An unexpected collaboration sets “The Future Defined” Roland event alight with what looks like an awesome analogue synthesizer. Roland and Studio Electronics have come up with the SE-02. It’s a Roland Boutique product but built with authentic discrete analog circuitry. I am so blown away – this is going to be great!
It’s a 3 oscillator monophonic synthesizer with 6 waveforms. There’s a 24dB low pass filter and a dual gain-stage amplifier. There are three types of cross modulation, a feedback loop and a noise generator. The LFO has 9 waveforms. Somewhere in there is the ability to save 128 sounds with 384 presets ready to go. There’s a pattern sequencer for notes, gate, glide and other synth parameters. On the back is a sprinkling of CV and an external input for the filter.
There’s no menu system, this is one knob per parameter. The layout and design projects a lot of Moog to me while at the same time incorporating some of Roland’s pizazz with filter feedback, tempo sync delay and cross modulation.
The sequencer has 16 steps and can sync to external tempo via MIDI, USB or trigger input. There’s shuffle, scale, direction all performable as you create your tune. You can store up to 128 patterns and chain them into 16 songs with 16 parts.
It is, at the same time, a Boutique product meaning that the form factor follows the same lines as the other machines in the series. This also means that you can chain two or more together to create a polyphonic synth and you can plug it into the K-25M mini keyboard. Although the image above with the K-25M simply ruins it all for me – it suddenly looks so toy-like! That’s a seriously bad idea, don’t use it with the K-25M!
Studio Electronics contribution seems to be in the area of keeping it analog. Previous Roland Boutique instruments have eschewed real discrete components for their awesome (but not quite analog) ACB modelling technology. This is really what we’ve all been hoping for. Something real, something new that will become a classic in its own right.
The video below is really interesting in how Roland and Studio Electronics came together to design and produce this synthesizer. Below that is a 7 minute video of just the sounds – no talking!
No details availability yet but I haven’t been this excited by a desktop synth for quite a while – and there’s some very cool stuff out there these days. Better than the Mother-32, the 0-Coast, the Novation Peak or anything that Behringer might cook up? We shall see although at $499 it’s looking pretty promising. The rather weeny knobs do give me cause for concern. They look a lot like the size of the ones I found on the Behringer D we saw at Superbooth. It sounds excellent so far but maybe judgement needs to be reserved until we get our hands on it.
More information on the Roland website.