Roland Aerophone AE-10 Digital Wind Instrument

Digital Wind Instrument/MIDI Controller with Traditional Saxophone Fingering and Onboard Sounds
Roland Aerophone AE-10 Digital Wind Instrument image 1
Roland Aerophone AE-10 Digital Wind Instrument image 1
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Roland Aerophone AE-10 Digital Wind Instrument
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A Digital Wind Instrument/MIDI Controller for Sax Players

Pianists have keyboard synthesizers. Guitarists have MIDI pickups. What's a sax player to do? Get a Roland Aerophone AE-10 digital wind instrument, that's what! The AE-10 merges traditional saxophone fingering, feel, and control with a diverse array of onboard tones, including saxophone models from soprano to baritone, clarinet and trumpet, string and ethnic instruments, and even synths. Responsive SuperNATURAL sounds and a sensitive mouthpiece-mounted breath sensor replicate the acoustic playing experience, enabling complete control over nuance and dynamics, as well as expressive elements like vibrato and pitch. Complete with built-in speakers, battery power, and DAW connectivity, the Roland Aerophone AE-10 is an incredibly versatile digital wind instrument.

Roland Aerophone AE-10 Digital Wind Instrument at a Glance:
  • Traditional sax fingering and a responsive breath sensor create a realistic playing experience
  • Responsive SuperNATURAL modeling yields authentic saxophone tones
  • Packed with an array of onboard tones, including Roland's award-winning synths
  • Bring new expressive possibilities to your sample library with breath control
  • Perform anywhere with onboard speakers, battery power, and headphones
Traditional sax fingering and a responsive breath sensor create a realistic playing experience

Playing the Roland Aerophone AE-10 is like jamming with an old friend. Traditional saxophone fingering makes it a smooth transition from your acoustic sax. In other words, you won't have to learn a new instrument to play the AE-10. And a sensitive mouthpiece-mounted breath sensor provides you with complete control over vibrato, pitch, and the rest of the expressive techniques your personal style demands. When you play the AE-10, every element of your individuality will shine through.

Responsive SuperNATURAL modeling yields authentic saxophone tones

The Aerophone AE-10 is packed with realistic sax tones, by virtue of Roland's SuperNATURAL modeling technology. Dynamic and articulate alto, tenor, soprano, and baritone sax sounds respond the same way their acoustic counterparts do, creating a natural-sounding performance. At Sweetwater, we've had a lot of fun with the AE-10's Full Range feature, automatically (and seamlessly) switching between sax types by key range. Try doing that on your acoustic sax!

Packed with an array of onboard tones, including Roland's award-winning synths

You're not limited to saxophone sounds when you play the Roland Aerophone AE-10. This digital wind instrument is loaded with a variety of acoustic instrument sounds. Play a wind instrument like a clarinet, flute, oboe, or trumpet. Conjure up a string instrument, such as a violin. Break out an ethnic instrument like a shakuhachi or erhu. Thanks to Roland's SuperNATURAL modeling technology, each sound is instilled with unmistakable authenticity. Layer multiple sounds for an ensemble effect. The AE-10 also includes a fine selection of Roland's popular synth sounds, specially tailored to wind instrument performance. And onboard chorus and reverb effects ensure that whatever sound you use sounds professional and polished.

Bring new expressive possibilities to your sample library with breath control

When you're done exploring the Roland Aerophone AE-10's onboard sounds, connect it to your DAW via USB and discover what breath control can bring to your soft synths and external MIDI sound modules. You're sure to find unique expressive possibilities within your sample library that weren't possible with your keyboard controller.

Perform anywhere with onboard speakers, battery power, and headphones

Wherever you go, the uber-portable Roland Aerophone AE-10 is ready to go with you. Onboard speakers yield excellent sound, or you can connect the AE-10 to an amplifier or PA if you need more volume. A headphone output makes private rehearsals a piece of cake. Connect your smartphone or music player to the AE-10's stereo mini-jack, cue up some Coltrane, and jam along. Best of all, six AA batteries provide you with up to seven hours of continuous performance.

Roland Aerophone AE-10 Digital Wind Instrument Features:
  • Traditional saxophone fingering ensures a familiar playing experience
  • Responsive mouthpiece-mounted breath sensor provides expressive realism
  • SuperNATURAL modeling technology reproduces subtle tonal nuances, dynamics, and articulation
  • Realistic onboard sax tones, including alto, tenor, soprano, and baritone sounds
  • Full Range feature automatically switches between sax types by key range
  • Wide variety of additional acoustic tones are onboard, as well as Roland synth sounds
  • Connects to a DAW via USB for breath control of software and hardware synths
  • Onboard speakers yield excellent sound
  • Headphone output makes private rehearsals easy
  • Connect a smartphone or music player to play along with your favorite recordings
  • 6 AA batteries provide up to 7 hours of continuous performance
Every saxophone player needs a Roland Aerophone AE-10 digital wind instrument.

