Roland Boutique/Studio Electronics SE-02 – The missing manual

PDF FORMAT – Version 0.06 Updated 13 September 2017

Here is a track I produced using only the SE-02 as the sound source.
SUNSHINE JONES – Ahmed (Three Osc Analog Monosynth Song)
MP3 FORMAT – © 2017 Sunshine Jones/The Urgency Of Change

This song is in three parts, and is called Ahmed (which means perfect man) after Sun Ra’s long time collaborator Ahmed Abdullah. Born LeRoy Bland, Ahmed Abdullah blew minds with his tri-note trumpet tapestries and found a new dissonance in which to express himself in the mighty Sun Ra’s Arkestra. Maybe LeRoy Bland is not a perfect man, but he’s absolutely perfect man. See what I did there? That’s right…

Ahmed is the score for my forthcoming love letter to the 3 Oscillator Analog Mono Synth (due any second now) exploring the arrival of this idea and its impact on the world from 1969 to the present tense.

Since the SE-02 is a mono synth, and not only plays just one note at a time, it is also mono-timbral (which means it only makes one particular sound at a time) so naturally I needed to multi track this piece in order to record all the parts, but each part respectively is a sound coming from the SE-02. No other effects or instruments were used to compose, to record or to perform it. It is my wish that this inspires you to do better, to reach deeper, and blow my little electronic jazz tribute so far out of the water it’s just silly… dig?

I have also included a selection of patches for you to play with in order to see how easy patch sharing can be, and also to discover how amazing this little analog synthesizer really is. I programmed each of these sounds in MANUAL mode, from scratch. They are not based on any of the presets contained in the SE-02. These are all sounds used in my track Ahmed. Thus you can have every element used to produce a complete idea for yourself to deconstruct, refine, and perfect.
NOTE: There are two other sounds used in the track, but they’re existing presets and I saw no reason to create duplicates in your system so they are not included here.



Please be sure to backup your existing patches before writing to memory.
In the BACKUP folder the patches are numbered differently than the other Boutique synths. For the SE-02 they are actually numbered 1-16 and the patterns are as well.
ex: SE02_PATCH1 – SE02_PATCH16
There are also fewer files to worry about as the SE-02 only offers one user bank to write your 128 user patches into.

NOTE – Be sure you backup SE02_PATCH1 – SE02_PATCH6 BEFORE you begin this exercise.

In accordance with the new, clearly written manual on page 9-10, follow these instructions to backup your sounds before you begin.

1. Use an optional micro USB cable which is either the type with a standard USB connector on the end.
2. Connect the micro end to the SE-02 and restart the synth holding down the 2 button.
3. Lights will dance, this means the SE-02 is awaiting connection to the computer.
4. Connect the USB cable to the computer and a drive icon named SE-02 will appear on the desktop.
It takes a moment, so relax and trust that all is well.
5. Within this drive you will find two folders:
This contains all your sounds and sequences
This is where you drop files in order to load them into your JX-03
6. Create a backup folder for your sounds, and drop them all onto it and copy them over to your desktop.
This is in case something goes wrong, or it get’s all messed up, or weird, you can always just go back.

1. Follow the procedure above (steps 1-5) for mounting the SE-02 to your desktop.
2. Copy the contents of the PATCH folder you downloaded from me into the RESTORE folder.
3. Eject the SE-02 drive
4. Before power cycling the module note that all buttons are blinking Orange.
5. Once confirmed you may power cycle the SE-02 and disconnect the USB cable and you’re done.
6. Press BANK U and PATCH 1 (for USER PATCH 1)

Play a note on your keyboard. This should be the 3 OSC CHORDS patch I gave you.

Refer to the legend above to see what I was attempting to create, and enjoy, modify, or discard these patches. They are yours to do with what you will. The idea here was not to style you out with some heart stopping freebies to make me look cool, but rather to engage you with your own equipment, and show you just how easy it is to save, backup, and share patches for these amazing little synthesizers. I hope you dig it, and are already planning a huge patch swap in the very near future.

