- ARP 2600 V
- Mac OS X
Arturia ARP 2600 V THE MAGIC MIX
With its sound palette varying from heavy drum n’ bass stabs to angular arpeggiated electro bass lines, whatever your chosen genre, Arturia ARP 2600 V is a truly versatile sound creation tool that still takes its place at the heart of today’s music.
The birth of ARP Instruments and the ARP2600
Alan R. Pearlman, whose initials would form the name of ARP Instruments, became interested in instruments for electronic music as early as 1948, when he was a student at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. This was a means for him to associate his two passions: electronic music and the piano.
It was by commercializing the amplifier models for the NASA Gemini and Apollo programs that he would start his career. Around 1968 he started seriously imagining the possibility of building electronic instruments – after hearing a recording of “Switched-on Bach,” according to legend.
In 1969, Alan R. Pearlman, David Friend and Lewis G. Pollock created ARP Instruments (originally called Tonus Inc.). The company, based in Newton Highlands (Massachusetts, USA), conceived electronic products, but also and above all else a large modular synthesizer, the ARP 2500. The machine used a matrix which connected the different sections of the synthesizer, instead of the traditional cables found in its competitor’s modular system. The ARP 2500 found success in American universities.
Used by most famous artists
The growth of ARP instruments was fast and in 1972 the ARP 2600, probably the most legendary of the entire range, was unveiled. This semi-modular synthesizer, conceived with an educational goal, was to become hugely successful after a shaky start. The ARP 2600 was notably used by Stevie Wonder, Joe Zawinul (Weather Report), Tony Banks (Genesis), Jean-Michel Jarre, Herbie Hancock… ARP was the market leader in synthesizers during the 70’s with around 40% of the market share.
In ten years, three versions of the ARP 2600 were commercialized: The first version was called “Blue meanie” because of its steely blue finish. The “blue meanie” was quickly replaced by a second version, with a grey background finish and white silk screening (1972). This was to be more popular. In 1978 ARP decided to change the graphic chart for all of its machines: a black background color with orange silk screening was introduced. The ARP2600 benefited from its third and last version.
The great rival
The great rival of ARP was the Bob Moog’s company. The competition between the two manufacturers can easily be seen when we observe the machines: The ARP, for example, has linear potentiometers, while its competitor has rotating pitch bend and modulation wheels.
A well-known episode of this competition was the 24 dB/octave filter, the 4012, used by the ARP. This was a replica of the famous filter made by its competitor. In 1973, this one threatened ARP with legal action and the firm decided to change the circuits on its filter. The 4072 was born and took the place of the 4012. This possessed a calibration error in the high frequencies – the maximum cut-off frequency was less than 11 kHz instead of the 16 kHz promised in the press. Luckily the repair for users was fast and not much of a burden. On the first ARP 2600’s, the 4012 filter was still used (this was the case for the “Blue meanie” and on the first examples of the “grey and white”) while the models that followed offered the 4072.
The ARP synthesizers possess very stable oscillators, more reliable than the ones equipping Bob Moog’s synthesizers, what he admitted himself. On the other hand, ARP for a long time dipped the electronic circuits for filtering in resin to avoid industrial piracy… this made for major problems when trying to perform a repair.
In 1972, ARP launched the Odyssey, which would be in direct competition with the Bob Moog’s monosynth released one year earlier. The same year, the Pro-Soloist, a preset instrument, was also unveiled.
In 1976, ARP released a small 16 step sequencer in the form of 2 independent 8 step sequences. This became famous and is still very sought after (it is emulated in the Arturia ARP 2600 V) The same year they presented the Omni, which would become one of ARPs biggest successes. The instrument allowed the combination of two polyphonic violin sounds – a great innovation for the company – and 2 monophonic bass sounds.
But in 1981, ARP was finally bought out by CBS. The following year, CBS with part of the ARP development team would produce the Chroma, a programmable polyphonic synthesizer, and in 1984 the Chroma Polaris, a simplified and MIDIcapable version of the Chroma.