Tech Specs

Type Digital Wind Controller
Other Controllers Breath sensor, Bite sensor, Thumb controller
Presets 40 factory tones, 100 user presets
Effects Types Chorus, Reverb, Multi-effects
Inputs 1 x 1/8" (aux in)
Outputs 1 x 1/4" (headphones)
USB 1 x Type B
Power Supply 6 x AA batteries (Ni-MH) / 5.7V DC power supply
Height 22.62"
Width 5"
Depth 3.68"
Weight 1 lb. 15 oz.
Manufacturer Part Number AE-10

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
Write your review

Roland Aerophone is Da Bomb

The Roland Aerophone is GREAT! The sounds are awesome and realistic. The actual moving keys (not tactile contacts) make is a realistic experience. I can't say enough good things about this digital woodwind. Many synth sounds are also included. I just wish it had a MIDI in to control it from a MIDI keyboard if one chose to do so.
Music background: Musician, recordist

Addendum to previous review

This is an addendum to my previous review, based on the recent 2.10 firmware update, along with more experience with the instrument on my part. The 2.10 offers a number of significant improvements such as fingerings for recorder, trumpet and other players. But the biggest improvement, which was at the top of my wish list of which I mentioned in my previous review, is support for a new iPad editor, which is excellent and allows access to more comprehensive parameters, such as effects assignments. A huge improvement over the tiny built in display, this editor also speeds up my workflow considerably! I'd also like to mention that in my previous review I mentioned not being able to control of vibrato in the cello, violin and other patches. Well, I figured out how to do that (no thanks to the owner's manual, which is otherwise quite good), and this has made these sounds much more useful. As a result of the updates and new discoveries, I'm raising my rating to a full 5 stars! Thanks Roland!
Music background: Professional musician

New world of expressive sounds for sax players

My first impression of the Roland Aerophone AE-10 was not good! Fortunately, after a couple of days, that impression completely turned around. Hopefully, this review might speed up that process for some of you. Taking it out of the box, the first thing I noticed was that it was all plastic and quite light. This was quite different from most acoustic wind instruments, which are mostly made of metal. However, it does seem pretty solidly built, and I quickly realized that the light weight was actually a plus. After inserting 6 A batteries (really, Roland?), the first thing to do was play it. The tiny built in speakers sound horrible. Coupled with the sound of reverb, it sounded just like a ten dollar toy! Plugging it into good studio headphones and speakers instead, the sound was dramatically improved! I quickly discovered that the only adjustable parameter for the reverb and other effects are level controls, individual for each patch ("tone" in Roland- speak). To remove the reverb, you have to turn it's level to zero and then save the "tone" to the user bank, which lets you store up to 100 tones. The keys manage to feel a bit like the valves of a real sax, but with less action. it took a bit of getting used to, but now feels just fine. Breath control feels very natural and produces very natural sound changes in volume and tone, with tonguing producing the precise sound you would hope for, including with external MIDI instruments as well! There are adjustments for breath sensitivity and response, but I didn't need to touch them! Next, it was on to more expressive control. The mouthpiece with it's faux reed allows for fairly realistic embouchure changes to pitch (choice of bend or vibrato) and tone. There is also a thumb operated joystick for the right thumb just under the thumb hook. This nice feature also does pitch bend, along with a realistic "growl" and other modulation types depending on the "tone" selected. Unfortunately, both the embouchure and thumb operated pitch bend produced only sudden unmusical changes of pitch, not at all like the smooth pitch changes of a real sax (or even a synth with a pitch wheel). For me, this was a potential deal breaker. But before considering returning the instrument, I decided to visit the Roland web-site in hopes of finding a solution. That was a good thing, because in just a few seconds I found that Roland was offering a firmware update to 2.0. I saw that mine was on version 1.4. Updating the firmware was quick and easy, and the improvements were dramatic. Pitch bend worked much smoother with both embouchure and the joystick. In addition, MIDI capabilities went from inadequate to excellent! (but could still use some improvement). About the built in sounds (tones): Utilizing Roland's physical modeling technology called "Super Natural", the full range of saxophones are available; alto, tenor, soprano and baritone sax, which really honks nicely! There is even a patch which incorporates all of them. This is accomplished using the four octave keys, two upper (1 & 2 octaves) and two lower (1 & 2 octaves). Some tones even allow for three octaves up and down for access to a huge range. By contrast, a real sax has but one octave-up key. Many other Super Natural wind instruments are are also available. These include flutes, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, trumpet, muted trumpet, bagpipes and more. They all sound really good, with pretty natural expression. There is also violin and cello patches, their expression working surprisingly well with breath control, with the exception that Roland decided to make the vibrato automatic, which means you cannot control it. Note to Roland; please remove the automatic vibrato on the violin and cello, and make it controllable, just like is possible on most of the other tones! There are a couple of vocal type sounds, including a pretty cool one called "Jazz Scat" which uses velocity switching to switch between two vocal samples. Unfortunately, velocity output appears to be random. If there is a way to control velocity, there is not a single word about in the owner's manual. Other sounds are electronic sounds which lend themselves to a wind controller approach. The sounds are all set in the original key of the instrument (i.e.: alto sax in Eb, clarinet in Bb, etc). This can certainly make fingering confusing, but thankfully, transposing is always possible. Customizing individual fingering is also possible, although I have not tried that yet. Very helpfully, Roland has included a comprehensive saxophone fingering chart, including for the overtone series! On the slightly minus side, the tones (as well as the effects), have almost no programmable parameters for changing the sound like you would find on most synthesizers. The tiny display, which is otherwise reasonably functional, precludes detailed editing anyway. The display mixes it up with settings for individual tones along with system wide settings, and there is no way to tell which is which without reference to the owner's manual. I am really hoping that Roland releases a computer editor/librarian for the Aerophone, hopefully allowing intuitive manipulation of the models, perhaps along the lines of what the Roland V-drums make possible. For example, being able to choose from different mouthpiece models, such as rubber or metal would be very useful towards developing a more personalized sound. Summery: You get a lot of detailed wind instrument and other sounds which can be quite expressive in a fairly natural way, with an emphasis on a complete lineup of expressive saxophones. Excellent MIDI capabilities make for a lot of potential, including being able to play more than one sound at a time! This instrument will likely take you a little time to get accustomed to. But with a bit of practice, a lot can be accomplished with it, both with traditional and non-traditional sounds.
Music background: Professional musician/producer. Plays keyboards and alto saxophone.
See also: Controller Keyboards, Roland, Roland MIDI Controllers