Korg Is Bringing Back The ARP Odyssey


Korg announced today that it is working on a faithful recreation of the legendary 1970s analog synthesiser, the ARP Odyssey. Korg’s ARP Odyssey is being developed for release later in 2014.

The original ARP Odyssey, above, was released in 1972 by ARP Instruments, Inc. It was a staple for many recording and performing musicians for years. And, with slight updates and improvements, it was sold through to 1981.

korg-arp-odysseyKorg already has a prototype design built, right.

The ARP Odyssey is a monophonic / duophonic synthesizer. It offers 2 VCOs, white/pink noise, LFO, ADSR EG, sample and hold and a 2-pole or 4-pole low-pass filter (depending on the model).

Korg also announced that ARP co-founder David Friend is joining Korg as their chief advisor on the Odyssey.

david-friend-arpDavid Friend, right, established ARP Instruments, Inc. along with Alan Robert Pearlman and is a past president of ARP. He was also the lead designer of the original Odyssey, in addition to designing or co-designing many other products.

After ARP, Mr Friend became a successful technology entrepreneur. In 2010, he was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Technology category for the New England Region, he has been a lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and is now Chairman & CEO of Carbonite, Inc. He has been a trustee of the New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music.

Here’s an example of a vintage ARP Odyssey in action:

The ARP Odyssey is scheduled for release in September 2014. Pricing is to be announced.

196 thoughts on “Korg Is Bringing Back The ARP Odyssey

      1. Interesting news – but how about an original polysynth, Korg? I’m ready for somebody besides Dave Smith to release an poly that’s a new design that actually does something new.

        1. It’s so true. Dave Smith seems to be one of the only forward thinking synth designers. I love retro sounds but thank God someone is taking synthesis forward.

          1. Dave Smith was able to get a supply of CEM synth chips. Other manufacturers don’t have that advantage, and because Doug Curtis has passed away, there are no new Curtis designs.

            I don’t think people realize just how integral Curtis chipsets were to the analog polysynth revolution of the mid-1980.

        1. Creative sound synthesis hasn’t progressed since dr crowning s invention of FM synthesis. Granular hardware synths have never been made. Face it were in a auguring industry that will recreate its greatest achievements till some institution spend a considerable amount of time and money on research, then fab the chips for it.
          Fraud people we’ve been stuck in this soundset since the 90’s.
          Anyone remember the Kawai K5000s? Harmonic additive that failed spectacularly. Too complicated.
          Most seem to cope with the minimoog/prophet5 model, even those (prophets) when returned for service 90% would have the presets intact and unaltered. So where’s the incentive for manufacturers?

          1. Korg Z1 and and Prophecy were fantastic and successful. Nord Modulars were wonderful. The K5000 isn’t that difficult, people are just lazy. Hartmann Neuron was amazing. Yamaha SY77, Kurzweil’s VAST tech were great.

          2. I remember the Kawai K5000. It has this one really beautiful pad (called Ice Cream, or something like that) that I would love to hear again. I only got to play it in the showroom once, and would’ve loved to have spent more time with it. I really thought the Korg Wavestation was the future of synths after hearing the Front 242 albums Up Evil, and Evil Off. I played a used Wavestation SR many years later, and just wasn’t that impressed with the sound quality of it.

  1. That is very interesting news! Korg are in a groove that is scratching where people are itching it seems.

    Now if Yamaha would rerelease the CS 80 and Roland rerelease the Jupiter 8 it’d be wonderful!


    1. well, i think we know Roland isn’t going that direction! :), and as the cs80- have you ever tried to use the real thing? CONSTANT maintenance…. Beautiful sounding machine, but the fans were in the wrong place, blah blah blah… costs like $500 a year to keep running….. but we can wish!

      1. If Yamaha made a 99% totally accurate CS-80 that used DCOs to prevent it from drifting and being a maintenance money pit, people would scream like someone took a huge steamer on the front stoop. 😛

    2. Actually if only Roland would re-release the System 100 I’d be pleased. I was going to look at the System 1, but now, with the ARP Odyssey coming back, I have no reason to look at a System 1, which is after all only using VSTs of original instruments – not good enough Roland.

