Roland SE-02 - First impressions

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Roland SE-02 - First impressions

jeffcross
Yesterday I received my SE-02. It sounds lovely and I must admit, surprised me a bit. It has a grime to its sound that I was not expecting from Roland’s typically clean sound. I can say, hopefully with some authority, that it sounds nothing like a Moog Model D Reissue, despite its obvious parallels in the control topology and features. SE-02 has a unique voicing of its own which awesome. I had an SE1X for a few weeks and I think the SE-02 sounds more interesting and has more character. I wish I still had the SEx1 as it might have been fun to compare these units.

I think the SE-02 has a great sound and is surprisingly thick and wooly. There is a hairy, electric, “airy” feel to the raw unfiltered sound that I haven’t heard in these sub-$500 analog synths. I have been listening on some very nice Focal monitors and there’s a lot of subtle, dense, snarly detail in this thing. The built-in delay effect is lovely sounding. I wish there was more control over how the delay operated but its a terrific addition and I am thrilled to have it.

I am still getting my head around the sequencer and sound management. It requires a custom driver to work with your Win/macOS system. I am using it on a Mac and shows up as both a USB MIDI interface and audio I/O. I haven’t tried the Audio I/O, and haven’t tried sync’ing it yet to clock from a DAW. My studio partner and I have been playing it as a standalone device with its sequencer and also with an attached MIDI controller. I have played it via the Akai MPK249 and Korg Minilogue and it worked great. I was surprised too that it supports aftertouch>filter cutoff by default.

Whatever you have read about how small the controls are, I can say that I was still quite surprised by just how small it is. Do not mistake this for criticism. I am pretty thrilled about the footprint and even with its compact size, is still easy to operate. Yes, larger would be more of a joy to use, but would also take valuable space in my already cluttered armada.

I hope this is the beginning of a trend that could result in more devices from SE and Roland. My favorite SE synth from the past few years is the Boomstar 4075. It would be brilliant to see a similar box with this synth & step sequencer and some basic integrated effects.

I have had some unexpected tuning hiccups which appear to be unique to my unit, but the good folks at Roland are helping me through this and have given me a lot of attention. Its great to know they care so passionately about the quality of my experience with the unit.

So, kudos to the good folks at SE and Roland. This is a remarkable accomplishment and I look forward to what analog devices come next.

Criticisms:
• The resonant filter is good, but I have heard better. (Perhaps not in this price range) I haven’t tried the Behringer Model D, but in the videos, I can already tell it sounds remarkable. Do not get me wrong, SE-02 filter does sound good, but not as harmonically rich and smooth sounding as I had hoped. I may reverse this criticism as I spend more time with it. This is just my initial gut reaction.

• I love that the controls are sending MIDI controllers and the thing can be automated, but if I listen carefully, I think I am hearing some zippering. Sounds like 8bit controls, so not super obvious zippering, but at times, betrays the analog feel of the unit with a bit of stepping. Then again, I could be hearing what it sound like when my trembling gorilla fingers twitch while attempting to twist these very tiny knobs. I will be looking into this more over the coming days.

• I wish the SE-02 was a class compliant device and did not require a custom driver, and a reboot to start using it with my computer.

• Unless I misunderstood the manual, the parameter lock only supports one parameter change per step. This is still fun and each step can be a separate parameter, but I do wish that it worked with multiple overlapping parameters. I like the behavior of continuous parameter motion sequencing of the Novation Circuit. I would love to see something like this added to the SE-02 via a firmware update. Continuous real time capture within the step pattern is really fun.

• I wasn’t able to get too far with the step sequencer without reading the manual. I do like what it can do, but like the Mother 32, this requires some practice and reading to get it under control.

• The manual is a giant multi-lingual poster folded up like a map. I really wish it had been printed like a book. The PDF is now online so you can read it and search electronically. https://static.roland.com/assets/media/pdf/SE-02_eng02_W.pdf


I have only had a few hours with it, so I am sure I will have more to say over the coming days. (If you care) For now, I can enthusiastically recommend it to any synth fan, especially if they are on a budget either $$ or space.
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Re: Roland SE-02 - First impressions

Computer Controlled
How the hell did you get one already?



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 5:47 PM <[hidden email]> wrote:
Yesterday I received my SE-02. It sounds lovely and I must admit, surprised me a bit. It has a grime to its sound that I was not expecting from Roland’s typically clean sound. I can say, hopefully with some authority, that it sounds nothing like a Moog Model D Reissue, despite its obvious parallels in the control topology and features. SE-02 has a unique voicing of its own which awesome. I had an SE1X for a few weeks and I think the SE-02 sounds more interesting and has more character. I wish I still had the SEx1 as it might have been fun to compare these units.

