It seemed inevitable since Roland first announced its Boutique series: of course Roland would at some point remake the SH-101.

Now, it looks as though Roland is set to do just that – and in the process keep with its current habit of liberating your money from you by offering vintage classic remakes in compact Boutique form.

Nick de Friez, the Roland specialist now here in Berlin, is teasing the Interwebs this week with what appears to be an “SH-010” but is almost certainly also an SH-101 remake. Here’s a closer look at a still:

Owners of the original AIRA desktop synth, the SYSTEM-1, already had access to digital models of the SH-101 in the form of PLUG-OUT add-ons. (These are digital models that can either be used in software plug-in form or loaded onto hardware for use on the go. See our original hands-on look at that PLUG-OUT.)

With the TB-03 and TR-09, Roland has said they’ve updated previously released digital models of the original analog circuitry, so it stands to reason that we might get a refreshed version of models first released for the SYSTEM-1. We’ll see if those sound better. It’s also going to be interesting to see just how Roland maps the hardware controls, since the SH-101 is about nothing if not hands-on control.

Alternatively, it’s possible that, like the SE-02, the SH-010 is analog – we simply don’t know yet. A digital model seems far more likely, however.

It’s also an open question whether this is a “clone” of SH-101 functionality, or whether Roland will riff on the original with some new twists. (Adding in effects seems likely – note the ones already in the screen grab of the PLUG-OUT edition above – but maybe that ‘010’ moniker hints at some other new ideas.)

This does raise a question, though. Remakes are fun, but eventually companies like Roland are going to run out of low-hanging fruit. (I’m still waiting for my Latin-flavored TR-727 Boutique drum machine, though!)

It strikes me that what really needs to happen next is for some new inventions in the same category. Roland’s own SYSTEM-1 was a stab at that, if not the most successful of their recent creations, and KORG have done a nice job with new creations like the volca series. So, now, Roland, it’s your turn – can you come up with a new idea here?

Also, to modders, just saying – obviously someone needs to make a tiny keytar out of the SH-010 when it’s here.

  • Tony Scharf

    The words “new ideas” and “Roland” seem to be antithetical to one another these days. They haven’t really done much that is *new* in a while. They seem to throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks. Boutique stuck, so they are running with that horse for as long as they can.

  • Ned Bouhalassa

    Very respectfully (you rock), this kind of article sort of rewards Roland’s constant riding on its own coat tails . Why innovate when you can just repeat?

    • Fair. But let’s take the long view. Roland had been offering what they thought was innovation, and users hit back that they liked the old stuff better. Roland – and not just Roland, arguably every synth maker at one time or another – hit some happy accidents that stood the test of time. (The fact that the Minimoog hit a good number of keys partly because they took a hacksaw to a broken keybed says something about that.)

      I think the first question you have to ask is what innovation ought to look like, anyway. And that means perhaps first understanding some of what went before … even remaking it to do so.

      I’d love to see innovation, too. But I think then we have to figure out what that even looks like. And it may be that it’s easier for smaller makers to get innovative than someone who has to deliver the scale of Roland.

      Whether they’re rewarded for this or not, meanwhile, is going to be whether people buy the thing, not necessarily what I do. 🙂

      • enparticular

        i agree. you can say the same thing from boutique synth makers and boutique guitar makers. if you want something special go that way, gibson and fender aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel and they are just chugging strats and les pauls constantly, and that’s ok.

      • R__W

        People are quite conservative about music matters. If you come out with a truly new instrument it is usually ridiculed by musicians and music fans alike.

        Roland’s current stuff might be based on old designs but it is pretty innovative from an engineering perspective. Especially in the music tech world where most hardware is based on the electronics equivalent of ancient technology and manufactured as cheaply as possible.

      • Dopamine Addict

        I am standing on my chair clapping. I 100% agree with Peter here. I haven’t cared much about Roland’s hardware for years, and now I am very interested. You could argue they tried all kinds of novel ideas throughout the 90s-00s. I hope they continue to collaborate with other hardware manufacturers, too. I think its cool that Korg was able to make something novel with their Minilogue and Monologue that doesn’t try to sound like anything else they’ve offered in the past, but I am supremely happy about the MS-20 and Odyssey reissues. I feel like this is a winning strategy.

