The Roland Gaia SH-01 Synthesizer forms part of Roland Music South Africa’s ‘National Keys Month’ campaign for May, 2015 and that means big savings.
Roland is offering some amazing offers and ridiculously reduced prices on selected keyboards, synthesizers and electronic pianos at participating outlets around the country.
The Roland Gaia SH-01- Synthesizer is a synthesizer with three engines onboard, which are all individually editable. In fact you can edit each oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LFO separately or you can group them for editing.
Load Shedding Proof…
Yes the Roland Gaia SH-01 is load shedding proof. I never thought we‘d actually have to say that about a music instrument but indeed 8 x AA batteries will keep you jamming with headphones, even when you’re sitting in candlelight.
But on a more serious note the Roland Gaia SH-01 is a pretty feature packed synth that is ideal for guys like me who aren’t out and out synth geeks.
Simple Integration, easy to edit
So let’s forget the geek talk. Nobody is trying to impress here. Simplicity works best and this is a real strength of the Roland Gaia SH-01. To edit and manipulate one or all three sound engines is really easy and combining them with different wavetables equally fun and interesting. The sounds seem extremely versatile and straight out the box you are presented with presets that are rich in texture and pretty phat.
Plugging in and getting your jam on is really straight forward; simply install the drivers for Mac or PC, plug into your computer’s USB port and the Roland Gaia SH-01 is connected and ready for use in your DAW. It boasts 24-bit recording so you can actually use the synth as your Soundcard too if you only need audio output and no external recording inputs. It does have traditional midi in and midi out so connecting additional midi devices is easy enough too.
One of Roland’s biggest strengths has been the performance aspect of their dance music orientated gear and the SH-01 is no different. The D-Beam has been a part of their technology for some time and on the Roland Gaia SH-01 you can manipulate loudness, filter cut-off, effect strength, lfo rate and many other parameters by simply moving your hand up and down. When performing electronic music live, crowds love visible manipulation of sound and the D-Beam is a guaranteed winner for this.
Another super cool feature, since we’re talking fun, is being able to record short phrases and then use these as a backing pattern to another patch you’re playing. You see the Roland Gaia SH-01 is more of a sample/waveform based synth than virtual analog, so whilst serious synth-heads may scoff at its limitations – you can’t do seriously deep editing – for pure fun, performance and ease of use, the SH-01 is a winner. The fact is you still have 3 separate sound engines so editing these three with different waveforms is probably more than most do with plugins anyway.
Dance Music ready, simple to use
The common theme seems to be simplicity and again the whole secret to Roland dance music type gear is just that; it’s got all the typical dance music waveforms ready and waiting to make some noise! And because you can layer 3 oscillators (sound engines) and edit and tweak them, you can certainly generate some pretty unique soundscapes. Now add their built-in effects to that – bitcrusher, phaser, flanger, pitchshift, reverb etc and trust me, there’s some cool creativity at your finger-tips.
Who’s gonna get your jam on?
Electronic musicians continue to strive to find ways to add more ‘live’ elements to their sets and in my opinion the Roland Gaia SH-01 is great for this. It may be limited in its deep synthesis editing, but the sounds are phat and ‘dance-music-ready’ and to add some performance elements over the top of your backing tracks will make you look really good. It’s also a cool synth for a keyboardist/programmer in a band needing dance music elements right out the box. The keys are not velocity sensitive so this is strictly for big phat dance synth sounds.
And then there’s the D-Beam…. enough said.
Features at a Glance
- Layer up to five simultaneous effects, including distortion, flanger, delay, reverb, low boost, and more
- 64-voice polyphony for massive sounds without note drop-out
- Fun, hands-on control panel that’s great for instant gratification, and for learning synthesis
- Lightweight, compact body with 37 full-size keys
- Runs on AC or battery power for portable convenience
- D Beam, arpeggiator, and Phrase Recorder onboard
- USB ports for saving user patches to USB flash drives, and for audio/MIDI connection to computers