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Real-World Review: Roland SE-02 Analog Synthesizer

By Bruce MacPherson. Doubling as a tactile surface controller for Omnisphere 2.6, Roland’s SE-02 came in handy in a remote island paradise.

If you read Rich Tozzoli’s review piece in June about our annual St. John recording retreat, you’re already familiar with his proposition that the smaller and more fully featured a piece of gear is, the more likely it’s going to be included in your carry-on. The SE-02 was the perfect candidate for our trip!

Rich Tozzoli’s Sixth Annual St. John Recording Retreat

Analog is the big factor here. It was the only analog synth I was able to bring to St. John, and what a pleasant and powerful difference it made to our tracks. Big, ballsy bass; subtle, smooth or cutting melody/lead lines; and guttural sound effects were where this synth truly shined.

Laid out much like a Minimoog, with extras like pulse width modulation, dedicated LFO with additional waveforms such as S&H with MIDI sync and mixable X-mod capabilities, along with the built-in analog tape-style delay effect, it’s very easy to love.

Doubling as a tactile surface controller for Omnisphere 2.6 (with its hardware synth integration) and other synths that accept MIDI CC data, we used it on just about everything. Unlike a true Minimoog’s 3rd OSC, the SE-02’s 3rd OSC does not go low frequency enough as a modulating LFO. I hope to see a firmware update to allow the 3rd OSC to go ultra low.

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All in all, a huge winner. The Roland/Studio Electronics collaboration was an island favorite.

Roland • www.roland.com

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