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TORAIZ AS-1: Pioneer DJ Is Launching A Synth At NAMM 2017

As part of the NAMM 2017 show, Pioneer DJ is introducing the TORAIZ AS-1. AS stands for Analog Synth – and as with the SP-16, it has been designed in collaboration with Dave Smith Instruments. What’s a DJ company doing making a synth? Keep reading to hear about the new AS-1, modeled after the Prophet 6, and $500.

TORAIZ AS-1

  • Product: TORAIZ AS-1
  • Manufacturer: Pioneer DJ
  • Price: $499
  • Release Date: March 2017 (in the US/Canada)’

AS-1 Analog Synth - Top View

Been wondering what Pioneer DJ might announce this year at NAMM 2017? Us too. But who would have guessed that the next big thing on their product roadmap would be a synthesizer? After all, isn’t this a DJ-oriented company, with competitors like Denon, Mixars, and Gemini starting to take aim at some of their product lines?

Born Of TORAIZ: Another Dave Smith Collab

AS-1 Analog Synth - Angle

The AS-1 starts to make a bit more sense combined with the TORAIZ SP-16 sequencer/sampler. Having an analog synth to sample and step-sequence those samples is a lot of fun. The other big connection is the other company printed on the AS-1’s case: Dave Smith Instruments.

Dave Smith is famous for being the co-designer of MIDI, co-founder of Sequential Circuits, and the man behind the much revered Prophet synthesizers. For the SP-16, he helped to design the raw filter and overdrive features. On the new AS-1, the entire synthesis engine is models after the Prophet 6 synth:

“TORAIZ AS-1 is driven by a fully programmable, true analog synthesis engine based on the discrete analog circuitry in Dave Smith Instruments’ Prophet-6 synthesizer – a modern reboot of his classic Prophet-5. Working closely with Dave Smith himself, we’ve created a synthesizer that produces powerful analog sound and makes an ideal addition to the set-ups of professional and aspiring producers.”

TORAIZ AS-1 Feature Set:

Wondering what the full feature set is? Here’s the complete details from Pioneer DJ’s press release:

  • True analog sound from Dave Smith Instruments’ Prophet-6: Create your own fat bass and edgy lead sounds thanks to the synthesis engine at the core of the TORAIZ AS-1, which is based on the discrete analog circuitry of Dave Smith Instruments’ revered Prophet-6 synthesizer. [It] has two voltage-controlled oscillators (VCO) with continuously variable triangle, sawtooth and pulse wave shapes. Sculpt your sound using the two voltage-controlled filters (VCF) also from the Prophet-6: a 4-pole, resonant low-pass filter that can self-oscillate and a 2-pole, resonant high-pass filter.
  • Full programmability and 495 presets: Use the TORAIZ AS-1 to create one-of-a-kind sounds using two VCOs, two VCFs, one VCA,1 two EGs,2 and one LFO,3 then save each sound and its parameter settings as a program so you can access it later. There are 495 preset programs to give you inspiration, each with a different sound and 64-step sequence that can be edited independently. In addition, you can save up to 495 of your own programs in the five user banks, and you can assign up to 13 programs as Quick Programs to each key on the keyboard and instantly recall them at any time.
  • FX from the Dave Smith Instruments Prophet-6 synthesizer: Get creative with the Prophet-6-derived dual effects engine. Add a single effect or pair two together to add extra texture to your sounds. True bypass preserves a pure analog signal path.
    FX1: Bucket Brigade Delay, Distortion, Ring Modulation
    FX2: Chorus, High-resonance Phaser, Low-resonance Phaser, Maestro Phaser
  • Keyboard and Scale Mode: Use the touchpad-style keyboard to perform with the sounds you create. Use Scale Mode to change the notes assigned to the keys, choosing from any of the 21 on-board scales. You don’t need a deep understanding of musical theory. Just select the scale in which you want to play and the TORAIZ AS-1 will make sure your performance is in perfect harmony.
  • Slider: Add dynamism to your performances by moving your finger up and down the slider to manipulate your choice of seven different parameters. Change the pitch of two oscillators at once, adjust the amount of FX, and more. The slider is sure to become an essential tool in your live performances.
  • Arpeggiator: Perform a repeating chord pattern by holding notes on the touchpad-style keyboard. Change it in real time, either by octave or by changing its key in semitones. Experiment with combinations of different scales, or match the scale with that of a track that’s playing.
  • 64-step sequencer: Use the 64-step sequencer for step recording of patterns. Change the musical key of a pattern in real time by touching the relevant key of the keyboard during playback. Find inspiration from a preset sequence pattern and use Sequence Lock so you can play the keyboard and quickly edit the sound without editing the pattern that’s playing.

