Roland SH-101 Plug-Out ‘Totally Capable Of Recreating SH-101 Voices’

Nick Batt of Sonic State has completed the second part of his Roland System-1 review, focusing at the SH-101 Plug-Out synth.

The SH-101 Plug-Out synth is a software synth that can run both as a plug-in in your computer, or run on the Roland System-1 keyboard.

Batt notes in his post for the video review, “I know it’s not on message to praise DSP instruments….but I was impressed by the accuracy of the SH-101 emulation.”

In the first part of his review of the Roland System-1, Batt focuses on the System-1 hardware and concept:

What do you think of the Roland System-1 + SH-101 Plug-Out combo? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

32 thoughts on “Roland SH-101 Plug-Out ‘Totally Capable Of Recreating SH-101 Voices’

  1. Great match, but I don’t see the point of emulating a synth that’s so limited to begin with.

    Why not do a Jupiter or Juno?

    1. The SH-101 is basically a single monophonic Juno voice.
      They can’t have the plug-out have more features than the native system-1 engine, so they’re seemingly limited to a handful of 1980’s Roland monos and polys, all of which sound somewhat similar. (The “Roland Sound” that we love.) If there wasn’t enough DSP to get more than 4 voices of System 1 going, I wonder if there’s a voice limit for the Plug-Outs – you’d think so, since it runs on the same chip as the System 1 engine.
      Anyone care to list 80’s Roland synths that have equal or lesser parameters? And do we think Roland will emulate other companies’ offerings, just like all the guitar DSP modelers have virtual amps and effects from every company? (Vox models Fender amps, Fender models Vox Amps, etc…)

      1. 101 and Juno have very different sound.

        If the 106 was just 6 101’s why is the 101 going for much more money on the used market? You can play a poly synth as a mono if you want.

        I could see them adding Juno models. The number of controls is limited. It would just need enough DSP power, which in 2014 I would assume this isn’t a stretch of the imagination.

      2. Oh, also the Juno uses software LFO and envelopes so no modeling is needed. Just the dual filters and oscillator. They already have digital versions of the Juno BBD chorus in some of their pedals for a long time now.

      3. Sorry to keep re-replying, but I just remembered one other big difference. SH101 oscillator has mixable waveforms, the Juno is only selectable. It requires a lot more physical modeling power to get mixing of analogue waveforms to be accurate. Also the 101 is a VCO vs Juno’s DCO so you get a lot more drift in the 101 that would need to be modeled.

    2. Because the SH-101 has an incredibly simple, useable interface and a basic but malleable sound that is capable of a range of great basses, leads and plucks. It’s a classic for a reason. The Junos and Jupiters may sound even better, but the SH-101 is great in its own right.

      I’m concerned about the VST3 situation though. As I have no way to use the plug-out, this is a non-starter for me.

  2. Just seems like an expensive dongle.

    The plug out without the computer is useless with such a crap keyboard.

    If they made native plugins I’d be into checking them out, but there’s not a lot of room for what’s essentially a midi controller for a few specific soft synths.

      1. Oh I didn’t know that.

        Do me a favor and show me where you can purchase the plug outs without owning the System-1.

        Oh you can’t? You’re wrong , not me buddy.

    1. 17 down votes but no one is saying what’s so great about the hardware.

      No aftertouch or velocity, I don’t know how anyone here thinks they’re actually going to enjoy playing this thing.

      $600 for something that a standard PC would of had no problem hosting as a VST, but instead you’re tied to a crap piece of hardware.

  3. Got the system 1 and the plugout. They work incredibly well in the box, so to speak. I, for one, am impressed with the quality of the sound from a dsp considering I had a Juno 6 in 1983! The SH101 was never my favourite synth but it really does sound great with a bit of fx on it.
    All this about analogue etc… We’re recording in to a laptop or computer so…… Unless you’re using a studer 24 track and an analogue desk! Lol.
    Whatever u do, enjoy 🙂

    1. “All this about analogue etc… We’re recording in to a laptop or computer so…… Unless you’re using a studer 24 track and an analogue desk! Lol.”

      Okay, I don’t mean to jump on you personally here, but it just sounds stupid to someone who actually understands electronics, acoustics, and the recording process. I suggest you study the difference between an analog instrument and analog recording.

      Recording an analog instrument into a digital interface does not “un-analog” the sound of the instrument. Quite the opposite, a high quality digital converter will capture the sound of an analog instrument BETTER than analog recording devices (however, some people prefer the “coloration” that these devices provide).

      BTW, I use exclusively digital synths, so I’m not here to defend analog electronics, but I’m so tired of noobs saying uninformed things like, “Well you’re recording into a digital interface, so why bother with analog?” thinking they are out-smarting everyone. LEARN THE DIFFERENCE!! To any true professional (who is someone you should like to impress and make friends with if you ever stand a chance of becoming a professional yourself) you are just making yourself appear ignorant.

