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
August 27, 2010 @ 3:59 am
My favorite synth, with all of it's imperfections: it is really easy to use, and it keeps surprising me with the sound and features! JUNO-106 was my first synth 20+ years ago, and this little guy reminds me of it in a good way. Not for the sound itself, but for the general feeling and ease of use. I've had SH-201 before I bought this one - It was the first and the only synth I ever disliked for it's poor, metallic-resonant sound! SH-32 is everything SH-201 is not, it is a very usable and reliable companion. I go through constant changes and own a careful selection in my synth setup, and this little one, along with with Waldorf MW2 and XT, will stay. This trio successfully replaces my old JUNO, so I really don't miss it at all! I'm considering to buy a spare SH-32, though it doesn't seem as if it is going to break ever.
August 11, 2010 @ 9:20 am
I love this little synth, nice sounds generous polyphony, and great effects, lack Háqqah extra limiter or constantly checking the volume when using the filter that is hard. Here is a video I uploaded to youtube:
July 23, 2010 @ 2:49 am
Hi all, I am looking for one Sh-32. If someone wants to sell please contact me. I am located in Bratislava, Slovakia
July 2, 2010 @ 9:00 pm
Oh, this vicious little metal box! I had owned one previously, but sold it because it didn't "fit in" with what I was doing at the time. Flash forward a couple years...Now I'm in love with the SH-32's cold, cold sound. Yes, the filter has the infamous "zipper" problem. However, it's not always so obvious, depending on the patch you're using. The effects are awesome; The arpeggiator is almost legendary; The drums are pretty tweakable...My only problems with the SH-32 would be the "zipper" problem (both in the filter and the course tune)...I really wish it could process external audio...I know it's not meant to be a groovebox, but I wish you could mute the arpeggiated synth part while still leaving the arpeggiated rhythm part (or vise-versa).
June 11, 2010 @ 11:29 am
Great little machine. Very fat basses, smooth pads. I own analog synths and a access virus c, and I think the sh-32 sounds closer to the originals than the virus ( the virus is still awesome though, just different).
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User Rating

Rated 4.57 (720 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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