Doepfer Dark Energy MkI vs MkIII

Been wanting a semi-modular setup lately… I really like the demos I’ve heard of these online and love how many tonal variations these units give you in such a small space. Anyone have first-hand experience with the different versions of the DE? I like the rounder tone of the MkI but the filter of the MkIII sound get pretty crazy when modulated by the LFOs.

Or maybe just get both?

So just snagged a Mk1 in an eBay deal that I couldn’t pass up… so I guess the question is whether to get him a little MkIII buddy.


With the flood of B*synths the Doepfer Dark Energy seems overprized, but from my memory, the DE mk i has a fantastic sound, and Dieter made some small but well thoughtfull Changes to the Mk3. The VCO is Curtis based again (Triangle core, but not a CoolAudio Chip, rather from the Curtis factory). No Warm-up time needed, plus it tracks stable across 8 octaves! The SVF is able to work as Sine OSC, which can be linear FMed. The VCA has now also a linear control scale, which results in a softer Sound. The two LFOs go into audio range 5kHz…
So, worth to Check it Out.

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Dark Energy MK1 has a (beautifully sounding) 24db low pass filter (CEM339), Mk2/Mk3 have 12db multimode filter (low pass/Notch/high pass/band pass).

What i didnt Like…No on/Off Switch, knobs are very Close to each other.

I have had both (really, all three - the Mkii for a while as well). Currently I have the Mkiii version.

I have always acquired them used (and saved quite a bit from new) - and while still more costly than other monosynths out there, I really do enjoy the sounds that come out of the Doepfer unit (any of them) and for me the DE has a place as a no presets, compact, all knobs visible, type synthsezier.

Having said that, I’m happy with the Mkiii at this point - in particular given the multimode filter. You probably know that the internals are different from Mki to Mkiii as well, and with the filter variability I’m very happy with what I am able to get out of it vs. the Mki. And as was also pointed out - no warm up time needed (like the Mkii). The only thing I miss vs. the Mki is there were a couple of patch points on the Mk1 at the bottom (for LFO1 and ADSR IIRC) that changed and I probably preferred what the Mki offered vs. the Mkiii (apparently this can be tweaked via the insides of the Mkiii, but not a big enough deal for me to try it).

Anyway - if I had a Mki and was completely happy with it, would I buy a Mkiii? Probably not - would go for something totally different. But if I was deciding between the two - I think I would go with the latest version.

Lastly - I’m a DE fan - great little boxes.


Hi everybody.
I’m interested in Doepfer Dark Energy.
Someone can help me to understand the difference between mod. 1,2,3?
I read something about filter type and modulation possibilities.
I read also that version 2 seems not to be the best.
Is it true?


Differences are mainly filters, exponential/linear fm and different patch points.

DE 1 has a 24 db low pass filter (CEM 3394) and offers exponential and linear fm, DE2 and DE3 are 12 db multimode filters and exponential fm.

Detailed specs are on the Doepfer website



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DE1 is best, then 3, then 2 IMHO.

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I have DE mk 2, sounds very good. Be aware, it is a gate way to modular drugs.

I’m scared…
Frankly I come from digital device, cheap and compact synths.
If i’ll purchase it I hope it will be my only analog synth, I hope…

Thanks for worning

I have two Mk1s, and i love them! The linear FM of the filter is really special, and you can get some great clangorous FM tones out of it, that stay in tune too…

Don’t want to big them up too much cos i want to buy another, and prices are creeping up, so, bad points would be: no LFO outputs, no separate OSC output (this is a big one actually, and means it’s awkward to use an external filter if you want.), levels can be difficult to tame sometimes, and the inscrutable MIDI settings are just a total headfuck and annoying, not helped by the manual with its weird Germanglish explanations.

The difference is naturally between the filters & other minor details, but THE BIGGEST difference between them is that the MK. 2 takes up to 30 minutes to warm up enough to stay in tune! So I would definitely either get the MK. 1 or the MK. 3.

may be some confusion there - the second version of V1 is the one to get :wink:

that’s the one i have - it has extra pin outs on the v2 PCB for hackers who want extra i/o, it’s not a DE2 though, i guess it’s a DE1.v2

V2 of MK. 1, hah!

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yes - iirc it has oscillator shape taps and extra lfo out options and more besides, check Doepfer for v2 pcb differences or youtube for demos

Im in tel aviv, its get warm in 10 min

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I’ve the mk3 and it gets midi and cv from A4. Works great and you get deep low mono sub bass!

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Thanks to everybody. Now it’s time to think…