D16 LuSH-101 Review

More than 3 years, the users had to wait on this synthesizer, which was previously announced under the name Shiotor. But now the time had come, and Lush-101 has been released some days ago. Same as many other users, we couldn`t wait to get our hands on it, so lets have a close look…

The slogan “the only synth you need” appears at first glance very self-conscious, especially for a synthesizer, which should be in the first line only an emulation of Roland SH-101. But when we look at the GUI is easy to see that LuSH-101 brings a lot more with it. It `s an 8-fold SH101 with some extras that you won`t find on the original, including a complete mixer for the 8 layers and master effects. So it is slightly larger than probably thought by the most users 3 years ago. But at first let us focus on the core element, the emulation of the SH-101 sound, before we taking a closer look on the addtional features and structure.

D16 is already known through their recent plugins like Drumazon, Nepheton and Phoscyon for the accurate and detailed emulation of Roland synthesizers. Although we haven`t a original SH-101 at our hands to compare, we can say confident that the basic sound is very high quality, which is underlined, for example, by the alias-free hardsync on the sawtooth oscillator. What is very rare to find on other analog-modelled or emulating synthesizers on the market, and if, than mostly not without aliasing. Summarized, the basic sound makes a very solid and analog-like impression, and can without any doubt compete with other heavy weights of the analog-modelled synth league like D-CAM Synthsquad and u-He DIVA.

As already mentioned, D16 has LuSH-101 equipped with a few extra features. As you can see above, you have on several points the choice of “normal” or “SH-101” mode, like for example the envelope mode or also the filter mode, especially the latter ist very convincing and sounds way more punchy and snappy as the normal filter mode.

But these are just the smaller extra features. One of the bigger addons is the Supersaw mode, for example. When using this mode, the sawtooth oscillator will be replaced by a supersaw oscillator, which is a precisely emulation of the famous oscillator mode of the Roland JP8000. And again a sound of a Roland synthesizer, which the D16 programmers reproduced. Looks like they have a passion for their synthesizers. Now you can say indeed “why a supersaw inside a SH-101 emulation?” – but the answer is simple… why not? It increases the possibilites and is very liked on modern dance genres. And btw the JP8000 is in these times also kind of vintage.

To make the sound even more big and wide, LuSH-101 allows you to use up to 16 unisio voices, again for each layer. If you use this big amount of unisio voices on all layers at once, you can certainly build extremly massive sounds. Next to this you can find on each layer an insert slot for effects. With upcoming updates there will be provide a second insert slot, based on the already published update plan for LuSH-101.

Especially the Vowel Filter, Distortion and Decimator doing their job very well. An arpeggio/gater module is also on each layer. So all in all a quite lot of additional features and possibilites, and this is just one layer, which are also named as “timbre” inside LuSH-101.

As we written above, LuSH-101 is build on 8 layers, which should be for every sounddesigner a kind of wonderland. Combined with the very useful mixer, you are able to create hole drum sequences, very complex arpeggios or even both at once, up to extremly massive sounds. And all them can be already mixing and adjusted in the mixer with using the included compressor and equalizer on each channel, which running into 3 master effects, which can be adjusted on each channel via send amount. So far we know no other synthesizer out there, which comes with 8in1 synths and a hole mixer environment – very impressive! And all this in an outstanding sound quality.

But of course, such a big setup will consume a lot of cpu performance. Some users called it a cpu hog, here we must say yes and no at the same time. On patches, which using several layers or unisio voice the cpu usage is really high. Sometimes we could get just 4 notes out of it, without reached the cpu limit. But there must be mentioned, on these patches running than up 8 synths at once through the layer architecture. On patches which using only one layer, the cpu usage is quite moderate, comparable with other synthesizers of the small quality class. So LuSH-101 can be sometimes relative gentle to your processor, but by intensive usage of all features and layers, your cpu will get laid – immediately.

Another important point for all synthesizers is always the factory. Most synthesizers coming with a factory library in an average quality, with the typcial butter and bread sounds and mostly only with a decent amount of showing the features and capabilites of the synthesizer. But in the case, we must say that the sounddesign team of D16 has done an awesome job. Loaded with a mass of 1700 great sounding presets, and many of them taken intensive usage of the features and layers. Particularly the tempo based presets have impressed us. But that`s not all, LuSH-101 offers to save 5 different presets: Global, Timbre(Layer), Reverb, Delay, Arpeggiator – very nice and handy.

LuSH-101 Presets – Track Demos
LuSH-101 Presets – Singles Demos
LuSH-101 Presets Aiyn Zahev Demo
LuSH-101 Presets – Lukas OZD Dust Beat Demo
LuSH-101 Presets – 101 AM Demo
LuSH-101 Presets – Michal Wolski Reed in the Wind Demo


All in all, D16 has provided a great synthesizer with LuSH-101. You 8 adetailed emulation of the famous Roland SH-101, aswell of the Roland JP-8000 supersaw at once, rounded with a highly usable mixer environment, which makes this synthesizer very versatile. Equipped with high quality internal effects and flexible modulation matrix, packed into an excellent GUI. The manual is very well documented, and answers every open question. The factory presets are top-notch, same as the sound quality of the synthesizer itself.

Well as negative point, we could just find the cpu issue. As mentioned, it can be brutal, but mainly if you using several layers or high unisio settings. If you using just a small number of layers, you will have the same cpu cost as you can expect from other synthesizers in this quality class. D16 has already published an update plan, so you can be sure, this synthesizer will be improved other the time. In our eyes, LuSH-101 earned a clear buy recommendation.

More information: d16.pl (149.00 €)

Sound Quality - 100%
Features - 100%
Performance - 90%
Value for Money - 100%

Summary: All in all, D16 has provided a great synthesizer with LuSH-101. Equipped with high quality internal effects and flexible modulation matrix, packed into an excellent GUI. The factory presets are top-notch, same as the sound quality of the synthesizer itself.


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Published on October 24th, 2012

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