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|Manufacturer||ARP Instruments, Inc.|
|Price||US$7180 - US$19920|
|Synthesis type||Analog Subtractive|
|Keyboard||3002 Two voice. 5 octaves.
3222 Four voice, split. 5 octaves.
3604 One voice, portable. 4 octaves.
The ARP 2500 is the first product of ARP Instruments, Inc., built from 1970 to 1981. It is a monophonic analog modular synthesizer equipped with a set of sliding matrix switches above each module. These are the primary method of interconnecting modules. There are rows of 1/8" miniphone jacks at the end of each row of matrix switches, to interconnect rows of switches. The main 2500 cabinet can hold 12 modules, and optional wing cabinets can each hold 6. The matrix switch interconnection scheme allow any module's output to connect to any other module's input. This is unlike the patch cords of competitive units from Moog and Buchla which can obscure control knobs and associated markings, but it has the disadvantage of greater cross-talk.
Although the 2500 proved to be a reliable and user-friendly machine, it was not commercially successful, selling approximately 100 units. A collection of the 2500s most popular modules was packaged into a single, non-modular unit as the ARP 2600, leaving out the matrix switching and more esoteric functions.
One good condition ARP 2500 unit is currently present in the collection of WORM in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
The 2500's most notable usage is in the 1977 motion picture Close Encounters of the Third Kind to communicate with aliens. The ARP technician sent to install the unit, Phil Dodds, was cast as the musician. The unit featured in the film consisted of a fully loaded main unit, two fully loaded wing cabinets and dual keyboards in a custom case.
It has been used by artists such as Aphex Twin, Meat Beat Manifesto, The Who, David Bowie, Skinny Puppy, Jean Michel Jarre, Jimmy Page, Paul Davis and Vince Clarke. The composer Eliane Radigue has worked almost exclusively with the 2500.
The ARP 2500 was extensively used by British producer David Hentschel on recordings such as "Funeral For A Friend" from Elton John's 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Jeff Wayne's 1978 multi-platinum selling album War Of the Worlds features the ARP 2500, including the sound of Martian speech.