18 thoughts on “Richard Devine On The Roland Gaia SH-01

  1. I so wish that they had included aftertouch on this board. For something that is supposed to be performance oriented the lack of aftertouch is a glaring omission.

  2. Yes shane, that's shocking! Generally, aftertouch is grossly underimplemented (and that's just channel pressure I'm referring to, don't get me started on polyphonic aftertouch) — I'd like to know if it adds a substantial cost to a keybed to add it? It's so odd because aftertouch is so easy to use (once you know what it is).

    I get so righteously angry watching old Vangelis videos where he plays a CS-80 with aftertouch and a ribbon controller, and wonder why we haven't come a lot further in this department in the decades since. It's like, the synth world's equivalent of lost ancient civilization's secrets.

  3. Depressed over the lack of aftertouch here, also. The fact that synth manufacturers continue with this omission in 2010 – over two decades after the introduction of MIDI ffs – is quite shocking. Right now, the only inexpensive but quality keybed with aftertouch seems to be Cakewalk’s A500S. But who manufactures it… Roland!? Why not on the Gaia then? What idiots.

  4. It's a fun synth, but it came a decade later into the market…Right now users want analog quality and the engine of this synth is just mediocre….

  5. I don’t understand why these horrible “um…er….uhhhhh” videos are continually released. And where are the cool sounds and experimentation? I’ve as yet seen ONE demo of the Gaia that made it appealing. Love the knobs, but otherwise, meh.

  6. Thank you alex between the aftertouch not being there and just the same old thing over and over again who come they dont get it?, dont the companies get it and read site like this when we rip them apart for where they fail
    All i want is a synth that is analog with some digital elements and the easy to use interface and signal path i think im just going to sell one of my kidneys for a Buchla

  7. I had an SH201 for a few months. The sound was so flat compared to my Micron that I couldn't live with it.

    I think Dave Smith has the right idea: drop the silly bells and whistles and get back to basics: quality sound in a compact form factor. Once Dave drops a keyboard version of Tetra, Roland will be forced to reconsider its marketing objectives.

    Any hardware synth out there needs to be analog in its sound source, or else it will fade away faster than 70's analog synths did after the introduction of digital synths. It's all going back to quality sound, because the market is driven by users who know the difference, and who won't be fooled by plastic crap ever again.

  8. Uh, that goes high-end digital hardware synths as well.

    A keyboard Tetra will render all of those quickly obsolete, I do foretell…………….

  9. i firmly believe that roland released this as an answer to the highly successful microkorg, in that it's a portable synth with a variety of sonic options. and it absolutely destroys the microkorg on all fronts. don't forget, it's basically a JP8000, except cheaper and easier to carry and use. it is a fantastic live synth,,,, much much better than my old Jupiter-8, simply because a) you can actually carry it to the gig and b) it has delay and reverb ready to go. in the studio, the JP-8 or 6 are both much much friendlier-sounding instruments, so yes, they are inimitable. but get this baby out and play with the lfo rate and cutoff over a big sound system, and you're doing it right. also, in the studio, the distortion effect sounds excellent on a big bass sound – very edgy but clean sound, perfect for breaks, rock crossover or even goldfrapp-ish electro.

  10. Almost a year on now.

    Dan, the Microkorg is $400, the Microkorg XL (same engine as Radias and R3) is $500, but the Gaia is $700! I don’t see any real comparison between the Microkorg line and this.

    For the same price (or less) there’s the Novation Ultranova which has a better-feeling keyboard *with aftertouch* and better sounds, although less hands-on tweakability.

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