Roland System-1m Plug-out Synthesizer

84HP Semi-modular Synth with Plug-out Technology and CV and Gate Connectivity
Roland System-1m Plug-out Synthesizer image 1
Roland System-1m Plug-out Synthesizer image 1

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Roland System-1m Plug-out Synthesizer
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Plug-out Synth with Analog Feel

Roland's AIRA System-1m semi-modular synthesizer packs powerful plug-out capability, along with superb standalone operation, into a format flexible enough to integrate into your synth rig. Whether you're looking to add to your Eurorack set-up, want a table-top synth for your AIRA system, or have to have a great synthesizer option that's rack-mountable, the System-1m can do it all and sound great while doing it. The synth experts here at Sweetwater think the flexible format along with its versatility of sound make Roland's AIRA System-1m a great choice whether it's your next synth or your first.

Roland AIRA System-1m Semi-modular Synthesizer at a Glance:
  • Flexible format lets you create music the way you want
  • Modular capabilities for even more Eurorack versatility
  • Plug-out technology lets you tap into more synth sounds
  • AIRA Link gives you audio and MIDI over USB
Flexible format lets you create music the way you want

The combo of modular synth functions, powerful plug-out capabilities, and flexible DAW integration gives you creative possibilities unique to the System-1m. In standalone operations, this synth can be rack-mounted or set up on a table and powered by standard AC power. To add the System-1m to your Eurorack, simply use the included adapter cable tap into the integrated case power. And you'll have the playability you want because the System-1m can be played from any standard MIDI keyboard or receive MIDI messages from your DAW just like any other synth module you use. Whether you're staying in the AIRA multiverse, configuring a fully modular system, or creating your own unique combination, the AIRA System-1m synthesizer can be integrated easily.

Modular capabilities for even more Eurorack versatility

If you love modular synths for the character they bring to your music, along with all of the sonic versatility you get from a modular synth system, integrating the System-1m into your current 84 HP Eurorack modular synth setup to get an even broader range of sound will be easy. While it's a powerful synth on its own, the System-1m has all of the patching capabilities you want in a new member of your modular synth rig. You have CV and Gate patch points that light up and are color-coded, so it's easy to know what's where when you reconfigure your signal path.

Plug-out technology lets you tap into more synth sounds

We've all heard of plug-ins, but Roland's Plug-out technology takes software integration to a whole new level. Although the System-1m appears in every way to be an analog synth, it's really a sophisticated standalone computer masquerading as an analog synth - which makes it incredibly cool. You can completely reprogram the entire sound engine of the System-1m by uploading new plug-out software synths to it. These include a host of classic Roland instruments, many of which will take full advantage of the System-1m's extensive hands-on controls. Best of all, once you've uploaded a new synth to the System-1m from your computer it stays loaded in its firmware, so you can pick up your synth or Eurorack and take it with you without having to drag your computer along for the ride. The System-1m is capable of a huge range of synth tones thanks to Analog Circuit Behavior technology that provides authentic modeling of all of the analog components of some of the most sought-after classic synths.

AIRA Link gives you audio and MIDI over USB

Because the Roland AIRA System-1m is compatible with AIRA Link, you can route MIDI and audio to and from with a single USB cable. Plug it into Roland's AIRA MX-1 Mix Performer, for example, and use it as an external effect without having to connect audio and MIDI cables. You'll be able to sequence System-1m's parameters and send audio to it without creating a mess of cables around your gear.

Roland AIRA System-1m Semi-modular Synthesizer Features:
  • Semi-modular synthesizer with PLUG-OUT capability
  • 19 color-coded CV/Gate and audio connections with LED lighting
  • 84 HP Eurorack, table-top and 19" rack compatible using AC or Eurorack power
  • Versatile oscillators with six waveforms, Crossmod, Ring Mod, Sync and Color control
  • All parameters controlled with high-resolution knobs and sliders with LED indicators
  • External input for processing external signals through filter, amp and FX section
  • -12dB and -24dB filter types with independent highpass filters
  • Integrated tone, crusher, reverb and delay effects
  • Tempo syncing for LFO and delay
  • 24-bit/96kHz audio and MIDI interface
  • AIRA Link for easy connection to MX-1 Mix Performer
  • Includes rack-mount adapter and braided patch cables
  • Able to load software synths via DAW software that hosts VST3 and AU
It's easy to create with the flexible and versatile AIRA System-1m from Roland!

Additional Media

Roland System-1m Plug-out Synthesizer Demo by Sweetwater

Tech Specs

Sound Engine Type(s) Digital
Polyphony 4 Notes
Number of Effects 4
Effects Types Tone, Crusher, Reverb, Delay
Arpeggiator No
Analog Inputs 8 x 1/8" Inputs
Analog Outputs 7 x 1/8" Output, Stereo 1/8" and 1/4" Main Outputs, 1 x 1/8" (Headphones)
MIDI I/O In/Out/USB
USB 1 x Type B
Height 2.75"
Width 16.81"
Depth 5.08"
Weight 2.75 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number SYSTEM-1M

