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Roland SH-201 Synthesizer

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Perfect for musicians new to synthesizers or pros looking for authentic analog sounds, the Roland SH-201 Synth features Roland's famous Supersaw wave...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

Friendly and fun with great analog-style sound and synthesis control.

Perfect for musicians new to synthesizers or pros looking for authentic analog sounds, the Roland SH-201 Synth features Roland's famous Supersaw waveform, resonant filter, saturation control, and more.

Great Analog-Style Sound
Even though it's super fun and easy to use, the Roland SH-201 is no toy when it comes to sound. With two beefy analog-modeling oscillators onboard, complete with Roland's Supersaw waveform and resonant filter, this little synth can blow down doors. It also comes with high-quality delay and reverb effects for adding depth and dimension to the sound, an overdrive control for adding a ripsaw edge, and an arpeggiator for instant rhythmic motion.

Ultra-Easy Operation
This is synthesis at its friendliest. The Roland SH-201's front panel puts every control directly under the player's fingertips in a logically positioned signal path from left to right. No hidden menus, no nonsense. Just play and move the knobs and sliders. It's as simple as that. Students of synthesis will love the ease and immediate gratification of this Roland synthesizer. No other modern synth on the market is as fun, friendly, and inviting.

External Audio Input
Playing the SH-201 from its keyboard is only half the fun. External audio sources can be plugged into the SH-201's external input (CD/MP3 player, sampler, etc.) and the sound can be twisted with the front-panel knobs and sliders. Wave your hands over the SH-201's invisible D-beam for dramatic modulation.

USB Connectivity
The Roland synth can be connected to a computer (Mac or PC) with one simple USB cable. Both MIDI and audio can be routed through the USB port. A VSTi software editor is included, which allows SH-201 sounds to be manipulated from within a VSTi-compatible host software sequencer.

FEATURES
  • Great-sounding analog-modeling synth
  • 49 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive keys
  • Ultra-EZ front panel is logically designed to teach the basics of synthesis
  • External input for manipulating external audio from CD/MP3 players, etc.
  • Built-in delay, reverb, and saturation effects
  • Arpeggiator adds instant rhythmic motion to sounds
  • USB port for audio/MIDI connection to computer
  • VSTi Editor software included for computer integration
  • Invisible infrared D-beam controller
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
 
4.5

(based on 19 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (15)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

ugly synth, beautiful sound

First let me say, that this synth is uglier than a junkyard dog with a missing eye and a crippled leg. But the sound is fantastic! When recording it along my 80's...Read complete review

First let me say, that this synth is uglier than a junkyard dog with a missing eye and a crippled leg. But the sound is fantastic! When recording it along my 80's Korg Polysix, I could not tell the difference! It sounds more analog than some analog synths. The sound is fat, rich, and strong. And the way the controls are laid out is very nice, no lousy menu screen to confuse you, no shift keys to get a second set of functions from the controls, just basic and down to earth analog control. You want to change your ocillator or filters, or lfo, just turn the knobs and it happens right away, with just the right amount of dsp effects; reverb, a nice delay and overdrive. I did my own rendition of Gary Numann's "Cars" and I found every sound in the Sh201 that he used for that song. The presets are good, and with 36 arpeggiator patterns, you really don't need to program any. The Sh201 also does layers and splits, and has a nice unison button which instantly gives a thick mono sound, and the D-Beam controller, a Roland exclusive, gives you more modulation control than any wheels or ribbons, you just wave your hand over it and you can assign it too. I've read alot of people say it's cheaply made and feels flimsy. But let me say it is not that bad! I own Virus TI, Korg Radias, Moog Voyager, General Music Equinox, Ensoniq Fizmo, Hammond XK2, and many other expensive synths from the 90's and 80's, and it's kinda neat to have one that has Casio keyboard build quality, with Jupiter 8 sound! And, also the combination of knobs and sliders really make this board feel like a genuine 80's analog synth. They don't put sliders on synths anymore, and they give a better feel to adjusting the adsr on the envelopes. And one more thing; Madonna's keyboard player has one of these in his concert rig. As far as computer control with software and recording programs, I know nothing about that, except that it played my Korg Legacy collection software very well. I record tracks onto Adat tape with a Mackie mixer. I'm 43, and all that software recording technology is for all you smart young people out there! Buy the SH-201, you'll like it!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Review

I was looking for my first hardware synth. I had experiance with vst's and stuff, so I have a background in the basics of synthesis. Anyways, it was suggested to me that I...Read complete review

