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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103 Visitor comments
April 23, 2011 @ 11:24 am
Everyone's saying not to pay more than X dollars/pounds for one, but there are pretty simple economics at work here. Roland isn't making them anymore (supply) but people continue to want them (demand). So if you want a very portable, very squelchy, and aesthetically-pleasing little monosynth, and you have the money, just go for it. Analogs are only going to increase in value over time anyway. You could have found the SH-101 (and virtually anything else) in a pawn shop ten years ago for $100. Nobody wanted them then, but now analog is back. So if you can find one that works, just buy it already
April 19, 2011 @ 7:05 pm
funny you should mention the colour thing as I actually had blue one! Suppose that's why I mentioned the "fashion" thing as sold mine on for silly money to a Shoreditch W@nker!:)
Agreed 101's are nice little synths but after owning virtually every budget analog synth known to man I've settled on a SH-09 which is more my thing and much cheaper than a 101 these days.
vision creation
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!
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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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