Roland GAIA SH-01 37-Key Synthesizer

Tweak real knobs and sliders on the three-oscillator Roland GAIA 37-key synthesizer, and build huge virtual-analog sounds for a not-so-huge price.

Virtual analog synthesis is at your fingertips with the Roland GAIA SH-01, a 37-key little beast of a synthesizer featuring an old-school control panel with lots of knobs, sliders, and buttons just begging to be tweaked. Thanks to three virtual-analog engines -- each with a dedicated oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LFO -- and 64-voice polyphony, the GAIA SH-01 is capable of producing a massive wall of sound. Best of all, you don't have to be an electronic music genius to use it. A natural sense of curiosity ("What happens when I do this?") will take you far on this synthesizer, and its inviting, logical layout will help you understand synthesis from left to right.

Geek Out on Three Synths and Onboard FX

The triple-stacked virtual analog engine is really three complete synths in one. The source of the Roland GAIA SH-01's huge sound, a trio of oscillators drive a threesome of multimode resonant filters, multi-shape LFOs, and amplifiers, as well as nine envelope generators. Sixty-four polyphonic voices allow you to play without dropping notes.

Use dedicated control knobs to fine-tune an array of multi-effects, including reverb, distortion, fuzz, bit crash, flanger, phaser, pitch shifter, low boost, and delay with panning and tempo sync. To get dozens of fun variations, you can layer up to five simultaneous effects. How cool is that?

If you ever need a little help getting started on a song, you can play around with the arpeggiator for instant inspiration. Just read more hold a note or chord and let the arps do the rest. Tap tempo lets you easily set the tempo by tapping the keys, while the phrase recorder tracks your performance by recording your movements on both the keyboard and the control panel. Controller data may be played back independently to complement your real-time playing.

Hands-On Control

On the GAIA's front panel, there's a full complement of sturdy knobs and sliders, as well as the Roland D-Beam controller, which you can wave your hand over to achieve interesting effects.

You can connect the Roland GAIA SH-01 directly to a Mac or PC with a USB cable, and then stream audio directly to your software of choice. The keyboard's USB ports can also be used to transmit and receive MIDI data, or to store your patches and phrases to a USB memory stick. Making it extra versatile, the GAIA SH-01 has an EXT input for integrating external devices like an MP3 player.

Portable, Space-Saving Design

Compact and lightweight (less than 10 pounds), the 37-key GAIA SH-01 can be powered via AC or 8 rechargeable Ni-MH AA batteries -- your choice -- making it ideal for mobile musicians, students, or studio owners short on space. When performing live, the batteries should provide four to five hours of solid power.


- 37-key synthesizer keyboard with virtual analog synthesis, effects, and more
- 3 virtual analog engines -- each with a dedicated oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LFO -- for building huge sounds
- Layer up to 5 simultaneous effects, including distortion, flanger, delay, reverb, low boost, and more
- 64-Voice polyphony eliminates note drop-out
- Straightforward control panel has buttons, knobs, and sliders
- D Beam, arpeggiator, and phrase recorder help you express yourself
- USB ports let you connect to a computer or save user patches to USB flash drives
- Lightweight, compact keyboard sports 37 full-size keys
- Runs on AC or battery power for portable convenience
WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm -
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- 37 keys (velocity sensitive)
- Maximum Polyphony: 64 voices

Sound Generator 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

- 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
- Knobs: LEVEL
- Envelope: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
- LFO Section:

- Tempo Sync: ON/OFF

- DIST: Distortion, Fuzz, Bit Crash
- FLANGER: Flanger, Phaser, Pitch Shifter
- DELAY: Delay, Panning Delay (with tempo sync function)
- REVERB: Reverb
- LOW BOOST: Low Boost

- Control 1, Level
- Pitch Bend/Modulation lever
- D BEAM Controller

- Preset pattern: 64

Phrase Recorder:
- User: 8
- Number of Track: 1

- 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 x 8)
- * 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

- Owner's Manual, Guide Book, CD-ROM (USB DRIVER), DVD Video, AC Adaptor (PSB-1U), Power Cord

- 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.

In the interest of product improvement, the specifications and/or appearance of this unit are subject to change without prior notice.
Dimensions and Weight in Packaging
Base Item
Shipping Weight: 13.75 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 36 x 17 x 7 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): SH-01

For support or warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer:
Phone: 323-890-3700

Roland SH01 GAIA 37-Key Synthesizer

With its massive sound, hands-on ease, and affordable price, the GAIA SH-01 is a high-performance value with old-school charm. The triple-stacked engine puts potent virtual analog synthesis under your fingertips, yet the control panel is so fun, friendly, and inviting, even first-timers can create great sounds. The signal flow is simple to grasp, with logically arranged knobs, sliders, and buttons. Hands-on control and fat sound make this little powerhouse a joy for music students, songwriters, session players, and live performers of all styles and skill levels.


- 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 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 synthesizers 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, 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!

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 favorite songs or backing tracks - great for practice and live performance. Manipulate the incoming audio with three Center Cancel modes, which let you eliminate pre-recorded vocals, guitars, or bass.

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

Power Supply:AC Adaptor, Power Cord (Included)

Reviewers gave this product an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. (18 ratings)
Submitted June 14, 2011 by a customer from
"Great Hands On VA Synth,"
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
(see rating details)
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
It may be a good 6 - 8 years before I feel the need to replace this unit with different VA. I ended up choosing this product over the Novation Supernova and M-Audio Venom among other mid range VA's based upon its interface. If some novel form of digital sound was developed unlike anything DSP based can deliver, then I will consider seeking that particular product as a replacement or supplement to the GAIA.

It can sound like a top of the line VA synth with 3 oscs. The sound quality of the units internal modules and FX is top quaility DSP. The sound is very expressive and with a small amount of programming knowledge it can achieve just about any sound im looking for. As far as its pre-FX DSP engine, It kinda sounds like a mix between the V-synth and a JP-8000.

The internal FX processor and the many knobs, sliders and buttons are by far the best features of this synth. This allows any user to quickly explore many potential sound by trial and error in a fraction of the time using an LCD and matrix edit table. I do wish this unit had an Aux in for atleast its FX processor in order to utilize it with other instruments.

Ease of Use
By far this synth is the easiest and faster for me to sound design on. No tiny LCD matrix style editing or complex menus with hidden parameters only accessable via software interfacing. Just good ol fashion knob, button, slider for every tweakable parameter read more fun.

Plastic case with plastic components along with a good looking screen print. Not the best , but byfar not the worst.

I beleive this item is fair in pricing and is worth its value compared to other mid range VA synths.

Manufacturer Support
I have not needed to contact the manufacturer.

The Wow Factor
Honestly, this is perhaps one of the most aesthetic and sexy looking keyboards out there. All those knobs, sliders and LED lite changing buttons really turn heads.

Musical Background:

Musical Style:
House Dance Nu Disco
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