Roland Boutique SH-01A


Mine doesn’t feel like this.


Nor does mine. It has so much character, I’m considering moving out. Hardly any room for me left.


Grey one coming tomorrow – excited to run it through my shermannnnn


So descriptive, and helpful.

Ever used Monark? A VST that has character, for days.


The only difference I’m hearing is a lower noise floor. :slight_smile:


How’s that relevant?

As Intellijel has clearly stated, their Atlantis is not intended as a clone of the SH-101, but as a really nice analogue monosynth inspired by the SH-101.

Sure, the Atlantis gives you the same basic architecture consisting of a single VCO with mixable pulse, saw, sub, and noise, a 4-pole low-pass filter, a single LFO, and one snappy envelope.

However, the Atlantis uses a completely different VCO architecture (triangle core instead of saw core) and a somewhat different filter.

The goal of the Atlantis is to give you a synth with the same “musical utility” as the SH-101 with some more advanced features on top of it. Its goal never was to emulate or clone the sound or behaviour of the SH-101 as closely as possible.

As an aside, modern analogue gear is often perceived as sounding “colder” because modern design techniques, less variability in components, better quality control, and better production methods all result in less noise, more stability, and a less “muffled” sound overall…

Every SH-101 in operation is now over 30 years old. I bet every single one of the is going to sound slightly different from each other by now, and thus probably also slightly different from the SH-01A.

Again, what I’m hearing when comparing the SH-01A and the SH-101 is less noise. In terms of sound and behaviour, I’d say Roland has really nailed it very, very well.


Loving mine so far paired up with my Digitakt. Couple nagging issues that maybe someone has fixed:

  • Can’t seem to figure out how to select a pattern via midi. Is that possible?
  • When hitting play on the Digitakt the sequencer on the SH-01a starts right away. I’d love to be able to trigger the sequencer at certain parts of the song and not just have it running all the time.

I think I could get around the second issue if I could figure out how to change the pattern via midi by selecting an empty pattern on play and then switching to the desired pattern when necessary. Ideally the Sh-01a’s play/pause would be accessible via midi though.


A lot of recent Roland stuff can’t do this. It annoys me that the TR-8 doesn’t, for example. Looking at the SH-01A’s midi implementation chart, it looks like it also cannot.

I don’t think there’s a transport receive on/off option on the 01A, maybe it automatically ignores it if you switch it away from midi clock sync. You might be able to disable sending midi transport (i.e. stop/start) messages on the Digitakt but continue to transmit midi clock for tempo sync. Pretty sure you can do that on all the Elektron gear I’ve owned.


Great video. I prefer the Atlantis :wink:


Great BoC cover videos! :smiley:


I am very excited: DHL wants to deliver my red SH01a tomorrow evening shortly before I will leave the house to play a techno liveset. I will probably unbox the unit in the club and play it right away in my set. Anything important I have to know? :slight_smile: Does it sync over usb well or should I use midi?


No USB sync as far as I know.
Some FX is a good idea, the synth is ace but a bit dry to my taste :wink:


Yeah, make sure to run the 01A through some fx and if at all possible something analog to warm it up a bit. It stands out in a mix with “real” synths. No insult intended, I love my 01A–it’s worth the price just for the envelopes cv/gate/midi, but it doesn’t hold a candle sound-wise to any of my other synths without some fx/processing.


Thank you! I mix with Ableton and Push2 and have a fx chain with NI Replika (Delay), Valhalla Vintage Verb and a compressor with the possibility of sidechain from the kick drum on all channels. I will report how it worked out.


Decided what the heck and ordered a blue one. Was worried it might feel alone and got a D05, too. So much for no more GAS.


Hey, how’s the Club compared to the 01A? Lots of people are saying that it has nice snappy envelopes and that it isn’t worlds away from the 101 vibe. Thoughts? I’m planning on picking up a Club as soon as I have the cash.


@Anfim- I’m going to just give my comparison of the two in entirety. The answers to your questions are in here somewhere, haha!

The Club sounds WAY better than the 01A, because it’s actually analog (plus the digital oscillator) AND it also has a very nice character. So in terms of sound quality, they aren’t even close. The 01A sounds fantastic when you put it through some fx/processing though, so that’s an easy to solve problem. A real 101 blows the 01A out of the water, desipte all the youtube videos favorably comparing them, but at what price? I think an 01A + Strymon Deco or Analog Heat is a better use of money than buying a real 101 at this point. Especially for saving space for live performance. Not to mention that all those old Curtis chips are dropping like flies nowadays.

