Many years ago, in a search on the Internet for some free drum samples, I came across a set of drum sounds made on a Roland SH-101 with something called the Novamod. The sounds were unlike anything I had heard out of an SH-101 sound before. They were more complex and aggressive, but with that same tightness and punch that the 101’s are known for.
Recently, I was lucky enough to find one of these on eBay, and seeing as there isn’t all that much info out there about the modification, I thought I would upload a couple of demos to give a rough idea at what the mod adds to the classic 101 sound.
This is a user installed modification that added the following features:
* Extended LFO Speeds – A switch allows you to select super slow, normal, or super fast LFO speeds. The super fast speeds go into audio range, which allows more digital sounding timbres and calngerous sounds to be created.
* An audio input to feed external audio through the 101’s filters. Honestly, as great as the 101’s filter is, I don’t think processing outside audio is really the machine’s strong suit.
* A CV input for controlling the filter.
* 1/4“ replacements for the 1/8“ CV and gate inputs (although mine doesn’t have this part installed)
* Filter Overdrive – This is one of the best features, in my opinon. Boosts the output by insane levels and can add a really nasty (in the good way) bite to sounds, especially drum and percussion sounds.
* LFO Clock Input - For syncing LFO and arp to an outside source such as a sequencer or drum machine.
* Extended Pulse Width Range for more PWM timbral options
* PWM Sources added – A range of different modulation options for PWM effects is available and is separate from the LFO’s waveform.
* Filter FM – This is my favorite feature, especially in combination with the overdrive. User can select from six different FM sources for a really wide variety of sounds, from traditional FM synth sounds to gnarly, distorted growls.
And now, on with the demos. There are 3 different features demonstrated in these clips:
1.) The first is a synth percussion sound going through the filter overdrive. I tweak the envelope decay and filter cutoff a bit.
2.) Next up is a synth sequence demonstrating the Filter FM. Only one source is used here (the 2 octave squarewave). I tweak the FM amount, as well as the filter cutoff and resonance levels, as these also have a big effect on the timbre. Again, this is only one of the 6 waveforms being demonstrated. Each one sounds very distinct from the others, so you can imagine how varied the timbres it can create are.
3.) Finally is a clangorous rhythm sequence that is made entirely of the superfast LFO speeds modulating the filter. There are no waveforms selected here, this is purely being produced by the filter modulation itself.
For more information and complete documentation for the NovaMod, you can download a very helpful PDF file here.