ARP Odyssey

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ARP Odyssey Mark III
ManufacturerARP Instruments, Inc.
Korg Inc. (from 2015)
Dates1972 - 1981
2015 - Present
Technical specifications
LFOSine, Square, S&H
Synthesis typeAnalog Subtractive
AttenuatorAR, ADSR
Storage memorynone
Left-hand controlPitch
External controlCV/Gate

The ARP Odyssey is 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 Instruments, Inc. scaled down its ARP 2600 synthesizer and created the Odyssey, which became their best-selling synthesizer model.

There were several versions of the Odyssey over the years, and it was reissued by Korg in early 2015, in cooperation with the original designer and ARP co-founder, David Friend.[1][2]

The ARP Odyssey was used as the lead for Peter Howell's incarnation of the Doctor Who theme.[3]


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). All parameters, including a resonant low-pass filter, a non-resonant high-pass filter, ADSR and AR envelopes, a sine and square wave LFO, and a sample-and-hold function are controllable with sliders and switches on the front panel.


  • Switchable between sawtooth, square, and pulse waveforms with oscillator sync, a ring modulator, and pink or white noise.
  • Pulse-width can be modulated manually or with the LFO or the ADSR envelope generator. There is a (static) high-pass filter, as well as a voltage controlled low-pass self-oscillating filter.
  • The filter can be controlled by either of the two envelope generators, an ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, release) and a simple AR (attack, release) and modulated by the LFO, sample-and-hold, the keyboard, or a separate CV (pedal) input on the back panel.
  • The Sample/Hold input mixer can be used to route the output of the VCOs to the FM input of VCO 2 and the VCF, enabling audio frequency FM.

ARP Odyssey models[edit]

Odyssey Mk I (Model 2800)[edit]

ARP Odyssey Mark I
ARP Odyssey Mk1 - black/gold version

ARP Odysseys produced between 1972[4] and 1975, referred to as Mark I, were white-faced Odysseys that used a 2-pole voltage-controlled filter, which were similar to Oberheim SEM modules. Some late models used a black and gold color scheme and include CV/gate jacks like the later Mark II's. These earlier units contained a greater number of internal adjustments and were slightly more difficult to calibrate.

Odyssey Mk II (Model 2810-5)[edit]

ARP Odyssey Mark II

Odyssey Mark II's were produced between 1975 and 1978. They are largely similar to Mark I's; the main differences are the use of the black and gold color scheme and the inclusion of CV/gate in all models. These models also use a four-pole VCF, which were similar in design to Moog's four-pole filter. Subsequent models, however, use a different four-pole low-pass filter designed by ARP, the 4075 filter. A later filter with a similar design, the 4072, was used in the 2600, Omni, Axxe, Solus, and other ARP instruments.

Odyssey Mk III (Model 2820-2823)[edit]

The Mark III was introduced in 1978. Mark III's are also the most common models of the Odyssey[citation needed]. The Mark III used ARP's four-pole "4075" filter.

While earlier models had used a simple rotary knob to control pitch bend, The Mark III introduced proportional pitch control (PPC). PPC used pressure-sensitive buttons to control bend up, bend down, and vibrato. ARP included PPC on other instruments, and also offered a kit to add PPC to earlier Odyssey synthesizers.

Mark III Odysseys also have unbalanced XLR outputs, in addition to unbalanced 1/4" outputs.

The Mark III was cosmetically overhauled to feature a redesigned chassis and orange and black color scheme, which was consistent with other contemporary ARP instruments.

Production of the Odyssey Mark III ceased when ARP Instruments declared bankruptcy in 1981.

Korg ARP Odyssey[edit]

ARP Odyssey reissued by Korg[1] in 2015

The ARP Odyssey was reissued by Korg in 2015. The new Odyssey's analog signal path is similar to the original, with some additional modern features:

  • MIDI input and USB MIDI connectivity
  • a separate headphone output and balanced XLR output
  • a new "drive" switch to add distortion to the voltage-controlled amplifier.
  • includes the three filter circuits from the original Odyssey models, with the ability to switch between them
  • Ability to switch between two portamento behaviors from the original models.

The color scheme is similar to the Mark III, although Mark I and II styles were available in limited editions. All of Korg's reissues use the PPC.

The Korg ARP Odyssey is 86% of the size of the original ARP models. The keyboard is similarly reduced in size, and referred to as “Slim Keys” by Korg.

Korg ARP Odyssey Module[edit]

Similar in size to the panel of Korg’s reissued Odyssey keyboard. Includes minor MIDI implementation improvements.

Korg ARP Odyssey FS[edit]

A limited edition, full-size reproduction of the original Odyssey, available in all three classic ARP colour schemes.

ARP Odyssei[edit]

On Nov 1, 2016 Korg announced the Arp Odyssei for iOS[5].

Behringer Odyssey[edit]

In August 2019, Behringer began shipping their Odyssey clone. The Behringer Odyssey features a full-size 37-key keyboard and multiple versions of the filter based on several ARP Odyssey models. They have also included an arpeggiator, a 32-step sequencer with on-board storage, an effects bank, and an all-metal case that resembles the ARP Odyssey Mark III.


  1. ^ a b "Korg Announces the development of the ARP Odyssey synthesizer". Korg. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  2. ^ "The resurrection of ARP by Korg". May 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "ARP Odyssey". Sound On Sound. December 1997. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014.
  5. ^ author. "ARP ODYSSEi - DUOPHONIC SYNTHESIZER | KORG (USA)". KORG Global. Retrieved 2019-08-18.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]