A Love Letter To The SH-01A

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A short love letter to the Roland Boutique SH-01A. An overview of the synthesizer, and a demonstration of what I love about it.

Note: I am an electronic musician, a designer, and a huge fan of synthesizers. I am not an authority, nor am I a historian. These love letters (I should think that it goes without saying) are Op Ed (opinion based editorial) and thus they are filled with hyperbole, artistic license and some degree of speaking categorically to get the point across. This is not the first word, or anywhere near the last word on the story I’m telling. It’s just a love letter.

I have re written and illustrated the manual for the SH-01A
You can preview and download it here

Shot and edited with my iPhone
Soundtrack created with an SH-01A and a TR-09
©2017 The Urgency Of Change


  1. Max Subtalk:

    So good. The synth too. ;) :)

  2. Richard Plom:

    Brilliant! Keep it going man, these love letters are dope.

  3. Nigel Geiger:

    Can u hook up an external controller/keyboard?

  4. Benjamin Orphan:

    @Nigel – Yes. Midi in/out

  5. Sunshine Jones:

    @Nigel – Yes. 100%

  6. Benjamin Orphan:

    This is a dumb question that if I was at home I could answer myself but it’s the internet and connection is my real goal….I assume you can override the presets in terms of saving your patches just like saving sequences correct? I’ve been working my way through the presets but I haven’t played much with manual mode yet. Thanks and yeah this thing has a lot of cool features and sounds amazing. I nabbed a blue one and it’s playing nice with the TR-08 right so far. Thanks again for these manuals and your lifetime of knowledge about such things.

  7. Sunshine:

    @Benjamin – You know it’s pretty funny that the patches are there. With both the SE-02 and the SH-01A I use them in manual more all the time. I never use the presets or save the patches. I just use the front panels and go… Same goes for the sequences. I just enter them. Even in a live set. It’s just too much fun not to.

  8. Earl Lamacs Wilkes:

    Don’t sell yourself short, you are an expert. As far as I’m concerned, you are THE expert.

  9. Sunshine:

    @Earl – Well thanks Earl. I appreciate your confidence in me. I love you too.
    The disclaimer in the post is there because I don’t want anyone to hold me to some standard of expertise that I am not claiming. I don’t work for Roland, and I don’t think I know more than any other synth lover would about instruments which make them happy.

    So it’s a sort of disclaimer to help ward off warlocks and trolls. An amulet of sorts. I’m doing this for love, and I’m so glad you dig it.

  10. Wesley Eason:

    Fantastic enjoyable cool letter. I hear the real one in this bouquet.

  11. Donald Port:

    I want!

  12. Robtronik:

    What a great way to start the week. Thanks Sunshine :)


    Any future advice to those seeking a loved one in their life, should start like this: Find someone that loves you the way Sunshine loves his Roland gear.

  14. sunshine jones:

    @Rob –
    Well, I love my Oberheim, and my Elektron, and Sequential, Doepfer, Intellijel, Squarp, Studio Electronics, ALM Busy Circuits, Grayscale, Erica Synths, Mutable Instruments, Korg, Electro-Harmonix, Frequency Central, and my handmade instruments every bit as much as I love my Roland gear.

    I am championing these little wonderful things because they democratize synthesizers, and put wonderful tools right in your hands for a few hundred bucks. I’m down with that idea, and I want to help.

  15. Benjamin Orphan:

    Sunshine Jones you may not work for Roland but they should be sending you free gear at the very least for what you do for them/us.

  16. sunshine jones:

    @Benjamin – I’m not doing it for Roland (although to encourage them to make more, make an S760 boutique sampler, make a 727 and a 707, make a 606, make a friend is a good thing) I’m doing it for you. For us.
    Now make go music!!!

  17. Benjamin Orphan:

    Yes Sir!

  18. Nathan Kilcourse:

    Yet again I can listen to you speak all damn day. Sunshine Jones

  19. Kazuhiko Gomi:

    Thank you for your support!!!

  20. Sam Heywood:


  21. Mike Latigid:

    Dude I love your love letters! They really show your intimate relationship between some classic gear and they’re new boutique counterparts.

    From bmore with love!!

  22. Studio One London:

    Brilliant bit o’Sunshine!!

  23. Joe O'Brien:

    Love you, man… you’re the best! ♥ ♥

  24. Offworld network:

    Cool. The TR-08 could do with some correspondence of the loving kind ! How bout putting together a li’l letter ?

  25. Sunshine:

    @Offworld network – At the moment my TR-08 has yet to arrive. I’ve waited months. I prepared by illustrating, and translating the user manual into my format, and it’s ready to go – minus my hands on compare and contrast and editorializing of the manual.

    I did get a chance to spend a little time with one of them over the new year weekend, and it’s just superb isn’t it? I really love it. It’s strangely much better even than the TR-09. I think the new work that’s gone into the ACB engine has really paid off in the SH-01A and in the TR-08. I wonder if this isn’t potentially backward compatible for the previous boutiques? Probably not, but that would be such a gift.

    So all of this said, a love letter is planned, as is a manual for the TR-08, but I wouldn’t ever release documentation or love for something which wasn’t sitting right in front of me in real life.

    So sadly we’re all just gonna have to wait…

  26. Nick:

    SH01-A newbie here, my very first hardware synth! Am absolutely loving it, it definitely fits the kind of music I want to make.

    I wondered if you could recommend any of the other boutique range synths as a nice pairing for the SH01-A?

  27. Sunshine:

    @Nick – Honestly, it’s been my experience that the SH-01A pairs beautifully with almost anything.
    I love it with the OB-6 as much as I love it with itself (a second SH-01A in poly mode)

    But for a boutique experience I would point you first toward my favorite: The JU-06.
    The SH-101/Juno-106 combo is classic and unstoppable.

    That said, the JU-06 is now out of production and selling for quite a bit more than they were new. So I might re route you toward the JP-08 which can also make superb polysynth sounds, and might provide a better education about synthesizers in general, and you can still get one second hand for about $250. Not bad at all.

    For more of an aggressive/techno or perhaps vintage vibe I would consider the SE-02. The SE can make chords and you can bass your face with the SH-01A – Or turn that beat around and play polysynth chords with the 01A and get your analog bass on with the SE-02.

    Lots of ways to go.

    I have re written the manuals for the JU-06, JP-08, JX-03, SH-01A, SE-02 and TR-09 and they are all available here in the non-fiction section with various videos and love letters to go with them.

    Explore. Enjoy!

  28. Nick:

    Nice one thanks very much, I’ll have a mooch around ytube and check each of these out.