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Acoustic & Electronic Instruments, Musicians, News, Tutorials, Videos & Interesting Finds

Roland intros GAIA SH-01 sweet little virtual analog synth

I love little instruments like this. OK, so I can’t use it to play much Chopin on, but the GAIA SH-01 is a great portable compositional and sound-generation tool, equally at home in the studio.

This three octave beauty offers a huge range of virtual analog synth sounds and a range of easy-to-use sound synthesis controls.

Features include:

  • Huge sound with three virtual analog engines onboard, each with a dedicated oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LFO
  • 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

Triple-Fat Virtual Analog

Sink your teeth into the new triple-stacked virtual analog engine, comprising three complete synths for incredibly thick, powerful sound. Unleash the beef of three oscillators that drive a trio of multimode, resonant filters, multi-shape LFOs, and amplifiers, plus nine envelope generators. It’s like having three synthesisers in one! With 64 polyphonic voices onboard, the GAIA SH-01 makes it possible to play massive sounds without experiencing note drop-out.

Stackable Effects

From the silkiest reverb to the grittiest growl, the SH-01’s instantly selectable multi-effects will catapult your sounds into another spatial dimension. You can layer up to five simultaneous effects for dozens of variations. The onboard effects include reverb, distortion, fuzz, bit crash, flanger, phaser, pitch shifter, low boost, and delay with panning and tempo sync. Dedicated control knobs are provided for tweaking the effects in real time.

Portable Power

At less than 10 pounds (approx. 4kg / 9lbs), the GAIA SH-01 is lightweight, compact, and great for musicians on the go. The 37-note keyboard is full-size, however, so performers can play naturally and comfortably. The synth can be powered via AC or batteries* for the ultimate in portable convenience. A battery-life indicator on the front panel ensures that you won’t lose power unexpectedly. When used in conjunction with a battery-powered amp such as Roland’s CUBE Street, MOBILE CUBE, BA-330 or KC-110, the GAIA SH-01 can be played and heard anywhere!

*Can be powered by eight rechargeable Ni-MH AA batteries.

Instant Control

The front panel puts every control directly under your fingertips. There are no hidden menus, no nonsense. Just play and move the knobs and sliders, or wave your hands over the invisible D Beam for dramatic effects. The logically designed front panel shows the signal path from left to right. It helps beginners understand synthesis, while experienced players will love the instant gratification of hands-on control during performance.

Phrase Recorder and Arpeggiator

Hold a note or chord and let the arpeggiator create musical magic automatically for you. The tempo can be set via tap tempo. In addition, the onboard Phrase Recorder lets you record what you play on the keyboard as well as the movements of the knobs and sliders. The controller data can also be played back independently to complement the notes you play in real time.


Connect directly to a computer (Mac or PC) with one simple USB cable, and stream audio directly to the software of your choice. The SH-01’s USB ports can also be used to transmit and receive MIDI data, and to store your patches and phrases (recorded with the Phrase Recorder) to a USB memory stick. For integrating with external devices, the SH-01’s EXT input lets you connect external audio sources such as an MP3-player and play along with your favourite songs or backing tracks – great for practice and live performance. Manipulate the incoming audio with three Centre Cancel modes, which let you eliminate pre-recorded vocals, guitars, or bass.

Full Specifications

keyboard 37 keys (velocity sensitive)
Maximum Polyphony 64 voices
Sound Generaor Section Virtual analog synthesizer sound generator (Number of part: 1)
(Oscillator + Filter + Amp + Envelopes + LFO) x 3

PCM sound generator (Number of parts: 15)

Patch Memory Preset: 64
User: 64
OSC Section
Knobs/Sliders PITCH, DETUNE, Pulse Width, Pulse Width Modulation
Envelope Attack, Decay, Envelope Depth
Modulation Oscillator Sync, Ring Modulation
(Tone 2’s OSC 2 is applied as modulation to Tone 1’s OSC 1.)
FILTER Section
Filter Type LPF, HPF, BPF, PKG (-12 dB/-24 dB)
Envelope Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release, Envelope Depth
AMP Section
Envelope Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
LFO Section
LFO Shape TRIANGLE, SINE, SAW, SQUARE, Sample&Hold, Random
Tempo Sync ON/OFF
DIST Distortion, Fuzz, Bit Crash
FLANGER Flanger, Phaser, Pitch Shifter
DELAY Delay, Panning Delay (with tempo sync function)
Knobs Control 1, Level
Controllers Pitch Bend/Modulation lever
D BEAM Controller
Arpeggiator Preset pattern: 64
Phrase Recorder User: 8
Number of Track: 1
Jacks/Connectors OUTPUT jacks (L/MONO, R) (1/4 inch phone type)
Headphone jack (Stereo 1/4 inch phone type)
PEDAL jack (TRS phone type)
MIDI Connectors (IN, OUT)
USB COMPUTER (supports USB Hi-Speed Audio/MIDI)
USB MEMORY (supports USB 2.0 Hi-Speed flash memory)
EXT IN jack (Stereo miniature phone type)
DC IN jack
Power Supply DC 9 V (AC Adaptor or rechargeable nickel-metal hydride AA batteries x8 )
* Batteries sold separately.
* Zinc-carbon batteries or alkaline batteries cannot be used.
Current Draw 600 mA
Battery life for continuous use Approximately 5 hours
* Using rechargeable nickel metal hydride batteries
* Approximately 4 hours if USB memory is connected
* Differs depending on the conditions of use
Accessories Owner’s Manual, Guide Book, CD-ROM (USB DRIVER), DVD Video, AC Adaptor (PSB-1U), Power Cord
Options Keyboard Stand: KS-18Z(*), Pedal Switch: DP series, Expression Pedal: EV-5, USB Memory: M-UF2G
* Make sure that this instrument is mounted at a height that is no higher than 1 meter.
Size and Weight
689 mm 27-3/16 inches
317 mm 12-1/2 inches
100 mm 3-15/16 inches
4.2 kg 9 lbs. 5 oz.

GAIA SH-01 Product Page

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