Roland GAIA SH-01
Roland GAIA SH-01
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All user reviews for the Roland GAIA SH-01

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Average Score:4.1( 4.1/5 based on 11 reviews )
 3 reviews27 %
 6 reviews55 %
 2 reviews18 %
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Editorial review
  • 09/23/10Roland SH-01 "Gaia" Review

    Roland SH-01 "Gaia" Review - The Right Compromise?

    The SH-01 is Roland's answer to the analog modeling synths market where low budget and ergonomics are not compatible. Let's see what tradeoffs were made to combine ease of use and a competitive price.

Users reviews

mrjason's review"warm and fat"

Roland GAIA SH-01
The Roland Gaia SH-01 gives you a really good sound and at a great price. You can do some really neat things with the effects on the Gaia SH-01 because it allows you to stack them up. Some of the effects on the Gaia SH-01 are bit crash, phaser, pitch shifter, low boost, delay, distortion and reverb. You can add these effects and tweak them all in real time. The Gaia SH-01 is a very portable keyboard, it is very light and rugged. It can even be powered by batteries if you want to use it on the go and you don’t have a wall outlet available.


The Gaia SH-01 has everything you need right on the interface of the keyboard, there are not menu’s to have to shift through or items to have to find. Everything you need you can see right from the main interface. It has no LCD display screen and nothing to navigate through. It is almost like an old school type of unit because everything is knobs and sliders.


If you are in search of a warm and fat analog sound then here it is, the Gaia SH-01 has a rich tone and fat sound and just imagine what it will sound like when you stack those effects up with that fat analog sound! The sound design and creation abilities on the Gaia SH-01 are truly limitless. I have been using the Gaia SH-01 for about 2 years now and it works just like it did the first day that I got it in the summer of 2010.


The baselines that I am getting from the Gaia SH-01 are probably my favorite sounds. I am getting bass that I never had on any other keyboard or VST. Besides the fact that you will get some great sounds, it is also a lot of fun to play the Gaia SH-01. Just look at the interface, all those knobs to mess with make everything a breeze and a lot of fun.

AlanForPresident's review"easy to use and cheap"

Roland GAIA SH-01
After using the GAIA SH 01 I was really shocked on the sounds that it has and the ability to change those sounds and make them your own. I really felt like I had full and total control over what came out of the GAIA SH 01. The best thing about the GAIA SH 01 is the ability to change the sounds and you don’t need any software or any manuals to do so. You can just start messing with knobs. I havent really had too many keyboards that are like this one, it has a vintage style and appearance to it but the sounds are just amazing. Very clear.


Easy to use, because everything is right in front of you with no on board screen so there are no menus to go through or anything difficult at all. You want to add reverb? Its right there in front of you so add some reverb. It really cant get much easier than Roland has made it on this 37 key analog synth . It has built in arpeggiator, and a lot of on board effects so you wont have to get your effects from elsewhere and the effects are right in front of you too so no looking for them. This is actually one of the easiest boards that I have used.


Sounds are great, you can use the same sound a bunch of different times and make it sound so different each time and best of all its very easy to do it. It takes no effort at all. I havent found many synths for this price range that can give you what the GAIA SH 01 can.


Amazing keyboard and I cant believe that it only cost around 700 dollars. It passes many other keyboards in my oppinion just because of the ease of use and the price.

James...'s review"Infinite sounds"

Roland GAIA SH-01
Huge sound with 3 virtual analog engines onboard, each with a dedicated oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LF0
Layer up to 5 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

Basically this synth boasts that you can stack 3 different synths to make totally unique sounds. It has 3 different engines, all of them analog in flavor. There aren't any screens or menus. Basically all the controls are right at your fingertips, which I think is a pretty good way to go about making a portable synth. The layout can be a little intimidating at first if you aren't very familiar with analog based synths.


