Roland GAIA SH-01

37-key Virtual Analog Synthesizer with Arpeggiator, Phrase Recorder, Onboard Effects, and 64-note Polyphony
Roland GAIA SH-01 image 1
Roland GAIA SH-01 image 1
Sweetwater Exclusive!
FREE 64-patch Sound Bank, a $99.00 value!
The GAIA SH-01 you buy from Sweetwater comes pre-loaded with a full bank of 64 Sweetwater-exclusive patches, which give you tons of classic and new sounds to play with. Plus, our included QuickStart Guide will help get you up and running fast! And, for a limited time, get additional sounds from Roland by filling out a short questionnaire online at
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Roland GAIA SH-01
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Massive Sounds in a Lightweight Synth!

Are you in love with the sounds of the past but equally in love with technology? The GAIA SH-01 uses a trio of virtual analog engines — each with its own dedicated oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LFO — to conjure massive tones that would make you swear you're playing a vintage synth. But the cool thing is that this baby is thoroughly modern, giving you vintage flavor and the conveniences afforded by the latest technology. There are no menus to navigate and no pages to scroll through, just analog-style knobs and faders that drive the synth engines.

The GAIA SH-01 gives you a ton of effects (reverb, distortion, fuzz, bit crash, flanger, phaser, pitch shifter, low boost, and delay) to take your sonic explorations even further. And with 64 voices of polyphony, expansive synthing (sans note dropout) is at your fingertips. When combined, all of these elements come together to create massive sound, packed into an extremely lightweight chassis. How lightweight? The GAIA SH-01 weighs less that 10 lbs., making it easy to take your sound with you. Plus, you can run the GAIA SH-01 on battery power. How cool is that?

And no synth would be complete without a solid arpeggiator. Just hold down a single key and let it work its magic! Plus, you can record your creations — along with the movements of the knobs and sliders — by using the onboard phase recorder. Use the USB port to plug the GAIA SH-01 into a computer to send and transmit MIDI data, or store your patches and phrases (recorded with the phrase recorder) to a USB memory stick. Integrate the GAIA SH-01 with external devices, such as MP3 players, via the EXT input and play along with your favorite songs or backing tracks — great for practice and performance.

And the GAIA SH-01 is perfect for newcomers to synthesis. The SH-01's front panel puts every control right at your fingertips. The logically laid out front panel shows the signal path from left to right, helping beginners understand synthesis. Experienced players will dig the instant gratification of hands-on control.

Roland GAIA SH-01 37-key Virtual Analog Synthesizer Features at a Glance:
  • 3 virtual analog engines onboard, each with a dedicated oscillator, a filter, an amplifier, an envelope, and an LFO
  • Layer up to 5 simultaneous effects, including distortion, flanger, delay, reverb, low boost, and more
  • 64-voice polyphony
  • Hands-on control panel
  • Lightweight, compact body
  • 37 full-size keys
  • Runs on AC or battery power
  • D Beam, arpeggiator, and phrase recorder onboard
  • USB ports for saving user patches to USB flash drives, and for audio/MIDI connection to computers
Once again, Roland innovates the synth, with the GAIA SH-01!

Additional Media

Roland GAIA SH-01 Owners Manual
Roland Launches Official Synth Tone Library Site
Free Sound Bank for your GAIA SH-01 synth from Roland!

Tech Specs

Sound Engine Type(s) Analog Modeling, ROM
Number of Keys 37
Type of Keys Semi-weighted
Other Controllers Pitchbend, Mod Wheel, D Beam
Polyphony 64 Notes
Number of Presets 64
Number of Effects 9
Effects Types Reverb, Delay, Flanger, Distortion
Arpeggiator Yes
Audio Playback USB Flash Drive
Audio Outputs 2 x TS, 1 x TRS (Headphones)
USB 1 x Type A, 1 x Type B
Pedal Inputs 1 x Pedal
Power Supply 8 x AA Batteries (Not Included), DC 9 V (Included)
Height 3.94"
Width 27.19"
Depth 12.5"
Weight 9.31 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number SH-01

Customer Reviews

Based on 34 reviews
Write your review

Great Value for the Price

Looking for an entry level synth, I came across the Roland Gaia SH-01. Full sized keys, multiple presets, analog feel, and a huge range of both vintage and modern sounds, the Gaia exceeds expectations. As an entry level player, I found the learning curve manageable, and the sound quality exceptional. The extra patches provided by Sweetwater is icing on the cake. Highly recommended.

Great synthesizer

Roland Gaia is great - all parameters you can control from the front panel. You don't need screen really, because everything is on your hands. The sound is very clear, low boost makes your sound so deep! And nice to use also as midi controller too. It has 2 USB - one for computer connection, other for flash drive for extra space to store more own presets. Very light for traveling. What the most I like it is really intuitive and "no diving menu". Superb
Music background: Sound Artist, Composer. Experimental Electronic Music