I was looking for my first hardware synth. I had experiance with vst's and stuff, so I have a background in the basics of synthesis. Anyways, it was suggested to me that I might like the sh-201 because its targeted at beginning players. Its ment to be "educational". It has a great sound, in fact, the sound is stunning. Where this bad boy falls short is value/$$. you get 32 presets, plus 32 preset banks, wich isnt much, but i'd like to add, doesent matter much either, because making your own sounds is so easy. You get no velocity/weighted keys, just cheap keys... So, you may ask, whats the real problem? When i lay down a funky bass, then record it, load a lead sound, and play back my recorded bass line, it plays back using the lead sound, wich means when the sh201 records, it records midi data, and not audio, then uses the oscilators to render the sound... meaning, you cant make any type of accompiniment unless you buy 2 of em, or run your accomp through the external input source.Another problem i found was that there were no drum sounds, or built in accomp, thats not as big a deal as the problem with the recording though...overall, this thing sounds fantastic, its super easy to make sounds, but, you cant compose with it. you can do little mock ups, or live stuff with it.. you could add it to another for a multi keyboard setup, but on its own, its mostly a learning tool... I actually took mine back, and i'm waiting on a Juno D

Reviewed by 19 customers

Displaying reviews 1-19

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5.0

A great Synth

By Tim-WMBn8

from Bay Area, CA

This keyboard is a great analogue synth as well as a great midi controller. I would recommend it to anyone trying to get into the world of electronic music.One of my favorite features is the D Beam. Using it can raise and lower volume, pitch and can filter your sounds.Overall I think it is a great beginner's keyboard.

 
4.0

Good first Synth

By PrestoTheBesto

from Huntsville AL

I bought the SH-201 as my first synth. It is a really easy hands-on synth. You can change your sound in so many ways. I have had it for over a year I have yet to be bored with it. Its expensive but all good things come w/ a price

 
5.0

Great little synth...

By Reflection Velocity

from Nevada

This little keyboard is one of my better purchases, it has quite an amazing sound. With its virtual analog controls, I've made sounds from analog drum kits to theremin-esque frequencies. It has two great oscillators, and cool reverb and delay effects.It is especially good with trance/house types of music and has some sequencing capabillities, not the greatest though. They're more like a midi recorder.Overall, this synth has an amazing sound and some incredible features. A++

 
5.0

Powerhouse Synth

By IJ_b6eJ16

from Portland OR

The 201 is an amazingly powerful analogue synth, as well as an extremely powerful midi control, as long as you run it through the right programs (reason), (protools). Great features, easy to use and GREAT GREAT sound! Cheap plastic housing sucks. I would buy this over just about anything else out there.

 
5.0

a little monster...

By moose @ alaskahighway

from LA

i think people like 'xteraco' need to understand what synths like the sh201 set out to do. once they do they'd be quite impressed with the sound, though maybe not the build quality!i'm an experienced programmer & love the way this baby sounds - ok, so its not multi-timbral (one sound at a time) but so? record the audio on to your computer, then dial in a new sound! this is the way people have used single-sound synths for decades, and is nothing to mark the sh201 down on!if you want a cheapish synth with a l-o-t of power, then take a seriously long look at the sh201.

 
5.0

Best thing I own

By PYKNICkeyboardist

from Cody, WY

See all my reviews

I have owned this synth for a grand total of 3 days now and I must say that it is one of the best sounding and by far the easiest to use out of every keyboard or synth that have owned or used. My favorite part of the synth is how when you make a sound that you really like you don't have to try and recreate it ever again you can just save it and use it later. If you find that you can improve upon that sound you can just save over the previous one if want to (or make another one). Plus there are so many options with all the knobs and sliders and buttons you can create nearly any sound you can think of with just a little fiddling on the synth and if that doesn't work try it out on your computer and make the sound there. I haven't done to much with it on the computer because that is what I was trying to get away from but if you prefer to do it all on the compy then go right ahead... it'll let ya.

 
5.0

Please be nice to the SH-101's!

By AtenMX

from Atlanta, GA

The very first synth I ever had was an SH-101 that I purchased when I was 15. I still have my 101, but honestly, I don't use it much anymore due to the following reasons: A) There is no midi and it would cost quite a bit to add a good one to it. B) The unit is in nearly mint condition and I would like to keep it that way! I never really thought too much about the SH-201 until I started playing around with one at a music store the other day. To me, it sounds similar to the Roland Alpha Juno 1 & 2 but with some 101'ish overtones to it (honestly, there is not much that sounds like the 101). Since I have both a SH-101 and an Alpha Juno 1, the SH-201 suddenly has peaked my interest as an inexpensive substitute for both. Don't get me wrong, I love my Juno and my 101...So much that I would like to preserve them as long as I can! Remember...The SH-101 is over 20 years old, why in the #&!@ would you want to risk damaging one of the few remaining units by taking it to a gig with you??? Honestly, I have fallen in love with the SH-201 and just counting down the days till my next payday!One more thing for those concerned with its overall build quality. It actually feels a bit sturdier than my SH-101 but not quite as sturdy as the Alpha Juno 1 & 2. Honestly, what do you REALLY expect for a great sounding synth in this price range?Once I get this I'll do some side-by-side sound comparisons against the SH-101 and Alpha Juno 1(as stated earlier...The SH-201 sounded a LOT like a Juno 1 in the music store).

