Roland SH-101

Roland SH-101 Image

The SH-101 is very cool, especially for techno, drum&bass and ACID! It's a monophonic bass synthesizer. Its sound lies somewhere between the TB-303 and a Juno bass sound. It has a lot of simple but cool features. You can control the VCF, pitch, LFO or all from the pitch bender. It has a white noise generator, arpeggiator with up, down and up/down patterns and a simple real-time sequencer. The LFO offers random, sine, square or noise waveforms. And normal or auto portamento effects give you that elastic bass sound. There are external clock inputs for the sequencer and arpeggiator, CV/GATE inputs and outputs and a CV hold pedal.

Roland SH-101 Blue Image

Unfortunately there is no patch memory storage and although it has no MIDI there are upgrades available for it from many analog service companies that will allow you to incorporate it into any MIDI studio environment. It can also be controlled by MIDI using a CV/MIDI converter. It's great for bass sounds or bubbly analog effects. They come in three different flavors - gray, blue or red (there was a VERY rare white version too)! It can also be strapped on like a guitar for live performance using the optional Hand Grip.

Red SH-101

It is used by Orbital, Future Sound of London, Überzone, The Prodigy, 808 State, The Grid, Cirrus, Eat Static, Jimmy Edgar, Apollo 440, Devo, Union Jack, Luke Vibert, Dirty Vegas, Josh Wink, the Crystal Method, Aphex Twin, Astral Projection, Les Rythmes Digitales, Sense Datum, Squarepusher, Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM/MDFMK, Freddy Fresh, Lab-4, Nitzer Ebb, the Chemical Brothers, Boards of Canada and many more.

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104 Visitor comments
November 12, 2008 @ 2:33 pm
Brilliant little machine, it's potential belies it's size. Even after a few years of having one I'm still getting new sounds out of it. Works fine over MIDI via a BassStation Rack, and also partners 606 and 303's with CV/Gate just perfectly. It doesn't take a lot to get a very passable 303 sound either, just run it through distortion and keep the Freq and Resonance below half. Blinding for gut-wrenching bass too - something the 303 struggles with.
the goat
October 17, 2008 @ 3:06 am
The arpeggiator was the killer feature for me. Especially as you could then patch via CV to a compatible box and widen the sound.
Never quite got the point of the 'portable' feature - a bank of massive batteries and fiddly control stick stopped it being as handy as it should have been - mind you, that was more of a 'poser' feature anyway.
A sleeker design than its predecessors, but outclassed by anything with patch memory.
September 11, 2008 @ 9:30 am
The "rubber band" bassline... Classic! An extremely fun machine to use... by itself or with other cv/gate toys. The analog sound fits perfectly in any mix... The arp is hypnotic and the sequencer is easy to use, making those "out of step" basslines you hear in all those great jack tracks. Essential to any acid producer...
September 7, 2008 @ 1:47 pm
Solid synth yet incredibly light weight.
Gives good surprises with it's variable sound.
Essentially the sh-101 has one sound which is very flexible....good leads on sine waveform, great sub basses if you cut everything but the sub oscillator....
hit the square form on the low end and hear the bass kick....sounds range from acid house of orbital to modern intelligent electro of Squarepusher.
Appegiator is a lot of fun, verges into 303 territory but obviously not as accurately programmable.
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Demos & Media
  • YouTube Thumbnail
    Roland SH-101
    by stretta

    Manual - Roland has made manuals for most of their products available as free PDF downloads.

    Patch File - This is a text document describing how to set up the SH-101 for a nice Orbital style synth lead sound.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO (independent levels for saw, square/pulse/pwm and sub-oscillator)
  • LFO - triangle, square, random and noise waveforms
  • Filter - resonant, self-oscillating LPF, mod by EG, lfo and kybd tracking
  • VCA - ADSR, mod by EG or gate
  • Arpeg/Seq - Digital sequencer up to 100 steps record/playback; Arpeggiator patterns: up, down, up/down
  • Keyboard - 32 keys
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1983

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