Listening To A Vintage Synth Next To Its Reboot Is Just So Satisfying

Last year, Korg set out to recreate the Arp Odyssey, a legendary synth that went out of production back in 1981. How does the result sound? Pretty darn good!

The side-by-side video comparing old and new Arps is just what we needed to get a taste for how the new much slimmer Arp measures up. The Korg 2015 model sounds pretty gnarly, and depending on the parameters used, it's basically identical to the original to my ears. There are some slight differences here and there, but you can tell Korg took pains to make the reproduction a faithful one. The company enlisted Arp co-founder David Friend throughout the design process.

Of course, the video above only compares what these two Arps have in common — Korg added a bunch of new features to enhance and modernize the instrument.

The vintage model in the synth is actually an Arp Odyssey Mark III. Each of the three versions of the Odyssey had a slightly different filter. The new Arp actually has all three filters. Nice! Additionally, the new model has MIDI support as well as a transpose function that gives you seven octaves of range. (For a detailed rundown of differences, read up here.)

Whenever an old classic instrument is resurrected by some well meaning (or optimistic) manufacturer, you should always be very sceptical. But I've really been impressed with Korg's work these last few years. Besides this lovely little Arp, the company also made a great mini reboot of its own classic MS-20 synth.

Analogue synthesisers are seeing something of renaissance these days. It's nice that Korg is seizing the opportunity to enhance what came before, rather than just cashing in with empty, bogus reproductions.


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    Very cool. Being a synth man from way back I absolutely adore retro music gear. But, I have to say that it is fairly well obvious manufacturers are out of new ideas when it comes to digital. They are now "creating" markets, creating analog remakes at 200% the original cost. A computer can easily emulate ANY analog kit, its 2015! I love real analog circuits, dont get me wrong, I'm an electronics engineer, I grew up repairing/respecting this gear, but when you pay $3000 > for a retro analog synth, sometime's parting with that much cash makes you hear things.

      Well, I bought my first synth in 1981, a used Roland SH1000, and I'm the exact opposite. I couldn't wait to get away from the nightmare of ANALogue synths. I've gone from a situation where I needed a panel van and two helpers to set up my gear, which still took around 90 minutes, to being able to catch a bus to a gig with all my gear, which is now my 8" Lenovo tablet and a USB keyboard/synth/audio device (Novation Ultranova) plus three cables and one power-supply. Everything fits in the soft bag I got for the Ultranova and I can be set up and sound-checked in 10 minutes. I've gone from spending $10,000 on studio time to record an album to doing it at home for free and getting infinitely better results into the bargain.

      That said, if there was one synth I'd want to keep from those dark days, it would be my ARP Axxe, which was a cut-down version of the Odyssey (I could never have justified the expense of an Odyssey back then). The only thing that will stop me buying one of these is the fact it has those stupid miniature keys. If they built one with full size keys and an integrated USB audio/MIDI interface, I'd be all over it.

      I also agree about being able to do these things justice in software. Purists will always be able to find some extreme settings that the ANALogue synth will do that the software versions struggle with but those things are invariably non-musical, ear-piercing shrieks that no-one would ever want to use anyway. For any real-world usage scenario, the software recreation will do the job for a few bucks.

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