A beautiful thing

OK - let's get this out of the way first - I want it in my studio. The Gaia brings me back to my first analog synthesizer, and the joy of running faders and hearing the results. Don't get me wrong, I love my software synths, and I love my MicroKorg - but it's so satisfying to be able to PLAY a synthesizer again, without clicking through menus or paging through cryptic displays on tiny screens. Yep - no numeric display, no screen. Just knobs, buttons and sliders. Joy! This thing is a monster - great sound, intuitive interface, tons of features. I did cut my teeth on analog, but this thing sounds great to me. I played one for about an hour in a local store, without looking at a manual, and got into it right away - the time flew by. I feel that it would be equally great for sound design, on-the-fly sonic improvisation, live work, and studio sessions. Keys felt solid, all controls too. I loved the D-Beam and the combination Modulation/Pich control - although I would have loved to be able to assign the Mod function to different parameters. (Maybe you can, and I just couldn't figure it out in my limited time on the synth.) It was REALLY hard to walk away without one. My only disappointment was the omission of an external audio input. I know, I know - it has an 1/8" input at the top right, but was anyone really clamoring to have the ability to "jam along" with an MP3 player? Aside from some karaoke-style cancellation controls, the external sound input is (as far as I could tell) unaffected by the Gaia. I would MUCH prefer to have the ability to route an external audio source through the Gaia's filters. The karaoke style input feature seems out of place on this otherwise pro-level synth. All that said - I still want a Gaia. It's a pretty amazing insturment.
Music background: Composer, Sound Designer, Mad Scientist


The extra patches, make this synthesizer incredible! Plus with extra flash you can expand your sounds even more! The extra patches from Sweetwater are written to your Memory on seconds plus you have extra sounds on Flash. Remember there are three user banks! I noticed a USB bank which I'm sure does what it says, the top left. I love the speed and ease to get to the different banks and the hold Keys. In the old days the small Synths only had a a few useful sounds including the big ones , so this is a huge value! And more reliable too!!
Music background: Keys, Guitar, Drums and Vocals

Roland GAIA SH-01 is Great

I purchased the Roland GAIA SH-01 a few months ago. It is a very programable Synth. I have several 2Gb USB memory sticks to expand the sound and I just ordered the software for it. I will get to see every parameter to change and make my own sounds easier than without the software. I also bought a case that is for the GAIA exclusevly. Its a great synth and if you want some beautiful analog type sounds this one is hard to beat. Has a very nice Arpeggiator built in also. I really like having it with my Keyboard setup. Play one and Im sure you will like it.
Music background: Been playing since I was 4 1/2 years old, and Im 62 now. Part of my life..

Sweetwater Advice

Carson McClain

The SH Series lineage continues on with the Roland GAIA SH-01. The simplicity of this keyboard mixed with the sound really make this a go-to keyboard for electronic musicians who need massive leads, fat bass, and fresh arpeggios. The lightwieght nature and overall size of the GAIA make it a perfect keyboard for traveling as well. When you get your hands on it you'll immediatley notice that the keyboard exhibits sound similarities to that of the Roland JP-8000, the super synth from the late '90s and early 2000s.

Nathan Wall

Wow! What an amazing synth! The first time I used a Roland GAIA SH-O1 was the first time I felt comfortable with subtractive synthesis. It takes all the confusion and guess work out of creating your own sounds and just lets you play! No more random knob turns and praying for a cool effect. The GAIA has every step of the snythesis process clearly displayed on its face. In addition to being easy to use, the GAIA is really a lot of fun! I could play with this synth for hours - and I have! The aux input is a great deal of fun as well. I just plug in my MP3 player and add my own creative genius to my favorite trance tracks. The big bank of presets will give you plenty to do once you've mastered your own creations, and with Sweetwater's exclusive patches authored by Daniel Fisher, you've got a one-of-a-kind snyth. Bottom line: the GAIA is the best digital snyth I've ever used. There's no going back!

Mike Hammond

Being a hardware synth fan, the GAIA SH-01 synthesizer is definitely on my wish list. This has tons of synthesis possibilities, big sound, and I prefer the dedicated knobs, sliders and buttons. It's immediately a blast to play, inspires the creative side of me, and it's an instrument that gets you lost in the music, not lost in technology. Oh yeah, the fact it's very affordable certainly helps!

Scott Augustyniak

The little Roland GAIA SH-01 keyboard sounds great! If you're looking for really nice fat synth sounds, this is the one for you. Even more impressive is the Sweetwater exclusive patches that'll get you up and running with a great variety of sounds right out of the box.

Daniel Fisher

There are many reasons to love working at Sweetwater, but one of my favorites is being the first to play with and program the coolest musical toys, long before anyone else. So I find it amusing to read people's comments on internet forums that make definitive statements about a product they've never even had their hands on. The SH-01 GAIA Synthesizer is a good example of this. I can assure you that this *is* a virtual analog synthesizer, and that the oscillators waveforms *are* modeled (not sampled). This beast can get as big, and fat, and warm, and snappy as you want to program it. The most important part to understand is that it's not just an ordinary 3-oscillator synth. Most 3-oscillator synths mix down to one signal path and *then* go to a single Filter and Amp. This baby has a separate Filter, Amp, LFO, and 2 Envelopes for each and every Oscillator! Only then does it get mixed down into a powerful effects section. Real-time editing and tweaking is fun because you have a dedicated knob, button, or slider for every parameter. The very clever Tone Select buttons on the left allow you to quickly select which Tones you're tweaking. You can choose to edit any or all of the three Tones at once. By using the Key Hold button, you can play some notes and then let go; now your hands are free to go crazy on the parameters. This is so much more fun than dialing through Edit Menus! You can move multiple sliders/knobs all at once as fast as you want. It's a complete rush to synthesize on-the-fly while the Arpeggiator is going. Within a day or two you'll be making synth-based recordings that are far more interesting than most of the CDs or downloads that are out there. Get a GAIA, grab some sliders and go for it!
See also: Roland, Roland Synthesizers