The Roland SH101 was/is a great little monosynth.

It may only have one oscillator and one envelope and a very simple voice architecture but it can pack a real punch.

Although having just one oscillator, that oscillator offers sawtooth and square - not only can these be used together but they can also be individually mixed and balanced.

The oscillator also offers a sub-oscillator (-1 octave and -2 octaves) which can be used to add depth to sounds, especially bass sounds.

And unlike a two oscillator synth where the two are beating and drifting in and out of phase causing level dips and nulls, the various waveforms and the sub-oscillator are in perfect sync allowing you to create really solid bass sounds that bely their humble origins.

The single oscillator also offers pulse width modulation that (sort of) goes some way to creating the sound of detuned oscillators - that you can also mix in the sawtooth wave and the sub-oscillator also adds to its sonic weight. I remember listening to a friend's new tracks a few years ago - they all had some truly wicked bass sounds and I commented that these must, of course, be his Prophet 5. "No" he replied... "the SH101"! It really can produce some superbly deep and rich bass sounds.

The filter is typically Roland and sounds great. The ADSR envelope was punchy but there is only one to control filter and amplitude but this is not the limitation you might imagine especially as there is the option to select a simple 'gate' envelope for the final VCA. The LFO offers a good selection of control waveforms for everything from subtle vibrato to whacky sound effects.

The SH101 also featured an arpeggiator and a simple step-sequencer.

Samples kindly donated by Dean Morris.