Sax in Your Pocket? Roland Aerophone Mini Review – Better Sax
Roland Aerophone Mini AE-01

Sax in Your Pocket? Roland Aerophone Mini Review

The other day, I was browsing the internet, as one does, and I came across this new instrument – The Aerophone Mini by Roland. So naturally, I ordered it right away. I’m going to tell you why this thing may be very interesting to a lot of people.

After watching the video let us know your thoughts on the Aerophone Mini in the comments below!

The Roland Aerophone Mini AE-01 is what you call a wind synth. You blow into it to get the sounds which are all synthetic and digital. This is the first instrument like this I’ve seen that is designed for beginners to learn on, rather than for professional use.

It’s as simple to play and use as a toy would be, and is built like a real instrument. Plus, it’s also small enough for a child to use and be able to take anywhere.

It can also be used independently. The Aerophone Mini has an internal speaker, a headphone jack, is battery powered, and can connect via bluetooth to work with any device. It can also be powered by a standard usb cable which allows you to use the Aerophone Mini as a midi controller as well.

Who is the Aerophone Mini for?

I think this instrument is a great option for any adult who wants to learn a wind instrument from square one, but doesn’t want the noise to be an issue for those around you. Plug in headphones and you can play away without anyone else hearing you. Plus It’s compact and portable so you can take it with you anywhere.

I think it’s also a great option for kids. The fingerings are very basic, like a recorder, but the buttons are almost like ones on a video game controller. It’s very clear what you need to do and where to put your fingers. When I first handed this to my daughter she immediately started playing it.

I think kids will love this instrument because it’s simple to use yet fun. Being able to work with a whole range of apps makes the possibilities for what you can do with this endless.

The key here is anyone can pick this up and play it in seconds.

I also think anyone who messes around with music production and wants a simple wind controller will love this.

The ease of the Roland Aerophone Mini AE-01 means that someone who is just starting out playing music and wind instruments is not going to be overwhelmed because everything is simple and easy to use.

Aerophone Mini Fingerings

Let’s first talk about the very simple, intuitive fingering system. They’ve designed this instrument with the minimum of keys, but you can easily get all chromatic notes over more than three octaves.

Here’s how it works.

You’ve got the main buttons for your fingers and then a few extra for the pinkies. The two smaller buttons are brilliant. The top one makes every note a sharp, and the bottom one flattens them.

There are only a couple of adjustments you need to make with this system if you are used to saxophone fingerings. For Bb I use 1 and 1 which is like on the flute or clarinet and for D#/Eb we have to use the left pinky instead of the right. Other than that, the other fingerings are the same as you are already used to on the saxophone.

The octave key works the same way as on the saxophone, but there is another one that also extends the range down an octave.

Intuitive Controls

Changing the settings is very simple. On the back is a small function button that allows you to switch between 6 built in sounds/instruments including saxophone, flute, clarinet trumpet, violin, and synth.

You can adjust the volume, the amount of reverb, and the amount of air required to play. Beginners can set this to very easy, while experienced wind instrument players can increase the resistance to make it feel more like playing a real instrument.

You can also set the transposition to change the key the Roland Aerophone Mini AE-01 plays in.

The Aerophone Mini Plus App

In the app, you can adjust all these settings as well as many more advanced ones, and you also have access to over 50 additional sounds.

Connecting to the app is super easy, you just flip the switch to bluetooth, and then click connect in the app and you’re all set.

Within the app, we have access to a fingering chart, a metronome, a full library of songs to learn complete with backing tracks, and a karaoke mode where you can play over your own tracks.

I think their app is well done. I found the sounds available to me using GarageBand and other apps to be more interesting. Again, Endless possibilities.

Final Thoughts

The aerophone mini is ideal for someone who wants a simple wind synth to learn on. It will work well for kids and adults alike. It is easy to use, and it functions like a real instrument. The supporting app is good, and connecting to various devices is very easy. It also works well as a standalone instrument with the internal speaker or the headphone jack.

For me this is certainly not a replacement for a real wind instrument. However, t is a very welcome alternative that provides a lot of functionality that an acoustic instrument cannot.

The Roland Aerophone Mini AE-01 is a great device that you can take anywhere while learning the basics and having fun messing around with a variety of different apps.

About the Author

As the founder of Jay’s mission is to help developing saxophone players break away from traditional music learning methods and discover a more efficient, practical and fun way to become a Better Sax player. The BetterSax YouTube channel’s videos have been watched by millions and thousands of students have made meaningful progress on their instrument thanks to BetterSax courses.

Jay Metcalf


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2 thoughts on “Sax in Your Pocket? Roland Aerophone Mini Review”

  1. Informative review but you didnt mention the latency problem between the unit and the app. You cant use the app with a libe band because there is a delay between playing the note and hearing it.

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