Roland SH-201 Synthesizer

Roland SH-201 Image

Roland has resurrected their SH-series of synthesizers with the SH-201, an analog modeling synthesizer that's both fun and easy to use with plenty of features and cool sounds at a great price. The sounds and controls are analog style, and the SH-201 features Roland's famous Supersaw waveform (introduced in the JP-8000), resonant filter, saturation control, and more. Unlike the original SH-synths which were monophonic affairs, the SH-201 offers 10 voices of polyphony, which is perfect since we only have 10 fingers and this is definitely a hands-on performance oriented synthesizer.

At its heart the SH-201 has two beefy analog-modeling oscillators with ten analog styled waveforms. The two oscillators can be blended together in the Mix section, and there is also oscillator sync and ring modulation. Of course there is a filter section with High, Low and Band pass filtering at 12 or 24 dB/oct slopes, with the usual cutoff, resonance and key follow controls. Two LFOs add some modulation with 6 wave shapes plus sample-n-hold and multiple destinations. It also comes with high-quality delay and reverb effects, an overdrive control, and (like the SH-101) an arpeggiator function with 32 patterns.

Like the SH-101 of the early eighties, the SH-201 is quite user friendly, with a fairly simple and organized panel lay out (in a logically positioned signal path from left to right) and every control onboard is within reach. There are no complicated touch screens or menus of parameters to wade through, just grab a control and tweak! The keyboard is compact with just 49 keys and is only sensitive to velocity (no aftertouch). Patch memory is a bit on the disappointing side, with only 32 user and 32 preset patches. However, with its state-of-the-art USB connectivity, the SH-201 can be connected to a Mac/PC computer (both MIDI and audio can be routed through the USB port) and a VSTi software editor is included, which allows SH-201 sounds to be edited and stored from within a VSTi-compatible host software sequencer.

Roland SH-201 Image

The SH-201 also features external audio inputs with dedicated filters and effects. The SH-201 also features Roland's D-Beam technology allowing you to simply wave your hand above the D-Beam controller to create some wacky pitch-bends or modulations to the sounds. While it is clearly loaded up with Roland's latest technology it is packaged in a synth that is easy to use and simple to understand, with instantly accessible analog-type synth sounds that won't empty your wallet to attain--and in that way, this truly is a Roland qualified to carry the "SH" designation.

It is used by Noisia and Richard Barbieri.

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147 Visitor comments
February 7, 2010 @ 12:36 pm
I just got one of thease. and i have to say i feel like i died and went to heaven,
Not only does it look sick but it sounds awesome!.

Theres so many diffrent things u can do on this prefect synth aswell.
i still havent figgered out everything i can do, but yet everyday i learn something new!
January 22, 2010 @ 6:16 pm
I hope i can own one very soon its sounds are very good and the keys feel good as well
psionic jafar
January 2, 2010 @ 6:32 pm
i have a roland SH 201 and a microkorg, it has cool super saw leads and pads that i made on this synth the filters make good sounds. The filter envolops dont seem to work as the should and the osc sync doesnt work properly i find the microkorg sound better for bass sounds and osc sync leads but the sh 201 is better for pads and trance leads i would be using these synths for my band called the psionic warriors.
September 22, 2009 @ 6:52 pm
230 days more and sh 201 still shines.I do take the time to shape sounds and although I am not a musician,I often find myself with sounds in hand that I stop and smile,for the result is what I've heard on "that LP or the other song or even it was the one that made me fall in love with synths"...Yes I would like it to give me some more (1 osc,the LFO to mod anything else,and the knobs be endless with LEDs and maybe a bigger bank to store my patches )but it still does a very good job.DONT use it with headphones 'cause it doesn't sound it's best.Downside?It,in very little circumstances,make annoying digital noises and that's when you really go far over the limit.And I say that because I know a thing or two about sound.
September 22, 2009 @ 5:46 pm
reasonable sounding digital synth from big boys roland .a bit tacky looking in my opinion but you cant have everything.ok for filling the gaps in a track or layering - like most rolands the sound shaping capabilities are great on it -i find that like most digital synths the bass can lose it sonically when you start bringing other elements into the mix.spend a little more and go for a real analogue synth like a yamaha cs 10 with kenton midi. great for a first keyboard with all its midi controll etc.
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Rated 4.25 (926 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.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Up to 10 voices
  • Oscillators - 2 Analog Sound Modeling oscillators;
    Knobs: Pitch, Detune, Pulse-Width/Feedback, Pitch Enveloper: Attack, Decay;
    MIX/MOD Section: Oscillator Sync, Ring Modulation, Low Boost/Low Cut, Knob: Balance (OSC1/OSC2)
  • LFO - 2 LFOs; Shapes: TRIANGLE, SINE, SAW, SQUARE, TRAPEZOID, SAMPLE AND HOLD, RANDOM, Knobs: Rate, Destination 1 Depth, Destination 2 Depth, Tempo Sync ON/OFF
  • Filter - 1 Filter; Types: LPF, BPF, HPF (-12 dB/-24 dB), Knobs: Cutoff, Resonance, Key follow, Enveloper: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
  • Amp - 1 Amp: Level, Insertion Effect: Overdrive, Enveloper: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
  • Effects - Reverb, Modulation Delay
  • Arpeggiator - 32 Patterns (programmable with PC editor software)
  • Memory - Preset : 32, User: 32
  • Keyboard - 49 keys (velocity sensitive)
  • Control - MIDI (IN, OUT), USB Connector (AUDIO/MIDI)
  • Date Produced - 2006
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Roland-US.

    Reviewed August 2008.

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