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.

Lookup Roland SH-201 Synthesizer Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Roland SH-201 Synthesizer? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

148 Visitor comments
August 23, 2011 @ 1:33 pm
SH-201 is like an updated JP8000 if you take in account that SH-201 has no harmonics control for the feedback osc, no simultaneous cross-mod, sync or ring-mod, (only 1 at a time per patch on SH201), no waveshape controls, or waveshape depth via LFO1 for soundshaping, no motion control, velocity assign, ribbon controller, 32 arp patterns compared to JP's 96, chorus is hidden on the SH-201. Ways SH-201 is better: OSC2 has more waveforms than JP, there is an external in oscillator like the 8080, more LFO destinations. Otherwise JP is better especially because you can play two patches at once.
July 14, 2011 @ 4:32 pm
This this is NASTY! Suicide Commando uses this thing, and I love the sound they get out of it. You can pick them up for about $250 to $300 USD used. So if your looking for a fun synth with big effing sounds that you can get nasty with, pick one up! The newer Giai is cool too, but just a bit to clean and yet retro, save some money and get this one for sure!
May 19, 2011 @ 4:20 pm
Another thing worth mentioning is that it has two Juno styled chorus effects that can be accessed by turning on Delay, holding the FX ON button, then pressing bank number 7 or 8. This is a good example of some of the hidden gems buried by weird button combos, but once you master them (you could always keep a cheat sheet for reference), you can get some really great Juno styled sounds out of it with the right patching skills. Just avoid those Trancey presets like a plague, they are not a good starting point.
May 19, 2011 @ 2:05 pm
The filter and oscillators sound exactly the same as the JP-8000. There are more osc choices and each layer has 2 LFOs with 2 destinations, which is better than the JP. Setting one LFO to a random pitch really makes this thing come to life, plus you still have another for filter, amp, etc. You can also modulate incoming audio with a filter and LFO, which is great for backing tracks. There's a few odd button combos to remember for editing; the PC editor is only needed for arp programming and more patch storage. So while it sounds exactly the same as the JP, there are some pluses and minuses.
May 18, 2011 @ 7:11 pm
This synth is used by Suicide Commando and it's good for it's Supersaw preset also featured on the JP-8080/JP-8000 and the later SH-01 Gaia synth from Roland in 2010 and now the Novation X-Station is replaced with the UltraNova, it's just a shame that the synth that came before it ceases production like the SH-201 which was Replaced with the Gaia SH-01, but it seems companies are rolling towards more synth workstation based on samples, Roland have done just that lately, Fantom X, ect. now the Jupiter-80.
Post Comment!
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.24 (927 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.

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.