MATRIXSYNTH: Full Details on Doepfer's NAMM 2018 Lineup of Eurorack Modules and the New Dark Energy III

Monday, January 22, 2018

Full Details on Doepfer's NAMM 2018 Lineup of Eurorack Modules and the New Dark Energy III


The list:

Dark Energy III (first mentioned here)
A-111-4 Quad VCO
A-105-4 Quad SSM VCF
A-132-8 Octal VCA
A-141-4 Quad VCADSR
A-190-5 Polyphonic CV/Gate Interface
A-123-2 6/12/18/24dB Highpass
A-138s Mini Stereo Mixer
A-140-2 Dual Micro ADSR
A-142-3 Envelope Controlled VCA
A-150-8 Octal Voltage Controlled Switch
A-173-1/2 Micro Keyboard
A-180-9 Multicore

Details on each:


Dark Energy III is the successor of Dark Energy II. The main differences between II and III are an improved VCO (no warm-up period, additional triangle waveform, wider frequency range), resettable LFOs, improved ADSR and a lot of internal access points for DIYers. The favored filter of the Dark Energy II has been unchanged.

Dark Energy III 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. It is built into a rugged black metal case with wooden side plates. High quality potentiometers with metal shafts are used and each potentiometer is fixed to the case (no wobbly shafts and knobs):

VCO:
o Triangle based, 10 octaves frequency range
o Tune control and Octave switch – 1 / 0 / +1 octave
o FM input with selectable source (ADSR / off / LFO1)
o Manual PW control and PWM with selectable source (ADSR / off / LFO2) for rectangle wave o Waveform switch
o Additional external CV inputs for frequency and pulsewidth of the rectangle
VCF:
o 12dB Multimode VCF with continuous mode control (lowpass – notch – highpass - bandpass) o Manual Frequency control and FM with selectable source (ADSR / off / LFO2)
o Resonance control, up to self oscillation
o Additional external CV and external audio input
VCA:
o Linear control scale
o Manual Amplitude control and AM with selectable source (ADSR / off / LFO1) o Additional external CV input
Envelope:
o Improved ADSR type with 3-position range switch o Additional external gate input
o Control LED
LFO:
o Two resettable LFOs (external Reset inputs)
o manual frequency control and 3-position range switches o Waveform switches triangle/square
o LED controls

Lots of internal access points for DIY applications or modification of the socket functions (e.g. VCO outputs triangle, sawtooth, rectangle, hardsync, softsync, linear FM, VCF outputs L/H/B, ADSR output and A/D/S/R CV inputs, LFO outputs triangle and square)


A-111-4 Quad VCO

A-111-4 contains four precision VCOs with 10 octaves range and has individual controls, inputs and outputs for each VCO available as well as common controls and outputs.

Controls, inputs and outputs (individual for each and common for all VCOs):

• 1V/Octave CV input
• Octave switch (+1/0/-1 octave)
• Tune control (range internally adjustable by
jumpers: 2 semitones / 1 octave / 4 octaves)
• Modulation CV input (common unit is fixed to FM)
• Modulation destination FM or PWM (only for the
individual VCOs)
• Modulation intensity
• Triangle output
• Sawtooth output
• Rectangle output
• Sync input (internally selectable hard or soft sync)

Typical application:

polyphonic or paraphonic patches (i.e. all four VCOs processed by one VCF/VCA)
fat sounding monophonic VCO

A-105-4 Quad SSM VCF
A-105-4 is our first polyphonic filter and contains four identical 24dB Lowpass filters (SSM2044 type). It has available common manual controls and CV inputs with attenuators for these parameters:
• Frequency (F)
• Frequency Modulation Intensity (FM) • Resonance (Q)
• Audio Input Level (L)

Each filter has available a separate FM input as well as an Audio Input and Output. The FM input is typically connected to the output of the associated envelope generator (e.g. A-141-4). The envelope amount for all four filters is controlled by the FM knob and the CVFM input by means of four built-in VCAs, which are controlled by the FM control and CVFM input. This allows also voltage control of the envelope amounts.