I think the SE-02 has a great sound and is surprisingly thick and wooly. There is a hairy, electric, “airy” feel to the raw unfiltered sound that I haven’t heard in these sub-$500 analog synths. I have been listening on some very nice Focal monitors and there’s a lot of subtle, dense, snarly detail in this thing. The built-in delay effect is lovely sounding. I wish there was more control over how the delay operated but its a terrific addition and I am thrilled to have it.

I am still getting my head around the sequencer and sound management. It requires a custom driver to work with your Win/macOS system. I am using it on a Mac and shows up as both a USB MIDI interface and audio I/O. I haven’t tried the Audio I/O, and haven’t tried sync’ing it yet to clock from a DAW. My studio partner and I have been playing it as a standalone device with its sequencer and also with an attached MIDI controller. I have played it via the Akai MPK249 and Korg Minilogue and it worked great. I was surprised too that it supports aftertouch>filter cutoff by default.

Whatever you have read about how small the controls are, I can say that I was still quite surprised by just how small it is. Do not mistake this for criticism. I am pretty thrilled about the footprint and even with its compact size, is still easy to operate. Yes, larger would be more of a joy to use, but would also take valuable space in my already cluttered armada.

I hope this is the beginning of a trend that could result in more devices from SE and Roland. My favorite SE synth from the past few years is the Boomstar 4075. It would be brilliant to see a similar box with this synth & step sequencer and some basic integrated effects.

I have had some unexpected tuning hiccups which appear to be unique to my unit, but the good folks at Roland are helping me through this and have given me a lot of attention. Its great to know they care so passionately about the quality of my experience with the unit.

So, kudos to the good folks at SE and Roland. This is a remarkable accomplishment and I look forward to what analog devices come next.

Criticisms:
• The resonant filter is good, but I have heard better. (Perhaps not in this price range) I haven’t tried the Behringer Model D, but in the videos, I can already tell it sounds remarkable. Do not get me wrong, SE-02 filter does sound good, but not as harmonically rich and smooth sounding as I had hoped. I may reverse this criticism as I spend more time with it. This is just my initial gut reaction.

• I love that the controls are sending MIDI controllers and the thing can be automated, but if I listen carefully, I think I am hearing some zippering. Sounds like 8bit controls, so not super obvious zippering, but at times, betrays the analog feel of the unit with a bit of stepping. Then again, I could be hearing what it sound like when my trembling gorilla fingers twitch while attempting to twist these very tiny knobs. I will be looking into this more over the coming days.

• I wish the SE-02 was a class compliant device and did not require a custom driver, and a reboot to start using it with my computer.

• Unless I misunderstood the manual, the parameter lock only supports one parameter change per step. This is still fun and each step can be a separate parameter, but I do wish that it worked with multiple overlapping parameters. I like the behavior of continuous parameter motion sequencing of the Novation Circuit. I would love to see something like this added to the SE-02 via a firmware update. Continuous real time capture within the step pattern is really fun.

• I wasn’t able to get too far with the step sequencer without reading the manual. I do like what it can do, but like the Mother 32, this requires some practice and reading to get it under control.

• The manual is a giant multi-lingual poster folded up like a map. I really wish it had been printed like a book. The PDF is now online so you can read it and search electronically. https://static.roland.com/assets/media/pdf/SE-02_eng02_W.pdf


I have only had a few hours with it, so I am sure I will have more to say over the coming days. (If you care) For now, I can enthusiastically recommend it to any synth fan, especially if they are on a budget either $$ or space.
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
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Re: Roland SE-02 - First impressions

jeffcross

> On Aug 3, 2017, at 6:10 PM, Computer Controlled <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> How the hell did you get one already?

You know, l sort of assumed everyone was starting to receive their pre-orders. Truth is that I bought mine directly through a contact at Roland.

I am pretty excited to see Roland roll out a product like this. I am not sure if it will ever be as iconic as a 303 or 808, but its pretty amazing. I really did not want to say “for the money” because it implies that it actually is not good. I think that its worth more than they are charging and I am hoping that at this price, a lot of people will be able to enjoy it.

