I bought another synth, a real classic, I got the monophonic Roland SH-101 sent to me from Japan. Now my rig is full (or is it ever?).

I think the SH-101 is my favorite synth, at least right now. It’s easy to lose hours messing around, and it’s almost hard to render a bad sound with it. I really like the noise modulation, which produce a warm, gritty tone.

The step sequencer is great for a scratch pad and the arpeggiator serves well by looping notes while tweaking parameters and testing different settings.

The SH-101 doesn’t have MIDI but there’s a few workarounds in a common modern rig, e.g. using the MiniBrute, one can convert MIDI (from the DAW) to CV. And by doing this, one can play and even send the MiniBrute’s sequencer/arpeggiator to the SH-101. Also, it’s possible to simply sync the clock from any volca module or drum machine with CV gate out or trigger out like the old TR-606.

On the downside, the LFO rate is shared with the sequencer/arpeggiator speed, although by connection an external clock, internal connections of built-in clocks are cut and detaches the LFO rate from clock speed.

Anyway, it’s a really fun synth to play – instant gratification and all.

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I’ve come to prefer several gear, specialized (but limited) with their own characteristics, to my sound palette. I also value analog stuff above digital signal processing (DSP), because the omnipotent DAW and the versatile softsynths can handle digital just fine. And analog needs to be hardware by definition.

The idea is not to expand my rig too much, I wanna push the equipment as far as possible, not just solving the problem by getting a new device. But when the time comes, I will change gear, replace it, one at a time. I think that upgrading and rearranging gear can be inspiring.

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