Korg ArpOdyssey Synthesizer

Korg ARP Odyssey

£779

The re-release of Korg’s iconic MS20 monosynth in 2013 was one of the defining moments in the current wave of analogue synths: proof that Korg could still build proper analogue instruments and proof that they could faithfully recreate the sound of their vintage circuits.

It wasn’t at all surprising that Korg would revive one of their own classic models, but their next move came from out of the blue: rather than reissuing another vintage Korg synth, they instead announced that they’d be releasing a version of the Odyssey, a duophonic synth produced between 1972 and 1981 by their American rivals ARP.

In terms of its sound, the Korg version is virtually indistinguishable from the original. The biggest difference is the fact that the Korg allows you to switch between three filter modes, based on the three separate revisions of the VCF circuit in successive Odyssey models. Like the MS20 Mini, Korg’s Odyssey is slimmed down from its original size, measuring up at 86% scale, with slim keys. Not everyone was pleased about that when it was announced, but if you insist on full-sized keys you could always play it with a controller thanks to the addition of MIDI (a luxury not found on the pre-MIDI original). Either way, the Odyssey is a real player’s synth, with an expressive range of tone and a unique character.

18th January, 2016

Comments

  • Wow, 2 oscillators, 4 waveforms, filter, lfo to modulate it. It’s no wonder electronic music hasn’t really advanced in the last decade as people are still getting boners for things we’ve all seen/heard before. New synths are just tools for muso-posers to show off with, posh handbags for guys/gals who don’t leave their bedrooms. All you really need if you want hardware to make music is a £100, 20 year old Roland W-30 and a good idea.
    This ain’t a dig at Attack.

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  • wow, the original really is a lot better sounding. Much richer and thicker sounding. The update is somehow ‘skimmed’.

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  • @Duncan

    Ridiculous isn’t it. I went into a music shop the other day and all the guitars still only had six strings! Retrograde madness

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  • @Nathan

    Not a fair comparison at all. Synths are based on technology that is constantly changing. And due to Moore’s Law, the technology is constantly getting cheaper. These two things dictate that synths should be evolving a lot more than they seem to be. What is new and unique here?

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  • @ Duncan

    Plenty of unique synth design out there. That’s mostly what the eurorack format is about. Also, what would you consider “unique”? 99.999999% of soft synths are based on hardware. The only truly novel synthesis in software comes from stuff like MAX/MSP, PD, Kyma, etc.. Do you think the Roland W-30 was some sort of revolutionary design at the time? I’m old enough to remember and it wasn’t. I say the more synths the merrier.

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