Modeled on the company's classic SH-101, it works standalone or integrated with the line's SYSTEM-1 keyboard.
When the full details of AIRA were revealed back in February, the SYSTEM-1 keyboard was described as a "plug-out" synthesizer; though it could make sounds on its own (using Roland's new Analog Circuit Behavior modeling technology to approximate the sound of the company's vintage System 100, 100M and 700 synths), software expansions were promised that would integrate with the SYSTEM-1.
Now fully realized (and spelled with block letters like everything else in the AIRA line), the first PLUG-OUT has been slated for release on July 25th. It's a digital emulation of Roland's classic SH-101. It runs from your DAW like other plug-ins (you can duplicate it as many times as your computer will allow), and you can use it separate from the SYSTEM-1. But with the keyboard connected, you can control the plug-in using the knobs, faders and keys on the hardware. The software synth can also load directly onto the hardware, in effect giving your SYSTEM-1 a total makeover. Everything you do on the hardware can be saved as automation data, and you can save presets there, too. The SH-101 is free with purchase of a SYSTEM-1 keyboard; no word yet on whether it'll be available separately, and for what price.
Roland will release the SH-101 PLUG-OUT on July 25th, 2014.