Synth Site: roland: SH-32: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.1 out of 5
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rex a hobbyist user from canada writes:
Evan: The SH-32 is not similarily priced as a micro Q, A station, Micro Modular, virus rack, or nova! If you can get any of those new for the same price as a SH-32 - the grab it. I just checked today running by my local shop and the micro Q was almost twice the price and the virus rack more than twice..... anyways heres my review.:

I've owned this box for about 2 months now and find it a joy to work with. Very easy to program and jam with. Its all there in front of you, so tweaking a sound is a cinch. I make ambient/experimental techno and this fits perfectly along side my FS1R and sampler. I wanted a synth that would compliment my FS1R, which has a deep, complex metallic sound. The SH-32 is simple and quite rude sounding in a good way.

Value: I would not recommend this synth as a stand alone. For the cash your paying you better have some more gear to fill in the gaps. Its not perfect, the stepping limitation of the controller and the use of sampled based waves are minor problems at best. I like to think it adds to the overall character of the synth. The SH-32 is so cheap, so you get tons of bang for your buck here. The contruction is also quite good: metal construction overall.

Sounds: Rude, harsh, thin, distorted, and chrunchy, all the things I wanted. Good range of EFX and very flexible. Not as deep as I expected but can be complex as you like. I think Roland may have misled people with the "VA" and "Phat" sounding jargon in their advertising...BE warned: the PRESETS out of this box are horrible.....boring and just bad imitations of other synths (as a "VA" it fails).... Fortunately I enjoy creating my own sounds ...so the SH-32 scores big for easy of use and just plain FUN. Jamming with this box is fantastic.....I have been more than pleasantly surprised with the sounds I have produced. Try programming the FS1R and you will know what I mean. I can understand how a classically trained musician would poo-poo this..... Its designed for mind-bending techno...you know... Try it out at you local shop - I did for 3 times: considered the Yamaha AN200 and Korg AN1X....didn't want another Yamaha box and the plastic Korg lacked flexibility (but did sounded "fatter").

It gets a 4. Well if I could be more precise: 3.8. I do recommend this highly for techno/electronic sounding NOISE!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-09-2002 at 18:28
Jimmy from USA writes:
Very Nice Eric, very classy, and professional opinion.

My original plan was to buy myself an Sh32 asap, but i happened to run into a Nova for sale locally for 500 bucks..cant beat that...plus! novamusik.com has Sh32's for $399. That..i believe..is a steal at less than $400. For some reason, i can grab an Sh32 and program a patch from scratch faster than i can do on my nova. dont ask me why, the Sh32 is just plain out intuitive to me. To Each his own, and keep on goin..

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-09-2002 at 01:13
Eric Sellereite a professional user from Belgium writes:
Usually I don't mix myself in discussions about musical gear, but since I am in the music business myself for about 20 years and own/have owned almost the entire spectrum of synthesizing equipment created in these 2 decades, I want to speak my peace.

For the 500$ I paid for it, I can only say that the SH-32 is a great sound source and well worth checking out. The simple interface allows for intuitive creation of all kinds of non-acoustic sounds. I consider synths as a breed of instruments just like any other, with their own characteristics (if you want a trumpet sound in your score, then use a real one ... why drag a Triton in there in an attempt to fake it ?). Often in these forums, people speak of synths as if they were siblings of God himself, sent to Earth to enchant us mortals with their intricate design and cool looks. Bwah ...

As I am in the business of film/advertising score production, I probably don't have the same state of mind as most techno-minded people(or whatever flavor), as I come from a more classical, symphonic oriented education. Hence, I use the SH-32 as a sound source with its proper characteristics , not as a do-it-all-boom-ping-sweep box which in addition has to look flashy during an on-stage mix.

Sure, SH-32 uses quadruple multisamples per octave as oscillator source instead of math formula output generated by a DSP, but in all honesty, how many ears in the world would be able to tell the difference when confronted with it during a blind auditing test ? They who shout the loudest, fail even to distinguish the shriek of a black bird from the cry of an eagle.

