Saturday, September 16, 2017

I Auditioned the Roland SH-01A Synthesizer Today

I had a brief audition with the new Roland SH-01A boutique synthesizer today. It's a DSP simulation of one of the classics from the 80s: the original SH-101 analog monosynth. How does it sound? Is it worth the money? Did I buy one today? Patience young grasshoppa, all will be revealed.
While Roland's proprietary DSP has gotten the surname ACB it means nothing more than Analog Circuit Behavior. This has given Roland a string of hits lately including the TR-09, which many agree is a superb emulation of the coveted TR-909 drum machine. Sitting down with the SH-01A for the first time I brought some high expectations for the sound - having recently owned and then sold, a real SH-101. And I must say the sound does not disappoint. I really go for the filter on this one, so classic, so Roland. The SH-101 is one of my favorites with pulse width modulation and sub-octave added. The portamento sounds really nice with the sequencer sequencer. I had the LFO modulating the filter w/ the random waveform. Roland really has gotten so close to the sound of their counterparts. Honestly, I only used mono mode. For me, POLY mode on this one is a bit of a sacrilege. Is it worth the moeny? I should say so! A fully working SH-101 would cost $1000 and still may require periodic mainenance, so that makes this one a no-brainer. Especially since the sound is so darn close. Did I buy it today? Well, let me answer that with a statement. Make that two statements...
The first: the SH-01A does NOT have INPUTS for CV/Gate - it does have the OUTPUTS - but not the inputs. If you're looking for something that can play nice w/ my Eurorack like I am, you would need a CV/gate-to-MIDI converter. Probably something costly by Kenton costing over $300. That puts you in the ballpark of getting a real, perhaps disgraced, SH-101 unit needing work. And second: there is NO external input for the filter. There IS a mix input for chaining audio between multiple units, but NO filter INPUT. It would have been nice, but the original SH-101 didn't have one either. But that filter is so nice! Did I buy it anyway? While I was content to stroll out empty handed I still yearn for that sound. I do have a birthday coming up, perhaps it could still make it to the studio. IF not, next year I can get one used for cheap. We'll see. Oh, and not to forget Behringer did tease something interesting recently. -g PS - I went back the next day and got it. Perhaps a proper review is coming on?

1 comment:

carl said...

G-Storm, for midi to CV needs you should really check out the CV OCD converter. Only around $100 US and it covers all the basses.