The SE-02 represents Roland and Studio Electronics’ collaborative effort, the firm behind advanced synth modules like the Omega 8, Boomstar, and Lonestar.
The SE-02 is a 3-oscillator analog mono synth module using different analog circuitry that provides massive classic tone courtesy of 3 voltage-controlled oscillators, a voltage-controlled 24dB lowpass filter, plus also a dual-gain stage amplifier.
The oscillators are temperature-stabilized with automatic pruning to stop them from drifting. The Roland SE 02 features a control center packed with high-grade knobs and switches and a fully-featured 16-step sequencer to supply you with an expressive hands-on control within this impressive firepower. Keep reading Fidlar’s post to see our Roland Se-02 Reviews.
Roland Se-02 Review
- Type: Synth Module
- Analog/Digital: Analog
- Pads: 16 x multi-function buttons
- Polyphony: Monophonic
- Presets: 384 presets, 128 user locations
- Oscillators: 3 x VCO (6 waveforms)
- Sequencer: 16-step, 128 patterns, 16 songs
- Analog Inputs: 1 x 1/8″ (external)
- Analog Outputs: 1 x 1/8″ (mix out), 1 x 1/8″ (headphones)
- MIDI I/O: In/Out/USB
- Other I/O: Trigger in/out, CV in, Gate in, VCF CV in
- USB: 1 x Micro-B
- Power Supply: 9V DC 2A power supply (included)
- Height: 1.81″
- Width: 11.81″
- Depth: 5.06″
- Weight: 2 lbs. 2 oz.
- Manufacturer Part Number: SE-02
- Compact and portable with a high-quality, characterful sound.
- Generally well put together, with plenty of connectivity.
- A very decent onboard sequencer.
- Controls are pretty close together.
- Lacks pitch/mod strips and battery power.
- Discrete analog circuitry with knob-per-function interface
- Three voltage controlled oscillators with six waveforms
- Temperature-stabilized oscillators with automatic tuning
- 24 dB low-pass filter and dual gain-stage amplifier
- Three types of cross modulation (XMOD), feedback loop, and noise generator
Developed by Roland analog synth as the introduction product of this newest Roland Boutique Designer Series, the SE-02 employs precisely the same situation as previous Boutique modules, to the extent that it is compatible with all the K25m keyboard unit along with the DK01 Boutique Dock.
Additionally, it stocks (for better or worse) items like the 3.5millimeter sockets for its sound I/O. However, you need to place the socket to get a 9V DC power source to realize that it is different from other Boutique modules since it’s one! While the prior versions can run on the energy provided with a USB connection, the hungrier SE-02 can’t.
The SE-02 seems to be a to the current trend for Minimoog-ish, and matters like its oscillator and filter constructions in addandDS (D) shape generators create the comparison inevitable.
I wondered if it would sound and feel like a miniature but the prolonged version of the Minimoog, and put it alongside my Minimoog to try it.
As you can see, it integrates three oscillators, employed as VCOs but using a digital management mechanism, which aren’t the contradiction in terms, it seems.
The six waveforms on every (such as the substitution of a ramp wave to get the shark’s teeth tide in OSC 3) are equal using the Moog’s, as would be the footages, the fine-tune controls for our two and OSC 3, along with the change to detach or 3 in the computer keyboard CV.
Testing all the waveforms using the filters broad open without any modulation or impacts implemented revealed the inherent waveforms and tones are too much like the Minimoog’s, but maybe not quite as like emulations from everywhere.
I am not surprised; only before submitting this review, I found Studio Electronics has integrated Oberheim and ARP engineering elements from the SE-02’s oscillators.
Other differences are more prominent. Some are usable, like the master song knob migrating out of your panel on the Moog into the panel of this SE-02, where it is far too simple to nudge inadvertently and send the entire device out of tune.
But more important are the improvements to the oscillator structure, such as oscillator sync of OSC two by is 1, together with the filter sweeping of two to acquire the typical range of competitive hard-sync timbres, and three cross-modulation choices controlled with the dedicated XMod board along with the modulation wheel.
The range of possibilities provided by those separately or in combination is immense, and the SE-02 is capable of producing sounds which no real Minimoog actually could.
Next from the signal chain is located the mixer, which provides flat controls for five sign inputs. But, its look is deceiving because the external input control would lie on a Minimoog.