OK, SH-32 exhibits filter stepping and may loose its track when under heavy MIDI-strain while arpeggiating with high BPM and switching sounds banks, but as a multitimbral sound source it performes great in my setup. Sound-wise it holds its own against all my other gear (from objective point of view), which is up to ten fold the price of SH-32, and even adds its unique flavor.

There is a lot of religiosity in this synth world that transcends the essence of the instrument itself (i.e. sound creation). This type of synth is "in", the other one is "crap" ... while from objective sound-wise point of view, they are both worthwhile.

Can anyone tell me what you are trying to prove by comparing SH-32 to an A6, Q or whatever synth that costs 6-10x times as much ??? Its like saying a Corvette is no good compared to a Venom 800TT, while only driving a Yugo yourself.

Besides, I also KNOW and USE the instruments I own. They are not sitting in my private studio like exotic reptiles on display in a terrarium (look dude ... I got a blue, yellow and red one ... cool). NONE of them are perfect. Although it is fun programming them, the technical gadget level often masks out and even inhibits intuitive sound creation. No single manufacturer has ever succeeded in making a synth that allows for a fast and perfect translation of the sounds your hear in your mind to the sounds that emerge from your monitors.

90% of the reviews in these forums are of such subjective nature and without any foundation that they are of no use to potential buyers. I even wonder if the gear under discussion is really owned by some of the reviewers.

My only advice is: try it and if you like it, buy it. Your wallet won't feel raped for the sounds your ears will receive. For the money, it can do wonderful things. And isn't giving a mark all about price/performance ration ? In that aspect, SH-32 deserves a 4/5 for me.

It ain't Walhalla, but then again, what is ?

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-08-2002 at 05:59
LIghtSleeper a hobbyist user from THe Netherlandz writes:
Hi guyz:

I just got mine (swapped for my Rm1x): its the synth I was looking for (I also got a JP8000), but this one has 32 poly; For those negative revieuws: guys get a sound module if u cant program. This one takes no place, is powerfull and can create reaaly nice soundz; EVery synth is an instrument: u cant compare a flute with a trombone. If this cool thing is not what ur looking for, than look for something else. Much gear for a little price, easy, compact. What do u need more? Talent I guess LOL

GReetz

LightSleeper

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-08-2002 at 04:34
DJ Autoharp a professional user from U.S.A writes:
This synth didn't do much for me in the months I owned it. I consider myself a skilled programmer, often gravitating towards machines like the waldorf Q and Yamaha fs1r. Its difficult to compare this synth to those two masterpieces since the sh 32 is pandering to the lowest common denomiator, and I'm afraid Roland has set the bar a tad lower than anybody else before in doing this. Sneakily marketing this as a VA with a soundset of samples akin to a scaled down "Vintage keys" expansion is so funny I forgot to laugh. Sure, it has 32 notes, but thats because it uses samples. And its filters are all steppy and don't represent a good faith effort at modelling analog filters in my opinion.

Now, I am a sucker for a good roland, a_real_roland. I would suggest synths such as the jp6, jp8080, mks 80 w. mpg 80 and d-50(with pg1000) over this one. Also, I prefer most of the better "VA's", like the Q, virus and the Nords to this. I think the people who are giving this really high scores lack experience with the classic rolands, more expensive synths, and the higher quality offerings at this price range( micro q, a-station, ms2000). Giving this a 5 is not appropriate, I mean geez the filter isnt very good, and its oscillators are WEAK. It has a lot of effectx, and some knobs..big deal..And I'm not even saying this falls short compared to older rolands(it does though), it also falls short of modern rolands like the Jp 8080 which is a true dsp powered VA, and for my money a helluva lot more hip and funky in the synth tone dept. Better luck next time Roland.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-02-2002 at 07:48
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