Thursday, November 3, 2011

Roland SH-1000 "For those far-out sounds" brochure, 1975

Roland SH-1000 "For those far-out sounds" 2-sided brochure from 1975.

I'm "down" with the kids these days. Their music. Their hang-outs. Their lingo.

And back in 1975, Roland wanted readers to know they were "with it" too. The company made sure to give those potential customers lucky enough to get their hands on this brochure the real skinney on how the SH-1000 can create all "those far-out sounds". Bring this baby on stage and you'll be looooo-king good. A genuine Stone Fox. You will have all the bunnies getting down on the dance floor. It's total Ace.

Okay. I know... enough already.

So, what's all the buzz about this SH-1000 brochure? Well, for starters, it has the print date on the back!  I'm really digging that. Saves me time and effort trying to figure that out. Plus, I have a soft spot for that stylized "R" two-line logo.

I've come across the front half of the brochure online, but the back half seems to be a bit more difficult to find. A shame really - and one I'm hoping to fix with this post, since the second half has all the things I like in a retro synth brochure, including that great little diagram indicating the functions of each and every dial, switch, slider and tab. And it also includes a great little spec sheet underneath the diagram for those that would rather get their information in a more organized fashion.

According to many sources online, including Wikipedia, the SH-1000 was introduced to the world in 1973, and was not only Roland's first compact synthesizer, but the first to come out of Japan altogether. Sound On Sounds' April 2004 article on the history of Roland indicated that "it predated the Korg 700 by a handful of weeks". A pretty good start from a company that would expand on their SH-line for quite sometime after wards. And surprisingly, if online sources are correct, it continued production until 1981. 

Looking a little closer at it's specs, the SH-1000 had a pretty good feature set for such a young synth. VCO, Low pass filter with resonance, ADSR envelope generator, glide, white and pink noise... and the list goes on. It also included 10 presets, although the InterWebz jury still seems to be out on how useful they are on their own.

 It's brother, the SH-2000 came out a little later in 1973 with three times as many presets, but with less overall features and reduced sound editing capabilities. Some sites, such as Vintage Synth Explorer, speculate that the 2000 was possibly released because the SH-1000 turned out to be too confusing to many potential buyers such as church and home organists. That brochure photo of the SH-1000 sitting atop an organ backs the theory that the company originally was targeting those organists.

If you had any doubt about the capabilities of the SH-1000, look no further than to the YouTube video below created by AutomaticGainsay - aka Marc Doty. He hosts his own YouTube channel that is just shy of four million video views. He is also a recent Artist-In-Residence with the Bob Moog Foundation and a regular on's forums. You can be sure he knows a thing or two about synthesizers.

His description accompanying this SH-1000 video pretty much sums up his point of view on the beast.
"Do yourself a favour, and NEVER READ any review of the SH-1000 on the internet. ALL of them inaccurately portray the Roland SH-1000. Hopefully, this video will bring some accuracy and clarity.
Feel free to link to this video or post it on your page, but please give me credit by marking it "by Marc Doty." Thanks!"

Never read any review of the SH-1000? Now he tells me! Gah! *sound of hand hitting forhead*

Well better late than never.   :)

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