Aira 606 emulated or sampled?

What about the sounds on that Aira machine, is it emulated or sampled?
If emulated - can I adjust stuff like decay, snappiness, pitch etc which you couldn’t do on the original 606?

(moved to new thread, as it poses a unique question that detracts from the question of Machinedrum capabilities in the old thread)

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From my understanding they are using the ACB tech to emulate without samples. A lot of the edibility is added that wasn’t available on the original.

What makes ACB a bit suspicious though is all that RAM on the TR8 (2 x 256 MB chips IIRC). I thought analogue modelling does not need that vast amounts of RAM, unless calculating rverbs/delays/etc?

My understanding is where the original sounds were samples (eg. 909 hats and cymbals, all of 707) they have used samples that will take up memory.
Where the original sounds were analog (as with 606) they’ll use ACB, which should be less memory hungry.
Might be wrong though.

yes, it’s true that 909 hihats and cymbals and all sonds of the 707 are samples - but they are very small samples, would fit into 4MB or less easily. So what’s the other 508MB of RAM for?

Well if the software and hardware of the other ACB based gear is anything to go off of, the modeling seems to take up a fair bit of cpu and space as when the plug-outs run on DAWs are resource greedy.

The boutique series also uses ACB. On hardware, the actual ACB computing is done on a special roland processing chip labeled ESC2. The Aira series uses 2 ESC2 chips vs. the Boutiques 1. The end result is a lower bit rate and smaller voice count for the boutique output. This shouldn’t be a problem with sample playback as it is a much less intensive process.

The boutique line also is running (fairly accurate) emulations of choruses which can’t be made with samples. I am inclined to say that there is a whole heck of a lot of expenditures on chips and design effort in order to use samples rather than emulation (or to make it seem that way). It just doesn’t seem practical or cost effective for them to go through all the extra effort in their designs and marketing claims.

It makes it hard for me to question their claims with the whole ACB thing.

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For the whopping 16 A/B patterns, of course! :laughing:

I am not questioning ACB as a whole. Obviously the ACB synths cannot be based on samples. Just wondering what the deal with the TR8 and it’s 512MB of RAM is?

Most likely the different modelings and extra space for continued expansions

Is it unlikely that a complex piece of sound generating firmware takes up a reasonable amount of space? <- Genuine question as opposed to facetious rhetorical. I know very little about programming.

I’m often surprised at how much space some pieces of software take up. I don’t know exactly how the ACB works, but if they really are modelling the behaviour of each capacitor, resistor etc. as they claimed to be in their launch videos, then I guess it would lead to a fairly memory inefficient, but sonically faithful piece of coding?

Incidentally, for all the shit that Roland took when they announced the Aira line and ACB, it seems to have been a runaway success, esp. the TR-8.

  1. They also need space for the software that’s running the models.
  2. They were planning future expansions that might require more sample storage.
  3. RAM is cheap.
  4. Buying components on volume makes them a hell of a lot cheaper per-unit. Makes sense to standardize a whole range of products on the same components even if you end up putting more storage than you need in them.
  5. They might be using a lot of lookup tables and other memory-intensive programming tricks to improve performance.
  6. Don’t at least some of the “scatter” effects require the unit to effectively keep full loops in a sample buffer?

Generally speaking the more complicated the program, the larger the memory used. High end VST/sound modeling programmers spend a ton of their time devoted to making the best/most accurate sound without taking too much resources from your computer’s operation. It’s a fine balancing act between efficiency and quality.

I think the TR-8 is probably the most successful of the Aira series just because of the fact that it is a fair amount of bang for you buck (especially compared the the actual 909s, 808s, 606s, 707s), sounds close enough to the original machines, and has simple controls. Having access to all those units in one box is pretty efficient too. The rest of the Aira series missed the part with the fun and simple interfaces and are a bit too limited for their prices IMHO. Even still the Boutique series is where I think the ACB was actually put to good use. I just wish the units were a little bigger. They sound pretty good and feel natural when tweaking.