I hope you enjoy these manuals. I hope they inspire you half as much as it has inspired me to make them for you.


  1. Neil Fox:

    roland needs to start paying you

  2. Sunshine Jones:

    I do this for love. I wouldn’t accept money for it.

  3. Paul Adair:

    They should make you an ambassador and give you new products then : )

  4. Neil Fox:

    ambassador jones your new boutique TR 06 will be delivered soon

  5. Sunshine Jones:

    @Paul & Neil – I’d be delighted to wear the satin sash at formal occasions, but I’d never agree to being called “Mr. Ambassador.” I couldn’t handle that…

  6. Larry Kleinke:

    You’re on fire! Thanks for these.

  7. Roland Burnam:

    Now I want an SE-02 just so I can use your manual

  8. Jon Hudson:

    Want one of these units… sounds good : D

  9. George Menjivar:

    Maestro :.

  10. Stephen Disario:

    Thank you brother!!!

  11. Andre Ezer:

    Love you my friend. Your contributions to music in general and our mutual love for Roland synths in particular is invaluable.

  12. you are awesome.

  13. Andre Ezer:

    Great track! Really showing off the versatility of the SE-02

  14. Jason Rowe:

    thanks i picked mine up last friday!!! its sooooo PHAT!!

  15. Shawn Shirey:

    Thanks! The Roland Manual is terrible!

  16. Sunshine:

    @Shawn – I am also pretty uninspired by the current form of “leaflets” that come with the new Roland instruments, and yet I’m just wild about these synths. It’s why I decided to undertake this project.

    My aim is to take the information and illustrate it so that the of us who take little inspiration from spreadsheets, and data can learn and explore and find out about synthesizers without feeling like complete idiots.

    I hope this edition assist you in so doing.

  17. Homero Espinosa:

    Thank you Sunshine Jones

  18. Steffen Waldow:

    Again, thank you! This is unbelievable … it’s even not official delivered and we got an extended user manual!
    Now I’m burning for the release date to come …

  19. Michael Barnhart:

    Thank you! Love you too!!! We can feel the love. Don’t stop, Don’t stop!

  20. Larry Kleinke:

    I found a Copy/Paste mistake.
    “Connect two SE-02 modules together to create a single synth with 8 notes of polyphony”

    I don’t think this works =o]

  21. Sunshine:

    @Larry – Good looking out (we’d need 8 SE-02’s for that project!)
    It’s edited and updated now. Thanks!

  22. Steve Hanlon:

    I saw your kindness and love in Baltimore in ’92 and am so glad it is still flowing. Thank you for sharing and inspiring, the SE-02 will be the most modern synth I own, but also the most classic. Looking forward to exploring this synth and the “Missing Manual” is both informative and cheeky ;)

  23. Steve Hanlon:

    page 34… typo in the Roland Boutique MIDI section

    missing an “I” in MIDI

    …front panel of the SE-02 are cable of transmitting via MID for recording into a DAW or MIDI sequencer.

  24. Sunshine:

    @ Steve – Found it! Revised to Version 0.04C!
    Thank you.

  25. Derek Sajbel:

    Dope. Now if my order would arrive sometime soon.

  26. Roy Shade:

    Nice one.

  27. Bradley Steven Katz:

    Brandon Heinz, maybe this will help you make up your mind

  28. Brandon Heinz:

    @Bradley – Basically right after i made that post i decided id go with the SE02, built in sequencer and still more versatile than the minitaur lol. Gonna scope this tune though

  29. Sunshine Jones:

    @Brandon Heinz – I love the SE-02. It’s sitting here on my desk beside a 1972 Moog Model D. I’m not saying that I would choose the SE-02 over the Model D (ever.) But I love the SE-02 and it holds its own up against the source of its inspiration.

