Roland SH-101


Roland SH-101


Roland SH-101 is a legendary monophonic very popular synthesizer from the '80. It is amazing how much this synthesizer have been used by electronic music musicians and had affected all the musical scenes generally !

The features of this monophonic are quite limited but in the other hand can has so many potentials. You can really do crazy fat bass sounds, clear leads, deep drones and sequence fast blips and other crazy bass lines (for sure the sequences is one of the best features).

The Roland SH-101 for me is a synthesizer somewhere between the TB-303 and the MC-202, thought is my opinion the other two machines are more advanced ! The SH-101 offers only one oscillator  (VCO), a white noise generator and a very nece LFO. One amazing feature of the SH-101 is its pitch bend which can control the filter, the LFO and the pitch too ! So if you want to buy one try to get the extensional pitch bend that can be used to play the synth as a Keytar (not many people sell these together).

Unfortunately the Roland SH-101 does not offer MIDI or storage of sounds, but it has CV/GATE input and outputs that can be uses with a MIDI to CV converter for external control. Also nowadays you can find many modifications for implementing MIDI to the machine.  Unfortunately the pitch bend and modulation doesn't't translate to CV output (either MIDI probably)

One of the most amazing features of the synthesizer is the sequencer that can store up to 100 steps allowing the creation of acid, crazy bass sequences and many many more ! Also the synth features an arpeggiator with up, down or up/down mode ! These two features transform the SH-101 into a groovebox-bass line synthesizer.

A thing that is rarely mentioned about this small beast is its amazing envelopes. These are amazing as they are very fast allowing the creation of very punchy bass sounds. Also the portamento mode can give an amazing fill to the sounds.

As final words statement I would like to say that this synthesizer is robust despite is 30 years. I rarely see such old analog synthesizers requiring such little service and maintenance.

A real piece of the music history that has for sure still to offer more !


Detailed Features

  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO (independent levels for saw, square/pulse/pwm and sub-oscillator)
  • LFO - triangle, square, random and noise waveforms
  • Filter - resonant, self-oscillating LPF, mod by EG, lfo and keyboard tracking
  • VCA - ADSR, mod by EG or gate
  • Arpeg/Seq - Digital sequencer up to 100 steps record/playback & Arpeggiator
  • Keyboard - 32 keys
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1983


Overall Rating: 8/10



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Synthesizer Reviews Roland Roland SH-101