      1. Your points are well taken.

        However: “To any true professional”….

        Just as a note on this apparent accolade of professional. A “professional” just means being a hired gun; it confers no status of greater wisdom. It just means one is making money from music. There are ignorant professionals and wise professionals, ignorant amateurs and wise amateurs.

  4. The only downside to this Roland gear is the total lack of memories. Eight is comical. I have bought some of the Aira gear , the tb and the vocal one. I have a jp 8080 and have owned and modified a lot of the lower end of Rolands gear . Alpha Juno,106, mc 202 , tb 303, 606 etc
    The plugout sounds great and if it had 127 memories etc I would no doubt buy it , but it is not worth buying at the moment .
    It is nice to have a Roland Jp 8080 and sort of see the strengths in that compared the System 1. Will they do a rack one with memories? lets hope so. Eight memories? Someone must have been pissed up when they thought of that .

  5. I have no problem in praising DSP when it’s good, and no problem in bashing bashing old analog when it’s pooh. And vice versa.

  6. Why did they leave out the step sequencer from the emulation? I thought that was the biggest draw of the 101?

  7. Watching the SH-101 plug out makes me want an Intellijel Atlantis. With half the polyphony, ugly styling, and short throw keys (and less of them)… the system 1 is no replacement for my aging JP-8000.

    Prob not marketed to people like me tho… so whatever.

    1. JP-8000 (1996) – 49 keys with velocity, 8 voices, pitch/mod bender & ribbon, 256 patch memories
      SH-201 (2006) – 49 keys with velocity, 10 voices, pitch/mod bender, 64 patch memories
      SH-01 (2010) – 37 keys with velocity, 64 voices, pitch/mod bender, 128 patch memories
      System-1 (2014) 25 keys, pitch ring/mod button, 4 voices, 8 patch memories

      Will Roland’s next synth be a 13-key (mini), no velocity, no aftertouch synth with no pitch or mod control, 1 mono voice, and 4 user memories?

    1. Yeah, good plug. Also the TAL-U-NO-LX (Juno 106) is really accurate.

      It doesn’t have the same beef as my real 106, but the patches are tonally nearly identical. You can come up with some great ideas in the VST and then copy the patch settings to a real 106 and it’ll sound the same, just with a little more of that analogue drift.

    2. I love Bassline 101. I am drawn to having a conveniet modern hardware SH101-esque thing that fits in my bag. I’m curious about how the plugout competes with TAL’s version which is amazing.

      the lack of Velocity/Aftertouch is a turn off for me. Bass Station 2 gets to some nice SH101 territories.

  8. for those of you complaining about the System-1 hardware, I find it hard to believe that you don’t already have another keyboard with velocity and aftertouch. considering the small size of the System-1 I look at it as a desktop module with the added bonus of having keys attached. the System-1 responds to both velocity and aftertouch and the slim size provided by the shallow keybed is great for portability, but while home in the studio nothing is keeping you from playing the System-1 with your favorite keyboard.

    yes, the year is currently 2014 and there are features that are more or less standard but many of our beloved vintage analogs didn’t have velocity or aftertouch either and that hasn’t stopped them from still being cherished today. the System-1 has the advantage though of full MIDI implementation so it can make use of those features as well as allowing for MIDI parameter automation. all in all I am very happy with mine and for me this is really the first VA which really fulfills the promise of analog modeling and makes further debate fairly pointless (except that I now feel that VA has edged itself into the lead) and I’m eager to see what comes next.

    1. It is great that you are enjoying yours, there are some things to really like about the system. But for some of us the way it is put together is kind of the worst of both worlds. When I gig every single thing I carry has to justify it’s existence, and having a next to useless keyboard onstage isn’t going to work. And the whole point of ‘plug-out’ is that it can work without a computer. So we have a thing that is too big to be portable and a keyboard that isn’t useful for performing. So that means using the plug-in on my computer onstage. That being the case, why bother with the hardware?

      In the studio, great, I can use another keyboard to drive then thing, then why bother with ‘plug-out’ since I’m using a computer and a keyboard. it just seems like this was put together by people who have never actually performed.

      1. No, the point of plug-out was to have the have the ability of the hardware to load modelled plugins without the need for a computer. In the studio the S1 can act as a controller on any instance of the plug-in to make creating sounds faster than using a mouse. It’s about workflow.

        This is not a unit for a small percentage of keyboard players (yes you are small but scream loudly) that always demand aftertouch. I can easily say that none of the producers I know care whether the s1 velocity in a live setting since they are not keyboard players but simply use the keyboard to enter notes into a DAW or some basic chords playing live. If it doesn’t work for you, then get something else, but stop trying to insinuate that most people are upset about this. We care about the sound and it really does sound amazing.

  9. Only eight patch memories.. Wow, we really are going old school!

    Sounds good though – beautiful patch opens the video.

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