    I’m guessing that you will most likely end up with both at some point. That’s how I’d play it…

  30. Brandon Heinz:

    Was debating between the two tbh, the 2.2 update of the minitaur added lots of new features, but still isnt as deep as the SE02. not sure if i want a dedicated “bass synth.” the SE02 will do bass no doubt about it, and do way more than the minitaur could

  31. Brandon Heinz:

    also, killer job on that song man. all the sounds are top notch

  32. Sunshine:

  33. Jeff Lehman:

    Thank you! Well done and much appreciated

  34. Phil Aiken:

    You sir, are a fine human. This manual, at least to me, is vastly superior to the official one. Incredibly useful. Thank you.

  35. Brad Stage:

    This guide answered all q’s I had about this gem. Time to cross mod with other cv/trigger/gate pals.

    I owe you some Philz and avocado toast when down in SF.


  36. Have you noticed any stranger behavior regarding tuning on the SE-02? I have noticed that when I get “C” in tune in one octave it often is out of tune at other octaves. Also I’ve noticed my “G” seems to always be flat relative to the “C” – this is even after I have performed the tuning procedure you have outlined in your manual (which I thank you for by the way!!!).

  37. Thanks for these amazing manuals. I have the JU-06 and am considering the SE-02.

    FYI: The above patch download link is pointing to the wrong file.


  38. Sunshine:

    @ Gavin – Fixed!

  39. Sunshine:

    @Steve Cooper – I did notice this. I got ahold of an update which allows for CV fine tune, and also some other adjustments. Since performing that update tuning, and other minor issues is fixed. I expect that update to be available soon for everyone.

    Also: The update procedure has been added to my manual including a retuning procedure. I’ve noticed that after the update, it’s important to restore factory settings, and tune the oscillators twice (the second time is the one that does the good things) after the update. Seems trivial and shouldn’t make a difference, but it has made a difference here.

  40. Kingmob:

    Does the key trigger mode in the sequencer mean you can transpose the whole sequence by hitting a key on the keyboard like an sh-101?

  41. Probably the best manual I’ve ever read!! Thank you for taking the time to help me get the most out of this synth.

  42. Sunshine:

    @KINGMOB – Unclear. The short answer is no – with workarounds.

    First: Trigger mode is actually just the gate in and out of the sequence and the notes played.

    For Example:
    Sending a gate clock into the trigger input will advance the sequencer when it’s set to sync to trigger. So any gate rhythm then becomes the clock.

    Second: Transpose is interesting on the SE-02. You can transpose the sound up and down an octave and also up and down by notes using the controls in Patch mode. Thus you can accomplish this via midi commands.

    But I haven’t been able to determine how to do this by playing the keyboard yet. It’s a good question I’d really like an answer for, so I’ll explore, speak with SE and find out and report back (and update the manual) because this is actually really important to know.

  43. Sunshine:

    @KINGMOB – Part 2
    I spoke with Studio Electronics today and they had all sorts of insight and good news which we can talk about, but the question of the Sequencer is that SE worked hard to deliver Song Mode, and a really functional sequencer, and the rest of it is Roland. The System-8 Sequencer is essentially the template for this basic function.

    The System-8 sequencer CAN transpose the sequence via the keyboard. So since the SE-02 has access to the octave and note transposition we suspect that this is possible as it is. It’s simply undocumented as yet. So I’m going to track this down, not just for you, but for everyone (and because I would really like to see this happen myself.) And once I determine the operations to accomplish this I will add it to the manual and document it.

    IF this has been omitted from the SE-02, then the St. Regis brothers assure me that it’s probably a matter of a couple of lines of code and it will be added to the 1.05 update (which includes some great things such as CV tune, and a terrific improvement in the top end as well) which I’ve been working with already.

    What SE are pushing for:
    32 steps in the sequence (working as A-B)
    Plug in editor – like the other SE synths
    And continued support of the product and more.

    Hope this makes you as happy as it makes me.

  44. Sunshine:

    @KINGMOB Part 3

    Check my instagram (photograph link at the top of this page!) I’ve done it.

    In the sequencer setup – option three is Key Trigger.
    Set this to how you’d like to trigger your sequence and voila! We are playing it on the keyboard. I’ve filmed the breakthrough on my phone and posted it to instagram for you to see if you’d like.

