Last year at NAMM, Roland was showing their then-secret AIRA lineup in a secret hotel suite – but this year their new gear is right out in the open. The MX-1 is part mixer, part soundcard, and part step sequence effector. After the jump, learn why this might be a critical new tool for DJs and producers alike.
Name: MX-1 Mix Performer
Available: Spring 2015
In A Nutshell: A welcome addition to the AIRA brand, and a big win for anyone who owns other AIRA systems, this will be a powerhouse for every performer with a modular setup
The MX-1 is a much-needed addition to AIRA’s powerful live performance hardware lineup , acting as a central USB hub where the other units plug in to over USB, bringing the audio and MIDI signals into one unit. This eliminates the need for a computer or advanced audio card host.
The features are quite impressive:
- 18 channel performance mixer with step-sequenced FX, transport, and tempo control
- Three kinds of step-sequenced Beat FX (Filter, Side Chain, Slicer) with TR-style buttons
- Six kinds of Master FX (48 variations) with large performance control knob
- Beat FX and Master FX can be applied to any or all inputs; Beat FX are per channel
- Combi mode rhythmically alternates the Master FX using the step-sequencer
- Four AIRA Link USB ports support audio, MIDI, sync, and bus power (on Port 3) for AIRA gear
- Mix mode provides six analog, one digital (stereo), four AIRA (stereo) , and two PC channels through mixer and FX
- External mode provides 18 channels from DAW through mixer and FX (all inputs direct to DAW)
- Control Surface mode for full DAW control via MIDI
- DJ-style cue monitoring, quick mutes, and six fader curves per channel
- Per-channel Tone/Filter knob with ten kinds of EQs, filters, and isolators
- Transport and tempo control with fine, shuffle, and tap-tempo functions
- Instantly save and recall complete setups including all FX configurations
It’s worth noting that the inputs are relatively limited on the MX-1 (only six analog inputs), likely intentionally to keep users in the AIRA ecosystem. The USB ports are only going to work with AIRA devices – but you can route up to 18 channels of audio from a connected computer.
The mixer itself is fantastically thought through – with cue on every channel allowing a pre-mix preview. The VU faders have six different selectable curves, a tone/filter knob on each channel, and a mute (which nicely dims the LEDs around the faders when active).
The BPM-synced effects are also a solid addition. There are three Beat FX (Filter, Slicer, Side Chain) that are able to be applied to individual channels; and also Master FX that are still tempo locked – with Delay, Filter, Scatter, Flanger, Roll, and Bit Crush. As with any effects, we suspect they’ll be overused by many performers, but will generally allow for more fun jam sessions and experimentation.
There’s no word yet on price or availability – but we’ll have those details soon. Read more about the MX-1 on the official product page.
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