Tag Archives: ARP

ARP synths of the mid 70s part III

ARP_Omni_1977How are y’all doing on this snowy day…  listening to some mid-seventies Tangerine Dream LPs and flippin thru a giant pile of old DOWNBEAT mags that I picked up at an estate sale this past wknd along with an enormous radio.   Here’s a few ARP bits+bobs that caught my eye.  Anyone have the above-depicted demo record?


ARP_Odyssey_1977The ARP Odyssey c. 1977

ARP_Minus_Mixer_1976The ARP Minus Noise Mixer c.1976.  Anyone know exactly what is the gimmick here?

Arp_2600_1972_HHHerbie Hancock at the 2600




For previous ARP coverage at PS dot com,

Click Here for our exclusive download of the 1977 ARP Catalog

Click here for ARP endorsers of the 70s

Also this is pretty neat


Obscure Synths+Keys of the early 80s, part XIV

ARP_SOLUSToday: just some offbeat keys+synths that caught my eye; i’ve never come across any of these in the shops+stages+studios of my corporeal reality so I think perhaps uncommon items?  Srry, it’s early.  About to head to the LAST FLEA MKT OF THE YR.  Bittersweet times.  Aie, I recall salad-days when April was young and barkers descended on New Milford plain to hawk goods of dubious origin.  Like the sun, the tide, and the pork-belly market, that time will rise again I suppose. Below: the Akai AX-80 synth c. 1985, the Crumar Rhody ‘electronic piano’ of 1980,  the fascinating Casio 8000 modular…casio…system of ’84, the 1980 ARP Solus (also above), and the 360 Systems ‘Digital Keyboard’ of 1984.



ARP Synthesizer Endorsers of the early 1970s

Stevie Wonder endorses the ARP 2600 in this early 70s advert

Billy Preston likes his ARP Pro-Soloist

Les McCann and the Arp Pro-Soloist

Edgar Winter apparently used the ARP 2600 on his cheerful Doobie-Bros-esque hit record ‘Free Ride’; those wind sounds in the breakdown, i’m guessing?

Several more examples after the jump… Continue reading ARP Synthesizer Endorsers of the early 1970s

1980 (via Music Emporium)

Download 25pp of excerpts from the 1980 ‘Music Emporium’ mail-order catalog: synthesizers, keyboards; effects pedals; pro audio equipment:

DOWNLOAD SYNTHS:Music_Emp_Keys_1980


DOWNLOAD PRO AUDIO: Music_Emp_audio_1980

Keyboard instruments covered, with photos, text, and (often) pricing, include: ARP Axxe, Odyssey, Quadra, Quartet, Omni II, and 2600 keyboards, Moog Micro Moog, Mini-Moog, Polymoog, and Multi-Moog, Korg MS-10 and MS-20; Oberheim OB-1, two-voice, OB-X, and four and eight-voice systems; Roland RS-09 and RS-505 string machines; Roland MP-600 electronic piano; mechanical keyboards from Hohner (pianet and clavinet) and Wurlitzer (200); Leslie 820, 860, 147, 760, and 815 rotating speaker systems.

Effects pedals include full lines from MXR (many…), Morley (VOL, SVO, PWO, WVO, PWB, PWF, PWA, PFA, and PRL), Mutron (III, Phasor II, Vol-Wah, Octave Divider, and Bi-Phase), and DOD (250, 280, 401, 640); plus interesting oddities like the Gizmotron, eBow, Altair PW-5, and the original Pignose amplifier.

Audio includes a wide range of mics from Shure, Sennheiser, Beyer, Sony, plus some predictable selections from the AKG and Electrovoice lines; Teac tape machines; Technics 1500 and RS-M85; the Tangent 3216 mixing console; time delay effects including Loft 440, Lexicon Prime Time model 93, MXR digital delay and flanger-doubler; Roland space echos, Tapco 4400 and Furman RV-1 reverbs; compressors including MXR mini, Ashly SC55 and SC-50. Biamp Quad Compressor, Ureil LA4, and DBX compressors 163, 160, 162, 165; plus a host of mainly graphic EQs including Biamp EQ210, EQ270A and EQ110R, MXR Dual 15 abd 31, Tapco C-201, Ashly SC-63 and SC-66, and Ureil 537 and 545 parametric filter set.

DOD effects pedals circa 1980

The Gizmotron, which is sort of the mechanical equivalent of an e-Bow; it was invented by Lol Creme and Kevin Godley of band 10CC; I have never come across one of these but wow would I love this for studio work.  Check out some amazing sound clips here.

The Korg MS-20.  This is our house monosynth at Gold Coast Recorders and lord do these things sound great.  Pitch to CV conversion built in!