I produce dubstep as a kind of hobby. And I'm also always on the lookout for new tools for my studio. I have tried about every synth out there. This new offering from Roland really intrigued me. The idea is clever... The manual is pretty good, and it needs to be because I have never used anything quite like this before. This is the kind of device where you will be rewarded if you spend time with it. It's not your typical synth. The controls all seem solid and I was up and running with it pretty fast. It's easy to get bad sounds out of it if you don't kind of know what you're doing. The keys are pretty solid. Not world class but good enough for the price point. Nothing on the keyboard feels overly cheap. I have never used it with batteries so I don't know how good that is.


First off the presets are horrible. Roland designed a great sounding unit here but it seems they don't know how to use it? The real goods come when you start pressing buttons. You will probably never hear the same sound twice with this synth. There's so many different combinations and effects combos that it would be hard to run out of ideas. It's a creative masterpiece in that regard. Now whether or not every sound you can get is useful is another thing altogether. The Gaia can make your traditional synth sounds and in my case it covers most of my dubstep needs okay. But the real strength here is the ability to really dig down into the unit and get some amazing sounds to come out. The demand is high but the reward can be even higher if you put in the time. The sound quality kicks butt in this price range and the variety of things you can make it do is massive.


Roland took a very simple concept and turned it into something that is infinitely versatile here. There is a big learning curve though. Learning how to use all 3 programs together so that you can get what you want out of it is crucial. I don't recommend this to people with no synth experience at all. But on the flip side, you don't need to be a synth genius to make it work. I love it and I will be keeping mine for a long time.

moosers's review

Roland GAIA SH-01
The Roland GAIA SH-01 is a compact virtual-analog synthesizer. While it’s technically not a true analog synth, it has all the sounds and controls you’d get with one and essentially operates just like one. It runs on three virtual analog sound engines for it’s tone, each with it’s own oscillator. The keyboard itself has 37 keys and polyphony up to 64 voices at once. It has all sorts of audio and MIDI connections, as well as USB ports for saving sounds and the like…


The configuration of the Roland GAIA SH-01 is just like that of a more traditional analog synthesizer, so those familiar with the controls generally associated with analog synths should feel pretty comfortable here. It’s got sections of parameters for your oscillators, a filter, envelope control, effects, an amplifier, and an LFO. Each has a nice amount of control as there really is a ton of different possible sounds between the three oscillators and all of these controls. I haven’t seen a manual for it, but if you’re at all new to analog synths, I’d recommend having it.


I don’t think I’d be able to tell too much of a difference between the Roland GAIA SH-01 and a true analog synth. For all intents and purposes, this might as well be a real analog synth and it really doesn’t bother me at all that it isn’t since it still sounds like the real thing. You’re going to be able to get all sorts of analog synth sounds here, and between all the controls you should be busy with it for quite some time. It also has effects like delay, reverb, distortion, and more. I don’t believe that the Roland GAIA SH-01 is lacking anything in the sounds department.


The Roland GAIA SH-01 is the perfect little synth for those looking to get analog synth sounds without the hassles of it. You’re not going to encounter the same issues with this that you might a true analog synthesizer, which is definitely a good thing. The price of the Roland GAIA SH-01 isn’t outlandish considering the great instrument you’re getting. Those after an analog synthesizer need to seriously consider the GAIA SH-01.

Anonymous 's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Simple but very effective"

Roland GAIA SH-01
The SH01 "Gaia" is a small synthesizer, very light weight, compact, with a 37-note keyboard to touch my faith fairly standard. Polyphony spans 64 channels.

It has built-in 8 banks of 8 presets sounds, WORM, 8 banks of 8 sounds users to store their creations, and 8 slots for recording musical phrases. Moreover, one can add a USB drive that provides 64 additional memory for sounds and 8 additional slots for the musical phrases.

Besides the traditional small Roland joystick to control pitch bend and modulation, there is the famous D-Beam, this invisible beam that can be assigned either to control volume, pitch, and in any parameter Synthesis ( filter, effects, LFOs, etc.). It is possible to connect a pedal (sustain or expression).

From a connectivity point of view, besides the port for the USB cited above, it has MIDI IN / OUT, a pair of audio outputs, a headphone jack and a USB port "Computer"; the latter allows to use the card as SH01 digital audio when using joint in a DAW. I use it without any worries in conjunction Reason 6: The Office of SH01 is perfectly sound card, allowing me to save the SH01 directly in Reason, with a single connection!

