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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Roland SH-3a

via this auction
"The Roland SH-3A is the best way to go if you like that 70's Roland Sound and classic styling and cant afford a Roland SH5 or System 100 101/102 keyboard and expander which are the only other synths in the Roland family that all shared the same cosmetic styling. For sure its the last of the great Roland 70's classics that are still affordable. I think for asking price this is a great Roland model and a good investment that will increase in value. Compare the SH3A to the SH5 (basically two SH3A with the same 44 note keyboard) -quote from Vintage synth "All of SH3A editing controls which are just shy of the SH-5's features"

The original list price in Roland Catalog Vol 3 is SH3A 185,000 JPY compared to SH5 260,000 JPY, System 100 101 120,000 JPY, System 100 102 105,000 JPY
According to Peter Forests book N-Z only around 1750 SH3As were produced

Roland catalog vol3.pdf
SH 3 link here
Here is a nice clip of Vangelis which features a lot of SH3A
gForce VI link here
YouTube link here sample and hold

The SH-3A is a monophonic analog synthesizer that was manufactured by Roland from 1974 to 1979. It is unique in that it is capable of both subtractive synthesis and additive synthesis. Two LFOs and a unique sample-and-hold section provided capabilities not found in competing self-contained synthesizers of the time. It is distinct from all other analog synths for its ability to do additive synthesis, allowing the layering of five of its oscillators/waveforms. Though the oscillators cannot be independently tuned, just the fact that five waveforms can be layered, and at different levels, makes for a distinct and fat sounding synth. Along with this are several other features which set the SH-3A apart from other synths. The ability to use two independent LFOs (including sample and hold) to modulate the VCO, filter and VCA allow it to sound more like a modular synth. In fact the circuitry of the SH-3A was later used in Roland's System 700 and System 100 modular synths and they all share a very similar sound. There is also a nice sounding PWM (chorus) control on the 8' waveform and both white and pink (rare) noise for those old school synth swooshes a la OMD in "Electricity". Also the SH-3A contains several expressive controls like the glide button and built in ADSR curves allowing quick programming of bass, brass or lead sounds at the turn of a switch. The 24db filter (called "growl") is rich sounding, can go into self-oscillation at high resonant levels. Overall it's an extremely nice, organic sounding filter. Also the envelopes are super snappy -- this a real, discrete analog synthesizer we are talking about here!!!

The Human League used the SH-3A to great effect on their first two albums Reproduction and Travelogue, and Vangelis and Kitaro have used it live and in the studio. he rhythmic pulsing in the Blondie Song "Heart of Glass" is an example of its sound

analoguesolutions offer a modular mod for the SH3A for only GBP149 installed (CV (1.2V/Oct), Gate, VCF CV ins. LFOx3, EGx3 CV outs. VCF audio in. VCOx4, Noisex2 audio outs)
link here
Kenton offer a cheap socket upgrade kit for SH3A GBP66 link and pic here
link here"

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