  • Other features
    • Bright OLED display shows parameter information
    • USB-B port and MIDI terminals (IN, OUT/THRU) for easy connection to a PC/Mac or an external MIDI device
    • Robust metal chassis suitable for use in the studio or on stage

What Else From Pioneer DJ?

The 2017 NAMM Show officially opens at 8AM on Thursday, and there could be another surprise from Pioneer waiting behind the walls – but we won’t know for a few more hours.


Wondering why there’s so much new gear news on DJTT right now? Companies are rolling out their new products ahead of the NAMM 2017 industry convention. We’re giving DJTT readers the first coverage and insights into what’s coming out:

See all of our NAMM 2017 coverage here.

Gear Questions? Talk with our Live Chat team in the DJTT store to find out why we get nearly 100% positive feedback from DJs like you.

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  • Ed Martinez

    sounds nice, as synth functions go is lacking, I feel a System 1 is way better for similar price

  • Paul Huryk

    I think it could be a be hit – just not in the DJ booth.

    It is good to see such a resurgence in analog synthesis – whether it be beat boxes, synths like this, and even eurorack modular.

  • kingof9x

    Cool, but I was hoping for some new DJ equipment from pioneer DJ. I like how the toraiz works without a computer. I like the stand alone rekordbox devices and wish they had a 4 channel xdj-rx that didn’t require a computer running rekordbox

  • But it doesn’t have any oscillators

    • It has 2 VCO’s, check the specs again 🙂

      • i was joking

        • Gotcha! I thought maybe you were saying it was like a rompler lol

          • no, i meant, it didn’t have any dedicated oscillator knobs, just a bunch of menu diving, lol

  • Adam Solomon

    Guys you are entirely missing the point: this is a goddamn $500 Prophet 6. Oh wait, this is djtechtools…

    • Jacob Stadtfeld

      Exactly, and this unit is aimed at DJ’s and the Toraiz/Nexus system. This is a fuckin’ steal for a production studio where you already have the multitude of cables and midi keyboards to actually make this a viable purchase, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it finds some high adoption in that market. But I certainly am suprised to see this aimed at the DJ booth, without any ProDJ Link capability. Midi is not stable enough for a lot of people to rely on in that environment, and unless there’s a melodic sequencer workflow here that doesn’t rely on the SP16 or an external midi device, I don’t see why Pioneer would think this is something DJ’s need. I’m sure it sounds nice, but purely in terms of playability, I’d rather just use a Volca or a TB3 instead.

      • Scott Frost

        I’m surprised actually Dave didn’t release this himself. No mention (at least I couldn’t find) of a poly chain mode. Which might make me buy one, it’s hard to see this as not a mopho replacement…. maybe Dave is teaching Pioneer his secrets so they can buy him out at some point… i’m sure he’s getting close to retirement lol

    • Scott Frost

      Only 1 voice though

    • CUSP

      I have a friend who just started working with Dave Smith. He loves the place.

  • guest

    No audio input. no interest.

  • Steven V

    Don’t think pioneer going to have nothing in namm. Denon Dj took it over this year!

