Music

Roland gets in a serious groove with pro-grade digital wind instrument

Roland gets in a serious groov...
The Aerophone Pro is built around two Roland sound engines
The Aerophone Pro is built around two Roland sound engines
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An OLED display around back offers a quick glance parameter check
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An OLED display around back offers a quick glance parameter check
The panel at the back of the Aerophone Pro is used to select brass, woodwind, percussion and synth sounds
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The panel at the back of the Aerophone Pro is used to select brass, woodwind, percussion and synth sounds
The fingering layout matches an acoustic saxophone, though this can be customized
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The fingering layout matches an acoustic saxophone, though this can be customized
The Aerophone Pro can output through built-in speakers, or be cabled up to an amplifier or studio desk
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The Aerophone Pro can output through built-in speakers, or be cabled up to an amplifier or studio desk
The Aerophone Pro is built around two Roland sound engines
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The Aerophone Pro is built around two Roland sound engines
On-instrument tone editing tools are available, but a mobile app caters for deeper dives
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On-instrument tone editing tools are available, but a mobile app caters for deeper dives
The instrument can be cabled directly to a computer running music production software
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The instrument can be cabled directly to a computer running music production software
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Roland has unveiled a new digital wind instrument called the Areophone Pro that's destined for the hands of professional players, and is said to put entire brass and woodwind sections at a player's disposal.

The first Aerophones were released in 2016 and, like many digital wind instruments, have sported a thoroughly modern, often toy like, look. A streamlined body and aluminum accenting bring a touch of flagship class to an instrument that now takes the top spot in the Aerophone family, above the AE-10 and the mini.

The instrument has been developed using feedback from expert wind players – which "led to many thoughtful improvements that substantially enhance the instrument’s look, feel, sound, and playability." It rocks a winged design that puts the controls within easy reach for the player, with fingering presented to match an acoustic saxophone.

This is not an acoustic instrument though, so fingerings can be customized to a player's preference, personal settings saved for easy recall, and the unit boasts a MIDI input for footswitches. And Roland says that the breath and bite sensors on the Pro are more responsive and expressive than ever before.

In addition to a range of classic saxophone sounds, the Pro comes with more than 300 sonic presets, and there are 10 drum kits to choose from. There's enough memory to store over a thousand user creations too, with easy recall of favorites.

The Aerophone Pro can output through built-in speakers, or be cabled up to an amplifier or studio desk
The Aerophone Pro can output through built-in speakers, or be cabled up to an amplifier or studio desk

The flagship Aerophone comes packing two sound engines. Roland's SuperNatural sound technology makes for lifelike dynamics, articulations and overtones, and there are new controller options available for spicing up the performance using exotic techniques.

The Zen-Core synthesis engine meanwhile, which can be found powering flagship Fantom and Jupiter-X synthesizers, offers vintage and modern tones and sounds from the creative minds of "the world's foremost synth sound designers." Cooked-in effects include chorus, delay and reverb.

Players can quickly glance at the graphic 128 x 32-dot OLED display around back to check which parameters are active, and use the instrument's knobs and buttons to make adjustments as necessary. If more sound-shaping tools are needed, there's an iOS/Android mobile app for deep dives into customization and sonic experimentation.

The battery powered instrument features two built-in speakers for play anywhere portability, and can also cable up to a powered amplifier or studio desk via the output jack or Bluetooth MIDI. A headphone jack is included for playing privately.

The new flagship Aerophone tips the scales at 2.5 lb (1.14 kg) and will go on sale from January 2021 for US$1,499.99. The video below has more.

Roland Aerophone Pro: Overview and Sounds

Product page: Aerophone Pro

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1 comment
1 comment
windykites
This has to be the ultimate instrument! Well done Roland, and a great demo. Sax players will love it.