On the upper side, it has a mini-jack to process an external audio source. I have attached a small Monotron which, via the internal effects of SH01, takes on another dimension.
Whether to make a complaint is not having a button to "mix" for metering the volume of what comes from the DAW (via USB) compared to what comes out of the HS01, but it is easily circumvented (this is possible for example on UltraNova Novation).


Setup is simple: we have everything at hand. It's almost a button = one function. I say "almost" because some second settings are accessed by pressing a "Shift" key. But the key is directly accessible by the many buttons and faders.

The manual is, as always with Roland, remarkable clarity and for its French version, translated well.


It is, with the HS01, in pure electronic sounds, if you want to imitate the piano, the trumpet or the choirs of the Red Army, this instrument is not for you, if you are looking for a way to quickly create synthetic sounds, as is my case, do not hesitate one second.

The factory sounds are not great, admittedly, but I see an incentive to put his fingers on the buttons, fiddling with faders, in short, to create his own palette. Especially with the storage of sounds on USB stick, there's plenty to see coming ...

The sound structure is simple: a patch consists of one to three "tones", each tone based on an oscillator, filter, LFO and amp. All these people, once assembled, goes through the filter section.

The wave oscillators are basic, but they are all there: sawtooth, square, PMW (with adjustable width), triangle, sine, noise and saw the great which is reminiscent of the "feedback" of JP8000. And louder each wave has three variations.

Side filter is also very compltet: high pass, low pass, band, bell, and "bypass" filter for nothing. And all are accessible by -12 or -24 db / oct The filter has its own ADSR envelope.

The LFO generates triangle waves, sine, sawtooth, square, sample & hold and random. Can be assigned to the modulation filter, pitch, the volume and the panoramic, with or without delay.

There is an additional global LFO applies to the patch and is activated via the wheel pitch bend / modulation.

The effects are simple, but excellent: reverb, delay, phaser, flanger, pitch shifter, distortion, fuzz, bit crusher. Two settings by direct effect, plus two more with the shift key.


I've had it a month and I am completely happy. I owned an earlier Ultranova whose ergonomics, based submenus, was terrible, the tones were good only embedded in the internal effects, and that the audio via USB was catastrophic - perhaps because of drivers.

I like the ergonomics of SH01 Gaia: it is simple, effective, well thought out, made to sound creation. We can succeed easily and quickly create complex electronic sounds. And even by cutting the internal effects, the HS01 sounds undeniably good.

I left to keep it for a long, long time.

milone213's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Opinion GAIA SH01"

Roland GAIA SH-01
Roland introduces the Gaia SH-01, a compact 37-key synthesizer that combines a look "vintage" with the latest technology of the brand in analog modeling.

• Keyboard 37 velocity-sensitive keys
• triple virtual analog engine
• Each engine has an oscillator, filter, an amplifier, an envelope and an LFO
• up to five simultaneous effects (distortion, flanger, delay, reverb, fuzz, phaser, pitch shift, etc ...)
• PCM sound generator
• Memory of 128 sounds, 64 user
• 64-voice polyphony
• D Beam, and arpeggiator phrases integrated recorder
• 2 USB ports to store the patches on thumb drives or connect the keyboard to a computer
• 2 Output Jack 1 / 4 "
• 1 headphone stereo jack 1 / 4 "
• Connection to pedal TRS
• MIDI In and Out
• In EXT mini stereo jack
• operates with 8 AA Ni-MH or AC adapter
• Weight: 4.2kg


The general configuration is very simple, the manual is clear enough, but not detailed enough for my taste, especially with regard to the south. Not as easy as it could be and when the USB interface .... Not compatible with all disk drives. (Yes you can record directly onto a hard drive or USB flash drive via the USB port ...)
The editor is accessible and its easy to use, I say easy because the lack precision potentiometers when you want to create a very specific sound, (like piano, almost impossible to achieve)


Personally, I find it access electronic music, hip hop, trip hop, new age view. for more traditional sounds (piano, violin, to be forgotten, it is not able to reproduce.
The synthesis system is not terrible for that.


