Roland SE-02 Analog Synthesizer Hands-On Demo

In this video, Roland’s Peter Brown gives a hands-on demo of the new Roland Boutique SE-02 analog synthesizer.

The SE-02 is the first product of a planned Roland Boutique Designer Series. The SE-02 uses discrete analog circuitry to create a synthesizer with a vintage sound, but with modern capabilities. It features lots of knobs and switches for immediate control, an onboard sequencer, full MIDI support, USB Audio and more.

Pricing and Availability

The Roland SE-02 analog synthesizers expected to be available ‘soon, with a street price of US $499.99. See the Roland site for more information.

55 thoughts on “Roland SE-02 Analog Synthesizer Hands-On Demo

  1. I like the sound and the form factor, Studio Electronics did a great job on this one. I am slightly disappointed that it isn’t battery powered with a built-in speaker like the other “Boutiques”, as I quite like sitting on the couch and annoying my wife with the distinctive sounds I can get out of my JP-08.
    In addition, I have never had any issues with the smaller knob, button, or slider size on the Boutiques.

    This is encouraging, I think we will see other great collaborations in the “Roland Boutique Designer Series”. Can’t wait to see the next one.

    1. yeah battery power would be awesome – I love the portability of my JX03 – is the plug proprietary though or does it use the microSD for power – if it does you can connect a power bank

      1. The SE-02 appears to require more juice than batteries or USB can provide. There is a jack on the back for a “Boss PSB” adapter – it is a standard power barrel connector, nothing proprietary here.

        1. I’m sure you meant to say, or thought the one you responded to new this, but/he she might not know.
          There are Power-banks that have different type of adapters and output voltages. Chances are that one can get one of those to power this thing… Power-Banks are genereally thought as stuff to charge or power USB Equipment, but there are those that does more.

    2. ” I have never had any issues with the smaller knob, button, or slider size on the Boutiques.” < Common opinion for people who don’t play live 😀

      1. I have a full-sized MIDI controller keyboard for live performance. It allows me to map key parameters (envelope, filter cutoff, LFO settings) in a consistent fashion so I can find them in all lighting situations.

        The size of the Boutique controls simply doesn’t matter (I have a JX-03) and the compact size is beneficial for building a compact rig.

        1. I agree… Don’t unverstand why anyone would think this need this to have large enough controllers for performing.

          People complain about mini keyboards.
          About size of controls of this.
          A good controller keyboard isn’t that expensive.
          The advatage is the one can chose the key-action they like. Whereas even synths with full-sized keys might not offer a good action, just because they are fullsized.

          I think mini-keys and Midi input is a pretty good compromise, to reduce the production to a single product, instead of module + Full-sized keys. Besides, not everyone has a issue with Mini keys. (although I would have preferred if Modules were the standard, and that there were controller keyboard with 19″ rack mounts, to place the synths in. (in some cases the synth might be split in to several of 19″ modules, with some of them just as controllers, so that the layout could be configured))

          I also think this the Boutique synths are good compromises.
          I rather have a parameter-filled front, compared to having a display driven product. Besides not everyone use more than keys + mod + Pitch during performance… (The complaints I have about the boutiques is the memory system, but it works, except for the JX-03 that doesn’t come with enough storage. The other thing would be that digital ones perhaps felt a bit expensive considering their limited polyphony, but if the front-controllers and DSP put the price at that level for that type of polyphony, I would say it was a good compromise to offer 4 voices at the prices they were)

  2. Great little synth!! super portable as well!
    Only con I found is the overcompressed and distorted sound at the video. (even at the voiceover)-did anyone else encounter this problem or are my speakers totally f#d up?
    another ”downer” is the non velocity sensitivity.. Except this, all rest sounds great to me

    cheers

    1. I understand the choice not to provide an UI for velocity sensitivity and mapping, because that’s not found on traditional analog monosynths, and could add considerable complexity.

      And the main challenge of developing a synth like this is figuring out what features and controls you can include and still keep the price down below $500.

