well, I've had the System-1 for more than a week now and I must say that I am very impressed.
to clear a few things up. the System-1 itself is a standalone hardware synth. the SH-101 Plug-Out releases on the 25th and it is a VST/AU plug-in like any other except that it can be exported to the S1 and used away from the computer. this first Plug-Out is free and only available to S1 owners. there are presently other Plug-Outs in development, a SH-2 and ProMars have previously been mentioned. the System-1 itself sounds nothing like a SH-101 or any previous Roland VA and it is not a dongle.
having spent a lot of time with it this past week I think that Roland have done an incredible job of reimagining the classic monosynth. this is the first VA i've owned where analog vs digital is completely irrelevant and it seems a good sign for things to come. so far my only complaints are that I'd prefer something other than a momentary on-off modulation button and the four-voice limit is a pity as its great at pads (but I expect we'll eventually see a larger polysynth version). otherwise I don't mind the limited memory, the pitch wheel and shallow keybed are surprisingly effective and the build quality is identical to the TR-8, which is to say that it is very good.
as for Nick's review... I have no idea why he keeps claiming that it is paraphonic. perhaps he's confusing its four voices with the Mono/Poly. also, it does have course tuning and I'm not sure what else he got wrong but having watched the most recent broadcast I'm just left shaking my head at how little he seems to know. however he does appear to be right in that the LFO will not presently fully sweep the filter. also, although the keyboard doesn't have velocity or aftertouch the synth will respond to both.
all in all I think that the System-1 is a great synth, especially for the price. for me it is definitely a keeper and I consider a much better purchase than any of these recent DCO synths. the sound and user interface are both exceptional and it's very cool that you can switch sound engines at the touch of a button. so far I feel that Roland is on point with this Aira series and I'm eager to see what comes next. Hopefully they can keep up the momentum.
Zamise wrote:The only thing really missing out of all a full AIRA rig would be some sort of sampler, wouldn't have to be anything large a few mins of samples would due.
aside from a "System-2" polysynth based on a modern JD-800 which runs Jupiter/JX/Juno Plug-Outs, a sampler is what I really hope to see next. ideally they'll do a "SP-8" which would be a modernized SP-808, so a multitrack phrase sampler with VariPhrase. essentially something like Elektron's Octatrack and perhaps hitting a $799 (or less) price point.