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
March 8, 2011 @ 3:12 pm
perfect for any electronic project. these were going for $150 last year. they are selling for $400 now! better grab one before they go higher!
February 13, 2011 @ 12:56 pm
This box is very cool. The manual is pretty cryptic, but with enough patience (as with any gear) you can make work for you. The arpeggiator is sort of like a sequencer, but although it is limited, it can still sound rockin' (it's pretty adjustable). I traded a MicroKorg for this, and trust me, it runs circles around a MicroKorg. It's also a pretty good MIDI controller and I found it easy to use even in Performance mode.
January 23, 2011 @ 9:52 pm
Suicide Commando and Lestat use this synth!
November 10, 2010 @ 8:52 pm
I have had this synth for several years. It is not fun to use because the user interface is so bad. Some people might disagree with this, but I hate it. I hate the menus, editing the arp, saving patches - all that. HATE it. Some people may disagree, and that's fine. HOWEVER, the actual synth editing portion is great. It's all laid out in front of you. Knobs and sliders for pretty much everything. That being said, the sound is incredible. The filter is huge, and the resonance is completely wild. There is also a wide selection of oscillators, and some interesting "spectrum" waves. All very usable.

The stepping people have been referring to is not too bad and adds a bit of charm to the instrument, in my opinion. The stepping does not occur during envelopes or lofs, or when being modulated remotely. Only when turning knobs and sliders.
September 12, 2010 @ 1:28 am
Looking for a second SH32 in NC USA The SH32 has got to be the closest to analog than any of the synths from the VA years.. My Virus C , Virus Indigo,Nord Lead 1 all 3have great analog imitation sounds that are soooo close but nt the DEEP of real analog. Deep yes but not thick DEEP like the SH32. It will ping away like a TB303 at a techno house party too. Besides the great 32 poly synth you also get some of the best drum kits since the TR808,TR909 and Novatn's Drumstation. Its drums are just as good as those guys and my SH32 has just as much character as my old mimimoog which gets more nap time since the SH32 was permanantly borrowed from my friend who doesn't know it yet.I didn't say it sounds like a minimioog or a TR808/909 I say its just as good.Bottom line... Great analog sound when used correctly.
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Rated 4.57 (716 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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