SH05 Modular Analog Synthesizer


Overview The AMSynths SH05 Analog Modular Synthesizer is a set of seven Euro Rack modules that together with a Waldorf KB37 form a complete replica of the Roland SH-5 monophonic synthesizer introduced in 1976. This was Roland first serious attempt at mono synth with stable oscillators using a heated expo generator, two filters, complex modulation sources and a five channel mixer.

There are seven modules that have a total width of 107 HP.

The SH05 adds the flexibility of a modular synthesizer to a traditional design, with 3.5mm cable patching to either recreate the original signal flow or to create new internal an external connectivity.

Design History The SH-5 was launched at the start of 1976 and Roland went on to sell around 2000 over the next 2 years, before the high end SH-7 and low end SH-1 succeeded it in 1978. The VCO’s are a new more stable design, taking advantage of the newly available fast CA3130 Op Amp, and featuring in the later Roland SH-1, 101 and 102. It wasn’t until 1980 and the SH-09 that Roland moved to the TL082 JFET Op Amp in its VCO design.

The rest of the circuits are improvements over the designs in the SH-3, with a diode ladder filter and use of unijunction transistors in the LFO and ADSR.¬† The BPF was also a new design, but unfortunately never re-used in further designs.Whilst popular in 1976/77 the SH-5 fell out of favor and fashion through the 1980’s and interest was really only rekindled after 2005 when prices have steadily increased. It is a complex hand wired monster of an analog synth which is very reliable and easy to repair.

The SH-5 uses the Roland 1970’s keyboard design with brass fingers and a metal bus bar, which is a bit clunky and only supports note on/off. It featured on all Roland products until it was replaced by a modern design from 1981. This used lighter keys, rubber contacts and can be set up with velocity and aftertouch, the perfect MIDI companion.

Normalisation The SH05 modules have been normalised to a common modulation CV range of 0V to +7.5V, which means all the CV generators create signals in this range and all the modulation and envelope inputs of the VCO’s, VCF and VCA are at maximum depth at +7.5V. The gate inputs are all set for 0 to +5V operation, and the S&H will generate trigger signals of oV to +10V.

Keyboard Control  The Waldorf KB37 provides a 3 octave keyboard with transpose and pitch bender to replicate the controls of the SH-5, and adds MIDI IN and OUT as well as an arpeggiator, velocity and aftertouch.

This advanced keyboard is ideal for working with the SH-05 modules, however alternative approaches can be used, such as an external CV/Gate keyboard and a rack case for the modules.

Documentation All the modules come with a high quality printed SH05 User Guide that explains the functionality of each module, and how the seven modules can be used as a complete analog synthesizer.

We also provide a set of hard copy and online blank patch sheets, as well as the SH05 Synthesizer Patch Book which contains 300 patches created on the SH-5 between 1977 and 1982.

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