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10 synths that will make you fall in love with ARP Instruments

Feast your eyes on these beauties

  • Louis Anderson-Rich
  • 24 March 2017

It was recently announced that Behringer was trying to make a budget clone of the legendary ARP 2600. And why not? The notoriously expensive instrument has been described as the holy grail of analog instruments and it's influence on music and sound ranges from The Chemical Brothers' 'Dig Your Own Hole' album to R2-D2's voice. It's an incredible instrument that has fascinated music gear heads for 46 years.

But the ARP 2600 and it's predecessor's revolutionary impact on music is only the beginning of ARP Instruments' story.

Founded by Alan Robert Pearlman (initials A.R.P) in 1969, ARP Instruments quickly emerged as a serious rival to Moog Music which first pioneered modular synthesis, and eventually overtook them as the world's leading manufacturer of electronic instruments.

Beginning with the massive ARP 2500 model in 1970, the futuristic design was used as a prop in the film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind such was the hype around the machine. They eventually realised the design was simply to big and compacted it into the 2600.

In 1972, the ARP Odyssey arrived and with it top spot in the world of electronic instruments. Recently revived by Korg, the Odyssey became a standard for synthesizers with it's duophonic unit, VCOs and sound-creating possibilities. Kraftwerk, George Duke and Herbie Hancock were all early adopters and look how their careers panned out.

Off the back of the Odyssey's popularity, ARP began to focus on more common-shaped synthesizers including the best-selling Omni polyphonic units, the ARP Sequencer and the massive ARP Quadra that combined a bass synth, poly synth for chords, lead synth and string section into one unit.

For all its popularity and influence on electronic music, its amazing ARP Instruments only lasted until 1981 after a number of bad financial decisions. Now as collectors' items, it's made it all the more important that some more of the instruments on this list might get a reboot in the near future.

In order: ARP 2500, ARP 2600, Odyssey, Omni, Axxe, ARP Sequencer, Omni 2, Quadra, Solus, Chroma

Louis Anderson-Rich is Mixmag's Digital Intern. Let him know on Twitter if you see one of these synths going for cheap on eBay

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