Doepfer Musikeletronik’s involvement in analogue synth technology stretches all the way back to the late 1970s, but the popularity of the Eurorack modular format over the last few years has raised the company’s profile even higher among synth enthusiasts. Perhaps it’s unsurprising, then, that the company’s all-in-one monosynth offering is a semi-modular design almost begging to be hooked up to modular gear.
As such, the Dark Energy is the perfect synth for anyone considering a move into modular synths but looking for a slightly more user-friendly way to get started than simply ordering a batch of modules and patch cables and jumping in at the deep end. Although the unit features a healthy selection of patch points for interfacing with other gear, it’s a fully functional synth in its own right, straight out of the box.
The Dark Energy’s simple, retro approach to sound design makes it one of the best options for those looking to get to grips with the basics of subtractive synthesis without the distractions of some of the other options on our list. With the VCO, VCF, LFOs and envelope sections neatly laid out in discrete blocks, this is a synth which places all the options in front of you with a dedicated knob for each and lets you explore the fundamentals of synthesis.
It sounds great, it’s well built and it offers a convenient and affordable upgrade path if you choose to expand its capabilities with other modules. It’s also the perfect companion to Doepfer’s analogue step sequencer, the Dark Time.