 
5.0

Great Intro Synth

By DJames

from Dekalb, IL

I was hesitant to drop the asking price for this keyboard, but after playing with the demo I quickly changed my mind. For the amount of features offered compared to microKorg, or Alesis' Micron, I believe the price tag for the SH-201 is a bit steep. The sound quality is awesome, nonetheless, even when I use a cheap practice amp, I can only imagine what it would sound like with good monitors, or a descent tube amps. This probably isn't the best synth to start out with because of the price; however, it is probably one of the easiest synths I've used compared to softsynths like ProTools' Sculpture, or NI's Absynth, especially since I need prompt response during live jams. (CPU can drag even with the most advanced MacBook when using multiple osc, LFO, csound, MAX/MSP, etc, running all at the same time).This is a great intro synth, but if you are budget conscious you may want to compare and contrast features with other synths to see if they measure up.

 
5.0

Great

By zildjian player

from australia

See all my reviews

It's a simple, intuitive synth, like they advertise it, so it's not going to fill all your needs if you want something with a million patching options. However, it IS loads of fun. Great sounds, and very easy to work with. Very happy with it. My only wish is that they had built it a little studier...I don't think it will break easily, but I'm definitely not taking any chances with it...

 
5.0

The Best for the Price

By Connor-2CwB8

from Toronto, ON

The Roland SH-201 is by far the best synthesizer for beginners I've ever seen or used. With great panel controls which are easy to use and don't force you to move through on-screen menus and read long manuals to understand. With 64 presets, it urges the player to go further and create their own sounds for this synth. The sound is amazing, and the velocity sensitive keyboard compliments this, as well as its' audio input for filtering anything you'd like. But what makes the SH-201 isn't its impressive sound, controls, and filters, it is its ability to both be a spectacular synth for jamming on your own, or working with your computer in your studio. Using a computer with the SH-201 is like heaven, most synths at this price fall short of anything like it's librarian and editor software, which enable you to synchronize the software with the synth, and control parameters on the synth through USB MIDI, in addition to being able to download the thousands of patches which you'll be able to find online for the 201. Overall, an incredible deal, the only downside of this synth is it's midiocre looks.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Review

By xteraco

from Burlington, VT

See all my reviews

I was looking for my first hardware synth. I had experiance with vst's and stuff, so I have a background in the basics of synthesis. Anyways, it was suggested to me that I might like the sh-201 because its targeted at beginning players. Its ment to be "educational". It has a great sound, in fact, the sound is stunning. Where this bad boy falls short is value/$$. you get 32 presets, plus 32 preset banks, wich isnt much, but i'd like to add, doesent matter much either, because making your own sounds is so easy. You get no velocity/weighted keys, just cheap keys... So, you may ask, whats the real problem? When i lay down a funky bass, then record it, load a lead sound, and play back my recorded bass line, it plays back using the lead sound, wich means when the sh201 records, it records midi data, and not audio, then uses the oscilators to render the sound... meaning, you cant make any type of accompiniment unless you buy 2 of em, or run your accomp through the external input source.Another problem i found was that there were no drum sounds, or built in accomp, thats not as big a deal as the problem with the recording though...overall, this thing sounds fantastic, its super easy to make sounds, but, you cant compose with it. you can do little mock ups, or live stuff with it.. you could add it to another for a multi keyboard setup, but on its own, its mostly a learning tool... I actually took mine back, and i'm waiting on a Juno D

 
5.0

Wow what a deal

By Robert-3rDAz

from Indiana

See all my reviews

I purchased this item about six months ago and have been extremely pleased ever since. I was looking for a good entry level synth that was very friendly to the live musician. This Roland synth is a very versitile instrument that is worthy of musicians of all ages and skill levels.

 
5.0

Small price tag, BIG sound.

