Korg ARP Odyssey Analog Synthesizer Unveiled at NAMM 2015

I remember getting the chance to play with an ARP Odyssey in junior high, back in the mid-1970s – it was an awesome piece of music-making hardware! Released in 1972 to compete with the MiniMoog, the Odyssey was responsible for many of the classic synth sounds of the 1970s, and now Korg has announced the Korg ARP Odyssey Analog Synthesizer!

NAMM Music

Users of the ARP Odyssey included Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Devo, Jon Lord of Deep Purple, Klaus Schulze, and many more. The amazing thing was that the Odyssey was designed to be a cheaper and more user-friendly alternative to the ARP 2500 (used on The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ and on the classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind theme) – but the two-pole analog filters they used produced a tone that was immediately attractive to musicians.

Now Korg and ARP Instruments are teaming up to revive the classic ARP Odyssey for a new generation! This means the Korg ARP Odyssey Analog Synthesizer is fully analog but much more reliable and standardized than it was more than 40 years ago. Here are some details:

“Together the engineers at Korg and Arp were able to nail the sound and feel of the original. Under the advisory assistance of David Friend, the co-founder of ARP Instruments, every detail was adjusted to replicate the original unit’s distinctive synthesis,” says James Sajeva, Brand Manager for Korg products. “Every aspect has been carefully considered to stay true to the quality of the original, down to the sophisticated semi-hard case.”

Korg has completely reproduced the original circuitry for artists looking to recreate classic sounds and explore new ones. The ARP Odyssey has been downsized to 86% of the original. Carefully selected parts are used in the familiar slider section, providing an operating feel that’s even smoother than the original.

Of course some additional hardware was added to to the iconic compact body, highly usable sliders, and a 37 note slim keyboard. A new ‘DRIVE’ switch is provided and connectors include MIDI and headphone output as well as Patch cables have been added.

NAMM Music   NAMM Music

 

Korg ARP Odyssey Analog Synthesizer Product Specifications:
  • Keyboard: 37-note (Slimkey, No velocity sensitivity, No aftertouch)
  • Maximum Polyphony: 2 voices for duophonic; normally monophonic
  • Controllers: Transpose Positions: 2 octaves down, normal, 2 octave up
  • Proportional Pitch Control: b (Pitch down) Pad: about -2 / 3 octave – (Modulation) Pad
    # (Pitch-up) Pad: about +2 / 3 octave
  • Noise Generator: Noise Spectrum Types (white and pink)
  • Portamento: Maximum Speed: about 0.01 msec./oct
    Minimum Speed: about 1.5 sec./oct
  • VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator): Waveforms: Sawtooth, Square, Pluse (Dynamic Pluse)
    Frequency Range: VCO-1 in low freq. mode, 0.2 Hz – 20 Hz: VCO-1 and VCO-2 (audio range) about 20 Hz – 20 kHz
    Warm Up Drift: 1/30 semitone from turn on max
    Pulse Width: 50 % – 5 %
    Pulse Width Modulation: ADSR, +45 %; LFO, +15 %
    Voltage Controlled Response: 1 V/oct
    Maximum Frequency Shifts: LFO sin wave, +1/2 oct.; LFO square wave, +1.5 oct.; ADSR, +9 oct.; S/H, +2 oct.
    * VCO-1 is low note priority, VCO-2 is high note priority.
  • VCF (Voltage Controlled Filter): Types: Low pass (I: 12 dB/oct., II III: 24 dB/oct.)
    Frequency Range: 16 Hz – 16 kHz
    Maximum Usable Q: 30
    Resonance: 1/2 – self oscillate
    Voltage Controlled Response: C3 key (left edge): 0 V, C6 key (right edge) 3 V
  • VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier): Dynamic Range: 80 dB
  • Ring Modulator:
    Type: Digital
    Input Signal: VCO-1, VCO-2 (square wave)
  • Sample & Hold:
    Command Sources: Keyboard or LFO trigger
    Sampled Signals: VCO-1 sawtooth wave and square wave, VCO-2 square wave and pink noise
  • ADSR Envelope Generator:
    Attack Time: 5 msec. – 5 sec.
    Decay Time: 10 msec. – 8 sec.
    Sustain Level: 0 – 100 % or Peak
    Release Time: 15 msec. – 10 sec.
  • AR Envelope Generator:
    Attack Time: 5 msec. – 5 sec.
    Release Time: 10 msec. – 8 sec.
  • Control Input Jacks:
    Pedal: ?6.3 mm monaural phone jack
    Portamento Foot Switch: ?6.3 mm monaural phone jack
  • Audio Output Jacks:
    • LOW:
      Connector: ?6.3 mm monaural phone jack
      Maximum Output Level: -20 dBu@ 10 k? load
      Output Impedance: 10 k?
    • HIGH:
      Connector: XLR connector
      Maximum Output Level: +4 dBu@ 1 k? load
      Output Impedance: 330 ?
  • Headphones Jack:
    Connector: ?6.3 mm stereo phone jack
    Maximum Output Level: 50 mW + 50 mW@ 33 ? load
    Output Impedance: 10 ?
    * Controllable by volume knob.
  • External Audio Input (Ext Audio Input) Jack:
    Connector: ?6.3 mm monaural phone jack
    Maximum Input Level: -10 dBu
    Input Impedance: 22 k?
  • MIDI Connector:
    IN
  • USB Connector:
    Type B
  • CV IN/OUT Jacks:
    Keyboard CV (IN/OUT): 1 V/oct.
    Connector: ?3.5 mm monaural phone jack
  • GATE IN/OUT Jacks:
    GATE IN: +3 V (minimum)
    GATE OUT: +10 V, key down; 0 V all keys up
    Connector: ?3.5 mm monaural phone jack
  • TRIG IN/OUT Jacks:
    TRIG IN: +3 V pulse min., 10 ?sec. Duration minimum
    TRIG OUT: +10 V pulse on key depression, 10 ?sec. Duration
    Connector: ?3.5 mm monaural phone jack
  • Power Supply: AC adapter jack (DC 9 V)
  • Power Consumption: 6.5 W
  • Dimensions (W x D x H):  502 x 380 x 120 mm / 19.76? x 14.96? x 4.72?
  • Weight: 5 kg / 11.02 lbs
  • Accessories:
    AC adapter, phone cable, mini-phone cable, owner’s manual, dedicated semi-hard case
  • Options:
    VP-10 Volume Pedal, PS-1/PS-3 Pedal Switch

Pricing for the new Korg ARP Odyssey Analog Synthesizer is $1400, with availability not yet announced.

About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

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