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 27, 2010 @ 5:54 pm
I had 2 of these many moons ago sold them both for peanuts at the time best thing I ever did. Then they became very popular through techno now I wish I still had them .
So that I could sell them again to these mugs for more money and buy something decent. As mono analog synths go the flashy look with the mod grip and the fact that every 80's pop star has been pictured poseing with one blinded people to the fact that they were well just ordinary and you could get the same sort of sound out of a yamaha cs01 for about 50 quid at the time And for the same money as the sh101 there were better synths about
May 3, 2010 @ 6:45 am
on source mixer drop back all sliders,push noise full up, at modulator section select noise, press/hold a key then play with VCF sliders to achieve the gritty might of a saturn moon rocket lift off. this cannot be replicated on a 'soft 101'.go on,have twiddle!
April 25, 2010 @ 9:35 am
It should also be noted that there are white SH-101s in existence, as well as SUPER rare green ones, which were released in Japan only. (As well as many versions of sunbleached red and blue 101's that range from pink to light blue)
April 25, 2010 @ 9:33 am
Great synthesizer, although the lack of midi and the plastic case definitely [beep] . I got one recently that has a small crack in the case for $400, I feel like it was worth the money. It's a classic synth that's been used on more records than anyone could count, but I do agree that the asking prices these days (it's now 4/25/2010) are pretty ridiculous, especially since the US dollar is low. Isn't it odd that our economy [beep] s, yet synths keep going up in price? I love my SH-101 but I don't feel like it's a piece of gear that I couldn't live without. I'd personally rather have a MC-202 since it's smaller, has a better sequencer, has DIN SYNC, etc. If you absolutely need keys, the 101 is a good choice but how many people actually *play* these? Usually with these people just have some sequence running and people tweak away.
April 14, 2010 @ 3:52 pm
Not to be the lone voice of dissent but to me the 101 is just another over-priced /hyped synth. These were nothing special when new and they were fairly common. Much more common than the MSs and the mono CSs. Sure they sound like the 303 and they you can achieve interesting acid patches but $550 and up - really? Part of the revolution that put the 303 on the map was using cheap, available technology in new ways. As talented artists create something different the instruments they used become more coveted despite the availability of equal or better synths. I owned a blue one for years. I liked it. It was a breaze to program but I sold it into this inflated market and haven't missed it. There are certain analogs that you will have to pry from my cold dead hands but this is not one.
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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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