Doepfer A-100 Basic System 3, beginner modular synth gets a refresh

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Doepfer A-100 Basic System 3, the popular first-steps modular Synthesizer has been redesigned with a new module selection. 

Dieter Doepfer is better known as the father of the Eurorack standard. In 1996, Doepfer introduced the A-100 modular Synthesizer with the iconic silver-colored, industrial-style front panels. A modular series that still exists today. As individual modules or as complete beginner-friendly systems.

Since the release of Basic System 2, Doepfer has expanded its portfolio with new modules every year. In order to reflect this new range of modules, there is a new Basic System 3 with an updated module setup. 

Doepfer A-100 Basic System 3

Doepfer A-100 Basic System 3

The Basic System 3 is a complete modular Synthesizer with a powered case and a curated selection of A-100 modules. 20 in total. These serve as a foundation and are perfect for musicians who want to start with modular synthesis.

What is fascinating about the Basic System lineup is that it is a standalone instrument. Once unpacked, you can start patching straight away and explore modular synthesis. It hosts all the synthesis you need for your first steps.

If you need more later, no problem. Since the BS3 consists of a Eurorack case and modules, it can be expanded at any time with modules from other manufacturers.

The Basic System 3 has a nice mix of subtractive modules but also one that leans towards the West Coast synthesis. More precisely, the A-137-1 Wave Multiplier I infuses wave shaping/folding in the classic, rich-sounding A-101 VCOs—the oscillators with which I made my first modular attempts.

Doepfer’s new system invites you to make sounds like classic two-oscillator basses, leads, or even wild bleep and blop sounds. Advanced shaping options like ring modulation, PWM, and FM are also possible via patching.

You can get the Basic System 3 in two case variations, each with two versions. The Low-Cost is the cheaper one and has a wood finish with two or three rows. Conversely, the regular version (P6/P9) is made of aluminum and can be closed like a carrying case. This looks the most beautiful and elegant to me.

Doepfer A-100 Basic System 3

20 Modules In The A-100 Basic System 3 

  • 2x A-110-1 Standard VCO
  • 1x A-118 Noise / Random
  • 1x A-108 6/12/24/48dB Low Pass Filter
  • 1x A-121-2 Multimode Filter
  • 1x A-131 VCA exponential
  • 1x A-132-3 Dual linear/exponential VCA
  • 1x A-137-1 Wave Multiplier I
  • 1x A-138j Inverter / Mixer
  • 1x A-138b Mixer log
  • 1x A-138s Mini Stereo Mixer
  • 1x A-140 ADSR Envelope Generator
  • 1x A-140-2 Dual Mini-ADSR
  • 1x A-147-4 Dual VCLFO
  • 1x A-151 Quad Sequential Switch
  • 1x A-160-2 Clock Divider II
  • 1x A-171-2 VC Slew Processor / Generator
  • 2x A-180-2 Multiples 1
  • 1x A-184-1 Ring Modulator/S+H/T+H/Slew Limiter
  • 5x blank panels 4HP

First Impression

I’m pleased to see that the Basic System story continues. I think the module selection in System 3 is very good. I’m missing a MIDI to CV/Gate or a small 8-step sequencer. However, in times of Keystep, etc, they can easily be replaced, giving you more space for other modules.

If I were to start over with modular today, I would no longer take a colorful mix of modules but would buy a finished system like this and explore it completely. Then, expand it with other modules. This way, I can focus more on an instrument before going further in the modular wildness. 

The A-100 system is designed for beginners. At +/- €3110 max (€649 for the case and €123 per module) it is not affordable for every beginner. Alternatively, B. offers complete systems based on the Moog Modular and Roland 100.

They are complete systems but differ in terms of modules and functionality. Where the B systems have the functions of the original synths, the Doepfer A-100 system has many modern features you can’t find in the recreations like wave folding, multimode filtering, etc. More affordable but not 1 to 1 equal.


Doepfer A-100 Basic System 3 is available in different case configurations. The Low-Cost 6V (LC6V) costs 2920€ and the LC9V 3010€. The system in the P6 case costs 3030€, and the P9 for 3110€. 

More information here: Doepfer 

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