An affordable synth designed for use in the booth by creative DJ types
Unveiled at this week's NAMM show in Anaheim, California was the Pioneer Toraiz AS-1, a new monophonic analogue synth that, like the Toraiz SP-16 sampler/sequencer, was designed with a little help from legendary audio engineer Dave Smith (of Dave Smith Instruments, and the man who invented both the Prophet-5 synthesizer and, essentially, MIDI).
Indeed, the sound-generating circuitry inside the AS-1 is based on that found inside the Prophet-6, with two oscillators offering a choice of triangle, sawtooth and variable-width pulse waveforms. There are low- and high-pass filters with cut-off, resonance, key amount and velocity controls, an AMP envelope that gives you control over amount, velocity, attack, decay, sustain and release, and an LFO which offers a choice of triangle, reverse sawtooth, sawtooth, square and random waveforms. There are also seven onboard FX: delay, distortion, ring mod, chorus and high-resonance, low-resonance and maestro phasing. Each of these FX has two adjustable parameters.
Beyond simply generating and sculpting sounds, the Toraiz AS-1 also features a 64-step sequencer with per-step key, velocity and slew controls, a three-octave arpeggiator, and a 13-key touch keyboard that can be assigned wherever you like across a nine-octave range. An assignable ribbon controller and OLED display complete the feature set. As for I/O, the AS-1 features a USB port, MIDI in/out/thru, audio out on 1/4-inch jacks and a 1/4-inch headphone socket, as well as a 1/4-inch Trigger In jack for use with foot pedals or trigger/gate commands from software.
Measuring 267x177x66mm and weighing just 1.4kg, the Toraiz AS-1 is eminently portable, as befits its intended use, which like the SP-16 is as a studio-like tool creative DJs can take into the booth with them. The synth will be available from March, priced around £500.
To give you more idea of its capabilities in the meantime, Pioneer has helpfully produced this video...