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
May 20, 2012 @ 5:01 pm
Not only can I not understand why anybody would pay todays ebay prices for one of these, but then spend half as much again trying to make it sound better? Get a 2 osc synth to start with. Was good and cheap in its day but much better analog synths about for the money asked these days. Save you money get either bass station, Minibrute when it comes out or a megazwerg all cheaper!
Dr Robotnik
May 16, 2012 @ 6:27 am
Someone mentioned wanting another oscillator. May I suggest routing the SH101 through a Pro One and triggering the former via the CV?

Most amazing sounds result.
May 14, 2012 @ 10:21 am
I am the extremely happy owner of an SH-101, that's been mod'ed with an extra oscillator to add depths. That brings the sound to new hights (or depths, rather) and adds significantly to its wonderful sound.
This machine looks good, is easy to handle and is a true synth-wonder, considering it's only 1 osc + sub.
If you add its compact structure and even ability to work as a keytar... It's among the best of its kind.
PS: Jean Michel Jarre used this (as a bassmachine, of course) on Waiting for Cousteau (1991).
March 9, 2012 @ 11:07 am
Not a lot to add to everything that has been said on the 101, except: great synth, great size, great sound. There's no far fetched modulation or other exotica going on here, just solid, solid bass which is easy to get at. As with most analog Rolands, the prices of these are just too inflated to make them that desirable, but if you can find one at a decent price, grab it.
February 22, 2012 @ 7:42 am
Circuitbreakers will add the mods and also recalibrate/tune the SH-101 +adjust the power filtration to rid that hum for you. I can't look back. Undoubtedly, this is a great synth in the history books and if Roland wanted to look for inspiration on their past successes the wouldn't waste efforts in re-doing this one. If D16 ever gets their evolved LuSH-101 virtual out that would be great but this one is a keeper. People pride themselves over these little things for the right reasons so if you have one or get one - get the SH-101 mods..really consider it.
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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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