By secretfungus

from Kentucky

I own a Korg Radias and I just picked this up. I am very pleased with the sound this thing delivers. The Bass on it is very raunchy sounding, thanks to the super saw ;)I paid half the price for this next to my radias, and I can honestly say that its better in some ways... The only drawback is the 32 user preset bank. thats all you get, but thanks to the included editor, you can save and write your presets at ease.For anyone looking for a simple synth, yet complicated, with rich sounds and punchy bass tones, pick this up.You will not be dissapointed. ;)

 
5.0

SH-201

By Trouble 2k

from Atlanta, GA

This synth is powerful and easy to use. I read in a review that you could buy an original SH-101 for the same price but why would you want too? The SH-101 can't store patches and surely can't use a vst editor. This is a great synth for the price plus it has the good ol' Super saw for those fat basslines. I say if you are on the fence jump on over and get it.

 
5.0

ugly synth, beautiful sound

By goodnoize51

from Santa Fe, NM

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

First let me say, that this synth is uglier than a junkyard dog with a missing eye and a crippled leg. But the sound is fantastic! When recording it along my 80's Korg Polysix, I could not tell the difference! It sounds more analog than some analog synths. The sound is fat, rich, and strong. And the way the controls are laid out is very nice, no lousy menu screen to confuse you, no shift keys to get a second set of functions from the controls, just basic and down to earth analog control. You want to change your ocillator or filters, or lfo, just turn the knobs and it happens right away, with just the right amount of dsp effects; reverb, a nice delay and overdrive. I did my own rendition of Gary Numann's "Cars" and I found every sound in the Sh201 that he used for that song. The presets are good, and with 36 arpeggiator patterns, you really don't need to program any. The Sh201 also does layers and splits, and has a nice unison button which instantly gives a thick mono sound, and the D-Beam controller, a Roland exclusive, gives you more modulation control than any wheels or ribbons, you just wave your hand over it and you can assign it too. I've read alot of people say it's cheaply made and feels flimsy. But let me say it is not that bad! I own Virus TI, Korg Radias, Moog Voyager, General Music Equinox, Ensoniq Fizmo, Hammond XK2, and many other expensive synths from the 90's and 80's, and it's kinda neat to have one that has Casio keyboard build quality, with Jupiter 8 sound! And, also the combination of knobs and sliders really make this board feel like a genuine 80's analog synth. They don't put sliders on synths anymore, and they give a better feel to adjusting the adsr on the envelopes. And one more thing; Madonna's keyboard player has one of these in his concert rig. As far as computer control with software and recording programs, I know nothing about that, except that it played my Korg Legacy collection software very well. I record tracks onto Adat tape with a Mackie mixer. I'm 43, and all that software recording technology is for all you smart young people out there! Buy the SH-201, you'll like it!

 
5.0

Great Sounds, Intuative Interface

By Nick-EGxzz

from Pittsburgh, PA

See all my reviews

Great synth, hands down. No, it's not a MiniMoog, an ARP2600, or a Prophet 5. But it is a great synth at the price. Even though it is a virtual analog synth (as apposed to true analog), I have easily built a broad range of sounds from fat and warm, to resonant and scorching hot. I've also built a bunch of wild, noisy organic sounding synth patches. This synth is EASY to use, very intuative. No, it can't do EVERYTHING that I want it to do, but it's an excellent value and the sound is great.

 
3.0

sh-201

By five star reject

from Kansas City MO

This is another digital synth. Yea yea it's analog modeled and blah blah. It's still digital so don't buy into the "keeping it real with old skool synths" crap. You'll get what you paid for. Keep in mind if you search hard enough you can get a real SH-101 for about $500 and have that real analog sound. The crap about 32 patches being a disability for the synth is stupid. Stop being lazy and dump your patches via sysex. I've used everything from the old ARP2600, Roland Super JX10, Yamaha TX816 FM Modular to the newer Korg Triton and Trinity, Nord Lead and Modular (Nord Modular is one of the most versital synths for anyone from what I've found). So yeah, anyway...

 
5.0

Retro-Revived

By Christoff

from San Diego, CA

An extremely easy and powerful synth to experiment with. Modeled after the original Roland-SH101, it is definitely a powerful and well-rounded synth. As a novice of synth, it is very easy to pick up and start creating intricate sounds. I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a great value and to try to stay true to old analog synths.

 
2.0

Dissapointed.

By bigredbeat

from Buenos Aires, Ar

Had the chance to test it at a demo. It's a nice looking virtual analogue synth, but it crashed during the demo ! It has also only 32 slots for storing your own sounds, unless you have a computer near. I wouldn't call this an instrument on its own, it's more a controller than anything. For the price, you better get a Korg MS2000, an Alesis Ion or a Novation, a real synth.

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