Roland GAIA SH-01 Virtual Analog Digital Synthesizer Keyboard
The Roland GAIA SH-01 is a lightweight virtual analog synthesizer that has three synth engines each with their own dedicated oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LFO.
This synthesizer can run on either AC or battery power for portability purposes.
It provides 64 voices of polyphony and can layer up to five simultaneous effects for various sonic capabilities.
- Keys: 37 velocity sensitive keys
- Polyphony: 64 voices
- Display: 16 character custom LCD
- Oscillator:Virtual analog synthesizer sound generator (Number of part: 1). 3 x Oscillator + Filter + Amp + Envelopes + LFO), PCM sound generator (Number of parts: 15)
- Filter: 1 x Filter
- Envelope: 1 x EG (Attack, Decay, Envelope Depth)
- LFO: 1 x LFO
- Additional Controllers: Pitchbend, Mod Wheel, D Beam
- Presets: 64
- Effects: Reverb, Delay, Flanger, Distortion
- Arpeggiator: Preset pattern: 64
- Audio Input: 1/8" Ext In jack (Stereo miniature phone type),
- Audio Output: 1/4" L/MONO, R, 1/4" Headphone jack
- Other Connectivity: MIDI In/Out, DC IN jack, USB Computer, USB Memory
- Power: DC 9 V (AC Adaptor) or 8 x rechargeable nickel-metal hydride AA batteries (sold separately)
- Dimensions: 27.18" x 3.94" x 12.5
- Weight: 9 lbs
Professional musicians praised its responsive and tactile keybed and controls. Even with full sized keys and a wide layout, the synthesizer is fairly lightweight. Its capability to run on batteries alone contributes to its portable factor. Switching from one sound to another in real time is practical since it has a dedicated knob, button, or slider for every parameter. Its user friendly layout gives users a hands on feel without menu diving. This is also an advantage to those who are new to subtractive synthesis. Many find its effects section very comprehensive and were able to produce a tonal scope with a lot of harmonics. Aside from excellent effects, one user pointed out its ring modulator produced bright, bell-like clangorous tones. Other features include its phrase recorder and latch function, which many users found convenient convenient for saving and looping synths, and store control settings respectively.
A downside for some users would be its lack 1/4" audio input that can be for routing external audio through filters. They are still able to route external signals through MIDI and USB.
This is a good subtractive synthesizer that produces modern to vintage sounds at a fair price range.
The Roland GAIA SH-01 was previously on our recommended list but came off in March 2020 when we published a new set of recommendations featuring more highly rated options in our guide to The Best Synthesizer Keyboards.