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
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April 16, 2011 @ 7:49 pm
The biggest debate on here seems to be the price. I love this little thing, and I wouldn't sell it for the world, but I also wouldn't buy it for more than $500. Below that is a little overpriced, but pretty reasonable for a synthesizer of this quality. Of course, the preference people have of the Roland analog sound is purely subjective, and the dissenters are justified in being unwilling to pay for something they find to have lackluster tonality. To each his own, but to me, the SH-101.
March 28, 2011 @ 8:11 pm
Yes, it's not the most flexible, tuning can be an issue, etc., etc., but it's definitely not a toy. One thing that the SH-101 has is character. There's just something about the sound of this synth that you grow to love, and with the resonance cranked about midway with the cutoff at around 6 and some distortion on the pulse wave, it sounds amazing.
March 11, 2011 @ 7:05 am
One FACT I will state however, conceding to the 'fashion' thing said below. It's to do with the stupid 'color war'. For me I've always loved the stock GRAY SH-101. It looks more professional, doesn't scream 'I was marketed as a keytar once' and blends with anything in the studio. Now I don't mind the blue one, but to see people saying it's worth more or whatever is stupid. It is actually less cool looking. More toy like. Red ones fade and look pinkish! Gray is best, don't let nice colors fool ya! in reality gray looks great, the others look tacky. In photos blue looks nice but it gets old!
March 11, 2011 @ 6:09 am
only a 'fashion' thing? have you actually used one! Theses little synths excell in many areas that other synths can't touch. The basic tone is there already, the super-fast envelopes many synth can only dream of. Full hands on control. A joy to play and program. Fun to use/carry around/set up in studio. It has almost every desirable feature of much more expensive synths but with just one classy VCO and monophonic. For what it's best at (bass, leads, drones, fast blips/sequences) it's everything it needs to be and is designed so well. The size fools people, it's NOT a toy these days!
February 26, 2011 @ 4:32 pm
SH101's are very common and far from rare. They were a budget synth and sold by the bucketload..probably well over 20,000 units.

They are a fun little synth but more of a fashion/collectors thing these days judging by the crazy 400 euros these sell for.
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  • 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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