Roland SH-101 vs Roland SH-01a Head-To-Head Comparison

This video, via Machiwoomiapoo, offers a head-to-head comparison of a vintage Roland SH-101 synthesizer and the new Roland SH-01A boutique version.

The SH-01A recreates the Roland SH-101 using analog circuit modeling, adding polyphony, new performance features and more.

Pricing and Availability

The Roland SH-01A is available now, with a street price of about $350. See the Roland site for more info.

20 thoughts on “Roland SH-101 vs Roland SH-01a Head-To-Head Comparison

  1. Like with many other “they sound the same” reproduction hipster toys aka synths- you hear a huge difference in the filter, especially when you start with higher settings on the resonance. No, it’s not the same, not at all. Which doesn’t mean it’s bad…

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    1. To me it sounded like it’s at least very close. It’s difficult to judge when the parameters have different values.

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      1. Close enough is good enough – especially when the synth features in the middle of other stuff going on in a track.

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    2. Whenever you see ‘hipster’ in a comment, it tells you that the commenter hasn’t thought things through enough to say something intelligent..

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    3. Ya when he was doing the Kraftwerk bit, you could really hear the difference. It was a little muddy on the SH-01A. That’s what you get for $350. That said, it does sound pretty good for that price but it isn’t the same.

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      1. He hadn’t got the slider positioning right, is all. You have to match the cutoff frequencies to make a fair comparison. It’s also good to remember that each individual piece of an analog model will not be exactly the same. Two SH-101’s compared side-by-side will reveal a similar level of differences, to be honest. I mean jeez it only needs ambient temperature change to knock an old analog synth out of tune.

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        1. Good points. The fact is that arguing over the imagined purity (or lack of it) in a re-created sound wave is a bit pointless, ’cause if you really want a synth to bark, you effect it. Even a smidge of reverb or delay can really bring out an instrument’s true voice. That goes double if you pick a multi-effect with EQ. The FX count for a lot. They’re a vital part of a synth’s character. I think they did a nice job with this SH. Plug it into a quirky EH pedal and rock out.

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    4. Logic’s ES P synth sounds more like a vintage SH-101 than the SH-01a and does so without the benefit of Roland’s dubious “analog circuit modeling”.

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  2. I reaaalllly like the use of sliders in the small booteek form factor.
    I’d be curious to try some squelchy acid through distortion. In my personal experience, digital filters don’t sound as nice through grit.
    That being said, if you approach any synth with an open mind and play to its individual strengths, magic will happen…just like it did when producers discovered the original sh-101.

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  3. Some of the comments here are the typical, TIRED, knee-jerkish fare we’ve been hearing for 15 years.
    Some people just have an adverse reaction to anything “digital”.
    Guess what? All the boutiques sound about 98% like their original counterpart, and for the price they are a no brainer.
    In a final mix, that 2% is completely nil. The people buying your music would not know nor care that you used a VA over the original.
    Time to get past this analog hype BS.

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