Arp Odyssey

The Odyssey was ARP Instruments Inc’s response to the R.A. Moog Inc’s Minimoog. Released in 1972, the Odyssey is essentially a simplified hard-wired ARP 2600 in a much smaller and affordable package. The Odyssey is a two-oscillator analog synthesizer, and one of the first with duophonic capabilities (the ability to play two notes at the same time). The Odyssey’s front panel sliders and switches allow control of all parameters, including a resonant low-pass filter, a non-resonant high-pass filter, ADSR and AR envelopes, a triangle (not sine) and square wave LFO, and a sample-and-hold function.

The Arp Odyssey was made in three Revisions

Mk1 (1972-75): had a white front panel with black lettering a rotary pitch bend knob and used a smooth 2-pole voltage-controlled filter design.

MkII (1975-78): Largely similar to Mk1; but with a black and gold colour scheme,  a four-pole VCF, which were similar in design to Moog's four-pole filter and the inclusion of CV/gate in all models.

MkIII (1978-81): The most common version of the Odyssey, the Mk III featured an orange and black colour scheme, consistent with other contemporary ARP instruments, ARP's four-pole 4075 filter and proportional pitch control (PPC). PPC was a pitch bend system created by ARP that used pressure-sensitive buttons to control bend up and down, and vibrato.

Notable users of the ARP Odyssey include Billy Currie (Ultavox, Gary Numan Band, Visage), Chick Corea, Bomb the Bass, Styx, Tangerine Dream, Tony Thorpe, Pat Travers, Ultravox, Vangelis, Blue Weaver, Yello Magic Orchestra, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Devo, Chemical Brothers, Duncan Mackay, J.M. Jarre, ELO and Herbie Hancock.

ARP Odyssey Specifications:

Synthesis type: Subtractive
Polyphony – Monophonic / Duo-phonic
Oscillators – 2 VCO’s: saw, square, pulse, pwm (can be modulated by: sine LFO or ADSR envelope), white/pink noise; oscillator-sync modulated by: ADSR, square/saw LFO, sample-and-hold
LFO – Sine / Square; sample-and-hold
Filter – Model 4023 (Early models): 2-pole bi-quad design with low pass output.
Model 4035 & 4075 (later models): Four-pole resonant 24dB lowpass filter, high pass filter (static); can be modulated by: keybd track, sample-and-hold, sine LFO, ADSR, AR; ring modulator
VCA – EG 1: AR; EG 2: ADSR
Keyboard – 37 keys
Arpeg/Seq – None
Control – CV/GATE (models 2810 – 2823)
Memory – None

In 2015 Korg introduced an updated version of the Odyssey. The Korg ARP Odyssey introduces extra features including MIDI in and USB MIDI, as well as a separate headphone output, a balanced XLR output and a drive option to distort the voltage-controlled amplifier. The colour scheme is the same orange and black of the Mark III, although Mark I and II styles were available in limited editions.

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Arp Odyssey Mk1 photo by Slugworth (en:File:Odyssey1.jpg) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Posted in 1970's Synth, 1980s Synths, Monophonic, Subtractive Synth, Synthesizers.