  2. Wow, that’s just crazy great. I didn’t see the ARP coming back ever. I remember David Friend from the “Vintage Synthesizers” book. ARP was truly a mess of a company. 🙂

    1. They all were!

      People blame the DX7, but the original synth companies really killed themselves with bad management and iffy quality control.

    1. Me too. I learned the ins, outs and what-have-yous of analog synthesis on that beast & milked it for everything it was worth. Sold it to get a Moog Source (something of a lateral move). It would be a trip down memory lane to have the real deal again.

  3. Well it would be nice to see a new odyssey but will they improve it so it will be a match for lets say the moog subphaty wich has all the digital and analogue perks as well.

  4. Great news.
    I wonder which filter they’ll use in it and will it have CV/gate?

    Brilliant synth but let’s hope korg give it a metal chassis and quality sliders.

  5. Hell yes! I’ve gotten a chance to play Arp Odyssey’s a handful of times, unbelievable lead synth, if they can get it right it would be so cool to get my hands on one.

    Two caveats about the Odyssey though, in the original design they are pretty unreliable, those sliders are very fragile, and there are several filter revisions which make a huge difference in the sound. The earlier ones absolutely shred, where the later ones are (comparably) tame.

    I would almost like to see the Voyager treatment on this one, nail what was so good about the original while fixing some of the issues with it. On the other hand, I’ve never been able to afford a Voyager whereas the MS-20 mini is well within my reach…

  6. Hopefully they will base their remake on the Mk II model with the beefier 4-pole filter. Either way, I’m genuinely shocked that I’m reading this. Pretty freaking awesome. KORG are doing wonderful things.

  7. Wow. At the risk of sounding greedy, does this mean there is a hope for an Arp 2600? Because that is in the top 3 of synths I would like to have.

  8. I shall have been able to avoid spending money with the last roland’s products but now with this korg announcement , my wallet will cry !!! ms20/oddissey:volca well well …

  9. I will get one, but this might also mean that those hard to find slider pots will be cheaper for my original Odyssey. No more price gouging!
    Go Korg!

  10. Hope it’s more affordable than eBay prices for vintage units. If so, count me in. I’ve always wanted an ARP Odyssey, but they’re WAY too much dough.

  11. yeah, nice timing from korg to kinda kill any excitement on the Aria line, i know it’s a different product set, etc… (and not starting a troll war here:)), but this is a real slap in the face to Roland…. When did Korg acquire ARP’s rights? It couldn’t fall into better hands I guess…. They are delivering what the fanboi’s want, and apparently at a reasonable price… Thank God Gibson didn’t buy ARP’s assets…

    1. I was waiting for a response from Korg but never would have guessed this would have been it. I was assuming it would be a Mini SQ-10 or Mini MS-50 to go with the MS-20 Mini. But amazing news that ARP is back via Korg. I can’t think of a better combination to be honest. I’m sure the execs at Roland are now worried that Aira won’t be nearly as successful as they’d hoped.

  12. I don’t see how you can whine about the lack of innovation and then make your own fanboy gravy over this. If they’re going to make an exact replica, does that also mean that they won’t address the various things that would make it more usable in a modern studio? PPC pads are a non-starter and it should have at least a bit of patch memory. I guess it depends on the amount of limited-design nostalgia you can tolerate vs. making more serious musical use of it. They’re probably testing the waters to see if there’s profit to be had with a resurrected ARP2600. If so, it’ll be like Packrat Viagra.

  13. Why all of these complaints whining about inventing a new synthesizer, there are hundreds of new synths? Why is it that we can have classic guitars for more than 100 years, pianos and violins nearly a thousand, but the life span of a lovely synthesizer must be relegated to a five-year period before it’s considered obsolete? I think too many people rely on synthesis because they can’t actually come up with any original music on their own, so they depend on infinite variables of sound design to do anything original. A classic instrument is for musicians who use something we used to call “notes” to create melodies, not for computer programmers who want to hold down one key and have the machine do all the work for them. pray tell, where is all of this supposedly original music performed on Dave Smith keyboards?

