Roland AIRA Compact Series: T-8 beat, J-6 chord & E-4 voice

…some blame elektron for not staying innovative, when it comes to syntakt…
…but have a look at rolands “innovation” skills…

they still squeeze all their right of existence out of stuff they invented 40!!! years ago…same same but different since decades…

while i have to admit…i had their very first voice transformer box, full blown orange meets blue metal box, in heavy use back in the 90ies…

so, even given the fact that all live vocal make up is done here since ages by tc helicons, i’m tempted to get my hands, err vocals, on this neat little ev thingie…


no CC

Those have a lot of things thought through, like the battery, audio inputs, class compliance. 5 years ago, when I had a setup consisting of lots of small boxes, I´d be all over them

The e-4 looks right up my alley. It looks like a beefed up vt-4 with the additional scatter fx and looper. The battery makes it really tempting to combine with the m8 for some couch sampling sessions. Jade wii makes it seem like it’s great fun to mess around with and create weird loops:


MIDI implementation docs are not available at the moment.
but MIDI ins/outs are there, so let’s see.
i’m interested too, since i would pair these with some real sequencer.


Hmm, these sure look interesting. :slight_smile:
After skipping through some reviews I do have some doubts.

The J-6 seems the most interesting. While it’s lacking a bunch and doesn’t really sound amazing it does include MIDI, sync, audio i/o, USB-C, battery powered, a sequencer, arp, reverb and delay and other nice features and seems pretty usable for it’s small size.

Overall I think Roland is hitting the jackpot, kids are gonna love these little boxes.


Yeah these are adorable. I can see the E-4 being an addition to my studio/live setup if I ever want to get back into vocals.

Of course they’re not for everyone. If you want something more complex, get the more complex boxes, or go for a different manufacturer. Complaining about how simple they are is kinda missing the point in a huge way.


ah nice, how it compared to the VT-4 was something else I’d wondered but don’t know that product well. Builds on the VT-4 rather than offering a boiled-down, simplified version would you say?

These look like volcas on steroïds. I really like them.

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The E-4 seems easy to control on first sight, but after watching the reviews it’s probably the worst. Tweaking settings seems like one big frustration.

I think they look ideal in a compact performance based setup. I’m kinda a bit miffed I’m broke as would love to mess with all of these.

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I had the vt-4 for a while. On first glance, the e-4 seems like a stripped down version of the vt-4, as it omits some of the preset choices and hardware features (scale nob, second mic input). But it’s got some new stuff like the scatter fx, looper, easily accessible waveforms for the vocoder, chorus (I’m not 100% if the vt-4 had a chorus).
I think it kept the strongest aspects of the vt-4, slapped a looper, battery and scatter fx on top and adjusted the form factor to fit the other two new devices. Not bad, I’d definitely go for the e-4 if I had to choose between the two. The tc helicon perform series is another option to consider, but I haven’t tried any of those.


thanks for this comparison/breakdown!

Yeah, I’ve been tempted by the Perform-V units, very similar price and very comparable features - will need to investigate. Have an Old Blood Noise Endeavors MAW which is great as a pre-amp and some fx but nothing in the weird, synth-y, vocoder realm that I would like to explore. Actually, think that’s something the TC Helicons have over this: smart EQ and compression utilities.

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The roland guy in the Sonicstate video said no CC

I understand the appeal of getting one box, but if you get multiple boxes (and assuming more will be released) then wouldn’t an mc-101 or verselab make more sense?

its the pokemon strategy…
but its ultra versatile

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Do we know if full MIDI chord information is output from the J-6 MIDI out?
Holds some interest as a means of pulling progressions together and later using other hardware as voices.

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The one that would really interest me here is the Juno chord machine, which looks like it would be good fun sequencing other gear. Not sure if it can send more than the onboard 4 notes via MIDI - a bit hamstrung if not, perhaps. But it’s all academic because I know I’d get tired of using a reference sheet for the LED numbers very quickly. Replace the synth with a more useful display and this could be a kind of mini-Pyramid, with a mini-price (and let’s face it, virtually all my issues with these devices could be countered by someone simply tapping the price sticker).

An interesting move, at least. Come on, Elektron! Let’s have some £150 Minitakts.

3 new boxes based on the ACB engines of the original AIRA’s in a tiny footprint.

The T-8 sounds pretty decent. Internal Battery and USB charging. Squishy buttons, not the Aira hard plastic style.

SUPERBOOTH 2022 reveal.

Interested in the J6 for the chord progression aspect, I’m really bad at chord progressions and was considering something like scaler 2 or kordbot, this could fit the purpose.