Roland 100M – New Modules


First Brochure – 1979

Overview The Roland System 100M was (and is) a highly popular modular synthesizer that was launched at the end of 1978, and went on to sell many thousand of modules over the next 5 years, making it one of Rolands most popular products. Thanks to its relatively affordable price the System 100M was used by many bands in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Unfortunately prices have now skyrocketed with some modules advertised at £2000 – £3000.

In 1979 I was living in London but synthesizers were too expensive for me to buy or even look at. A Roland 100M was more than half my annual salary! I did buy a Philips Reel to Reel and an Ovation guitar, to record music alongside my home built PE Minisonic 2. During the 1990’s I bought many analog synths secondhand, but never came across a 100M, so I have never owned an original set of modules.

The System 100M was available as single modules, but also as five sets, which included cabinets:

  • A Set – 190 cabinet and 180 keyboard: 110, 140
  • B Set – 190 cabinet and 180 keyboard: 110, 140, 150
  • C Set – 190 cabinet and 180 keyboard: 110, 110, 140
  • D Set – 191J cabinet and 181 keyboard: 112, 121, 130, 140, 150
  • E Set – 191J cabinet and 181 keyboard: 110, 110, 110, 140, 150

The most popular set is the D, as it  has the most complete set of modules. Roland made the System 100M accessible by providing the A set with just 2 modules in a 3 unit cabinet. The initial 110, 112, 121, 130, 140 and 150  modules were quickly followed by the 131, 132 and 172 and 182 modules. A last set of three modules; 165, 173 and 174 were added in the Spring of 1983 but only 200 of each module were made. Manufacturing of the 100M started in the Autumn of 1978 and completed at the end of 1983.

Various prototypes were developed in 1978 but never made it into production. Roland sold the 3 and 5 space empty cabinets as the 190, 191J, and the monophonic keyboards 180 and 181. The 4-voice polyphonic 184 keyboard was added in the spring of 1981. The highest module serial numbers (date code, serial #) I have located so far;

  • 110 = 24 – 2002
  • 112 = 35 – 3744
  • 121 = 29 – 3094
  • 130 = 36 – 3262
  • 131 = 35 – 1043
  • 132 = 26 – 0974
  • 140 = 29 – 4128
  • 150 = 31 – 3017
  • 160 = 27 – 0130
  • 165 = 28 – 0256
  • 172 = 36 – 1033
  • 173 = 28 – 0249
  • 174 = 28 – 0230
  • 181 = 24 – 2110
  • 182 = 24 – 0844
  • 184 = 22 – 0740
  • 191 = 31 – 3878

AMSynths 100M – 2009

AMSynths 2009 One of the first synthesizers I designed and built was a replica of the 100M in 2009. With two racks and 20 modules it was the core of my modular system for many years. In 2018 I planned to add more modules but the ideas were cancelled when Behringer announced their own replica modules in April 2018, and went on to deliver them in 2020. In 2009 I had used rotary pots and the FracRac format, the 2018 revisions envisaged slide potentiometers.

AMSynths 2022 The game changer in late 2022 was working with a Chinese panel manufacturer that makes powder coated panels with silk screen printing. The same company that Black Corporation use. This means I can achieve a professional grey colour panel with white lettering, using designs that mirror the Roland originals and fit alongside the Behringer replicas.

Initially I was drawn to creating full size 100M compatible modules, but this is already being done by RJK and it limits the customer base. Making a set of Eurorack modules that complement the Behringer modules will gain more interest, and I can develop and launch the modules quickly. Most of the electronic design work was completed in 2009 – 2018 but new designs have been added.

AM8141 module

2023 Module Plan The idea and inspiration is to create a new set of 100M style modules that introduce new sounds and control possibilities. To augment the various  System 100M modules from various Eurorack companies  that have been produced over the last few years. The original “look and feel” will be replicated and kits as well as assembled modules will be available.

The plan is to replicate various Roland prototype modules that never made it into production, add completely new modules and introduce some accurate replicas that are not on the market. This is the list of 16 HP modules:

  • 111 VCO & VCF
  • 113 VCO & Wave Shaper
  • 120 VCF & VCA
  • 122 Dual State Variable Filter
  • 131 Audio Mixer
  • 132 CV & Audio Mixer
  • 133 Dual DC VCA
  • 141 ADSR and Gate Delay
  • 142 Dual ADSR
  • 165 Dual Portamento
  • 171 Sequential Switch
  • 176 Triple Resonator

AM8133 Module

The modules use mainly THD components, with some SMD Op Amps and diodes, as space is tight! From mid 2023 the AMSynths 100M designs have been outsourced to JLCPCB for SMD assembly, to reduce prices to customers and ensure we have stock available.

Outcomes & Availability A first run of front panels was manufactured in February 2023, and with some minor changes production panels were manufactured in April. PCB’s were developed via prototyping with two or three versions needed before being production ready in April. The unique Roland font used for the original front panel (module number) has been recreated and production modules are on sale in our webstore.

Copyright AMSynths 2022