” synthesizer rebirth

Chris Burns - Feb 14, 2014
Roland TR-8, 808s, and the “ARIA” synthesizer rebirth

This week Roland has brought on a new “ARIA” collection of devices for the electronic music masters amongst us. First up is the new Roland TR-8, a device that the company suggests is the most important release of theirs since the original 808. Here we’ve got a 16-step sequencer with LED display and a USB jack for all the futuristic connections your digital heart might desire.

This newest device works with toggles between programming and performance modes, improved TR-REC, and the ability to connect with MIDI clock info in order to sync with 3rd party instruments galore. This device also has one massive amount of LED lights to keep you knocking out jams in the darkness.

The keyboard-looking beast here is the SYSTEM-1, a PLUG-OUT Synthesizer that updates what was ushered in with the SYSTEM 100, 100M, and 700. This new system works with four oscillators able to roll with continuous waveform changes “from simple to complex”.

There’s a big fat tone knob, crusher knob, and tempo syncing for delay and LFO. This beast has 25 “normal-sized” keys and is far thinner than any model in the past – and you’ve got -12 dB and -24 dB filter types with independent high-pass filters for good measure.


Also included in this collection is the TB-3 and the VT-3. The TV-3 is an update of the TB-303 with a pressure-sensitive touchpad and connections to the rest of the crew, along with 134 sounds (including all of the original TB-303 sounds plus a bunch of new ones). The VT-3 is a new voice transformer that allows “heavily processed” vocals in real time – connecting with a Standard XLR/TRS combo jack using phantom power, a 1/8-inch mic jack with plug-in power, and USB audio as well.

Sound like a fine combo to you? Let us know if you’ve been pushing the originals for years and/or if you plan to update in the near future.

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