    • R__W

      Smaller, cheaper, battery powered recreations of their old analog synths that use FPGA circuit simulation instead of DSP emulation is pretty innovative from an engineering perspective.

  • Robin Parmar

    I now have an image of you, Peter, with your Volca Sample, carefully loaded with all the “nice” Latin samples from the TR-727, grooving away….

    • You would be absolutely correct, apart from … I went with some tape-distorted 727 samples, and I did manage to take the volca sample loaded up that way into Berghain 😀

  • Stefan

    The obvious point you may have missed is that this is an analogue recreation not a digital one. Their new boutique series is analogue..
    Much more exciting imho

    • Well, had I known that information it’d be under NDA … I’m speculating here as I don’t yet have information from Roland. 🙂

      I’d be happy either way, though, either with an analog version or a good digital recreation. You may have information I don’t though 😉

      • Stefan

        Ha sadly no 🙂
        I was just speculating but I don’t see the point in them doing it digitally since like you say they already did it..especially knowing the se02 is the first in an analogue series im betting its smd analogue.

        • Why not? It hasn’t been so long since the TB-03 and TR-09, both of which have remained sold out. And the SE-02 is a collaboration. Plus as I say, the PLUG-OUT model was already out there.

          My money is on digital.

          • Stefan

            Heh. Right, game on 😉
            See you back here in a few weeks!
            (Mines a pint of Guinness btw) 😁

          • Dopamine Addict

            I am with Stefan here. I am betting on analog. Also, I will take a stab at pricing.. $499 if monophonic.$699 if 4 voice.

      • Dopamine Addict

        I am with you. I still remain very impressed with the quality of their emulations of analog hardware. It sounds, to my ears, as good as the original hardware. In the case of the TR-8, maybe better and more fun and flexible. (never thought I would say that about analog emulation software..)

    • Mihail Mihaylov

      99% sure this won’t be analog – you can clearly see the 2 touch strips layout so that means the battery compartment is on the back, which leaves no physical space for analog circuits. This will be most probably a hollow box with a vst inside. Why you may ask, since there is already one out there? I don’t know, probably the dedicated interface and the nice color scheme – grey, red and blue would be enough for fanbois to open (one more time) their wallets.

      • Dirty SkillZ

        Fuk that shit. Not one of these corporations are offering something as robust as a virus. It’s always the cheap ass route with 256patches max and 100 user. I dont support none of them anymore. If they wanted to put in vsts what about at least additive, subtractive and fm…1500 patches, colour interface. Touchscreen…its 2017, korg, roland, Yamaha. Do something innovative.

        • Dopamine Addict

          look at mr. moneybags everyone.. (kidding)

          Seriously, this kind of “innovation” would make the products pretty expensive. I love my Virus and still thinks its one of the best synths ever made, but even it doesn’t have touch screens and graphical editing, etc. Most folks still cannot afford a Virus or anything more than $1500.

    • R__W

      I don’t know about the SE-02, but Roland’s other boutique stuff is FPGA based, like the Aria. This will probably be the same.

  • VideoClub

    Not a dedicated unit, but Roland did add the 707/727 upgrade for the TR 8, which sadly is probably the closest you’re getting for a while on that one. I still use my 626, which has both sets of samples but lacks the faders unfortunately.

  • itchy

    let propellerheads bring back rebirth. jerks

    • Presteign

      You know what would be really innovative for Roland? Make a hardware successor to Rebirth (since, uh, they’re apparently the only company allowed to do so). Combine the the TB-03 and TR-09, add some more sequencing and session controls, and put it all in a cool package the size of an Elecribe or a Circuit.

      • this is a great idea

        • Dopamine Addict

          Yes and no. I sort of like the ‘modular’ option we have today. The products are small enough that we can chain them together and get just about the same experience. Having a single unit with it all built in seems redundant to me.

    • Gunboat_Diplo

      let UA bring back the Dimension D and RE-201

  • DPrty

    Just give me an upgraded version of the Vsynth rack.

  • Cut the crap, bring back VS so we can finally ditch laptops.