Did any of you pre-order these? Or plan to buy them?
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Re: Roland SE-02 - First impressions

Computer Controlled
I really want one.  I used to get discounts from Roland.  But they haven't been answering my emails lately.  So looks like I'll be paying full price for this one :). I'm just waiting for news that they're starting to hit shelves.  



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 7:13 PM <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Aug 3, 2017, at 6:10 PM, Computer Controlled <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> How the hell did you get one already?

You know, l sort of assumed everyone was starting to receive their pre-orders. Truth is that I bought mine directly through a contact at Roland.

I am pretty excited to see Roland roll out a product like this. I am not sure if it will ever be as iconic as a 303 or 808, but its pretty amazing. I really did not want to say “for the money” because it implies that it actually is not good. I think that its worth more than they are charging and I am hoping that at this price, a lot of people will be able to enjoy it.

Did any of you pre-order these? Or plan to buy them?
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
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Re: Roland SE-02 - First impressions

jeffcross
Roland has changed a lot over the past couple of years. I wouldn't be surprised if the folks you knew were no longer with the company. Did you know Roland was purchased by a US investor?

Cheers,

Jeff

On Aug 3, 2017, at 7:26 PM, Computer Controlled <[hidden email]> wrote:

I really want one.  I used to get discounts from Roland.  But they haven't been answering my emails lately.  So looks like I'll be paying full price for this one :). I'm just waiting for news that they're starting to hit shelves.  



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 7:13 PM <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Aug 3, 2017, at 6:10 PM, Computer Controlled <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> How the hell did you get one already?

You know, l sort of assumed everyone was starting to receive their pre-orders. Truth is that I bought mine directly through a contact at Roland.

I am pretty excited to see Roland roll out a product like this. I am not sure if it will ever be as iconic as a 303 or 808, but its pretty amazing. I really did not want to say “for the money” because it implies that it actually is not good. I think that its worth more than they are charging and I am hoping that at this price, a lot of people will be able to enjoy it.

Did any of you pre-order these? Or plan to buy them?
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
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Re: Roland SE-02 - First impressions

Computer Controlled
Yes.  I know all about their new regime.  The people I was talking to were just recent.  I got my TR-09 and boutique bags at a killer discount.  I just sold something so I was hoping to grab the SE at a discount as well. 



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 8:13 PM Jeff Cross <[hidden email]> wrote:
Roland has changed a lot over the past couple of years. I wouldn't be surprised if the folks you knew were no longer with the company. Did you know Roland was purchased by a US investor?

Cheers,

Jeff

On Aug 3, 2017, at 7:26 PM, Computer Controlled <[hidden email]> wrote:

I really want one.  I used to get discounts from Roland.  But they haven't been answering my emails lately.  So looks like I'll be paying full price for this one :). I'm just waiting for news that they're starting to hit shelves.  



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 7:13 PM <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Aug 3, 2017, at 6:10 PM, Computer Controlled <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> How the hell did you get one already?

You know, l sort of assumed everyone was starting to receive their pre-orders. Truth is that I bought mine directly through a contact at Roland.

I am pretty excited to see Roland roll out a product like this. I am not sure if it will ever be as iconic as a 303 or 808, but its pretty amazing. I really did not want to say “for the money” because it implies that it actually is not good. I think that its worth more than they are charging and I am hoping that at this price, a lot of people will be able to enjoy it.

Did any of you pre-order these? Or plan to buy them?
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
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Re: Roland SE-02 - First impressions

Justin Maxwell
Here’s my first of many SE-02 demos


If people want more I’ll send them, otherwise i’ll just post them to the soon-to-die music sharing website


On Aug 3, 2017 at 8:16 PM, Computer Controlled <[hidden email]> wrote:


Yes.  I know all about their new regime.  The people I was talking to were just recent.  I got my TR-09 and boutique bags at a killer discount.  I just sold something so I was hoping to grab the SE at a discount as well. 



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 8:13 PM Jeff Cross < [hidden email]> wrote:
Roland has changed a lot over the past couple of years. I wouldn't be surprised if the folks you knew were no longer with the company. Did you know Roland was purchased by a US investor?

Cheers,

Jeff

On Aug 3, 2017, at 7:26 PM, Computer Controlled < [hidden email]> wrote:

I really want one.  I used to get discounts from Roland.  But they haven't been answering my emails lately.  So looks like I'll be paying full price for this one :). I'm just waiting for news that they're starting to hit shelves.  



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 7:13 PM < [hidden email]> wrote:

> On Aug 3, 2017, at 6:10 PM, Computer Controlled < [hidden email]> wrote:
>
> How the hell did you get one already?

