I produce instrumental synth pop, darkwave music and was looking for a mono synth that has a raw analogue character mainly for leads, plucks and wet, squelchy filter sounds. The Dark Energy II did not disappoint! Even a simple, untweaked saw wave has its own character and the whole synth has a distinctive analogue sound you will never get from a soft synth.
The oscillator: what I really like here is the PWM which sounds so fat and kind of special. You can create big leads with it, my trick is to record it twice with a slightly different filter setting and pan the two recordings to opposite sides. Sounds huge! I also experiment a lot with the non linear FM, it's great to create percussive and unusual sounds and it's totally unpredictable (which I love!).
The filter: this one has its own character, can sound wet and smooth, can scream and rumble. It also self oscillates and although it's only 12 dB/oct it can produce big subs.
The LFOs: what I really like here is that they go up to the audio range. Experiment with them using FM or PWM to get some unique and interesting sounds.
The envelope: it has 3 modes and the fastest setting is crazy fast! It's great to create some aggressive percussive, poppy sounds.
The VCA: it sounds super, you can overdrive it to get crunchy results. The only thing I'm not totally happy with here is that it's exponential which means the synth will never go completely silent (I got this info from the manufacturer). But you can solve this by editing your recordings or simply using a gate.
Being semi modular gives you the option to use it in a modular setup, connect with other synths etc. Using a single patch cable you can for example control the filter cutoff with velocity or other MIDI CC. The synth also works as a MIDI to CV converter which is a big plus.
All in all it's a great synth with a unique signature sound, good MIDI implementation and expanding possibilities at a friendly price tag.
I make all different kinds of music and this little chap has started to feature in most of my stuff.
The Bass is massive. It takes a while to warm up and I would suggest using it with a DI box and padding it down it's incredibly loud!
It can be a bit fiddly due to it's size which is why I've given it a 4 for handling. The pots are smooth and the switches are solid the build quality is good. Buy the glide kit, it needs it, the kit is cheap and easy to fit.
All in all a great little synth module if you want something real in your digital set up that takes up hardly any space and won't cost the earth.
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