      What would make sense on a device like this, though, would be to configure a synth-wide amount of velocity to go to amplitude and filter cutoff. This could be done via a patch editor and I’d be fine with it.

      Hopefully there will be some capability of that sort!

    2. Velocity is routed to filter contour /envelope amount, accessed via the patch set up mode. We have always preferred that over filter cutoff. Aftertouch can be applied to wheel mix and filter cutoff. Patch set up mode does a few off panel parameters, more coming…

      Studio Electronics

      1. Cool if that is true (we are on the web, so people can post as anyone).

        Would be really cool (but perhaps a bit too complex) if they could be made to work with Polyphonic Expression in polychain mode. Or at least polyphonic aftertouch.

        (linnstrument and Keith McMillen midi expander has support for midi channel rotation for a set number of channels, so they can work with Multi-timbral set-ups. Having more than one of these would give that option, by setting things up right, but unless it could be combined with the Poly-chain mode, there would be no Global patch-change… But I guess that probably means every unit would have to repond to two midi-channels, where one carries the patch changing, and parameter controls, and the other carries the performance controls, and that is probably too complex to solve in the firmware)

      2. I can’t see anything about velocity in the manual, or Sunshine Jones’s much better manual.

        How would we configure the amount of velocity response? Is it one setting for amplitude envelope and one for filter envelope, just one parameter for the whole setting, or what?

        If it’s just mapped to Contour, could you add more configurability in a future firmware update, or is it hard wired?

  3. Just when we thought Behringer’s Minimoog clone was going to take over the world…..Roland comes out with one as well, but with patch memory, sequencer, more functionality including crossmod options…for only $100 more.

    Good times these are.

  4. I would pay a few hundred dollars more for this unit if it was larger. My goodness. Could they make it any smaller? Why do they have to make this thing so tiny? Does it come with a magnifying glass, or is that sold separately?

    1. Have you seen the size of East-Asian apartments? For a Japanese company it makes absolute sense to build tiny synthesizers. Why would they produce huge and heavy gear that is only interesting for the American and West- European market?

    2. Then why don’t you spring for an SE-1? This was commissioned by Roland for their boutique series, which is a specific form factor and fits into a specific keyboard bed.

    3. There is probably a market for that as well.
      But not all would get both, so the R&D for the two, and sourcing components for two, setting up productionlines for two products, means a lower profit margin on each unit. And this might nog even have that much of a profit margin to begin with.

      But it is very possible that they will do a larger version, after a year or two, when they made a profit on this unit. And some would accept “buying it twice”, as that should enable duo-phonic play.

      I prefer that they did start with this, compared to a larger model for a couple of hundred more.
      I don’t mind the size of the controls.
      And if I were a live perfomer, I would appreaciate not having to transport another large case to bring along an additonal analog Mono-synth.

      With the right power-bank it could even be used with a mobile studio.

  5. This is a decent blend of maturity, immediacy, and portability. I know some people are going to trash it and that’s fine but it’s the first thing that’s really peaked interest in me from Roland since the Juno 60.

  6. I will not buy this, I prefer to be loyal to Behringer that started to break the (absurdly high) prices of analog synths.
    This is clearly a Roland/SE attack to Behringer’s “music for the masses” policy.
    But without Behringer a 3 voices mono analog would have to cost more than 1500$.

    1. After thinking about it I think I’m going to wait for the Behringer D myself .. I like the idea of racking them in a Eurorack case.

    2. sorry, had to chuckle at “loyal to Behringer”. I get that you mean you’re happy they brought synth hardware prices down, it’s just a phrase i’m unfamiliar with.

    3. Behringer can only offer those prices by exploiting labor and offering a crappy product, which they’ve been doing for years. If you want a three osc monosynth for cheap get a VolcaBass.

      1. Exploitant their workers? Look alt the internet for documentaires Aboutaleb their Chinese factories, then you can’t sustain that.

      1. BS. Dave is on video explaining exactly why rev2 is do affordable. it was an update, not a new design. only 6 months of development. most of parts and manufacturing were already ready to go. neither DSI nor Moog are sweating Behringer’s hype machine one bit. I, for one, will not give the sweat shop master a dime. better check your loyalties.

