Roland SH-32 Synthesizer

Roland SH-32 Image

The SH-32 is a 4-part multitimbral desktop synth module using new Wave Acceleration Synthesis to deliver up to 32 voices of fat synth waves and entirely new waveforms. The raw waveforms are sampled rather than mathematically generated and are actually multi-sampled across the octave ranges. There's also a full complement of knobs and sliders, analog-style 808 and 909 drums, DSP effects and a killer programmable arpeggiator - all at a reasonably cheap price.

The SH-32 is more like an affordable follow up to Roland's JP-8000 and JP-8080 analog modeling synthesizers than the real SH-series synths of the seventies/eighties. But that doesn't mean it can't sound like an SH-101, for example. The SH-32 has awesome, aggressive filters, however audible stepping can be heard when slowly twisting the cutoff knob, but not so when modulated with the envelope or LFO. It has many more variations of each classic wave than older SH synths, offering 67 types of waveforms. Everything from thick bass sounds to entirely new sounds not possible on traditional synthesizers can be coaxed out of the SH-32.

Every parameter is available on the front panel via knobs and sliders. There are no hidden menus, although the mass clutter of controls and information printed on the face of the SH-32 is a bit overwhelming, but look closer and it does seem as logically laid out and organized as possible.

Whilst you can certainly hook this baby up to your MIDI keyboard or sequencer and go to town with its great sounds, the SH-32 is perfectly happy running stand-alone making it perfect for DJs, live musicians, and just plain having fun. It has no sequencer but does have an amazing Arpeggiator with programmable or tap tempo settings. There are 64 arpeggiations and 64 drum rhythm patterns and they can be fully programmed by the user. It even has a chord memory feature making it great for techno and trance style arpeggiations. Superb built in effects will sweeten up the sounds immensely as well, with 35 insert fx and 10 types of reverb and delay. The SH32 is a unique combination of virtual analogue synthesis, excellent rhythm sounds, rhythm styles, an arpeggiator, and other 'groove' facilities - with an affordable price and compact size.

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83 Visitor comments
May 18, 2009 @ 6:03 am
Roland's finest at a small size, my boyfriend gave me one on my birthday and i play with it all along. i make hiphop/trance and this synth is well qualified to my little studio!

I love the drum samples here but the real thing is the fat basses, absolutely fantastic!
Pablo Roberto
May 10, 2009 @ 12:44 pm
I [beep] ing love this synth! It is so awesome with it's programming capabalities and sound. Twisting and turning is the keypoints here, you'll definitely never regret having one (or two for that matter!) Fat leads and Bass lines, kick-ass arppegiato, and many more amazing features makes this little beast a sought after machine. Great for all music styles and highly recommended for techno, industrial, electronica musicians.

Only downside is that it doesn't run on batteries but i take it everywhere in roadtrips anyway. They are rare nowadays and a friend of mine (who works for a famous keyboard company which i cannot mention here) said that these will be highly collectibles in the future.
I'm looking for another oneactually!
March 16, 2009 @ 3:30 pm
I love my SH-32....the multi timbral capabilities make it like having
3 analog synths and an analog drum machine for the price of
the drum machine...well worth it!
February 11, 2009 @ 1:36 pm
This thing is amazing for the price. It doesn't match high end gear on features or sound, but it does sound really good and is fantastic for real-time control.

It's also extremely small, about the size of a hardcover book. You can throw it in your bag with some phones and play with it anywhere (does not run on batteries though).

I highly recommend this synth for anyone new to synth programming. It lets you get deep into subtractive synthesis for a low price, and you'll never outgrow it, even with a studio full of expensive gear this thing is still useful.

The arpeggiator is about the best I've ever seen. It's damn near a sequencer. Great for DJs, though this it's not really a groove box, despite looking like one.

The display is cryptic to the point of being extremely annoying. Do not lose the manual.

I'll never let mine go. I'm tempted to get another one before they become hard to find.
November 1, 2008 @ 9:59 am
I bought one second hand the other day for 200 euro....I,m very pleased with the into the heart of the thing very quikly....the presets are RUBBISH!.....but.....thankfully U can twist & turn 'till tommorow....that said....U can get killer sounds out of it....the FX are solid...but i still need some other outboard gear to pump some patches up.....I think this will be a classic machine....
....I suprised that its so cheap????
could it be the new tb303???
time will tell.....I might even get another one ;-)
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.57 (719 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 - 32 voices (16 if both oscillators are used, sub-oscillators don't decrease polyphony)
  • Oscillators - 2 x Oscillators (with Sub Oscillator, PWM, Oscillator Sync, or Ring Modulation). There are 67 waves (7 categories) for main oscillators, 63 rhythm waves for rhythm sets.
  • Multitimbral - 4 parts (or 3 + 1 Rhythm)
  • LFO - 2 x LFO (7 forms)
  • Filter - 1 x Filter: low, band, high pass, PKG; 12dB or 24dB; cutoff and resonance knobs, ADSR, Envelope, Key Follow sliders.
  • Envelope - 1 ADSR envelope for the Amp
  • Memory - 128 User Patches, 128 Preset Patches. 4 drum sets including TR-808 and TR-909 sounds. 64 Performance patches.
  • Effects - 10 types of reverb/delay and 35 insert multi-effects.
  • Arpeg/Seq - Arpeggiator: 32 step with 128 patterns (64 arpeggiations, 64 rhythms), Style Programmable (Step/Realtime Input Modes)
  • Keyboard - None (has 13 preview buttons)
  • Control - MIDI In, Out
  • Date Produced - 2001
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Roland

    Reviewed December 2007.

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