SE-3X // $2199

Three + Four = Heaven. The SE-3X: a three-voice Paraphonic synth with four discrete, classic hardware filters.

Seen where the sound of success was heard, the SE-1(X)’s popularity with hit-makers, film composers and sound designers has spanned decades, and the 'X never quite rode off into the sunset. Now, it's blazing back with software sweetening and sweeping hardware refinements — innovations worthy of 30 years of rack time… and your time. Built attractively, built solidly, bringing you the bump 'n' thump and higher frequency clarity and warmth that has been the secret weapon of legends. No hardware upgrade path for '1X users (and yes we still love you), but complete and fully compatible ‘3X software for the SE-1X is available as a EPROM chip upgrade.




The SE-1 was Studio Electronics’ first original product. We had spent several years adding MIDI, doing mods, and rack-mounting older synths. By 1991, we were ready to create our own product. Based largely on the MiniMoog, but incorporating many features from other classic Analog synths, it stored 255 patches and had extensive MIDI control; quickly it greased & boomed the bottom and wormed its way to the top on a multitude of hit records, soundtracks, video games, and touring racks.

After making it for 10 years or so and getting a lot of customer requests, we decided a major update was in order. The original ROM chip that held the operating system was full, so we designed a new CPU board, using a much larger Flash chip which enabled updating the OS over MIDI. Other standouts included 4 banks of 128 ROM patches, 4 RAM banks, an up-sized battery-backed SRAM chip made that possible, and a CV generator boost to produce smoother envelopes and LFOs; the pot reading was greatly improved as well, making that vital programming aspect much faster and smoother.

We continued to sell them for another 10 years...

In 2020, we got a request from one of our top dealers and good friends, Lewis Chiodo at Awave, to make a second special '1X model for him. In addition to the custom hardware he wanted—2 extra VCFs—he wondered if we could include some potent software updates too. At first I declined, since I hadn't been working with the Motorola (now Freescale) chip that ran it for several years, added to that, my development system for it didn't work anymore. After some persuasion however, I decided to try. Progress was painfully slow at first, but I was eventually able to put it all together, with the usual optimistic and determined circuit-bending assist from Greg St. Regis.

The SE-3X… Hard to believe it was nearly 30 years ago the SE-1 helped the world to play… TC
  1. The exponential glide routine from the Omega: Now you can choose that or the original linear glide.
  2. The Omega/CODE Envelope routines: These show up as EXP2 in the Envelope window; this is in addition to the original linear and magical quasi-exponential Envelopes.
  3. Page 2 Mix knobs for the Oscillators: Due to space restrictions, the SE-1(X) didn't allow direct control, requiring navigating to the Audio Mixer page for tweaks—tedious. Now holding Shift and using the Pulse Width pots to adjust Oscillator mix levels brings balance and satisfaction.
  4. OSC 2 & 3 Fine Tune: Hold Shift and rotate 2 & 3 Frequency knobs. Another useful and efficient jump-cut.
  5. LFO Gate from our Boomstar and Mini V-30, a venerable and most funky feature from the ARP Odyssey and 2600; LFO 3 can now gate the Envelopes: hold Shift and press LFO 3, or send it CC #9. MIDI sync applies, of course when received.
  6. Lastly for spice and “poly” nice nice, Paraphonic Mode: This allows the 3 oscillators to be played by 3 different MIDI notes, for easy and electric 3X chords. All 3 oscillators still go thru the same VCF and VCA, so it's not truly polyphonic. But with some care and creativity in programming, it can sure swing like it. Check out Marc St. Regis’ SoundCloud demos to see just how warm & snappy our PARA can sound, especially when a DAW is in control.
SPECIFICATIONS Voices: Monophonic, with 3 note Paraphonic mode.
Audio Outputs: 1
External Audio Inputs: 1
Interface: 1 rotary encoder, 24 knobs, 20 square switches—17 illuminated, one three-way toggle (filter fuzz), one 5-way rotary switch (filter selection), power.
Main Display: 20 x 4 blue back-lit liquid crystal.
Memory: 8 banks of 99: 396 patches in ROM, 396 in RAM.
Weight: 11 lbs.
Dimensions: 3 rack spaces, 8 inches deep.
Power: 90 - 250 volts AC auto switching.
3 Voltage Controlled Discrete Analog Oscillators: OSC 1 waveforms: triangle, sawtooth, variable width square; OSC 2 waveforms: sine, sawtooth, variable width square; OSC 3 waveforms: triangle, sawtooth, variable width square. All waveforms output simultaneously. OSC 1 syncs to OSC 2, 3.
4 Voltage Controlled Discrete Analog Filters: SE Classic 24dB Moog®; SE Classic 24dB ARP®; SE Classic Juno/Jupiter 24dB, 12dB, and Mix modes; SE Classic 12dB Oberheim® filter incorporating Low Pass & Band Pass modes. Oberheim filter frequency range has been expanded by a whole tone.
4 Multiple Stage Envelope Generators: attack, decay, sustain, release with inverting & multiple triggering. Envelope 1 fixed to filter frequency. Envelope 2 fixed to amplifier level. Envelopes 3 & 4 are assignable. ADSR speed increased from standard SE-1X.
3 Low Frequency Oscillators: triangle, sawtooth, reverse sawtooth, square, noise, random waveforms. One destination/amount for each LFO with key trigger, phase, clock-divisible MIDI-sync, auto-gate.
Linear or exponential glide (portamento), auto glide.
Switchable fixed value hardware amplifier overdrive for saturated distortion: 70’s (soft fuzz), 90’s (hard fuzz).
4 factory banks, 4 designer banks: Scroggins Synquence, Infared, Diademer, PARAdizer (available 6/'21)
Matte Black, high contrast 4 color black, red, blue, green, white.
Additional Features:
Noise Generator, hardware Ring Modulation, sweepable Cross Modulation.
Modulation Destinations:
LFOs 1, 2, 3: VCOs 1, 2, 3 frequency; VCOs 1, 2, 3 mix level; VCOs 1, 2, 3 pulse width; ring mod mix level; noise mix level; VCF resonance; VCF frequency; volume. Envelopes 3, 4: VCOs 1, 2, 3 frequency; VCOs 1, 2, 3 mix level; VCOs 1, 2, 3 pulse width; ring mod mix level; noise mix level; LFO 1, 2, 3 rate, depth, VCF resonance.
MIDI Controllers:
Dynamics, modwheel, pressure, breath control: destinations & amounts include all LFO and envelope 3 destinations; bender: pitch, filter frequency. Fixed continuous & standardized (where vital) controller assignments for all key front panel controls. Receives program change, bank select, glide on/off, glide time, volume.
MIDI Specifications:
In, out and thru.