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

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Comments

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148 Visitor comments
201
June 7, 2012 @ 3:09 pm
Both the JP8000 and AN1X are made of cheap hollow plastic as well. They only weigh more because they have a bigger sized case and longer sized keys. The pots on JP8000 are notorious for becoming loose (like other Roland synths from that production era) and the AN1X knobs can be pulled off with zero effort.

I'll agree that the AN1X sounds better and has a deeper engine, but it's also twice as expensive on the used market. And once again, this is the same sound engine as the JP8000 with different features, but perhaps you never made it past wanking around with the presets to figure that out.
relic
June 6, 2012 @ 12:26 am
cheap plastic light toyish. go JP8000 / or even AN1X. better build and sounds way better imho. d-beam...lol
201
May 31, 2012 @ 11:59 am
@ danalogue
The Poly 800 is edited with numeric buttons and has zero hands-on knobs. Plus it also only one LFO, which is weak. And the JXP3 is only great with the PG-200, which can set you back an additional $500 and ends up disabling MIDI. The only vintage synth comparable in specs and features is the Jupiter 8, which costs a fortune. This is a very practical, easy to use and hands-on synth for the money, which is why it has a high rating by the website and from users.

@ Jonhn
How it could sound worse than the JP-8000 when it's the same sound engine is beyond me. Ear trolls, perhaps?
danalogue
May 28, 2012 @ 9:52 am
One of the worst synths I have ever played. No character. Not nice filter. I am not saying this because I am an analogue purist. It just sounds bad. So many VA synths that do a better job - and for the money you could get a jx3p or poly 800 which have basic MIDI and a decent sound. How VSE can rate this excellent, I don't know
Julian S
May 12, 2012 @ 12:22 am
I love my sh201. Nice, simple, and serves as a great stepping stone to learn and understand how to work synths.
 
VSE Rating

Excellent

User Rating

Rated 4.24 (928 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;
    Waveforms: SAW, SQUARE, PULSE/PWM, TRIANGLE, SINE, NOISE, FB OSC, Super SAW, EXT IN;
    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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