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
September 10, 2010 @ 1:41 pm
I owned a blue SH-101 years ago and sold it on in 1995 for a whopping £350! That seemed a lot at the time and to be honest it still seems too much these days!

It's quite a basic no-frills afair which gets the job done quickly...but anyone paying over £350 is daft or too rich IMO! :)
September 8, 2010 @ 6:58 pm
picked one up for $400 about 8 years ago. loves it.
good for more than just bass. if you see one, id snag it.
but unfortunately the price it out of hand right now.
been seeing them run from anywhere between $800-$1000 USD.
SH101 is great!
August 20, 2010 @ 6:31 pm
Just got this yesterday for 500$ on
Very nice synth indeed and great sounds too :) love it allready. greets from denmark
August 11, 2010 @ 12:49 pm
Great synth...I think (in response to Benny) that some people care about who used this synth in the past as they will be able to tell its potential, and also to see that it is indeed a very useful, still popular and legit synth.
People like me shell out the dollars for these vintage synths cause they not only contribute a warmer sound to the palette of whatever music you're making, but they also are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, unlike most of the cold digital synths of today.
August 5, 2010 @ 2:47 pm
@Louis Padgham: Try changing out your power supply. The thing is probably as old as the synth itself and has just worn out.

Just try to find one that has the exact same specs as the one you currently have, and you should be set.
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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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