There is a knob to control the gain of a feedback loop (derived from Studio Electronics’ Boomstar range) that joins the output by the VCA into the mixer input.
The noise might become more comfortable and more assertive; in large profits, with higher signal levels, it could pass downright obnoxious to an out-of-control ax-wielding maniac.
Consequently, any sound introduced to the Roland se02 external signal input signal is injected into the signal path with no user control within its level. Oh, yes, and the Minimoog’s white/pink sound change has also been dropped, and only white noise is created.
Now comes the joint VCF/VCA section. This mimics the Minimoog, using cutoff and accent controls to the 24dB/oct low-pass filter and two buttons to use zero, 33, 67, or 100 percent keyboard tracks into the filter cutoff frequency.
The Moog’s ADS (D) filter shape generator can be emulated, but today using a reverse’ option (yippee!) A multi-triggering alternative.
I discovered that the filter itself seemed like the Minimoog’s, but with one clear difference: the self-oscillation of this SE-02 filter extends to 50Hz (which also looks like the smallest cutoff frequency) while the Minimoog tails away in higher frequencies. This usually means that a number of the Minimoog’s feature bass sounds can’t be precisely replicated.
The VCA shape generator can also be an ADS (D) apparatus and, because there’s no operation, this is where you will discover the change to use the decay time for a release stage.
Unlike the Minimoog, the SE-02 permits you to determine if the amplifier shape alone has a discharge stage or if the filter and amplifier shapes are changed.
Another change permits you to select whether the rising edge of a gate signal (made from a MIDI Note or an incoming analog gate from everywhere ) or the LFO activates the shapes.
The fastest attack and release times are remarkable, generating clicks in their minimal configurations, but their lightest shape times, although not miserly, aren’t hugely generous.
I timed three stages about the SE-02 at about 14s, in comparison with approximately 14s (assault ) and 40s (rust and Release) in my Minimoog.
It is not a problem but will preclude unusually long, tender sweeps. The VCA itself may be lightly overdriven in elevated levels, which can be subtle.
The dedicated LFO segment (again derived in the Boomstar series) seems to be following in the signal path (which it is not ) and provides nine waveforms plus committed modulation paths to the oscillators’ master frequency and the filter cutoff frequency, each using its knob to control the level.
Two buttons then permit you to ascertain whether the LFO depth is controlled by the modulation wheel and high or very low amplitude.
The minimal amplitude alternative is a welcome improvement since the first Minimoog had a superbly over-sensitive mod wheel when employed for vibrato.
Another change determines if the LFO runs openly, is synced to crucial factors, or produces a one-one-shot’ wave. Sad to say, the final of those choices, which should permit you to utilize the LFO as a straightforward shape generator, is hobbled with its execution, which has got the trigger stage lying halfway between the minimum and maximum voltages.
I believe that Studio Electronics and Roland Boutique SE-02 have missed a trick. The last switch then decides if the LFO is sync would to MIDI Clock, or the delay is, or are, which brings us to.
Before I started using the SE-02 to generate music, I noticed quite a few shortcomings. The most painful of these was that the oscillators from the inspection version weren’t scaled correctly.
The oscillators’ range from 32′ to 2′, traveled apartment by approximately 25 cents (half a semitone). This does not seem like much, but it is just the diameter of a 49-note computer keyboard, which means a sound that has been in song at the base was flat in the very top.
Considering that the tuning mechanism relies on regular signal processing and a frequency look-up table, there are no trimmers to tweak. Therefore there was nothing I could do about that.
Additionally, I detected a small amount of bleed out of each of the three oscillators to the signal path when their amounts were. The numbers were not enough to be concealed in the majority of circumstances.
However, I’d still advise programmers to make sure all three oscillators are in the song, even if not being used, to minimize the prospect of any undesirable artifacts.
Along with this, the quantization of a few parameters was perceptible, mainly when controlled over MIDI. Such quantization has seldom bothered me.
I’ve coaxed sounds I enjoy from synths using 5-bit parameters. The SE-02 is a lot more accurate than that; however, if you belong to the Association of Pure Analogue Fanatics, this might be a problem.
