NAMM 2015: Roland AIRA MX-1 Mixer With Step Sequenced Effects

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
Manufacturer: AIRA
Available: Spring 2015
Price: TBD
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.

More NAMM 2015 news and articles:

airaaudio interfacemidi midermixermx-1rolandstep sequenced effects
Comments (16)
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  • JJ

    Correct me if I’m wrong but you cannot record your set through this mixer unless it’s hooked up with Ableton, right?

  • Masher Brown

    could you hook a tracktor A10 up to this mixer? with 3 decks?

  • Charlie

    Technics and this time code would it work if rather map this than have a s8

  • Prof_Strangeman

    If I could just get the automotive robot with the lazer that’d be great.

  • Sambo

    Holy crap. I wonder how well this would integrate with Traktor?

    • Jacob Stadtfeld

      Probably very, depending on how it would exchange midi clock info with the software.

  • rwoody81

    Maybe I’m not a fan of the genre of music in that video, but that sounded terrible to me. It was out of time and just all over the place. It sounded like my two year old son was mashing buttons randomly. With a demo track like that, I wouldnt pay $20 for that equipment. Was there something wrong with my speakers or did anyone else notice that?

    • Jacob Stadtfeld

      Towards the end it definitely got noisy, but I think the point was to demonstrate that the system is capable of those kindof syncopated, not-strictly-quantized rhythms. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but nice to know what it can do.

    • Justin Garnevicus

      the scatter function is crap and makes everything fall out of sync for a second

  • youhow2


  • Casin Noah

    just give the people what they want Roland, (analog components), quit pissing with the digital fisher price bs.

  • Clay Ford

    Had a go with the AIRA line a couple days ago. I’ve never had more fun with equipment and any new kit from them is a win in my books.

  • Jake Bergeson

    I love my TR-8 and TB-3, but I’ve been looking for a good way to incorporate them into a really great playable solution. (as well as incorporating a few analog synths and VSTs from my computer.) Originally I was looking at hooking them up to my Pioneer DJM 900 Nexus, but this just takes the cake for a live setup with having more channels and some great effect solutions to boot. The blue master effects totally look like the color effects off of a pioneer mixer. I dig.

    Can’t wait for it to be released!!!

  • noxxi

    hmm, i dunno, i dont think limiting functionality to other aira gear is going to make for a popular controller. it almost like apple designed this.

    • David De Garie-Lamanque

      it makes from a business point of view, since the other aira instruments were conceptualised to be played together, and given their respective price points, you do get a lot of bang for your buck.

      • noxxi

        i never really considered that, i’m guessing its pointless without the other aria gear though? i suppose if your using it then this mixer is probably the best thing ever.