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
June 17, 2012 @ 8:12 pm
just got one for 500 very happy :) the prices on ebay are absurd! you can make some great acid lines on the built in sequencer.
June 12, 2012 @ 5:14 pm
Did use it in the 80-ies, nice, but limited. Good bass. Wouldn't mind one again. (my mono's: Teisco 110F, Moog MG-1, Moog Minimoog, Yamaha CS-15, Formant modular)

What about the Realistic (Moog) MG-1. Downside no memory, but who cares. Software sequencer and midi to CV works great. But, 3 vco's, RM, Noise, nice filter and cheaper than the SH-101.

SH-101 is good! I use Analog, VA, Digital, FM depending on the sound i'm lookiing for. For typical 80-ies Bass I would go FM, DX7 has the deepest basses ever.
June 12, 2012 @ 2:16 am
@kev: The Bass Station is NOT fake, you need to learn more about electronics before you go boasting about them. Controlling your oscillators with voltage is a dead art, and unstable as hell. If your only argument is unstable voltage controlled oscillators for the overpriced 101, its a weak argument. The Bass station is just as real, and has midi, and is usable as a midi controller. My friend had a 101 for 5 years (i used it tons), was never impressed much with it, honestly, preferred the Bassstation any day of the week over the 1 Osc 101, it got boring fast. Sounds good, but not 700+ good.
June 5, 2012 @ 7:25 pm
@Lamster, You're really gonna put a Bass Station which is virtual analog up against a real mono VCO? I don't think so. And wait till the Minibrute reviews start coming in with all the [beep] ing; that thing is weak. I will say the Megazwerg sounds nice but it's pretty flimsy compared to a keyed performance synth like the 101. Bottom line is the SH-101 has THAT sound that is so desired. Pure 80's pop, zaps, leads and bass to spare. It sounds like no other, which is why it comands what it does.
May 30, 2012 @ 8:41 pm
The amount of people saying it's overrated are causing it to become underrated again. Just sayin'.
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Rated 4.32 (1024 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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