ARP Odyssey

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Manufacturer 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

ARP Odysseys produced between 1972 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 4057 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]

ARP Odyssey Mark III

Mark III was produced between 1978 and 1981, and was the last model until Korg's revival of the Odyssey in 2015. Mark III's are also the most common models of the Odyssey. The Mark III used ARP's four-pole 4057 filter and introduced proportional pitch control (PPC). PPC was a pitch bend system created by ARP that used pressure-sensitive buttons to control bend up, bend down, and vibrato. Older models had used a standard knob. Apart from the new filter and pitch bend, the distinguishing feature of the Mark III is its orange and black color scheme, which was consistent with other contemporary ARP instruments.

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

Korg ARP Odyssey[edit]

ARP Odyssey reissued by Korg[1] in 2015

The ARP Odyssey was reissued by Korg in 2015 with modifications to make the instrument more modern. The Korg ARP Odyssey introduced MIDI in and USB MIDI, as well as a separate headphone output and balanced XLR output. It also adds a drive option to distort the voltage-controlled amplifier. Korg's models include features of all three of the original Odyssey models, including the ability to switch between their filters and portamento behaviors. The design is modeled after the Mark I, but in a reduced size; the color scheme follows the Mark III, although Mark I and II styles were available in limited editions.


  • 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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