You know, l sort of assumed everyone was starting to receive their pre-orders. Truth is that I bought mine directly through a contact at Roland.

I am pretty excited to see Roland roll out a product like this. I am not sure if it will ever be as iconic as a 303 or 808, but its pretty amazing. I really did not want to say “for the money” because it implies that it actually is not good. I think that its worth more than they are charging and I am hoping that at this price, a lot of people will be able to enjoy it.

Did any of you pre-order these? Or plan to buy them?
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
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Re: Roland SE-02 - First impressions

Justin Maxwell

808 we recorded through helios pres a while back


On Thu, Aug 3, 2017, 10:51 PM Van Santos <[hidden email]> wrote:

Damn, that is a great sound to it.

BTW, what was the source of the kick?

On Aug 4, 2017 12:19 AM, "Justin Maxwell" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Here’s my first of many SE-02 demos


If people want more I’ll send them, otherwise i’ll just post them to the soon-to-die music sharing website


On Aug 3, 2017 at 8:16 PM, Computer Controlled <[hidden email]> wrote:


Yes.  I know all about their new regime.  The people I was talking to were just recent.  I got my TR-09 and boutique bags at a killer discount.  I just sold something so I was hoping to grab the SE at a discount as well. 



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 8:13 PM Jeff Cross < [hidden email]> wrote:
Roland has changed a lot over the past couple of years. I wouldn't be surprised if the folks you knew were no longer with the company. Did you know Roland was purchased by a US investor?

Cheers,

Jeff

On Aug 3, 2017, at 7:26 PM, Computer Controlled < [hidden email]> wrote:

I really want one.  I used to get discounts from Roland.  But they haven't been answering my emails lately.  So looks like I'll be paying full price for this one :). I'm just waiting for news that they're starting to hit shelves.  



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 7:13 PM < [hidden email]> wrote:

> On Aug 3, 2017, at 6:10 PM, Computer Controlled < [hidden email]> wrote:
>
> How the hell did you get one already?

You know, l sort of assumed everyone was starting to receive their pre-orders. Truth is that I bought mine directly through a contact at Roland.

I am pretty excited to see Roland roll out a product like this. I am not sure if it will ever be as iconic as a 303 or 808, but its pretty amazing. I really did not want to say “for the money” because it implies that it actually is not good. I think that its worth more than they are charging and I am hoping that at this price, a lot of people will be able to enjoy it.

Did any of you pre-order these? Or plan to buy them?
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
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Re: Roland SE-02 - First impressions

Steven Clements
In reply to this post by Justin Maxwell
fack!
that's a thick tone ~ love it


Steven

On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 11:19 PM, Justin Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
Here’s my first of many SE-02 demos


If people want more I’ll send them, otherwise i’ll just post them to the soon-to-die music sharing website


On Aug 3, 2017 at 8:16 PM, Computer Controlled <[hidden email]> wrote:


Yes.  I know all about their new regime.  The people I was talking to were just recent.  I got my TR-09 and boutique bags at a killer discount.  I just sold something so I was hoping to grab the SE at a discount as well. 



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 8:13 PM Jeff Cross < [hidden email]> wrote:
Roland has changed a lot over the past couple of years. I wouldn't be surprised if the folks you knew were no longer with the company. Did you know Roland was purchased by a US investor?

Cheers,

Jeff

On Aug 3, 2017, at 7:26 PM, Computer Controlled < [hidden email]> wrote:

I really want one.  I used to get discounts from Roland.  But they haven't been answering my emails lately.  So looks like I'll be paying full price for this one :). I'm just waiting for news that they're starting to hit shelves.  



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 7:13 PM < [hidden email]> wrote:

> On Aug 3, 2017, at 6:10 PM, Computer Controlled < [hidden email]> wrote:
>
> How the hell did you get one already?

You know, l sort of assumed everyone was starting to receive their pre-orders. Truth is that I bought mine directly through a contact at Roland.

I am pretty excited to see Roland roll out a product like this. I am not sure if it will ever be as iconic as a 303 or 808, but its pretty amazing. I really did not want to say “for the money” because it implies that it actually is not good. I think that its worth more than they are charging and I am hoping that at this price, a lot of people will be able to enjoy it.

Did any of you pre-order these? Or plan to buy them?
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.

