The Dark Energy in Eurorack format has been on the market for quite a while. But in 2018 the remaining CEM 3394 stocks came to an end and production of the noble Doepfer Eurorack synthesizer voice had to be quit. Whatever the case, a modern replacement of the (near-to) all-in-one synthesizer chip 3394 allowed for a A-111-5 relaunch …
That replacement chip comes from Riga / Latvia. The Joint Stock Company ALFA built a whole range of CEM chips and thus enables a (relatively) secure future for quite a large number of analog synthesizers. Its AS3394 chip is the heart of Doepfer’s rack module, called A-111-5.
The A-111-5, for the first time, really looks like a Dark Energy in rack format (Vintage Version!). In other words: it looks really good …
Dieter Döpfer lets the stock of AS chips be selected especially for the A-111-5 – in order to match the high audio-quality of CEM synthesizers …
“We do not use the “normal” AS3394, but have them selected by the manufacturer according to our specifications. My old ears hear no difference to the CEM chip, neither do the guys from Alex4, who sometimes use both – the “old” and the “new”A-111- 5. None of us notices any audible difference. The selected AS3394 cost three times more than the standard AS3394 chips, but it’s worth the effort.”
The A-111-5 module is ideally suited as a flexible solo synthesizer – especially for great bass, lead sounds and FX sounds (FM, XM, LM, two LFOs …) for quality and strong analog sounds, so to speak.
Furthermore, there’s an excting way to re-create THE classic analog poly-synth of the first day. Combined with Doepfer’s polyphonic MIDI module, one can easily combine multiple A-111-5 modules and thus build up a Two-Voice or Four-Voice synthesizer.
Doepfer A-111-5 Modul
Synthesizer-Voice / Dark Energy
in Eurorack Format
Standard Edition (silver) – 300 Euros
Vintage Edition (black) – 350 Euros
Open / Download:
Doepfer A-111-5 XL Foto
I was just about to order the A-111-5, but Doepfer did not include the awesome morphable multimode filter of Dark Energy 2 and 3. So for me, the A-111-5 is not so much a modern eurorack-version of the DarkEnergy, it is more a bit of a missed opportunity.
To be clear, this is effectively a re-issue of the original a-111-5 and Dark Energy I, where the original a-111-5 predated the Dark Energy I. It has a more convincing CEM 3394 replacement than Dark Energy II/III, has the same basic wave shape (triangle) as the OG a-111-5 and Dark Energy I (II has saw, III has saw/triangle) and it has a 24DB lowpass filter like the OG’s, rather than a 12DB multimode filter like Dark Energy II/III. In short, this is an OG replacement and does not have a modern Dark Energy counterpart. Get this one if you want that old Curtis sound.