    So Cool!!!

  45. Chris:

    Hello Mr Jones.

    Thank you for your informative manual on the se-02. Its really helped me to find my way around my new acquisition.

    I have a couple of questions/observations for you:-

    1) If I set the LFO to control the amp envelope (instead of the gate), then set LFO from free or key to “1-shot”, I observe I don’t get “1-shot” of envelope at all- it just keeps going.
    Also, if I then move the envelope control back to gate, but leave the LFO on “1-shot” then the LFO continues to behave like its in key of free mode – I have to move the switch from “1-shot” back to key then back to “1-shot” for it to work correctly again. Is this intentional, or is it a F/W bug do you think?

    2) Both the official manual and your manual mention that the LFO can be used to set up tremolo using amplitude modulation. However I don’t see a direct way to do that? Do you know how to achieve that, apart from the aforementioned switch, which does not appear to work in the way I expected.


  46. Sunshine:

    @Chris – Totally… both the XMOD and the LFO routing is a little counter intuitive and fiddly. It’s true that my version of the manual fails to interpret these details sufficiently.

    Check out Nick Batt’s part two review of the SE-02
    He covers the routing oversight really well, and shows us all how it’s done.

  47. Tony Collins:

    Sunshine I love your manuals. But it’s killing me to see the word “OONTROL” at the top of every image of this beautiful little synth.

    I didn’t know if it was a way around copyright or just a simple title. Please put me out of my pain :-)

  48. Tony Collins:

    (*typo, ironically, when I typed the word “title” above)

  49. Sunshine:

    @Tony Collins – Ha ha! Yes how terrible. It’s actually spelled correctly, but the “better” setting for the images in my PDF formatting process just isn’t good enough.

    Because it’s causing you trouble, I have re encoded the PDF with “Best” quality images, and it should look like a ‘C’ to you now…

    Hope this helps.

  50. Tony Collins:

    You’re all kinds of wonderful :-)

  51. Tony:

    Thanks for posting that awesome SE-02 User’s guide. When I lived in SF in the 1990s, I caught Dubtribe Soundsystem more than a few times. Always a great time at those parties.


    Austin Texas

  52. Robert van Roon:

    Thanks for your manual!

    Thanks for the love!



  53. Sean N:

    If I connect a synth into audio input will that get routed through usb into daw?

  54. Sunshine:

    @Sean N – Yes. The external audio input is routed to the output.
    If you are using the USB audio through your DAW then whatever you send into the input will come out the output.
    Doesn’t matter how you route the output (analog out, USB digital out)
    But consider that the input is routed through the filter, so unlike the other Roland boutique synths it is great for filtering and effects, but it’s not ideally suited for chain mixing.

  55. Sean N:

    Thanks that is cool. I will be buying SE 02 soon. Your manual is very inspiring along with the song . I am a new fan . This synth has a raw edge sound that I like.I would like to see your live show , Sean

  56. Andy H:

    Thanks for writing the more detailed SE-02 manual. I don’t own one, but I’m interested.

    Can you clarify what exactly can be modulated with velocity? I’ve only really seen hints about it having velocity response, nothing concrete.

    What can velocity be mapped to, and how much can it be adjusted, if at all?

    I did a quick keyword search of your manual, but I couldn’t find anything about that.

  57. Sunshine:

    @ Andy H – It’s true, I omitted any velocity curve features. Truth be told, that’s not an aspect of the SE-02 that I’ve delved into.
    I’ll take a look at it, and describe my findings here, and then if appropriate, revise the manual for you and everyone.
    Good call!

  58. Sunshine:

    @Andy H – I’ve got an answer for you:

    Currently, velocity is routed to filter contour.
    In the patch set up page, it is button number 5.
    1 is bender
    2 is modwheel to filter freq
    3 is aftertouch to filter freq
    4 is aftertouch to mod mix
    5 is countour dynamics
    6 is patch volume

    And that’s how “Velocity” played (or sent via midi) is processed in the SE-02

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