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I'm a little bit in love with this newly announced synth from Roland:

The Gaia SH-01 is a small but fun-packed little synth keyboard. It has an infinitely 'tweakable' front panel, with all the synth parameters set out as faders and knobs.  From left to right, you control modulation, oscillators, and amplitude envelope. It also features a pitch/mod paddle, arpeggiator and phrase recorder, and adds newer features like easy preset access, D-Beam, and an effects section.

Ever since I became interested in synthesisers in my early teens, I've wanted to own one of Roland's famed SH series keyboards.  One of my musical idols, Edgar Winter, played  the series' first iteration, the SH-1000 in the 70s.

As if you need another reason, just pause reading this for 9 minutes and watch him rock that thing on the Old Grey Whistle Test:

Then in the 80s, it was all about the SH-101.  Its straightforward systematic interface allowed the creation of fat monophonic basslines and squealing lead riffs, all instantly editable via the no-nonsense knob and fader interface.  I actually knew someone who owned one, but gave it away.  Fool.

And then the series continued with the SH-201.  Adding new Roland features for the 21st century, this was the next logical progression in the SH series.  I came upon one during a visit to Techniquest; suffice to say I didn't learn much about pulleys or refraction or the solar system on that trip....

Something about these synths has always sat well with me.  I was turned on to synths at a time when most keyboards had you delving through menus and squinting desperately trying to work out what letter was was trying to be produced by the 7-piece LED display.  These ones seemed so simple in comparison; a logical progression of 'first I do this, then I do this, then I do this to get the sound I want'.  I always wanted to own one of these, so that I could get really 'hands-on' with my noisemaking.  Unfortunately they were either extremely rare, out of production, or too rich for my blood.  Well, this new model has me thinking maybe I should start saving....anyone wanna buy a MicroKorg??

You can read a short preview/watch some promotional videos of its capabilities here.


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