ARP Odyssey

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Manufactured by ARP Instruments, Inc.

1972 - 1981

2015 - Present
Technical specifications
Polyphony 1-2
Oscillator 2
LFO Sine, Square, S&H
Synthesis type Analog Subtractive
Attenuator AR, ADSR
Memory none
Effects none
Keyboard 37-key
Left-hand control Pitch
External control CV/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 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 synthesizer, and one of the first with duophonic capabilities (the ability to play two notes at the same time). 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, a triangle (not sine) and square wave LFO, and a sample-and-hold function are controllable with sliders and buttons on the front panel.

There were several versions of the Odyssey over the years. In February 2014, Korg Inc announced that they would be reviving the Odyssey in September 2014.[1] The synth's anticipated release date was later updated to early 2015.

ARP Odyssey models[edit]

Odyssey Mk I (Model 2800)[edit]

ARP Odyssey Mark I
  • Produced between 1972 and 1975.
    These original white-faced Odysseys used a 2-pole voltage-controlled filter (VCF) design similar to old Oberheim SEM modules. Former Deep Purple keyboardist, the late Jon Lord, was a user of the Mk I version of the ARP Odyssey.
  • Later Mark Is were made with the black and gold color scheme, and some may also have the CV/Gate/Trigger interface jacks installed (ARP mod kit #6800101).

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
  • Produced between 1975 and 1978.
  • The Odysseys I and II look and feel virtually the same. The main difference between them are the addition of CV/Gate control and a new black and gold color scheme. The 2810 introduced a beefier 4-pole VCF. This filter was similar to the Moog filter and did not last. A persistent rumor has it that Moog sued ARP over this, but no suit ever occurred. ARP and Moog came to an amicable agreement and a small licensing fee was paid by ARP for units previously manufactured. ARP soon after designed their own four-pole, low-pass filters. They came up with the 4075 filter which was used in subsequent Odyssey models. The similar 4072 was featured in the 2600, Omni, Axxe, Solus, and others.

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

ARP Odyssey Mark III
  • Produced from 1978 to 1981.
  • The Mk III featured the new 4075 filter design. The rest of its specifications are virtually identical to the Odyssey II except that the overall look and quality are further updated to match the look of the latest ARP synths with the orange and black "Halloween" color scheme. It also used a unique ARP pitch-bender design called the PPC (Proportional Pitch Control), where three pressure-sensitive buttons are used to control bend up, down, and vibrato; older Odysseys used a simple knob for pitch bending. The Odyssey Mk III is the most common Odyssey model.
  • Mk III Odysseys have unbalanced XLR outputs, in addition to unbalanced 1/4" outputs.

Korg ARP Odyssey[edit]

ARP Odyssey reissued by Korg[1] in 2015
  • Reissued by Korg in 2015
  • Features switches to swap between the filter designs and portamento behaviors of the MK I, MK II, and MK III Odyssey Models.
  • Features a Drive switch to distort the VCA.
  • Has Midi IN, USB Midi and an adjustable volume headphone output in addition to the I/O found on the MK III.
  • XLR output is balanced as opposed to unbalanced.
  • External design modeled after the original ARP Odyssey at 86% of the size.
  • Default color scheme modeled after the MK III model, with MK I and MK II color schemes offered as limited-edition models.


  • 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.


External links[edit]

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