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Roland System 100

Published: August 21, 2021
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The Roland System 100 was an analog synthesizer, manufactured by the Roland Corporation from Japan. It was released in 1975 and manufactured until 1979. The System 100 is a semi-modular monophonic synth consisting of 5 module components:

Roland System 100

  • Synthesizer 101
  • Expander 102L: The same synthesizer again, without the keyboard, to be stood up behind the 101 and patched into it in order to double its features. In addition, a ring modulator and sample and hold are included.
  • Mixer 103: A four-channel stereo mixer with built-in spring reverb, stereo panning, and mono FX send/return.
  • Sequencer 104: A two-channel, 12-step sequencer to automate playing looped bars of notes.
  • Monitor Speakers 109: A pair of 16cm speakers.
  • PCS-10: 20cm, 40cm, 60cm, 80cm and 1m patch cables.

The Synthesizer 101 section is the heart of the system, from which you could add-on any of the other modules of your choice. Different combinations of these components can be used to create systems of varying potential. It features an ADSR, LFO, Portamento, a VCO (with pulse width modulation and a tuning knob marked in Hz from 10Hz to 10kHz), white or pink noise, an audio mixer (with sliders for VCO, Noise, and External Input), a high-pass filter, a low-pass VCF, and a VCA with input for LFO. There are also buttons for auto-glide and manual-glide and an A-440Hz tuning oscillator. All of this in 21 sliders, five knobs, 14 mini-jack sockets, seven switches, and three 1/4" jacks (for headphone and high and low outputs).

While the System 100 was not fully modular, unlike the later Roland System-100M and the Roland System 700, a complete system nevertheless formed an expandable two-oscillator monosynth with sequencing, monitoring and effects capabilities. Each unit was independently powered, so complex patches wouldn't cause either oscillator to drop in pitch. Uniquely for the time, the System 100 didn't "lock in" the oscillators to fixed footages or pitches, allowing greater flexibility for sound design. It uses the 1V/oct standard, so can be used with a MIDI-to-CV converter.

The System 100 is still sought-after due to its filter, sequencer and patching capabilities, though the oscillators can be unstable at the lower frequencies, and the keyboard is prone to mis-triggering and double-triggering if not used regularly. Generally, however, it is a robust and reliable system. The SH-5 and SH-7 are similar in styling, but both have fixed signal paths, as opposed to the semi-modular System 100. 

Links

// repair service manual //

Want a copy of the service manual?
Download here the Roland System 100 service manual (PDF).

Roland System 100 value and price guide

What's your Roland System 100 worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items with prices.

Item Title Date Price
Roland Roland System 100M… Roland System 100M… 08/2021 $ 4 766.37
Roland Roland System 100 MODEL 102 Roland System 100 MODEL 102 Expander 06/2021 $ 3 517.79
Roland Roland System 100 MODEL 101 Roland System 100 MODEL 101 Monophonic 06/2021 $ 2 286.57
Roland Roland System 100 Model 103 Roland System 100 Model 103 MIXING 06/2021 $ 1 758.90
Roland Roland System 100M 191 J Roland System 100M 191 J Cabinet Five 07/2021 $ 1 055.33
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices09/2021-.--

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