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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148 Visitor comments
neil
November 22, 2013 @ 4:47 pm
I posted on this a couple of years ago....saying if you programmed it properly, used it's onboard effects you could get a decent sound out of it......SORRY but I was wrong!
it sits badly in a mix, sounds tinny and digital......it doesn't sit right with other synths.....especially real analog synths.
having said that, at the price they are now.....it makes a fine entry into synthesis....the basics are there....just not the sound.
Lowebrau
November 12, 2013 @ 2:55 pm
[beep] ty [beep] ty [beep] [beep] [beep] . If you want an inexpensive, expressive synth with physical controls, effects, and other features; Look at Novation K Station. Only downside is that it's a smaller keyboard but it kicks the hell out of the SH201
Lowebrau
November 12, 2013 @ 2:39 pm
I had this synth for a couple of years and just recently sold it. As far as digital FM synths go, this is one of the worst. I don't understand how it got 4/5 stars on this forum. The midi is horrible and didn't communicate well with my other samplers, synths, etc.
The sound out of this thing is simply the pits. Atrocious really. I like harsh noise and experimental music but the quality of this is a step above casio. Cringe worthy.
The cutoff and resonance parameters are terrible as well, not a lot of sweep.
Only good thing about it was all the knobs and faders.
Going back to 80's synths
Brandon Giampa
October 1, 2013 @ 10:54 am
Furthermore, I've heard a lot of negative comments about the way the SH-201 looks, but I dig it. It looks like the dashboard on an alien spacecraft.
Brandon Giampa
October 1, 2013 @ 10:48 am
Neil and Re-Member:Thanks for the info. Layering and splitting, as well as USB editing...I saw one at a good price on eBay today and someone nabbed it before I got home from work.

Anyway, I've seen Suicide Commando and Amduscia using these.
 
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Excellent

User Rating

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;
    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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