Setting up a Roland SH101 to jack like a TB303


Found this via the web archive, so reposting it for the future and any others looking how to get that acid sound without spenidng on a 303

just thought that I would pass along some info to all those who are wanting TB-303’s yet have only SH-101’s. I’m one of the believers that feels any half descent synth can clone a 303 sound easily. I think that 303’s are limited and cost too much. In fact a 101 can do almost everything a 303 can do and 1 million other sounds too. You just have to know your synth well to get the sound from it. I’ll agree that a synth with 2 envelopes is much easier than 1 envelope for getting the exact 303 sound, never the less I have done it with such single enveloped synths including the 101. Actually here is a list which I have had success with: (SH-1, SH-101, Juno-60, Juno-106, Pro-One, M-1000,uWave).

In the case of the SH 101, it is perfect for emulating a 303 because of it’s circuitry and most importantly its sequencer. Most will argue that the 303 sound is fairly unique due to it’s sequencer’s ability to “slide”. The 101 sequencer has a little know feature called “slur”/”tie” that enables “slides” akin to it’s 303 cousin. To use this feature you must first configure the synth properly.

1. Place Portamento on “Auto”
2. Adjust for mild portamento
3. Dial up a 303 sound
4. Place ENV mode to “Gate”
5. Program the sequence *

* to get the “slur”/”Slide” effect, simply press and hold the “leggato” button before pressing the note to slide to. Following this, release both buttons and continue programming the sequence.

On playback, you can adjust the portamento level to control the slur’s rate.
Also, modulating the VCF cut off with a little S/H “Random” LFO makes a nice effect. You can also try placing the envelope mode to “LFO” and adjusting the ADSR for nice variants.

Unfortunately the SH-101 lacks Accent so I will concede here with hard core/floor 303’ers.

Hope this saves someone about $800

Here are the 101=303 settings.

LFO/Clk Rate: 5
Waveform: Random
Mod: 0
Range: 16
PW: 10
mode: Man
Pulse: 0
Ramp: 10
Sub: 0
Mode: 1oct
Noise: 0
Freq: 4 to 4.5
Res: 5.5 to 6.5
Env: 6
Mod: 0
Kybd: 10
mode: Gate
Mode: Gate+Trig
A: 0
D: 1 to 3
S: 0
R: 0
Portamento: 3-6 (Auto)
Transpose: L

To get the sound to your liking, just slightly adjust:
ENV decay, VCF cutoff, res, env, kybd

To get great “blurred” slides when using that legato trick I told you. Put the ENV mode to “Gate” (Cool effect)

To vary the general sound slightly, try setting the VCO range to 8′ and add some sub Osc.

To really make a cool sound, use the VCF Mod slider while tweaking the cutoff and res. By playing a sequence and having the VCF modulated randomly by the LFO and using the legato trick with env in Gate mode, Really moving grooves can be made

2 thoughts on “Setting up a Roland SH101 to jack like a TB303

  1. Great recommendation! It’s even more user friendly now. I found a seller on ebay retro_sounds that sells those clear plastic templates (overlays) for the sh 101 ! so now I can physically store the 303 settings! Thanks!

  2. The purpose of my life has finally been fulfilled! I turned up the decay, put on a little noise , and then used the “bass fuzz” effect on my Asr-x pro. Wow! Thank you so much. It sounds better than a 303. Can’t wait until my mpu-101 arrives and/or xoxbox and then I think I’ll be in heaven.

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