Music

Roland blows out Aerophone mini digital wind instrument

Roland blows out Aerophone min...
The digital wind instrument isn't just for learners, it can be connected to DAW software over Bluetooth MIDI or adjusted for pros playing in a band
The digital wind instrument isn't just for learners, it can be connected to DAW software over Bluetooth MIDI or adjusted for pros playing in a band
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More than 50 additional tones can be had by pairing the instrument to a smartphone running the Aerophone mini Plus app for iOS and Android
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More than 50 additional tones can be had by pairing the instrument to a smartphone running the Aerophone mini Plus app for iOS and Android
The digital wind instrument isn't just for learners, it can be connected to DAW software over Bluetooth MIDI or adjusted for pros playing in a band
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The digital wind instrument isn't just for learners, it can be connected to DAW software over Bluetooth MIDI or adjusted for pros playing in a band
The Aerophone mini is aimed primarily at learners, but pros can enjoy it too
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The Aerophone mini is aimed primarily at learners, but pros can enjoy it too
The layout of the buttons is loosely based on the humble recorder
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The layout of the buttons is loosely based on the humble recorder

Learning to play any instrument is hard work, but Roland believes that it's taken some of the strain out of the process with the release of the Aerophone mini digital wind instrument. It may look like a toy, but it's a capable instrument where complicated fingerings and difficult breathing control have been eliminated, and six onboard sounds are offered out of the box, with more available through a companion app.

The Aerophone mini weighs a little over a pound (500 g) and runs on four AA-size batteries for up to 10 hours of continuous play (when using 1,900 mAh Ni-MH batteries). It rocks a built-in 1.5-W speaker for public performance, and features a headphone jack for quiet practice. And it can be played straight out of the box with a small selection of sounds including saxophone, flute and violin.

The Aerophone mini is aimed primarily at learners, but pros can enjoy it too
The Aerophone mini is aimed primarily at learners, but pros can enjoy it too

The layout of the seven main buttons and two octave keys is based on the recorder, which many will have tried during school years so will be familiar to some and easy to pick up for others. Students don't need to concentrate on getting breath control techniques nailed with the mini either, "just learn the simple fingering, blow into the mouthpiece, and away you go."

More than 50 additional tones can be had by pairing the instrument to a smartphone running the Aerophone mini Plus app for iOS and Android, which also serves up interactive lessons and tutorials that allow the student to slow down the tempo to start and pick up the pace as confidence builds.

Roland AE-01 Aerophone mini Digital Wind Instrument

The mini is not just for those starting out, pros can wirelessly connect it to popular DAW software over Bluetooth MIDI, adjust breath sensitivity settings and change fingering layouts, and blow with the band, as you can see in the video above.

The instrument is available now for US$299.99.

Product page: Aerophone mini

1 comment
f8lee
Huh, the sound seems a bit "tinny" but it's not really a wind instrument since the blowing would seem to do little more than actuate some kind of switch in the mechanism - it's obvious that the expelled breath is not coming out of the speaker but instead that is the synthesized tone from the internal computers. So if the player purses her lips more tightly (or whatever) does it change the tone of the instrument?