As a brewer who has run the gambit from Mr beer to AG and back, I really feel that using the palest DME possible along with the specialty grains to complete the brew is the ultimate compromise for someone who can not or chooses not to do AG.
Specialty grains can easilly be mashed or steeped, rinsed through a stainless strainer suspended over a 2nd pot, Boil as usual.
Not saying that there is anything wrong with using dark dme or the like, but when I can mash:
1 lb chocolate malt
12 oz black patent
8 oz roasted
12 oz crystal 80L
add 6 lbs pale DME and hops
and know exactly what I will end up with, rather than
6 lbs dark DME and some hops
and end up with something dark but mysterious, and by no means tailored to my specifications.
Just my 2 cents.
Stovetop mashing of specialty grains is too easy not to try and requires very little equipment.