In addition common frequency modulation for all filters is possible (e.g. by an LFO). For this the CVF input with attenuator can be used.

The range of the audio input level control (L) allows also clipping/distortion with typical A-100 audio levels (e.g. from A-111-4) at the filter inputs. Even this parameter is voltage controllable as well as the resonance (Q).
Application: polyphonic patches (four VCFs with same parameters)


A-132-8 Octal VCA

A-132-8 contains four VCA pairs. Each pair includes two daisy-chained VCAs. One VCA has a linear control scale, for the second VCA linear or exponential control scale can be chosen by means of jumpers.

We decided to provide two VCAs for each voice because usually one VCA is required for loudness envelope and a second one for velocity (or another function).

For each VCA these in/outputs are available:

• CVInputVCA1 • CVInputVCA2 • Audio Input
• Audio Output

Audio Sum Output is also available.

The module features two Initial Gain controls, that enable the opening of the first (G1) and/or second VCA (G2). This is necessary when the VCA in question is not in use (i.e. no external CV available). Otherwise the VCA would close. They are also useful for testing polyphonic patches.

Application:
polyphonic patches with two VCAs per voice.

A-141-4 Quad VCADSR

A-141-4 contains four ADSR type voltage controlled envelope generators with common manual controls and CV inputs with polarizers for the parameters Attack (A), Decay (D), Sustain (S) and Release (R).

Each of the four envelope generators has available a gate input, a control LED and an envelope output.

Application:

polyphonic patches (four envelope generators with the same envelope parameters to control four VCFs, VCAs or other modules)


A-190-5 Polyphonic CV/Gate Interface

A-190-5 is a Midi/USB interface that generates 4 gate signals and 12 control voltages to control up to four synthesizer voices (i.e. VCOs and associated modules like envelope generators, VCFs and VCAs) for polyphonic sound generation. The A-190-5 will be equipped with different polyphonic, duophonic, paraphonic and monophonic modes which are selected by means of menu buttons and the display.

For each channel a gate, a note controlled CV (1V/Oct.) and two auxiliary CVs (e.g. for velocity or controlled by midi control change messages) are available. In play mode the states of the four gates are displayed by four LEDs integrated into the buttons 1-4. Firmware updates are possible via USB.

A-123-2 6/12/18/24dB Highpass

A-123-2 is a voltage controlled highpass filter with four filter outputs (6, 12, 18 and 24dB slope). It also features voltage control of the resonance.

These controls and in/outputs are available:

• Audio In with attenuator (Lev)
• Manual Frequency control (Frq)
• FCV1: Frequency control input (~ 1V/oct)
• FCV2: Frequency control input with polarizer • QCV: Resonance control input with attenuator • Manual Resonance control (Q)
• 6dB Output
• 12dB Output
• 18dB Output
• 24dB Output


A-138s Mini Stereo Mixer

A-138s is a simple but useful 4-in-2 mixing tool. It has four inputs available. Each input is equipped with an attenuator (Level) and a Panning control (Pan) that is used to distribute the signal to the left and right outputs. Beyond stereo mixing it is equally suited to create variable parallel routings. For example: Any of the four inputs may be routed in variable intensity to feed two filters and the filter outputs can be re-routed to it's own audio input or the audio input of the other filter.

A-140-2 Dual Micro ADSR

Module A-140-2 contains two ADSR type envelope generators behind a front panel with 8 HP only. Each ADSR provides these controls and in/outputs:

• Attack (A), manual control
• Decay (D), manual control
• Sustain (S), manual control • Release (R), manual control • Gate Input
• Retrigger Input
• CVT Input with attenuator (CVT = CV Time) • Envelope Output 1
• Envelope Output 2
• LED control

By means of internal jumpers one can select which parameters are controlled by the CVT input (e.g. D only or D+R or A+D+R) and in which direction (i.e. if an increasing CVT shortens or stretches the time parameter in question). By means of another jumpers output 2 can be set to normal or inverted envelope). Two more jumpers are used for the optional bus access to the gate signal of the bus for each ADSR.


