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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106 Visitor comments
Ashley Pomeroy
February 12, 2011 @ 3:26 pm
I had one of these back in the late 1990s - found a red example cheap second-hand. It was great fun, especially with the arp and the step sequencer, although sonically it was quite limited. Has a very punchy, aggressive sound despite only one digitally-controlled oscillator with sub. Would benefit from a second clock. Excellent for bass, and puts out a distinctive wobbly bass sound. You can also feed audio into the CV input for odd sound effects.

It was an anachronism when it came out. The knobs and distinctive looks keep used prices fairly high, but it's still very basic.
January 18, 2011 @ 9:17 am
@ Couchlock

Roland built way more than 2000 (somewhere in the region of 25,000 I believe) and there are usually decent examples knocking around on ebay at any one time.

I've seen prices vary from £250 up to £500 within the same week, it's crazy. They are a great machine but you shouldn't have to pay more than £300 for a decent one. It's not going to set the world on fire but it is a very nice, dependable and surprisingly flexible little machine to have in your studio.
January 15, 2011 @ 9:53 pm
this is a magic spacemachine...i fell instantly in love with it and i love all the different sounds coming from it!!you can make very nice bubble analog FX sc-fi & monster basslines.and it looks cool also.the high price is because it´s very rare noe. roland built only 2000 of them, so you can imagine how many in good condition still exists..
December 30, 2010 @ 8:23 pm
I bought mine from new for £199 from ABC music, Addlestone in about 1982-3.
December 30, 2010 @ 12:24 pm
currently one of the most over-rated analog mono's, wayyy over priced and nothing particularly interesting about it. Defo much better on the market for the price these things go for.
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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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