Part of Roland's Boutique Series, which includes the TR-09 rhythm machine and VP-03 vocoder introduced last year, the "go anywhere" SE-02 monophonic analog synthesizer represents the first analog member of the exclusive club and debuts a new sub-series. Roland is collaborating with select synth makers for its new Designer Series sound machines, and worked with analog synth veterans Studio Electronics for the first out of the gate.
The SE-02 synth sports discrete analog circuitry featuring three voltage-controlled oscillators, a 24 dB low-pass filter and a dual gain-stage amplifier. The oscillators offer players six waveforms, including triangle and sawtooth, and are temperature-stabilized with auto tuning for worry-free performance on stage or in the studio.
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"The Roland SE-02 synthesizer has all of the warm, rounded bass tones and smooth, glassy leads that you would expect from its all-analog architecture," Roland said. "But a new generation of synthesists, producers and musicians requires a new sound, and the Roland SE-02 goes far beyond into inspiring sonic territories."
The unit has 384 classic and modern sound presets out of the box, which can be modified by the player and stored (along with brand new sonic creations) in 128 user slots. There are three kinds of cross modulation on offer, as well as filter feedback, a noise generator, cooked-in delay and a tempo-sync low frequency oscillator boasting nine waveforms.
The SE-02 also includes an integrated 16-step sequencer, with players able to build up to 16 songs from up to 128 locally-stored patterns. The sequencer can be synchronized to a tempo supplied by an external device over MIDI, USB or trigger input, and shuffle, scale, direction and first/last steps can be tweaked during playback.
The 300 x 128 x 46 mm (11.8 x 5 x 1.8 in), 950 g (33.5 oz) sound machine is small enough to throw in a backpack, though players will still need to find a wall outlet to power the SE-02. There's no LCD menu display, but its road-ready metal top is packed with sturdy knob-per-function controls, switches and illuminated buttons for shaping the output.
It's compatible with Roland's K-25m and DK-01 accessory docks, too, which cater for the addition of a 25-key mini keyboard out front, and can be daisy chained to other units for polyphonic possibilities.
The SE-02 is priced at US$499.99 and introduced in the video below.