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Re: Roland SE-02 - First impressions

Mike Perkowitz
Administrator
In reply to this post by Justin Maxwell

sounds pretty Roland-ish to me, whatever that means

On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 10:19 PM, Justin Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
Here’s my first of many SE-02 demos


If people want more I’ll send them, otherwise i’ll just post them to the soon-to-die music sharing website


On Aug 3, 2017 at 8:16 PM, Computer Controlled <[hidden email]> wrote:


Yes.  I know all about their new regime.  The people I was talking to were just recent.  I got my TR-09 and boutique bags at a killer discount.  I just sold something so I was hoping to grab the SE at a discount as well. 



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 8:13 PM Jeff Cross < [hidden email]> wrote:
Roland has changed a lot over the past couple of years. I wouldn't be surprised if the folks you knew were no longer with the company. Did you know Roland was purchased by a US investor?

Cheers,

Jeff

On Aug 3, 2017, at 7:26 PM, Computer Controlled < [hidden email]> wrote:

I really want one.  I used to get discounts from Roland.  But they haven't been answering my emails lately.  So looks like I'll be paying full price for this one :). I'm just waiting for news that they're starting to hit shelves.  



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 7:13 PM < [hidden email]> wrote:

> On Aug 3, 2017, at 6:10 PM, Computer Controlled < [hidden email]> wrote:
>
> How the hell did you get one already?

You know, l sort of assumed everyone was starting to receive their pre-orders. Truth is that I bought mine directly through a contact at Roland.

I am pretty excited to see Roland roll out a product like this. I am not sure if it will ever be as iconic as a 303 or 808, but its pretty amazing. I really did not want to say “for the money” because it implies that it actually is not good. I think that its worth more than they are charging and I am hoping that at this price, a lot of people will be able to enjoy it.

Did any of you pre-order these? Or plan to buy them?
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.

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Re: Roland SE-02 - First impressions

Tomislav Babic
In reply to this post by Steven Clements
on the first listen i have the same impression like from previous factory demos

doesnt sound that ladder-y all togetter, there is a "pinch" and "laser electronic" tone to  the sound of the filter, that is characteristic of old roland designs, be it cascaded ota varieties or their diode ladders.

also high end sounds buzzy and pixelated, which is sort of a common trait of many new small analogs. not something i love that much.

i used to have nova musik edition of SE1X.  i remember it sounding juicier and moogier, more substantial than this, but slower.  in SE tradition it 
also has that tilted top end. just silkier and not as buzzy like this one.

comparing this to recent model B demos, i think B sounds more like a mini 
than this obviously.    cant comment on oscillators as both sound little stiff 
and precise , but think filter is better on the berhinger.  roland and moog
differences withstanding. 

On Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 4:34 PM, Steven Clements <[hidden email]> wrote:
fack!
that's a thick tone ~ love it


Steven

On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 11:19 PM, Justin Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
Here’s my first of many SE-02 demos


If people want more I’ll send them, otherwise i’ll just post them to the soon-to-die music sharing website


On Aug 3, 2017 at 8:16 PM, Computer Controlled <[hidden email]> wrote:


Yes.  I know all about their new regime.  The people I was talking to were just recent.  I got my TR-09 and boutique bags at a killer discount.  I just sold something so I was hoping to grab the SE at a discount as well. 



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 8:13 PM Jeff Cross < [hidden email]> wrote:
Roland has changed a lot over the past couple of years. I wouldn't be surprised if the folks you knew were no longer with the company. Did you know Roland was purchased by a US investor?

Cheers,

Jeff

On Aug 3, 2017, at 7:26 PM, Computer Controlled < [hidden email]> wrote:

I really want one.  I used to get discounts from Roland.  But they haven't been answering my emails lately.  So looks like I'll be paying full price for this one :). I'm just waiting for news that they're starting to hit shelves.  



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 7:13 PM < [hidden email]> wrote:

> On Aug 3, 2017, at 6:10 PM, Computer Controlled < [hidden email]> wrote:
>
> How the hell did you get one already?

You know, l sort of assumed everyone was starting to receive their pre-orders. Truth is that I bought mine directly through a contact at Roland.

I am pretty excited to see Roland roll out a product like this. I am not sure if it will ever be as iconic as a 303 or 808, but its pretty amazing. I really did not want to say “for the money” because it implies that it actually is not good. I think that its worth more than they are charging and I am hoping that at this price, a lot of people will be able to enjoy it.

Did any of you pre-order these? Or plan to buy them?
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.
--
Sent from The Off World Colonies.




--
---
Tomislav Babic
www.babic.com - studio, mp3, info
[hidden email]

www.myspace.com/nimbusdei
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