Roland SH-3a

Roland SH-3a Image

The SH-3a is a funky little analog synth and was among Roland's first programmable additive synths. Like the SH-1 and SH-09, the SH-3a has a single oscillator for a simple monophonic sound. Not nearly as good as the two or three VCO's found in other monophonic synths. It could perform additive synthesis by mixing in up to five different waveforms. All of its editing controls which are just shy of the SH-5's features have been crammed together all the way to the left of the keyboard. This was an attempt to accommodate organ and piano players who would typically put their synths on top of their piano. This makes space for sheet music, there's even a stand for sheet music. As for its construction, the wood casing is covered with fake leather, and protected by metal corners. It has been used by Kitaro, Human League and Vangelis.

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12 Visitor comments
November 22, 2008 @ 11:19 am
I have owned an sh3a for over 25 years, and it never ceases to amaze me. It provides rich, fat sounds, and is quite easy to use. I too have used it in numerous recordings.
August 15, 2008 @ 9:16 am
Not yet listed on VSE is the SH-3 model that preceded the SH-3a. The SH-3 had a "lawsuit" Moog filter and VCA sections but other than the nomenclature, looked identical to the SH-3a. The SH-3 is more scarce than the SH-3a and it has been rumored that as few 40 were produced but given the known serial numbers, around 700 produced is probably more likely. Still a relatively small number, even back then, for a company like Roland.
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  • 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 - Monophonic (low note takes priority)
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO plus Pink/White Noise generator and Portamento
  • Memory - None
  • LFO - LFO1 has sawtooth waveform, LFO2 sine or square and delay slider, Sample-and-Hold with level and sample time sliders. LFO's can be assigned to VCF, VCA, VCO.
  • VCF - Resonant self-oscillating lowpass filter w/ frequency and resonance controls
  • VCA - VCA is basic ADSR type
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Keyboard - 44 keys
  • Control - None
  • Date Produced - 1974 - 1976
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