Roland sh-32 thoughts

Any thoughts on this synth? For a while I read and heard negative things about it. Lately on YouTube, in the comments section, I’m seeing a lot of praise for it.

Was wondering if anyone here has some thoughts on it and think it’s worth picking up for under 400 bucks.

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I bought one new when they were $200.
It is pretty unique, kind of awesome, but some crazy weird limitations too.

The biggest offender is how ‘steppy’ the knobs are - when you turn the cutoff knob, you hear each step individually. Cool if yer into that sort of thing, but kinda criminal that passed QC.
Also if you use sync you lose the filter - weird limitation, but this is early VA we’re talking about.

It’s 4 part multi-timbral - it’s got a ton of alright drum sounds built in - it’s made out of metal. It’s almost knob/slider-per-function.

Kind of a cheap sound but thats kinda cool too ya know?


I had a lot of trouble figuring out how to make the most of mine until I started diving into the Shapeshifta pack. The SH-32 can do a lot that’s not ambient, but I feel like I only figured out how to make the most of it by learning ambient patches.

IMHO: at $200 it’s a no brainer, and $400 it’s a little expensive. So depending on your situation and how much under $400 you can get it, I’d say you’re in a good spot.

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Thank you for these responses! Much appreciated.

I had one for a while but ultimately sold it when the Boutique collection came out. I found the UI rather fiddly, the sound nothing to write home about, and the aesthetics of it quite ugly. To me the main advantage was that it was multi-timbral but ultimately controlling multiple layers was a huge pain.

TLDR wouldn’t recommend, lot of other options that are better than the SH-32. Replaced it with a Blofeld.

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hard call at $400. def. nice and tactile. For $400 I’d go for a blofeld (surprisingly easy to program despite like of a lot of knobs). I made this video of presets if it is of any help:

When it sounds good, it can sound really good. The onboard effects are nice to have and the multi part mode allow for some epic pads and ambient sounds.

When it sounds bad, it sounds awful. I found the most difficult aspect of programming it was gain staging. It’s very easy to make clip and it’s not a pleasant clipping sound.

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I’m always on the lookout for a cheap SH-32.

I had it once when I was still at early stages in my synth hobby (I think I played the first Nightsatan gig in our living room with a SH-32 and a midi keyboard) It’s not the best or the most versatile, but I love the look and the form factor and would really like to have it back. Call it nostalgia. I also had the EF-303 at the same time and visually they paired beautifully.

If either of those machines ever crosses my path at 300€ or less, I’ll be really tempted.

very interesting synth (actually, semi-groovebox) with sophisticated arpeggiator and agressive filters.
i’m on the hunt for it as well.

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