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Crabe05 10/31/2013

Doepfer Dark Energy : Crabe05's user review

« It was in the can »

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A small simple monophonic synthesizer 100% analog: a fixed oscillator waveform (possibly a sub oscillator triangle or sawtooth) with PWM control, a low-pass filter 24dB resonant, VCA, ADSR Two LFO.

Opportunities for internal patch: LFO1 on the pitch, LFO2 the PWM and the cutoff of the filter ADSR on the PWM, the Cutoff and the VCA.
Opportunities (although very limited) external patch with control voltage (CV-5V to +5 V) output LFO1 opposite phase, output envelope, exit gate, 4 CV output (pitch, pitch bend, velocity and a final assignable that are related to the MIDI input), and some CV inputs: VCO pitch, VCO PWM, VCF cutoff, VCA amplitude and Gate.

The ranks of the VCO is large enough, it "understands" the MIDI signals on four octaves and you can change the frequency domain +1 / 0/-1 octave. There is a little more than an octave between the center position and the extrema of the knob.

For the cutoff, you can go depths recluses very low frequency (to the point of not having signal at all) to completely bypass the filter.
Resonance go far enough (self-resonance and even a little further with this kind of effect "ring modulator" a little trashy but not unpleasant). The filter is equipped with a loudness (bass boost) but it is pretty useless.

The LFO and ADSR have three time periods: short, medium and long. For long, it is possible to push the ADSR to something like 1'30'' Attack / decline / release for LFO can get around a few tens of hertz or below. In short, we can have an LFO in the field of audible (useful for mods that will ring very high) and the ADSR can get a very percussive sound (at least the knobs are a click, though) .

Finally level connections: MIDI in (no thru), USB, CV and food (a bit unusual by the way: AC 12V ...). There are also a lot of connections inside the box: a midi thru (in the form of a couple of pins, the cable comes with the unit), various jumpers to change options or to facilitate assembly several units, and a receptacle for a potentiometer glide (portamento) my time useful.


You can find some interesting sounds "fiddling" a little, but it is growing when you know what you are doing.

I personally received the manual in German ... hum ...

The big advantage of analog is that everything is 100% live and perfectly continuous (no effect "level" to the filter, for example).
The disadvantage is that you can not save presets. Everything must be done by hand editing to the recording paper (I did at first, but I do not think it's frankly useful).

A small disadvantage of the unit is that you forget the controls "end". For example, the button that controls the frequency modulation is very sensitive (get a slight vibrato is very difficult, it quickly falls into the large modulation). The same goes for using CV: pitch bend you made a tenth places one or two semitones down ...
The velocity is almost unusable as what ...
BUT all this can be corrected with external modules in Doepfer (attenuators for example).


As I said above, it adapts to all styles and all feature (bass / lead / fx / pad). It can range from a soft to the trash always keeping the warmth of analog.
With a few (a delay, a distortion, for example) effect units can push trèèèèèèèès stuff away.
And for music lovers a little free, not even need a keyboard. You push the module auto mode and tamper buttons live for very diverse and interesting atmospheres.


I use it for a year, he never leaves me. I tried a lot of synthesizers, analog or not, and for its size, it has little in the stomach. Alone, he is not doing badly, but with a little company (effects, additional modules, other units!) It becomes a war machine.

What I like most is the range of sounds as varied and the ease with which one passes from one sound to another.

A small drawback, however, it is quite difficult to incorporate into the mix (you have to look a little to succeed in enhancing the use of a compressor is highly recommended).

The value for money is .... difficult to judge. There is really no other analog mono synths of this size.

I just regret not having bought the Mark II is equipped with a 12dB multimode filter that looks to me very attractive (it was not left at the time). I remake (s) this choice blindfolded without hesitation.