When you think of Synthesizers, Pioneer isn't a brand that generally comes to mind. With so many people assuming Pioneer only deal in DJ gear, you would be surprised to find to find that they can also turn their hand to musical instruments, more specifically the Toraiz AS-1.
Dave Smith with the Prophet 5 Synthesizer
Collaboration with Dave Smith Instruments
Pioneer haven't just jumped blindly into the deep end two feet first when it comes to the AS-1. They have teamed up with Dave Smith Instruments on this product. If you are familiar with Synthesizers then you will be more aware of Dave Smith Instruments, or Sequential
, a brand Dave Smith was pivotal for. Sequential was behind the legendary Prophet 5, the first polyphonic programmable synthesizer. It was used on hits throughout the late 70's and 80's by the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson. The company was also crucial in the development of MIDI. As you can see Dave Smith is heaped in musical history and so Pioneer picked a great partner to get into bed with. The AS-1 is a single voice of the latest Dave Smith Prophet 6 synthesizer. This one voice is great and so versatile, you could lose yourself for hours playing with this unit.
Great Analogue Sound
The Toraiz AS-1 is a monophonic synthesizer with 2 voltage controlled oscillators which can be blended between triangle, sawtooth and pulse waves. It also comes with 2 fully analogue filters, one 24db low pass filter and a 12db high pass filter. On top of this you get a full ADSR envelopes. Firstly you get an amp envelope and the second is a filter envelope. The AS-1 has a very fast and flexible LFO. All of this means you can manipulate the synth in so many different ways, it really gives you room to create and mould the synth to your liking. By including a great analogue section, straight from the prophet 6, means that when manipulating the voice of the AS-1, you still retain great audio quality. These filters sound really warm and seems to add life to the synth.
Great Digital FX
Not only do you get great analogue filters, the AS-1 comes packed with 2 seperate digital effects sections. These digital effects also come from the Prophet 6. Even though they are digital effects, they are of the highest quality. They don't sound overly clinical or lifeless. You can use just one effect or use two together. The effects you get in the first bank are bucket brigade delay, digital distortion and ring modulation. The second effects bank contains a phaser and chorus. Use the effects to really bring the synth to life. You can save 495 presets so there's plenty of fun to be had with this.
The AS-1 - Performance Orientated Design
The Toraiz AS-1 is designed to be as simple to use as possible. Pioneer do have a great reputation of making kit that has a logical work flow and easy to learn layout and this is just as true for the AS-1. You get a great touch keypad. The keypad can also be used for the built in 64 step sequencer. A great touch is the ribbon controller/slider control on the left hand side. This slider is assignable to 7 different parameters and enables you to manipulate them in real time. Control the pitch, adjust the amount of effects and much more.
Inputs and Outputs
The AS-1 is a great tool on its own however it has plenty of inputs and outputs so you can include it as part of a larger set up. It comes with a headphone output, Stereo output, a trigger input, midi in and out/thru and a USB port. The power cable comes with a clever clip so to avoid accidentally pulling it out. It seems Pioneer really are giving this some real thought and it shows.
Although Pioneer may not be a household name in the music production scene, the AS-1 is a synth to really think about. Pioneer have teamed up with one of the most infamous names in this industry in Dave Smith and have really produced a beautiful sounding and versatile synthesizer. You get a really nice warm sound and plenty of flexibility. The AS-1 is a real hidden gem indeed.
The Pioneer Toraiz AS-1 is just £479.00 and is available to order online
or in store now!