Taking inspiration from our free drum sample series, Liveschool trainers Francis Xavier (Motorik) and Yama Indra (Gloves) have been getting busy in Motorik’s studio – recording thousands of samples from Francis’ incredible synthesizer collection and turning them into Ableton Live ready multi-sampled instruments, which Liveschool and our friends at Stoney Roads are giving away as a series of multi-sampled free synth packs.

First up is the infamous bleep-and-bass machine, the Roland SH-101.

The sound of the Roland SH-101

Although it may look comical when strapped on as a keytar, the sounds that come out of the Roland SH-101 are no laughing matter – the SH-101 is one of the best single oscillator mono-synths ever produced.

It’s bubbly effects, punchy bass and acidic leads have been used across every electronic genre – being a particularly essential ingredient in the sonic evolution of house and techno. The single Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) can produce square, saw and pulse waveforms (with pulse width modulation capabilities also) as well as having a sub-bass oscillator (square wave only) to layer in some bottom end.

The SH-101 sampled here was Francis Xavier’s first synthesizer –  originally bought for a measly $150 when he was barely 12 years old.  Read more about the SH-101’s signal flow, sound-design capabilities and also some personal anecdotes here in Francis Xavier’s (Motorik) full length review at Stoney Roads (our partners in crime on this one).

Sampling the SH-101 for Ableton Live

As you can imagine, the multi-sampling process is a little complicated and time consuming,- but the results are worth it.

The process goes something like this:

  • First, they designed the sound – tweaking all of the modifiers and modulators until it was just right.
  • Then it’s time to tune – being an analog synth, it’s essential to check that it’s in tune before recording.
  • Next, they sent MIDI to the SH-101 from Ableton Live via a Kenton Pro Solo CV/MIDI converter. For most sounds, the MIDI was sent to trigger every note one-by-one, waiting for it to fall back to silence before triggering the next note.
  • The samples were then captured via an RME Fireface audio interface, back into Ableton Live.
  • Then came the time consuming part – editing thousand of samples to get the start and end times exactly right.
  • Once the samples were edited, they then dropped them into Live’s Sampler instrument and using a few quick workflows, easily assigned each sample to it’s correct note.

Voila! It’s ready – a note-for-note capture of an analog synth icon, ready for you to use in Ableton Live.

Download the free SH-101 Synth Pack here

  • 11 ready to play instruments, powered by note-for-note samples from the Roland SH-101 – this is true analog synth power ready to use in Ableton Live (any version).
  • 8 sound designed presets, plus raw cycling waveforms for you to use in designing your own sounds.
  • Not sure how to use it or save the instruments? Here’s a quick video that explains it.
  • 100% royalty free – now go make some great music with them!

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Learn more about Sound Design & Synthesis.