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
March 18, 2013 @ 6:36 am
Nice synth, but this guy who's written the review really needs to actually check this synth out; its not just a bass synth, and the sequencer isnt real time but step time.
There was also a ULTRA rare black version.
I never had any issues with tuning or power though.
All in all a synth still worth buying but beware the fical thing called fashion and prices going through the roof.
March 7, 2013 @ 7:01 am
I've recently rediscovered this beautiful piece of kit.

I bought mine 20 years ago as a bassline synthesiser. I wanted a 303 yet couldn't afford the £600 price tag at the time. (People on here I think live in different universes when it comes to recollection of prices sometimes..)

It is so much more than a bassline synth. I created entire drumkits with it, learnt all about bleep & booster & those trippy ambience sequences.. it just works & works & works..

Mine was in storage for years until recently & sadly it didn't work when I turned it on then after 2 days.. alright!
March 3, 2013 @ 1:54 pm
The SH101 is not the greatest synth in terms of capabilty, there are many monophonic synths that dwarf its limited soundset. The strength of the SH101 lies in the fact, that nearly every sound it makes is usable. It will throw no surprises into the mix, and thus makes itself a solid workhorse.

I've owned my current one for about 18 years, after making the mistake of selling my first. I use it in every track, as it will always fit in...Basslines, no problem...leads, no problem...beeps, sublime!
February 27, 2013 @ 12:41 pm
Would like to agree with 'das king' that the SH101 is not just a bass synth, although the bass sounds come out especially nice. This is still one of my absolute favorites both in studio and on stage for it simplicity, fast sounddesigning, characteristic timbre and it's adorable charm. :)

A small tribute video I made:
February 14, 2013 @ 7:37 pm
I have nothing bad to say about the SH-101 :) Small, easy to use, and with the warm, punchy Roland sound from the 80's one can't go wrong.
VSE Rating


User Rating

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
  • Images from

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