    1. Where’s all this supposedly original classical music? you can use the same gear for 300 years if all you’re doing is playing the same old greatest hits of the 1700s over and over…

    2. And you are at Synthtopia why?
      Some of us actually PREFER the sound of synthesizers to piano and/or guitars. And some of us prefer to spend our time writing and arranging rather than acquiring virtuosic skill at an instrument. Some of don’t even care for ostentatious displays of virtuosity. (aka fret wanking, good for you-you can play fast!)

      But thanks for the input, it is good to know that the Moog I got in 1983 and the other vintage synths that I have are obsolete.

      Now I’m off to some piano and guitar boards to insult those losers…

  14. Holy crap….this changes everything. I was looking at the Roland System 1 with lukewarm interest,but forget it. Roland just lost a customer. I’ve always wanted an Odyssey. This goes straight to the top of my ‘to buy’ list. This should send Roland a message… Forget half-assed efforts like the System 1 and do the real thing. So long as it has the letters ‘ARP’ on it, I’ll be pleased.

  15. Back in the days, i dreamed that my first synth (KORG MS2000) could be a ARP Odyssey when it was all dark. Now my MS2000 is shaking, but if i could dream that this Odyssey could have 4 voices, would be heaven.

      1. Yeah. Personally, if I want a virtual analog synth I’ll pull up a plug-in. If I want analog tone, I turn to my analog boards. Don’t get me wrong, plugins have their place. But, Diva does not sound like my Voyager and no Prophet 12 can do what Massive, Reaktor, Max, Absynth or (fill in the blank) can do. I think physical modeling has its place, especially as cost effective learning/growing tool. – before people get bent out of shape: this is merely my opinion, we all have one and mine is no more correct than yours. It’s just how they apply to me.

        What Korg is doing is what a smart business does, responding to demand.

    1. Olson, how eloquent of you. I doubt that Roland is seriously concerned with any of this. Korg going back to the future….right. That is answer. Why don’t we all purchase phonographs and stock up on kerosene lamps.

      1. Actually i’m surprised some trust fund indie rocker dudes in Brooklyn didn’t start a kerosene lamp company and then promote gas light as “softer”, or “warmer” or some other vague marketing terms, get a few musicians to put kerosene lamp as product placement in music videos and suddenly every wannabe cool guy is rushing out to buy a gas lamp! Shit, sounds like a plan, any of you rich analog synth dudes wanna pass me some venture capital to make it happen? Sure, i’m joking but remember the post when gas lamps become the next big thing!

      1. True, though they could recreate those ICs. It wouldn’t be the first time Korg made their own clone of the SSM2044 VCF chip. If they need to license the designs from SSM I wouldn’t think that’d be any trickier than getting rights to the ARP name.

        1. Wrong.
          Arp went out of business.
          Fender/CBS bought some of their intellectual property, but not the Arp trademark.
          SSM’s trademarks were owned by the late Doug Curtis of CEM fame.
          Paul Schrieber of MOTM apparently owns them now, but has showed no interest in selling them.
          That might be the smart move too, because if Korg DID copy them, the lawsuit would probably make more money than the chip rights.

          What Korg and many other makers are failing at is not making their own analog chips. But I’d question if it’s much of a failure since Roland, Korg, Yamaha and others could do the same thing but aren’t because they felt, at least up until now, that analog is passe and not worth investing money in.

          1. thank you for this interesting insight.
            i always wondered why the bigger companies do not produce their own chips.
            hopefully the tide is changing.

    1. A mono poly would be seriously awesome.

      And an ARP 2600 with the ?moog? Filter? The one they had to stop producing because of a patent or something?