  • Jacob Stadtfeld

    Waitwait, why in the hell is there not a pro dj link here? They want to built on the nexus system with the Toraiz? Why would you not include anything aside from an aging mid sync protocol?

    • Reinier Rothuis

      So you have to buy the sampler and then use the midi port on that to sync it to this…

      • Armando

        bingo!

      • Jacob Stadtfeld

        Right, forgot this is the Apple of DJ gear we’re discussing here.

    • Joe

      Exactly, seems like a lot of lost opportunity here. It would have been cool to be able to load patches and sequences through a USB stick like Rekordbox. Also it appears to support scale locking, also would be cool to match the keys of tracks on CDJs automatically, including sequence retuning. Without that kind of tight integration I’m not sure what separates this from using any other MIDI clocked mono synth in a live performance.

      • Jacob Stadtfeld

        Exactly. There’s so much potential in infusing classic production hardware with modern tech like ethernet networks and usb stick import. The SP16 actually makes some modicum of sense as far as having it as part of a club install. I love the idea of coming up with tracks on one at home and bringing just a USB stick to play them on the same hardware at the venue, and that kit actually fits with their DJ gear workflow. This synth seems like a weird departure from that establish nexus approach. I’m sure it sounds lovely but there’s nothing here that a number of other, cheaper bits of kit don’t offer for cheaper. Might as well just bring a volca or a TB3.

  • Roy Bear

    Can someone explain me why there is a “DJ” in the productname?

    • Simmo

      There isn’t. It’s called the Toraiz AS-1.

    • Danny Valentino

      And if there was a “DJ” in the name, what would be so wrong with that? The line between dj and producer has blurred to the point that the same product can be used equally well for both. Many DJs use production hardware in their dj sets and with awesome and very creative results.

    • Gavin Varitech

      There isn’t.

  • Black Mail

    I’m liking the injection of RED into the design … nice. Could look sexy next to the new Akai MPC …

  • Dubby Labby

    Pionotron mk1.

  • Otto1

    pioneer dj has the leverage. it will sell. other dj companies copy their design but they can’t catch them. now pioneer is expanding their product line which is good they’re innovating…

  • Great!

  • mikefunk

    That is exactly what I was looking for. Simple, small synth with step sequencer to record simple melodies over my DJ set. Finally. I am selling Mashchine for this.

    • Yosef

      Maschine is different dude don’t sell it.

      • Scott Frost

        unless Maschine 3 is announced 😀

    • Roy Bear

      The Maschine is a Groovebox, a Sampler, an Instrument. This is a Synth. This synth and maschine could do a lot of damage, would not sell the maschine.

    • Olaf

      for this price, why not buy a mini/micro-brute, novation bass station, korg minilogue or korg volca analog synth? This seems to be aimed at Pioneer fanboys that don’t know what analogue synths are out there.

      • Beet Salad

        Your right. I’m a DJ first, and a “make pretend” producer second. I bought a used “like new” Korg Volca Bass ($80 on Ebay) and couldn’t be happier with the results. Especially since I intended it as a add-in device to create simple basslines or chords to layer over tracks. I realize that the Toraiz AS-1 is probably worth its weight to some with deep pockets or for more serious producers, but all the other synths you mentioned would make more sense from a performance and financial aspect to get your feet wet in the world of analogue synthesis.

      • mikefunk

        Yeah. I know. I noticed price and hid inside my closet crying.

    • Jacob Stadtfeld

      I haven’t seen anything to indicate that you can sequence melodies here without a external hardware…

    • Joe

      You can already do that in Maschine, including scales and transposing. Just load up a soft synth in any part and change the pad mode to keyboard.

      • mikefunk

        Well. Does Maschine finally uses Ableton Link (with Traktor)? As midi really sucks on PC and I never got it working tightly. SO If new maschine update include Ableton link I am fecking using it!

        • Joe

          Yes, Traktor, Maschine and Reaktor all support Ableton Link now.

  • Black Mail

    Want!