For electro, it is very good, to the "classic" variety, jazz ... forget it.
Big catch for me, 37 keys, you can not do anything with it .... missing at least one and a half range.

ThéoM.'s review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Super nice for this price."

Roland GAIA SH-01
This is an analog modeling synth, the sound it is digital. All necessary connections are there, the controllers too, with the added "D-beam" of Roland is fun to use for a song. For the rest of the feature everything is explained on the net:)


The setup is super easy to pick up! All steps on the interface as the path traveled by the signal: Oscillator, Filter, Amp and Effects.
The manual is clear, just read it.
Editing sounds is pretty easy, just look a little is a synth designed for research. The effect is not editable, although parameters using two potentiometers can be used also in shifts (4 settings in total)


By working out the sounds you can come up with cool sounds for all styles. Key velocity is disabled. The effects are not bad, though a little disappointing ...


I use it very little due to time, but every time is a great pleasure! This is one of the only model I tested, it's worth it for that price.
Stéphane Duchosal08/12/2011

Stéphane Duchosal's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Very good but classic virtual analog"

Roland GAIA SH-01
An octave + would have been welcome


Is that of happiness. I use it as a MIDI keyboard with my two Evolvers, the palette of sounds to sequence becomes madness


A little "squeaker squeaker" anyway ...
For cons, the arpeggiator is really a success (tougher than the SH201)


Versatility. The polyphony of a portion of the patches is a real plus. Arpeggiator on top.

vetjc's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" An impression of already heard ..."

Roland GAIA SH-01
For features, I let you go to the website (s) (s) Roland ...


The config is super simple: one button, one function, all spread over 3 tones stackable. There is no screen recalling the setting of ongoing and so we turn the knobs without knowing where we are ... This is the only drawback at this point. The manual, I did not open, I'm exploring. It's still simple to very simple ... The editing and sound effects are simple ... if you know a minimum VA synths.


No particular style (except the presets that are what they are ...) is the VA. The keyboard is excellent, too bad it is so small (37 keys). I love the ability to add distortion or fuzz heartfelt sounds. The effects are not extraordinary but still very usable.


I've had this week. I publish the notice in a few months ... I know many VA synths in this price range either in OCCAZ 'or nine (Virus, Nord Lead, JD, JP, AN1X, MS2000, VSTi). In comparison, current and well thought out. It is a portable ergonomic keyboards pretty well done for the Live (batteries!) And quick access.
The sound reminds me (the first key press) the JP8080. I think that the same algorithm is so striking. Especially when making a patch with the wave Supersaw ...
Editing by USB, the three tones (usually 2 ...), but rather the good keyboard, the effects are its good sides. Its downsides are the lack of screen, access to one and only one OSC LFO Tone, blah-blah presets ...
I think this is a synth that is a good first step in the VA or sytnhé Live. The studio is a bit light but it's all included ..

OB34's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" coupled with Iphone"

Roland GAIA SH-01
Amateur plutt East computer music, I was looking for a keyboard to approach things more sensitive to fawn.

I was looking for a keyboard with a capacity of dot recording time and a rel arpgiateur to pair it with my Iphone application which j'apprcie the computer music (more enjoyable than a PC here since it has a connotation with the Groovebox to notch 11 points of contact simultaneously).

Having trouble matching MIDI but I finally russi Camra Kit using a USB out of the Iphone, followed by a USB / MIDI brand EDIROL ( / products/en/UM-1EX/index.html) who arrives on the MIDI GAIA .. (No way to rcuprer MIDI clock via the USB port of GAIA).

Among the many musical applications of the IPAD, currently only one allowed me to have the clock Level matre IPAD is Aurora Sound Studio. Whereas I also App as one of the most complte and most INTERESTED. It can also send musical phrases directly on the GAIA empcher without the game


To the extent that I tried a keyboard that does not require me to have a notch in the nose .. trs is correct.


Vast opportunities with a stamp that is more than enough that I am the amateur.


This corresponds Roland GAIA excatement what I expected from him every way!