    4. Waldorf did the 3 osc Pulse 2, long before this or behringer D.
      There has been affordable analog monos for some years now. The Dave smith Evolver desktop hybrid was never really that expensive.

      But if you are talking polyphonic analog synths (but you wrote mono).
      Well the Minilogue came before the Deepmind 12. Sure it would only give about 8 voices for the same price, but is has VCOs, and the second one isn’t crippled. So I would say in terms of packing features in to a cheaper synth, they are on par.

      But if Behringer can “clone” every classic poly and mono that is not restricted by patents, that would be great.
      But I have no problem seeing the competition doing the same.

      Besides. I’m quite sure that Roland and Studio-Electronics started work on this before Behringer announced the Behringer D. Just because somone announces something first does not mean that others were not already working on the same. Sometimes they might even have started the work before. If we followed the process of Berhinger in real time (that they weren’t already working on the D, before Uli started talking about it), then I think Roland + Studio Electronics actually started their work on this before Behringer started on the D.

  7. I emailed Studio Electronics about whether it has batteries and a built-in speaker. It has the tiny speaker but the battery compartment has been replaced with a “much more robust 9v power supply.”

    1. There are 9v power-banks out there.
      I think Roland should do an offical one (that can also power other of their 9v gear). To at least make sure people know it is possible to run it without an outlet.

  8. I can’t understand the moaning about the tiny knobs or small size. My MFB Kraftwerk has knobs that small and it never stopped my giant paws from using it. The tiny knobs on the Roland VP-03 have never bothered me. If people don’t like the thing they aren’t required to buy it. There isn’t a rule that says you have to. Thankfully there is enough gear options to meet everyone’s requirements, desires or musical needs. Every time some company releases a new product the comment section here explodes into the same rant about how the new product is too something or not enough something. I probably won’t buy one of these but I still think it is cool that it exists.

    1. I don’t get it either.
      And this responds to Midi CC, so for live use, jsut get a good controller.
      The same with products with Minikeys… if it has Midi-input, I dont see the issue.

      (when it comes to mini-keys I would have preferred if the standard for synths was to come as desktop moduels with 19″ rack comptibility, and that keyboards were e separate thing, and that there were controllers keyboards with 19″ racks attached… but as long as the industry hasn’t relaised the benefit of that, I accept minikeys as a compromise for getting people to try it out in stores, while the synth can still be made small enough to be seen as a module for those that don’t need the keys)

  9. True! I think the people complaining get attention so they keep coming back. Inserting complaints again. Then it’s almost like the people who are really truly excited about the item of discussion look cheesy saying they love it because it’s more popular to gripe. Whatever is popular isnt always normal. Look at hair styles over the years.

  10. $799 Australian at StoreDJ.
    Yikes! That’s $219 more than I paid for my JDxi a few months ago.
    Looks really good, but deffo not an impulse buy at that price.

    1. StoreDJ often list the RRP on their stock online, which can seem high compared to other places. One of my locals (in Canberra) has already dropped them to $730.

      Aussie music stores seem to have a thing about putting a high price tag on gear but then dropping the price when you chat with staff. Maybe they do that to make you feel special & more likely to buy from them, or maybe staff are keen-as to make sales quotas at any price. Or maybe they just like gearheads & GAS freaks?

      Never bought from StoreDJ so I can’t comment if they drop prices when they smell a sale.

  11. Surely there having a bit of a laugh, it’s too small for live work, no way my big mitts would be able to grab those tiny knobs in the dark.

  12. If this was the same price as a waldorf pulse2, I’d be seriously tempted. As it is now, well, there’s just too many synths/musicboxes in the ~700€ pricepoint, its up against a stiff competition. Sounds good though!

    Use a controller keyboard with the amt/size of keys and the amt/density of knobs you prefer if you dislike this form factor? AFAIK this will have a comprehensive MIDI implementation for remote control.

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