Here we blow again: Roland launches Aerophone AE-20 digital wind instrument

Given that it could be considered to be a relatively niche product, there have been a surprising number of Roland Aerophones - digital wind instruments that are designed to enable players of acoustic ones to access a multitude of different sounds.

The latest is the Aerophone AE-20, which promises the same level of playability and expression as the flagship Aerophone Pro but in a more compact and streamlined package.

The sound palette kicks off with the expected acoustic wind tones (saxes, clarinet, flute, trumpet and more) and moves on to cover strings and world instruments. These sounds are generated using Roland’s SuperNATURAL technology, which promises to recreate every playing nuance.

Roland Aerophone AE-20

(Image credit: Roland)

Electronic tones are powered by Roland’s Zen-Core synthesis system, which can generate everything from analogue synth emulations to contemporary digital voices. This curated selection of presets has been chosen to take advantage of the unique articulations and extended dynamic range that a wind instrument offers.

In fact, the AE-20 is designed to feel totally familiar to wind instrument players, offering a reed-style mouthpiece, fast response and intuitive pitch and vibrato control. You can customise the breath/bite sensors and the fingering, and there’s instant transposition and a five-octave range.

Connectivity includes headphones and line outputs, and USB-MIDI for connecting to your computer or mobile device. There’s also Bluetooth MIDI/audio, enabling wireless playing. Sounds and settings can be tweaked with the Aerophone Pro Editor.

The Aerophone AE-20 will ship in March priced at $1,000. Find out more on the Roland website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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