Moving on, I must acknowledge that patching the SE-02 was not necessarily a joy. The control panel is so densely populated with little knobs and buttons I needed to be cautious not to nudge a while attempting to correct another.
Consequently, grabbing and twisting knobs to in just a couple of degrees of the own lives during a live performance is not very likely to function as SE-02’s.
But should you use it in the manner that synths were performed in the 1970s, producing the sound first then affecting it with the performance capacities instead of altering the patch itself, all should be OK.
Adhering to operational details, the sequencer is not the most intuitive that I have ever encountered, and constructing whole songs can be somewhat long-winded.
However, this is not its most significant shortcoming, which will be its seeming inability to be transposed in real-time by playing the control keyboard.
There is nothing in the documentation to suggest this is possible; however, trusting that it may be a hidden order, I tried dozens of combinations of keys and controls to absolutely no avail.
Then there is the execution of this cross-modulation. You can not disconnect or two on the computer keyboard. However, this is the sole oscillator that could govern the filter, meaning that you can not have consistent audio-frequency filter modulation because you perform up and down the computer.
That is a departure from the Minimoog, and also unfortunate supervision if you are into these things. What’s more, the minimal frequency of one 3 is too large to get the very best from its capacity to create PWM, and it is a shame.
Eventually, I was worried about the popping sounds that sometimes emanated in the SE-02 while editing it. I seemed to see if I had been causing this somehow but could not find a motive. I expect this is simply an anomaly about the inspection unit rather than a systematic problem.
Despite all these concerns, I must acknowledge the SE-02 will produce a damn nice mono synth after its difficulties are addressed. Nevertheless, some people are already complaining that it does not seem like an SH-101 or even S-H5.
That is daft. Suppose you’d like the cleaner, more exact, squelchier 1970s Japanese noise. In that case, there are lots of different approaches to get it, not using Roland’s very own AIRA systems along with other versions from the Boutique collection. On the flip side, I am not sure it sounds or feels like a Minimoog either.
I found the design for a small diversion because each of the SE-02’s additional facilities requires that you measure past the Moog’s constraints; after that, it starts to exhibit its character significantly less creamy than the Minimoog but capable of considerably increased aggression.
Consequently, it came as no real surprise to discover that its best advantages are bass and lead sounds in addition to sound effects. Sure, the Minimoog does better. However, there’ll be much more you could do using the SE-02. It would be impolite to whine.
Thankfully, the SE-02 also measures far beyond the Minimoog about functionality capacities. On the control panel, you’ll discover portamento using both linear and exponential modes, octave shift (around ±3 octaves), and transpose works, also.
You will find installation functions that enable you to ascertain the patch quantity, the pitch-bend range. In this number, the mod wheel impacts the parameters it controls and, weirdly, the amount where the filter’s shape knob determines the thickness of the shape.
The SE-02 also spits out MIDI CCs. If you tweak controllers, that means that, should you capture the subsequent flow of information, it is possible to automate the synth on playback.
However, most importantly, the provision of aftertouch, together with two installation functions, enables you to ascertain the amount where pressure impacts the LFO thickness and the filter cutoff frequency. This requires the SE-02 to an entirely different level if you would like to use it as a soloing instrument.
Inevitably, a lot of folks will be pleased to tweak the SE-02’s mill noises. Others will choose to style their spots from original principles and, for many, there is a manual mode which enables the audio to reflect the preferences of the knobs and buttons on the board, but occasionally it does not appear to initialize entirely, or perhaps the installation parameters may affect things to the level that you are not sure why something is happening, or why it isn’t.
Astonishingly, the SE-02 provides no fewer than 512 patch memories, 384 of that can be preset, and 128 of which are user-programmable.
Why Roland or Studio Electronics believe that you would need so many noises which you can not overwrite (and that, in common with nearly all spots from all producers, including many who are nearly but not quite everything you need ) is beyond me. But as I write this, I understand that I am churlish; had it provided 128 user opinions and nowt else, I’d be praising it!
The Roland Se-02 is as near to being the ideal analog mono synth as you will buy for under $500. It is, admittedly, at the top end of this very affordable scale, and also, the computer keyboard attachment is optional. Still, it seems better than some of its competitions. The SE-02 is a milestone synthesizer for Roland and the new benchmark for cheap analog mono synths.
Last update on 2020-12-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API