Loft 440 Time Delay effects.  Loft was a Connecticut maker of Pro Audio kit in the 70s/80s.  Much previous Loft coverage on PS dot com; maybe start here…

I just got a new MacBook Pro and guess what.  My Protools LE 8 does not work on it.  Big surprise.  Everytime this happens (which means everytime a new Mac comes into my life…) I inch closer to replacing the PT LE system that I use for demos at home with one of these 70s four-track reel systems.  Of course, an Mbox and Laptop weigh about 100lbs less and take up 1/10th the desk space.   Is anyone out there making demos (or album masters) on a Teac/Tascam 1/4″ reel system? Drop us a line and let us know…

Technics RS-M85 cassette deck.  Beautiful looking machine.  Working example on eBay right now for $138…

The Urei LA4 was the compressor that I learned on at school.  The studio had a pair and they sounded great. Simple and effective… 

I don’t know how accurate it was to have ever called the Beyer M69 a popular microphone, but they do have a good sound.  We have a pair at GCR and they are a good alternative to the SM58 as a handheld dynamic.  To my ears they sound less boxy; seem to have less proximity effect. 

For previous Music Emporium coverage on PS dot com (incredible as it may sound….), visit here…

ARP Synthesizers Full-Line Catalog 1977

Download the twenty-page c.1977 ARP Instruments, Inc. catalog:

DOWNLOAD: ARP_1977_Catalog

Products covered, with text, specs, and photos, include: ARP Avatar Guitar Synth, ARP Axxe, Odyssey, and 2600 modular-style synth; ARP Sequencer; ARP Omni-2 and PRO/DGX preset synths.

ARP can be considered the ‘other’ Moog of the 1970s.  Similar product lines, pricing, and appeal; in my limited experience, ARP synths are of similar sonic potential.

I studied electronic music extensively in college; the program had a nice selection of pieces going back to the early 70s; the big daddy of which was an ARP 2600.  It still sounded great 25 years after it rolled out of the factory.



Keys of the 70s

Strings & Things Memphis advert for keyboards circa 1977.

Been looking through some mid-70s issues of “Contemporary Keyboard” (h.f. “CK”) magazine.  CK later became simply “Keyboard,” which is still in publication; it’s part of the GUITAR PLAYER family of publications.  NEways…   1976/7 was an interesting time in the development of keyboard instruments.  Affordable polyphonic (IE., you can play more than one note at a time) synthesizers were still a few years away, and realistic-sounding electronic pianos were still about a decade away.  So what you had was a very mixed bag of Electronic Pianos and ‘String Synthesizers,’ which are both basically hyped-up electric organs; some still-useful electro-acoustic instruments; and a pretty wide range of pretty experimental synthesizers, many from small manufacturers that didn’t stay around very long.  In about 6 years this would all be blown away by advanced Japanese synths with built-in programming, patch memory, and all with polyphony;  the Roland/Korg/Yamaha DX7 era; and this too would fall at the hands of the dreaded Korg M1, which ushered in the Rompler era.  Anyone out there using an M1 lately?

The ARP pro-soloist, typical of the ‘preset’ synths of the era; preset synths offered interfaces optimized for live-performance rather than endless tweaking in the studio.

The Hohner Clavinet, HIP II, and Stringvox.  The Clavinet has attained classic status, and many are still in use; not so sure about the HIP II and Stringvox.

A couple of Moogs from different ends of the spectrum.  The Minitmoog was a ‘preset’ synth; the Polymoog was not a true synth; it was closer to an organ in terms of its basic operating principle.

Oberheim Expander

A few Paia synth-kit offerings of the mid 70s: the Surf Synthesizer, The Gnome, and the classic 4700.  See this link for previous PAIA coverage on PS dot com.

An advert for the Polyfusion System A.  See this link for previous coverage of the Polyfusion line.

The RMI Electra Piano.  When we were growing up in the late 80s/early 90s, ‘electric pianos’ like these were about fifty bucks or less; no one wanted them, and that has not changed.  They sound pretty awful but they’re still heavy and cumbersome!

The RMI KC-II Keyboard Computer.  From what I gather, this device is essentially a RAMpler; not too different in basic principle from the epic Synclavier in that the user could input waveforms which would then be manipulated.  This thing apparently cost $4700 which means that… yeah… there ain’t too many out there.

Roland MP-700 electronic piano

Sequential Circuits Model 700 programmer.  I assume that this thing has a bunch of jackpoints that you would connect to various I/O points on yr modular synth…  anyone use one of these?

The Steiner-Parker Synthacon.  A rare Minimoog-esque unit.  Apparently used on IN THE LIGHT.

The Strider Systems DCS1.   I can’t find any info on this piece.  Anyone?

Synare PS synth drums

Yamaha CP-30, yet another electronic piano

The Yamaha YC-45, the flagship model of their YC series.  The YCs are unapologetic “Combo Organs,” which explains why they are still in use while the string synths and electronic pianos rest mainly in landfills.  These are great-sounding, versatile organs; they also weigh a metric tonne so be forewarned.

Want more?  Check out this site; this man has dedicated his entire blog to territory that I only dare visit.

Tomorrow: some interesting keyboard amps and FX from the era.