Customer Reviews

4.5/5
Based on 6 reviews
Write your review
5/5

System 1m Is s welcomed addition to studio

Have had the system for several weeks now. The system works seamlessly with my Analog gear. I was on the fence for awhile before I took the leap and bought it. Now because of how it sounds and works with my other gear I kick myself for waiting so long.
Music background: Musician, Synthesist
5/5

Impressive technology

One of the guidelines that I use when exploring a semi-modular design is, "Can it make a wide variety of sounds?" That is one way to tell you are no longer in preset land where everything seems close to perfect. System 1m can make sounds that may have little use at all, noisy, grundgy, distorted, dirty and downright gritty. On the other hand...yes, it can be silky smooth and liquid. If I was a noise artist I would grab this, I am really into a more ambient sound with nuances when it comes to synthesis. This works really well for me. I have a few softsynths and a couple of controllers but i dislike relying on a 'puter for them. Roland has 4 plugins for this and more are in the wings. The tonal qualities of the 1-m are proof that this is a serious tool, not just some 'feel good' toy. It takes an artist to coax the sounds from a good synthesiser like this. Sure, the cost and value make this a decent entry level into modular. The lights are pretty bright but I actually like them, the green reminds me of some sci fi effect, hiding this is just not possible if your looking for a "secret sonic weapon." I am waiting for a chance to get a more few modules to twist this into something even more intense. The bass is solid, the controls are likely to hold up for many years of sensible use. The two sets of midi i/outs and audio out make it easy to rack this or tabletop it. As someone who has worked with large modular and semi-modular systems, I can honestly say that this was one easy choice. This should play well with my other analog gear and brings an interesting feel into my soundscapes. Roland has set the pace and hopefully the overpriced competitors will take the hint, we want good gear for a good price.
5/5

What I was after

With a stable of analog gear I was at first leery to buy the digitally modeled Roland gear…I've been disappointed in the past with other's renditions of modeled synths.But after many reviews I took the plunge and am very satisfied with this synth….it quite literally knocks it out of the ballpark for the sounds/control I've been after. Thanks so much Roland for bringing this line to your synths ( and for the great addition of CV I can utilize with my modulars)
4/5

Great Sound and Concept, Buried Features

After a few months with my wonderful System-8 (and the fantastic AIRA Plug-Outs), and a chance to play a vintage System 100, I found myself drawn to the idea of a patchable semi-modular. For me it wasn't so much as "dipping my toe" into the modular or Eurorack world, as much as just wanting some more flexibility in routing synth functionality. I also thought the System-1m would make a nice companion to the System-8, perhaps allowing me to offload some mono synth plug-out (System 100, SH-101, PROMARS) to the 1m instead. In the end, that's not how I ended up using my System-1m, which instead became central to a totally different synth setup and musical play style which I'm enjoying quite a bit. I highly recommend pairing it with a small, powerful keyboard controller like Arturia's KeyStep or Roland's own A-10K (a real gem) to drive arps and patterns. However, I don't think the 1m captures the Eurorack experience, and it didn't scratch my System 100 itch. It sounds powerful and the plug-out features are great, but I don't find the addition of the limited number of patch points to really expand the palette of the System-1m all that much. The limited and sometimes cryptic menu, lit button cues and hidden functions/button combos can sometimes be frustrating (I had to make a cheatsheet). And to really get the most out of it and some plug-outs (especially the System 100 plug-out), you really need to have this attached to your PC and DAW. As a side note, I find Roland's reliance on the user having a DAW to manage the plug-outs (here, and on the System-1 and the System-8) to be frustrating. I have no idea how useful or usable this is going to be in 2-3 years. In terms of sound and features for the price, I'd easily rate the 1m 4.5 to 5 stars. I've encountered no bugs, it's slick, it sounds great, and it can go deep (especially when you purchase the additional plug-outs). But I'm going to have to knock a bit off the rating simply because it still feels like it's tied a little to much to an "In the Box" experience, and a feeling that it should have had at least as many physical patch points as its inspiration, the System 100. If you're considering it, get it for what it is and what it can do, but I'm not sure it's a particularly good entry point into modular. Some may, however, find it an excellent expansion to the modular setups they're already building.
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4/5

Updated Review

The synth itself is quite versatile. Two oscillators with a large selection of waveforms (make sure you get the new waveforms by upgrading to v1.20). There is a lot of diversity in the waveforms and the sounds you can achieve with this unit. The three effects are decent, but I trigger the unit using MIDI from Ableton Live so I have VST effects that I find much more useful. The Reverb and Delay are limited to one sound. I find the bit crusher to get extremely noisy very quickly which, depending on the sound can be a good thing or a bad thing. The LFO is extremely useful giving you the ability to modulate virtually every aspect of the synth. I don't have any modular gear yet so I'm not able to give an accurate review on its modular capabilities. I have done some limited routing on the synth itself, but aside from the random blips and bleeps I haven't found it to be very useful. Roland provides you with a few patch cables to get started with. The Plug-Out VSTs have been released as VST2.4 which is important if you're running Ableton Live in Windows. Also, despite what the compatibility charts say on the Plug Out pages, the VSTs are compatible with 64-bit Ableton Live. I am currently running the ProMars Plug-Out VST in my 64-bit setup.
See also: Roland, Roland Synthesizers