As for the envelopes, I was very happy with the Club, but the 01A has the REAL DEAL. Those envelopes are exactly how I remember my times with a real 101, and imo the 01A is worth buying just for the envelopes/cv/gate/midi. The Club has great envelopes, but the 01A (and 101) has legendary envelopes. There’s definitely a very noticeable difference. They both get the job done, and neither is capable of making good pads (of course, they’re mono synths so that’s no surprise), but when it comes to short stabby fast attack sounds used in dance music, the 01A is better, but they both can do it well.

When it comes to filters, well the 01A is serviceable, but it drops the volume of the entire instrument by like 12dB when you turn resonance up, and the filter sounds like garbage at high resonance levels imo. I never use more than 75% resonance on my 01A because I start hearing digital artifacts. With 0 resonance or lower amounts, it sounds really quite good considering what it is, and I have no trouble using it.

Now the Club filter (especially after the new OS update) is a beautiful thing to behold. High pass, Bandpass, Notch, Lowpass, contour that goes very far positive or negative, very smooth to nice and tweaky and anywhere inbetween…Not to mention that the full CC implementation allows you to modulate the filter type, which can lead to some nice things. Plus, the filter doesn’t just kill all of the bass unlike most synth filters these days (obviously it depends on the filter mode-HP is going to kill it haha).

The 01A does what a 101 does: dials in a very nice sound you can use in a couple seconds, every time. There is nowhere much to explore, it does what it can do very well full stop. The addition of 4-note poly sounds better on paper than it is in reality, but it’s great don’t get me wrong. Just don’t have visions of doing amazing pads and you’ll be happy. Unison mode is probably the best new feature (aside from MIDI and patch storage) over the real 101 imo. Chord mode is…interesting. It’s useful, but just like poly mode you start to notice the limitations of doing chords with a mono synth pretty quickly. Still, because the 01A can do chords and poly and unison, it has the capability of doing sounds that the real 101 could never dream of, so there is a bit of room to explore and make new sounds.

As for the Club, I’ve already spent over a month exploring it, and I’ve got a long ways to go. It’s a great synth to dive into and see just how far you can take it. Quite the opposite of the 01A/101 because you aren’t likely to quickly dial in an awesome sound, but when you make a patch you like on the Club, it tends to be somewhat unique. The club certainly has a distinct character to it. Having 2 sub oscillators and up to 2 noise sources is very nice, as well.

I think that the 01A/101 + Club is a perfect combo for dance music. 2 monos or 1 mono + 1 poly, it can go either way. It’s all you really need to do dance music, although I’d argue that 1 true poly for pads would help a lot.

I think we’re going to see a lot of people doing an 01A/Club combo because for live performance of dance music, it’s a dream team (assuming you do something to warm up the 01A). The 01A will stand out in a mix too much without being softened and warmed by something, but that’s easy to fix. The Club has some issues which you can read about, but none of them are keeping anyone from making music.

I prefer the ARP on the Club (it has a mode for playing notes in the played order, making the arp into a mini-sequencer), but the 01A is pretty good too. As for sequencers, I sequence them both externally, so I don’t really care. The 01A sequencer is more immediate and simple, and the Club is way more capable but not as immediate. I don’t really like either sequencer very much because I’ve been using Elektron sequencers since 2002. Hard to use anything else after that, imo.

It’s also interesting to notice the fact that the 01A is nearly all sliders, and the Club is nearly all knobs. I like that. Together they are the best of both worlds. The digital control on the 01A makes life easy, but the dry sound leaves something to be desired. The Club is a bit fiddly and needs to be warmed up for at least 30 minutes, but sounds amazing. One is shallow and immediate, the other deep and more time consuming.

I’m very happy with the combo. They both have some minor issues, but nothing I’d call a dealbreaker. I call the 101 Yang and the Club Yin. Together they will bring peace and happiness to the entire world. Or at least make some nice synth sounds.


Awesome, thanks so much for this writeup, it’s exactly what I’ve been looking around for. Interesting that despite all the benefits of ACB they still haven’t managed to model an analog filter at high resonance settings, or at least the behaviour of the knob controlling it. The SE-02 seemed to have the same issue with stepping at high res.

Yeah I’ve read about a few software/tuning issues on the Club, but it seems like that’s just a byproduct of it being very new, I’m guessing they’ll iron out the bugs in software at some point too.

Thanks again.


@anfim I read that on the SE-02 you didn’t get the hi-resonance stepping artifact when you control the filter from external CV signal.
Meaning the problem comes from digital dialing of filter value on the front panel.
This, I believe, is something that could be addressed on the software layer between digital control and pseudo analog components.

Not saying it will, but could in theory :slight_smile:


Take a MIDI cable. Oh wait, I see by the date on your post you must’ve already played your show. Hope it went well!

My SH-01a has been flaking out with USB anything. MIDI cable is much more reliable. Could just be my individual unit?

But I’m loving it. The SH-01a played through a Strymon El Capistan is pure bliss.