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.

Lookup Roland SH-101 Prices

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106 Visitor comments
dream demolition factory
November 10, 2010 @ 9:49 am
Just a quick word on second-hand prices; recently I've seen some dealers charging ridiculous amounts for this synth too. It IS a lovely synth, but with only one oscillator, no MIDI etc. NO-ONE should pay more than about £300 for one. Don't let greedy, dodgy second-hand dealers drive up or dictate prices (look what happened to the 303 at the end of the 90s). DO NOT PAY MORE THAN £400 for this synth, no matter how badly you want one! If no-one pays more, the dealers will be forced to be more reasonable. The main design flaw of the SH101 is its keyboard. Underneath is a contact membrane, very similar to the one used in the ZX Spectrum. When this wears out, which takes about 15 years, it's almost impossible to replace. So what I'm saying is: why would you pay over £500 for something which is almost certainly in the twilight of its life? Don't do it!
September 30, 2010 @ 9:57 pm
To really make a cool sound, use the VCF Mod slider while tweaking the cutoff
and res. By playing a sequence and having the VCF modulated randomly by the
LFO and using the legato trick with env in Gate mode, Really moving grooves
can be made. well worth the $800
September 15, 2010 @ 5:40 pm
perfect for electro-industrial tracks. this synth is MEAN! I own a Red one with the grip!
September 10, 2010 @ 1:41 pm
I owned a blue SH-101 years ago and sold it on in 1995 for a whopping £350! That seemed a lot at the time and to be honest it still seems too much these days!

It's quite a basic no-frills afair which gets the job done quickly...but anyone paying over £350 is daft or too rich IMO! :)
September 8, 2010 @ 6:58 pm
picked one up for $400 about 8 years ago. loves it.
good for more than just bass. if you see one, id snag it.
but unfortunately the price it out of hand right now.
been seeing them run from anywhere between $800-$1000 USD.
SH101 is great!
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.32 (1029 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay 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
  • Resources & Credits
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