Category: Products / synth / old analog mono
Added: 13-Dec-98 | Author: admin
New price: discontinued | S/H price: 200 - 300 US$
NB: This review and RA demo by SEDUSA - stateside !!
This is a vintage Roland Monosynth that I picked up for $120 American in a used shop... Production on these suckers started in 1978, I believe, so it's MIDIless and mono... But the little beast is a workhorse.. Typical Roland basses, nice leads, and it does a nice job of emulating drums (Don't get your hopes up concerning snares, however, I haven't been able to get the proper bite for a good snare crack..) About the only analoguish sound missing from it is pads.. I haven't been able to program a good pad sound, but this may be due to my poor programming and not the synth itself.. These things are cheap nowadays as vintage Roland gear goes, so they're worth snapping up. The synth has no midi (1978! Need I say more?) so you'll have to actually play it unless you buy a midi-cv convertor, as it is CV/GATE equipped, and there's no arpeggiator....
Now, the SH-2 has VCOs, so if you get one, analogue snobs aren't going to give you any static about selling your soul to the devil of digital, and you can rest safe in the knowledge that analogue warmth is just volts away.. The synth has 2 VCOs, with a sub oscillator tied to VCO 1, and a choice of Sine, Saw, Square, and Pulse waveforms on VCO 1 and White Noise, Saw, Square, and Pulse waveforms on VCO 2.. A 37 note keyboard (F-F) with 5 octave settings on each oscillator (32', 16', 8', 4', and 2'), a bender wheel (joystick) assignable to VCO 1 and VCF, and a neat little LED on the LFO that won't stop blinking unless you max the LFO rate.. Let's take a look at it's features..
- 2 Voltage Contolled Oscillators, 1 Sub Oscillator tied to VCO 1 (Sine, Saw, Square and Pulse on VCO1/Sub Osc, and Noise, Saw, Square and Pulse on VCO 2), Master tune, VCO 2 tune (Adjustable to wide or narrow, I prefer narrow as detuning VCO 2 from VCO 1 slightly will cause the oscillators to go in and out of phase with each other)
- Voltage Controlled Filter, with the customary Cutoff and Resonance sliders to adjust the level of squelch, slider assignable to Envelope Fol'r, Envelope, or Inverse Envelope, Modulation slider, and Keyboard Tracking slider.
- 'Audio Mixer', adjusting levels of VCO 1, VCO 2, and VCO 1 Sub, with all sliders at zero and the filter resonance high, the filter will self oscillate.
- Voltage Controlled Amplifier, assignable to Hold, Envelope, or Gate.
- Envelope, ADSR sliders, switch assignable to Gate and Trig, Gate, or LFO
- 'Modulator' (LFO), selectable as Sine, Square, or Random (Sample and Hold), LFO rate slider, LFO delay time slider.
- Pitch Modulation Slider, Auto Bend slider (A daft feature, in my opinion) and Pulse Width Modulation slider assignable as LFO, Manual, or Envelope
- Pitch Bender, with corresponding values for VCO 1 and the VCF, Portamento slider
- 1 Output (Mono), Headphones output, CV/GATE in, CV/GATE out, External Audio input.
- No MIDI
- One note poly
I love this synth, people always look at it, and think it's not going to be much because of how small it is, but then get blown away by the crazy sounds that come out.. (Of course, you all aren't going to be overly shocked, having beheld the horrid screech of the 303) The filter is very sensitive, and if you max out the resonance, it's very easy to go from "Cool Acid Sound" to "Comical Synth Noise"... That being said, tho, it's nice to be able to pull all the video game noises you want out of it, and get the filter to scream... It's able to go from VERY thick with both oscillators stacked and a sub oscillator an octave below VCO 1, to a really thin tone with a single oscillator on Square or Sine at a high octave setting.
This thing will make good low Sine basses that rattle my windows, and good Saw basses a little higher.. At low octaves, the harmonics of the Square wave don't really come out well, so Square wave parts are usually the best sounding at middle range.. With maxxed out resonance and high LFO rate, a cutoff sweep sounds really liquid on it... I didn't really have the space in the demo to show off the LFO, because I figure Kilo's sick of me filling up his server space with 8 minute songs, so I kept it short.. In the spirit of showing off this little wunderkind that is so dear to my heart, I only used the SH-2 for this demo, and programmed the drums in it.. (I love the kick, and the high hats are good too, but notice, no snares... ) And I didn't use any FX except for delay.. Hopefully I gave a good impression of the myriad of places it can fill in the mix. As monosynths go, this is a good one, and at the current prices, it's a steal..
It does a lot, analoguewise, it'll give up cool basses, leads, strange analogue noises galore, etc... What you're not going to get out of it is anything sounding like a real live instrument (Except organs... It does a fairly good job of emulating an organ), polyphony, multitimbrality, and all the things we take for granted... When I have compared it's sound to the JP8k, AN1x, etc, this baby definitely came out the winner, soundwise.. What you do get is a good sounding synth that will perform well in a number of places in a mix, and not only that, but do it all pretty well, in addition to the regular spot of analogue bass that you'd expect out of a monosynth...
The external audio input is a really nice feature, as well, as you can route anything that's line level imaginable thru it.. (The output from my TV is my current favorite, daytime television has never been so scary) I really like the action of the keys, and it's made really sturdily... None of those cheap plastic keys that you can stick your fingers under that most synths have... You're also getting no velocity, and no aftertouch.... So, it's not the end all and be all of synths, but it's a good addition to a studio, it takes up little space, and it can perform subtly or give that upfront squelchy dance music sound which is probably what the majority of viewers are looking for.. And, as an extra added bonus, the ravers will love you, because:
A - It's an old Roland
B - It's analogue, and everyone knows analogue is hip (Tho I predict a coming trend in early FM synthesis) and.....
C - It sounds 'Phat'
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Total stars: 80 | Total votes: 19