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Roland SH101 Mono Synth
4 4 out of 5, based on 1 Review

Older 1983 Roland Mono Synth

24th April 2012

Roland SH-101 by Pale Pyramid

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Roland SH101 Mono Synth

This review is about the Roland SH101 mono synth . It came out in 1983 . I've read that at the time it came out it wasn't a smashing success sales wise which led to many Sh101's ending up in pawn shops and other second hand stores were it was purchased cheaply by the early electronic music pioneers . Detroit Techno godfathers The Bellevue 3 , Squarepusher and Aphex Twin are just a few of these early adopters that helped create the reputation that this Synth has today. It's easy to navigate and fun to play . To bad it's no longer as cheap to purchase second hand as it once was . I picked up mine a few years ago off of Craig's list . I'm it's second owner . The first owner bought it brand new in 1983 . He's into prog rock and told me that bands like Rush used it as well . It had sat in the back of his closet for many years and when he got wind that SH101's were going for more used then what he had paid new he decided to part ways with it . It came with the original Boss wall wart . I paid $ 650 for it and it is Grey . Grey is the most common color but blue , red and a very rare green exist which go for much more money . I have one interesting modification made to mine . The original owner put an original Boss C-2 chorus pedal into it and the rate and speed knobs are just below were the modulation grip jacks are located . So it's similar to the BB chorus you'll find in the early Juno's but much quieter . He did a great job installing it . It looks almost like it was meant to be there originally and works great nearly twenty years later .


It's all plastic . The case , knobs , sliders and keys . The case and knobs are tough plastic so it doesn't demand the most delicate handling . It's gig ready . For and older synth I would say very few would fit that description . It's size also makes it easier to transport .

FUNCTION - 1 VCO . But it has a sub oscillator and pulse width modulator . So you can thicken and thin it's sound to taste . You also have triangle , square , random and noise waveforms . There is a low pass filter . As well as many of the same features you'll find in those early more affordable single oscillator Rolands . It also has and arpeggiator and sequencer which is very fun to play with . It's CV . No midi as it's pre midi . Kenton and several other companies have a CV to midi convertor . I have a Kenton CV to Midi built In to my Juno 6 and it works perfectly .

SOUND - I bought this to do synth bass duties but find my Moogs do a better job with that . It does however do bass if need be . it's leads are killer . If acid is your thing then look no further . But I find it's much more versatile then that and with the arpeggiator you can come up with some groovy or raunchy sounds in no time .


You'll lose hours of your life messing around with the SH101 before even using it to write and record with . it's so small and light that you can sit with it on your lap and play it while watching TV or some similar activity . I practice guitar similarly and it's great in that way that a larger or bulkier and heavier synth won't allow you to be so mobile with . This has helped me bond easily with the SH101 and grow familiar with it in a way many of my other synths and I have not . I would recommend it for this reason and for it's sound . For the prices it is currently going for , $1000 etc , It bettered be mint condition though . I wouldn't pay more then $ 600 - 650 for one . I'm not overly sentimental about It's status I guess . There are several new analog mono synths that kick ass and have tons of functionality in that price range .


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