A-142-3 Envelope Controlled VCA

Module A-142-3 is the combination of a simple AD/AR envelope generator and a VCA behind a front panel with 4HP only.

The type of envelope can be selected by means of a toggle switch between A/D (Attack-Decay) and A/R (Attack/Release). Another toggle switch is used to choose envelope or (free running) LFO mode.

The envelope output controls a linear VCA.

These controls and in/outputs are available:

• Attack control
• Decay/Release control
• AD/off/AR switch
• Envelope/LFO switch
• LED (envelope display)
• Gate Input
• Manual gate (momentary switch)
• Envelope Output
• VCA CV Input (normalled to Envelope Output)
• Audio Input with Level control
• Audio Output (the outputs of several A-142-3 can
be internally mixed together)

A-150-8 Octal Voltage Controlled Switch

Module A-150-8 contains eight manually/voltage controlled switches. Each of the eight switches has a manual control button (Man.), a control voltage input (CV), a common Out / Input (O/I), and two In / Outputs (I/O1, I/O2). The switches are bi-directional and work in both directions (i.e. one can connect one input to either of two outputs, or one of two inputs to one output). Two LEDs show which in / output is active.

For each unit the operating mode can be selected: Toggle or Level controlled. In Toggle mode the rising edge of the CV input or operating the manual control button changes the state of the switch. In Level mode the switch state is defined by the voltage applied to the CV input.

In addition it's possible to define master/slave groups. In such a group the upper unit (= master) controls also the state of the following switches provided that they are defined as slaves.
The programming of toggle/level and master/slave is carried out very easily by means of the program buttons, the eight manual buttons and the LEDs.


A-173-1/2 Micro Keyboard

A-173-1/2 is a module combo that is used to generate a manually controlled 1V/Octave CV signal and up to 15 manually controlled gate/trigger signals. Typical applications are the transposition of a sequence by means of the CV output (without the need of an external keyboard and CV interface) and the manual generation of gate/trigger signals for start, stop, envelope generator triggering and other trigger tasks. A-173-1 is the transmitter module and is made of a 1.5 octaves micro keyboard and an octave switch. A-173-2 is the receiver module and generates several gate/trigger signals and a 1V/Oct. CV signal.

The upper section of the module is used for the gates/triggers which are controlled by the corresponding buttons of the A-173-1. Each output can be programmed as gate (pressing/releasing the corresponding key turns the gate on/off) or toggle (pressing the corresponding key changes the state) or trigger (pressing the corresponding key generates a short trigger signal). The state of each output is displayed by an LED. The lower section of the module is used the generate a 1V/Oct. CV signal and gate signal in the usual way.


A-173-1/2 Micro Keyboard

A-173-1/2 is a module combo that is used to generate a manually controlled 1V/Octave CV signal and up to 15 manually controlled gate/trigger signals. Typical applications are the transposition of a sequence by means of the CV output (without the need of an external keyboard and CV interface) and the manual generation of gate/trigger signals for start, stop, envelope generator triggering and other trigger tasks. A-173-1 is the transmitter module and is made of a 1.5 octaves micro keyboard and an octave switch. A-173-2 is the receiver module and generates several gate/trigger signals and a 1V/Oct. CV signal.

The upper section of the module is used for the gates/triggers which are controlled by the corresponding buttons of the A-173-1. Each output can be programmed as gate (pressing/releasing the corresponding key turns the gate on/off) or toggle (pressing the corresponding key changes the state) or trigger (pressing the corresponding key generates a short trigger signal). The state of each output is displayed by an LED. The lower section of the module is used the generate a 1V/Oct. CV signal and gate signal in the usual way.

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