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CAT: DARK ENERGY II
19 Nov 12
A monophonic stand-alone synthesizer with USB and MIDI interface
Review: The Dark Energy II is a monophonic stand-alone synthesizer with USB and MIDI interface. The sound generation and all modulation sources are 100% analog, only the USB/MIDI interface contains digital components. The Dark Energy is built into a rugged black metal case with wooden side plates. High quality potentiometers with metal shafts are used and each potentiometer, except the filter mode control, is fixed to the case (no wobbly shafts and knobs). The distance between the controls is a bit wider compared to A-100 modules and knobs with vintage look are used.
Sawtooth based VCO core
Manual tune control (with an internal jumper the range can be set to ~ +/-1 half an octave or ~ +/-2.5 octaves)
Range switch -1 / 0 / +1 octave
FM (frequency modulation) control with modulation source switch (LFO1 / off / ADSR)
Manual pulsewidth control for rectangle waveform
PWM control with modulation source switch (LFO2 / off / ADSR)
Waveform switch (sawtooth / off / clipped/inverted sawtooth)
The sum of the waveform chosen by this switch and the rectangle is fed into the VCF (to turn the rectangle off the PW control has to be set fully CCW)
External CV input for VCO frequency (1V/octave)
External CV input for external PWM of the rectangle
Internal CV input for frequency (1V/octave) connected to the CV1 output of the built-in USB/Midi interface
Because of the pure analog circuit and the temperature control it may take up to 30 minutes until the VCO is in tune.
12dB multimode filter with lowpass, notch, highpass and bandpass
Mode control for continuous transition from lowpass via notch to highpass and along to bandpass
Manual frequency control
Tracking switch half - off - full (internally connected to the external frequency CV input of the VCO, i.e. the VCF tracks to the VCO if the switch is set to half or full position)
Exponential frequency modulation control (XFM) with modulation source switch (LFO2 / off / ADSR), the XFM control has polarizer function, i.e. the modulation source (LFO2 or ADSR) selected by the Source switch may affect the filter frequency in a positive (right half of the control range) or negative way (left half of the control range)
Manual resonance control (up to self oscillation)
External audio input (this signal is added to the VCO signal)
External CV input for filter frequency
1V/octave tracking for usage of the VCF as a sine wave oscillator over a few octaves (not as precise as the VCO and not temperature compensated, but much better than most of the other filters)
Manual amplitude control (initial gain)
AM (amplitude modulation) control with modulation source switch (LFO1 / off / ADSR)
External CV input for VCA amplitude
LFO1 and LFO2:
Manual frequency control
Waveform switch (triangle / off / rectangle)
Range switch (low, audio, medium)
LED display (dual green/red color for positive/negative share of the signal)
The LFO1 signal is available as an additional socket (to use the LFO1 signal for external modules)
An internal jumper can be used to select between the LFO1 signal or the inverted LFO1 signal.
Manual controls for Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Range switch (long, short, medium)
Blue LED display
ADSR signal is available as an additional socket (to use the ADSR signal for external modules)
External Gate input (normalled via switching contact of the socket to the Gate output of the built-in USB/Midi interface)
MIDI channel and reference note are adjusted by means of a learn button and LED at the rear panel. The interface generates the gate signal that controls the envelope generator and 3 x analog control voltages: CV1 is used to control the pitch of the VCO, CV2 the VCF frequency (free assignable Midi controller) and CV3 is available as an additional socket at the rear panel (controlled by volume/velocity). It can be patched e.g. to the VCA control input.
The 3 x CVs and the gate signal are also available at the rear panel as jack sockets cascading of several units via internal MIDI O/I connection, because of shortage of space the unit has no MIDI output socket available this connection has to be established internally, for this the metal case has a hole on both sides so that the MIDI O/I connection can be made via this hole provided that both units are mounted to one another, the MIDI output has thru function with one exception: the signal does not include the MIDI note messages that have been processed already, consequently polyphonic cascading (all daisy-chained Dark Energies on the same MIDI channel) or monophonic cascading (different MIDI channels) is possible, it's possible to connect only the first unit to USB and pass on the MIDI data via the internal MIDI link to other devices.
26 Dec 11
Self installation kit, for the Doepfer Dark Energy synthesiser
Review: The Doepfer Dark Energy Glide (portamento) option is for the Doepfer Dark Energy synthesiser. This is a self installation kit containing a pre-wired glide potentiometer with 2 nuts and a Dark Energy style rotary knob.
No soldering is required.