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ARP | Odyssey rev3


While the Minimoog proved to be a runaway success as the first compact studio synthesizer, ARP responded with a compact and user-friendly studio synthesizer of their own with the Odyssey in 1972. An almost equally legendary machine itself, the Odyssey was ARP's highest selling synth back then, and still is to this day in the second-hand market.

The Odyssey essentially gives you a simplified hard-wired ARP 2600 in a much smaller and affordable package. The Odyssey is a 2-oscillator analog synth (with duo-phonic capability) and it sounds really nice; the Minimoog has three oscillators and is capable of thicker sounds. The Odyssey comes well equipped with all the tweakable features and analog goodness you'd expect: a resonant low pass filter, ADSR envelopes, sine or square wave LFO, and a sample-and-hold function.

The Odyssey also added a few new features such as a high pass filter that could be used in series with the low pass, oscillator-sync capability, and pulse-width modulation. It is a very professional and expressive machine that can create nice analog basses, interesting leads, great effects and sweeping sounds straight out of a Tangerine Dream album!

There were many versions of the Odyssey over the years, each a little different. They can be broken down into 8 models spanning 3 Mark "Mk" versions.

Odyssey Mk III (Models 2820-2823)

Another cosmetic make-over saw the release of the Mk III series (Models 2820-2823) produced from 1978-81. These models are virtually the same as the Mk II except that the overall look and quality were set to match the look of the latest ARP synths with the orange and black color-scheme, and a more rugged steel chassis. In addition to its 1/4" outputs, XLR outputs were also added. The Odyssey Mk III is the most commonly found model.

Mk III Models

Model Series Year Color Filter Boards Pitch Bend Interface Chassis
Mark III series
2820 mk III 78 - 81 Black+Orange 4075 A-II, B-II, C-II PPC CV/Gate+Trig Steel chassis, leather endblocks
2823 mk III 78 - 81 Black+Orange 4075 A-II, B-II, C-II PPC CV/Gate+Trig Steel chassis, leather endblocks
ModelOdyssey rev3
Engine TypeAnalog
Voices (max)1/2
LFOSine / Square; sample-and-hold
Engine Detailed2 VCO's: saw, square, pulse, pwm (can be modulated by: sine LFO or ADSR envelope), white/pink noise; oscillator-sync modulated by: ADSR, square/saw LFO, sample-and-hold
Filter (VCF)Model 4023 (Early models): 2-pole bi-quad design with low pass output. Model 4035 & 4075 (later models): Four-pole resonant 24dB lowpass filter, high pass filter (static); can be modulated by: keybd track, sample-and-hold, sine LFO, ADSR, AR; ring modulator
Envelope (VCA)EG 1: AR; EG 2: ADSR
Key typeKeys
CV-gateCV/GATE (models 2810 - 2823)
Extra info3 versions with various models
Produced:1972 - 1981
Legend: Obvious Y: Yes, N: No, N/A: Not Applicable
VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator DCO Digital Controlled Oscillator
LFO Low Frequency Oscillator Sub Sub Oscillator
VCF Voltage Controlled Filter VCA Voltage Controlled Amplifier
Velocity As with a piano, the harder you hit a key, the louder the sound, unlike most organs which always produce the same loudness no matter how hard you hit a key. Aftertouch Pressing a key after you activated it. Channel Aftertouch, no matter which key, it will send a Channel message. Poly Aftertouch, sends the pressure per key instead of the whole channel.
Values for OSC, LFO, Filter, Envelope are per voice unless stated otherwise.

Manuals, patches etc.


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