89 not out
When we saw that our friends at Roland were giving away the Synthesizer Chronicle 2010 - a complete pictorial guide to almost every Roland synth ever released - in our sister magazine Future Music, we just had to have a piece of that action.
Obviously, paper pullouts aren't really MusicRadar's thing (though you can download the PDF file here), so we've taken the Chronicle's photos and words and packed them into a massive, all-star gallery that covers Roland synths from 1973 to 2010.
Click though for an enlightening trip down memory lane - and if you've played every one of these instruments, give yourself a large pat on the back.
FIRST UP: Roland SH-1000
This 1VCO analogue synthesizer’s claim to fame was being the first mass-production synthesizer made in Japan. It had a selection of preset tones to choose from, and control functions to give the user freedom when producing sounds. It carried a price tag of ¥165,000 in Japan.
A 1VCO analogue synthesizer making full use of control functions. There are two types - the SH-3 and SH-3A (photo) - which differ slightly in terms of appearance and internal construction. Additive synthesis oscillation creates a distinctive meaty sound.
This preset-only analogue synthesizer (1VCO) is equipped with aftertouch. Although Roland analogue keyboard synthesizers have 1V/1oct VCOs, this one uses Hz/V.
Roland’s first 2VCO analog synthesizer. The huge one-piece case blew away keyboardists at the time. This synth was also the first to have pitch bender levers.
This system consisted of a small 2VCO synthesizer, expander, mixer, analogue sequencer, and a pair of speakers (photo shows the basic model 101 synth). It was possible to purchase each unit separately.
The first - and only - modular synth to be made in Japan. It included 9VCO, 4VCF, 5VCA, 4ENV, 3LFO, mixer, analogue sequencer, effects processors and more. The full system was priced at ¥2,650,000 in Japan.
A 1VCO analogue synthesizer with a basic circuit design derived from Roland’s System-700. In addition to being the first synth to incorporate a sub-oscillator, it was also the first to use a moulded plastic case.
This 2VCO analog synthesizer was released as the successor to the SH-5. The case was made somewhat smaller, and it could play two voices, taking advantage of the two VCOs.
A number of cost-cutting measures were applied to the SH-1. The result was this 1VCO analogue synthesizer, the first to sell for below ¥100,000 in Japan. This synth played a major role in popularising synthesizers in Japan.
A version of the System-700 aimed more at the general consumer. This compact modular synthesizer was made up of various modules and a rack with built-in power supply (32-key and 49-key keyboards were available).
The meaty sound of 2VCO + 1 sub-oscillator made this analogue synthesizer quite popular. As with the SH-09, a price of under ¥100,000 in Japan propelled the SH-2’s popularity. It’s a coveted classic.
Roland’s first polyphonic analogue synthesizer (4 voices). The 4VCO sound in unison mode is superb, and it also has a built-in user sound memory function. The synth carried a price tag of ¥385,000 in Japan at the time.
This is the monophonic version of the Jupiter-4 with 2 VCOs. As with the Jupiter-4, it had eight user sound memories and 10 preset sounds.
A deluxe 8-voice polyphonic analogue synthesizer with 64-sound memory. Its smorgasbord of features, including key split, patch preset, and auto arpeggio, earned this synth global praise and legendary status.
This 6-voice polyphonic analogue synthesizer used a DCO per voice to generate sound. Built-in chorus effects increased the range of sounds that could be produced. This synth also had a key transpose feature.
A 1VCO analog mono synth available in three colour variations; modulation grip was also an option. The synth could run on batteries, allowing it to be slung on a shoulder strap and worn like a guitar.