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Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:41 pm
by joeyfixit
What I'd like is to be able to reproduce a big, fuzzy, deep Stereolab Farfisa chord sound. I want the machine to have knobs for easy on the fly manipulation.

I'm eyeing up the Gaia SH-01 - I really like the UI on this machine, as well as (I'm pretty sure) the option to turn it into a monosynth with a single button.

What I'm hesitant about is the sound quality. From the vids I've seen online, I'm worried that it'll end up sounding like a battery-powered casio. This is for gigging; I'd probably run it through my Fender Bassman.

Anyone familiar with this? Can you testify to the sound quality or the oomph?

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:18 pm
by meatballfulton
It sounds very good, not as fat as a real analog but it's gig worthy. I'm assuming there are no local dealers who stock it, otherwise you would have already heard what it sounds like.

If buying new, make sure the dealer has a solid 30-day return policy.

This video is the one to watch:


Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:47 pm
by Stab Frenzy
Just get a Farfisa if that's the sound you want. They cost about the same.

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:51 am
by joeyfixit
Stab Frenzy wrote:Just get a Farfisa if that's the sound you want. They cost about the same.
There's a Gaia to be had for 400 near me. But not in a store.

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:15 am
by commodorejohn
In my opinion the Gaia sounds like plastic. Like when you leave a water sitting in a cheap plastic bottle in the sun and then you come back and some of the plastic has dissolved into the water and you try to have a drink but all you can taste is the plastic. That's how it sounds.

Of course, if there's one near you, just try it before you buy and see what you think. But as far as I'm concerned it sounds like garbage.

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:03 am
by Stab Frenzy
joeyfixit wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:Just get a Farfisa if that's the sound you want. They cost about the same.
There's a Gaia to be had for 400 near me. But not in a store.
You should be able to get a Farfisa for less than that. And it'll actually sound like what you want, which the Gaia won't.

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:29 pm
by joeyfixit
Stab Frenzy wrote:
joeyfixit wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:Just get a Farfisa if that's the sound you want. They cost about the same.
There's a Gaia to be had for 400 near me. But not in a store.
You should be able to get a Farfisa for less than that. And it'll actually sound like what you want, which the Gaia won't.
You have one? Or a lead on one?

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:34 pm
by ryryoftokyo
commodorejohn wrote:In my opinion the Gaia sounds like plastic. Like when you leave a water sitting in a cheap plastic bottle in the sun and then you come back and some of the plastic has dissolved into the water and you try to have a drink but all you can taste is the plastic. That's how it sounds.

Of course, if there's one near you, just try it before you buy and see what you think. But as far as I'm concerned it sounds like garbage.
That may be the best analogy for the Gaia I've heard yet.

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:38 am
by Kenneth
ryryoftokyo wrote:
commodorejohn wrote:In my opinion the Gaia sounds like plastic. Like when you leave a water sitting in a cheap plastic bottle in the sun and then you come back and some of the plastic has dissolved into the water and you try to have a drink but all you can taste is the plastic. That's how it sounds.

Of course, if there's one near you, just try it before you buy and see what you think. But as far as I'm concerned it sounds like garbage.
That may be the best analogy for the Gaia I've heard yet.
Seconded. That was awesome :lol:

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:44 am
by corndogssg
yeah, don't buy a gaia. It does have a great ui but it sounds lame even with all it's built in effects.

better off with an ultranova or blofeld.

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:42 pm
by joeyfixit
corndogssg wrote:yeah, don't buy a gaia. It does have a great ui but it sounds lame even with all it's built in effects.

better off with an ultranova or blofeld.
I already have an Alesis Micron. Is a Blofeld much of an improvement?

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:48 pm
by Bitexion
Blofeld is in a totally different world than the Micron. It has wavetable oscillators that let you scan through 64-128 digital waveforms over time with envelopes, lfo, by hand. And there's dozens of wavetables to explore.
Think PPG Wave 2.x from the 80s.
In addition to your standard "analogue" waveforms, a few filters and a great effects package. I wuv it, and I had an Ion also.

Can also be a perfectly fine 3 osc analogue synth like the micron. 2 of the oscillators can use the wavetable waveforms, the last is only saw, tri, sine, square/pwm.

Also I've owned a Gaia for 6 months, I didn't think it sounded as awful as some above here. Have you guys actually had one? Or just parrot others opinions?

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:00 pm
by commodorejohn
Bitexion wrote:Also I've owned a Gaia for 6 months, I didn't think it sounded as awful as some above here. Have you guys actually had one? Or just parrot others opinions?
I've used one, and like I said: it sounds like garbage. Not like obvious 10ยข Chinese toy-keyboard trash, it's more of just a layer of plastic grossness on what seems at first like a plausible entry-level VA synth. It's like going into a nice little small-town diner and ordering a sandwich, and the waitress plunks down one of those Saran-wrapped vending-machine artificial-meat-product sandwich bricks in front of you - yes, arguably it is a sandwich, but it's worlds away from what you actually wanted and it just makes you kind of sad.

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:11 pm
by Bitexion
Yeah guess I didn't have as high expectations. Just liked the interface and got one. Its sliders and knobs are nice for softsynths too.

Re: Roland Gaia SH-01

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:20 pm
by Re-Member
To my ears, it sounds like a rompler trying to sound VA. There's even posts online showing that many of the waveforms are indeed sampled, compete with loop points. This actually wouldn't be a such a bad thing if not for the fact that the synth engine could have offered more sampled waveforms to choose from, making it function more like a compact JD-800. But it doesn't. Instead, you get an additional MIDI sound set which isn't even routed through it's synth engine. But hey, I guess that's great for gigging musicians whom don't want to lug around their 3lb Casio keyboard from Walmart with them. Then there's those weird limitations: using ring mod or osc sync either disables the filter & PWM or forces everything to play monophonically. Sometimes all three. Because of this, it pretty much fails as both a VA and as a rompler.