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Weapon of Choice:

ARP 2600

The ARP synthesizer company was founded by Alan R. Pearlman in 1970. The company produced some the most influential keyboard instruments of the 70's until closing its doors in 1981.

The ARP Odyssey was an analog synthesizer introduced in 1972. Responding to pressure from Moog Music to create a portable, affordable (the Minimoog was US$1,495 upon release) "performance" synthesizer, ARP scaled down its popular 2600 synthesizer and created the Odyssey, which became the best-selling synthesizer they made.

The Odyssey is a two-oscillator analog synth (the Minimoog has 3 oscillators and its sound is considered "fatter"). The Odyssey was the first synthesizer with duophonic capabilities (the ability to play two notes at the same time). Many cite ARP's semi-modular 2600 as the first duophonic synthesizer; however, the 2600 was originally shipped with a monophonic controller keyboard, with a duophonic keyboard not being released until after the Odyssey's release. One potential appeal of the Odyssey is the fact that all parameters, including a resonant low-pass filter, a non-resonant high-pass filter, ADSR and AR envelopes, triangle (not sine) and square wave LFO and a sample-and-hold function, are editable with sliders and buttons on the front panel.

The ARP 2600 is a semi-modular analog subtractive audio synthesizer, designed by Alan R. Pearlman and manufactured by his company, ARP Instruments, Inc. Unlike other modular systems of the time, which required modules to be purchased individually and wired by the user, the 2600 was semi-modular with a fixed selection of basic synthesizer components internally pre-wired. The 2600 was thus ideal for musicians new to synthesis due to its ability to be operated either with or without patch cords, and was, upon its initial release, heavily marketed to high schools, universities, and other educational facilities.

Three versions of the ARP 2600 were built during ARP's lifetime. The first, dubbed the "Blue Meanie," housed in a light blue/gray metal case, was assembled in a garage during ARP's infancy as a company. Later ARP 2600's were built in a vinyl case and contained an imitation of Bob Moog's infamous 4-pole "ladder" VCF, later the subject of an infamous, threatened (though ultimately nonexistent) lawsuit. Finally, in order to fit in with the black/orange theme of ARP's other synthesizers, the ARP 2600's were manufactured with orange labels over a black plastic panel.
Alan R. Pearlman was just as innovative as a salesman as a synthesizer designer, as he gave away synthesizers to famous musicians, namely Edgar Winter, Pete Townshend, Stevie Wonder, and Herbie Hancock, to supply ARP with free publicity. Other famous users were Chick Corea, Devo, Tom Coster, Stevie Wonder, George Duke, and Kraftwerk.

The enduring popularity of the ARP 2600 has led to software companies such as Arturia and Way Out Ware releasing software emulations for use with modern music equipment such as MIDI devices and computer sequencers. Although technology has progressed to the point where the ARP 2600 can be emulated fairly accurately, the idiosyncrasies of analogue circuitry make an exact replica arguably impossible.
-- courtesy of wikipedia

The ARP in Action

Track Listen Further/Buy
Sample 1 is the most famous ARP solo of all time. Herbie Hancock's Chameleon. Let's just leave it at that shall we! Check out this live footage of Herbie playing an Arp Odyssey here.
ARP Software Emulations

Here are the most popular Arp software emulations.
Product Name Manufacture Comments
ARP 2600V Arturia I have not used any of these so I can not comment.
TimewARP 2600 Wayoutware  
Oddity ( software emulation of the ARP Odyssey) Gmedia GForce  
Links to ARP Parts, Maintenance and more

Here are a few links to some great ARP Sites company that makes replicas of ARP 2500, 2600, and 2800 synthesizers. This guy builds ARP mods and his own synthesizer modules.
ARP Manuals user and service manuals to various ARP products
ARP pics Many pics of vintage ARP products. analog synth repair guy in arizona provides lots of links to ARP resources ( manuals and repair )

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