Roland SH-5

Roland SH-5 Image

The SH-5 is a classic yet very advanced monophonic synthesizer rivalled mainly by its successor, the SH-7. The SH-5 has just about two of everything. There are two analog VCOs with triangle, ramp, square and pulse waveforms, two LFO's, two filters, two VCA's, white and pink noise generators, and more.

The oscillators can be modulated by the LFOs or the ADSR envelope generator. The two LFOs include controls for rate and waveshape: ramp, reverse ramp, triangle, sine, square, delay; and there is also a Sample + Hold feature. The two multi-mode filters include hi-pass, low-pass, and band-pass filtering with cutoff, resonance, keyboard tracking, envelope sensitivity (AR, ADSR or preset) and modulation (ramp, sine, square, s+h) controls plus an additional band-pass-only filter. The two VCAs offer Attack/Release and ADSR envelopes which can be triggered by the Sample + Hold, LFO #2 or an external audio trigger input.

Extra features include the standard SH-type Mixer section with 5 sliders to adjust noise, VCO1, VCO2, ring mod and an external signal levels. Each of these 5 signals can be individually sent through the VCA, the multi-mode filter, the band-pass filter or both. The SH-5 even has stereo output with panning controls in the VCA section and portamento! The Ring Modulator alone is enough to wet your appetite for this synth. A serious analog mono-synth with lots of flexibility for creating serious electronic and dance music. It has been used by Eat Static and Freddy Fresh.

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16 Visitor comments
Guillermo Tin
April 29, 2009 @ 10:00 pm
... and Simon Posford aka.Hallucinogen! :)
April 10, 2009 @ 2:13 pm
The SH-5 has also been used by Rational Youth, Chris Carter/Throbbing Gristle, Tyndall (German synth-duo) and Kitaro.
October 10, 2008 @ 7:50 pm
You are right about the PWM, it definitely had this feature. You could select which LFO controlled the PWM and could select (from memory) between sine, ramp and square waves for the LFO. I owned one for a long time (bought it in the late 70's and only sold it about 5 years ago - for almost as much as what I originally bought it for!). I was just listening to some of my old recordings last night and realised what a great sound you could get out of this synth.
September 17, 2008 @ 11:14 pm
This is the first synth I ever spent any time noodling around on, aside from in a music store (they would let a kid play around on the expensive stuff only so long). I rented one for a week around '76 or '77, eager to experiment and try to recreate for myself the kinds of sounds I was hearing on Larry Fast's inspirational first Synergy album (I couldn't afford to rent a mini Moog!).

One of the things I remember very clearly was that it had PWM, since I was amazed at the fat sounds I got from that. But PWM is not mentioned here as a capability. Can anyone else confirm that it has it? I know the SH-7 has PWM, but there's no mistaking the two synths. What I rented was an SH-5.
September 11, 2008 @ 8:52 am
Easily the best Roland mono I've ever laid hands on... It's a beast. It weighs about 50 or 60 lbs! The knob/slider design is perfect for getting you in the mood to make some great sounds... Really takes you back. Bandpass filter has to be my favorite section of this synth... Add it to the mix, on top of a nice dual detuned square Osc combo... amazing. The S&H sounds perfect too. Extremely versatile in design... Make fat acid bass to kill any 101 or explore sound fx that revival Forbidden Planet.
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  • 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 - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 2 VCOs range: 32' to 2', (triangle, ramp, square, pulse)
  • LFO - LFO 1: Rate, ramp, reverse ramp; LFO 2: Rate, Delay, triangle, sine, square; 1 Sample+Hold: Sample time, delay time
  • Filter - VCF 1: hi-pass, low-pass, band-pass, cutoff, resonance, keybd, env sensitivity (AR, ADSR or preset) and modulation (ramp, sine, square, s+h); VCF 2: Band-pass with cutoff, resonance and amount
  • VCA - 2 VCAs: AR and ADSR, triggered by sample+hold, LFO 2 or external trigger
  • Memory - None
  • Keyboard - 44 keys
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1976 - 1981
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