      It was always the 2600 wasn’t it? The odyssey us cool, but I thought the quintessential arp was the 2600

  16. People, I think Korg are saying that analogue are back in a big way, and not just new analogue synths but the great old ones again. I could’nt be happier – these were the synths that I lusted after as a teenager but never could afford. So we have the MS-20 Mini (I’m not going to complain too much that it was not full size, and I know the ‘kit’ is out there, but its overpriced in my view), and now the ARP Odyssey coming back. I’m sure most of you are thinking what I’m thinking – which is what next? Here’s my wish-list:

    Roland System 100 (as in a real System 100 – not some half-assed VST)
    Korg SQ-10 and MS-50 for the MS-20 Mini
    Korg VC-10 Vocoder
    ARP 2600
    Yamaha CS-80 – at an affordable price and which does not break down
    Yamaha CS-30
    Roland Jupiter 8 (a real Jupiter 8 – not a Jupiter 80)
    Roland SH-7

    Probably none of the Roland gear would happen. I know there is a DIY 2600 available, but I’d prefer one already made, and to me a 2600 is an obviously follow-on step to the Odyssey. I suspect a new CS-80 would still be expensive, but if Yamaha are watching, they need to ride this wave soon, or miss out.

          1. I don’t solder well, and the limited time I have for making music is best spent making music, not making the synth to make the music. More power to people who get their kicks creating tools, I prefer using them.

    1. SQ-10 and MS-50 are the ones from your list that I still keep my hopes up for and would like to see in some form. CS-80 on the other hand would still be too expensive to make to original specs… maybe in the future, who knows.
      A new Monopoly or even Trident mk3 are the KORG synths I would have liked to see remade. But I suppose they’re not possible, since the lack of SSM’s.
      ARP Odyssey is really something I wouldn’t have thought of and it’s almost as exciting as a new Monopoly would have been.

  17. As Korg thrusts themselves into the future of analog, Roland gives us a VA drum machine with a kick that goes wimp instead of thump. Go Korg!

  18. its useless with out midi, ok if your collecting synths may be, but if you have to make a living in a studio its a waste of time, you might as well get a plug in. why not bring it in to the 21st century and make in to a real gem.

  19. At first I thaught this was some sort of super early April Fools joke. It indeed seems true.
    Korg is king.
    They make among teh best ipad music apps.
    Now the hardware is not a joke.

    BTW…… The 2600 kit is not avaible to be purchased now.

    1. About the 2600 kit, they’re just trying to get caught up on orders: “We’ll open again once everything already placed has shipped.”

  20. Man o man. If someone had predicted this, people would call him straight up insane.
    One quite promo blurb had GS forum going ballistic.
    Credit to korg, what a baller move.
    It is surely a great homage to mr pearlman and that alone is wonderful.

  21. I would assume it has basic midi. that is an obvious add on that would be easy. but yea a cv converter works fine too , but I disagree that you even need it, most times, you just play this kind of synth in real time anyway with one hand on faders.

      1. Yep – I was just about to say – ‘Quadra’. Short of Korg going really nuts and re-issuing the 2500 Modular, I’d say the 2600 and Quadra are the only other ARP products I’d definitely want.

        1. Quadra, 2600 – none of these will happen. Korg have clearly chosen to remake a synth that they can reproduce cost effectively and that they know will have mass market appeal.

          They’ve also chosen to remake a synth from a dead manufacturer, not an existing one, so a JP8 or CS80 remake is unrealistic.

          If they do another remake it will likely be one of their own and having seen this I’m guessing a Polysix or Mono/poly, or both.

            1. Not quite, Korg Fanboi. When Korg can replicate Yamaha’s acoustic sounds you may have some credibility. Don’t hold your breath.




  23. This is GOOOOOD news!
    Now, all i want is Yamaha to pack all the CS80 analog components into a few custom ICs (analog) and make a lighter, stable and low(er) cost CS80, possibly with a step sequencer and built-in reverb!

        1. Actually, with modern insulating materials and better engineering, in many areas the steam engine is making something of a renaissance.

  24. The Odyssey in the picture is the 3rd version of the original.
    David Friend is largely responsible for ARP’s demise because of his dogged determination to push the development of the ARP Avatar which was a flawed product. This removed valuable R & D from the Chroma.

    Most everyone in here clamoring for analog synths couldn’t tell the difference with a blindfold on.

  25. Korg always puts a smile on my face. Thank you Korg, sincerely. Thank you for choosing to be awesomely different than the rest. Guys, please don’t talk about what other gear they should remake. Just take a breath and be happy that this is even happening. Korg, you do whatever you need to do. This is awesome.

  26. What Roland need to do now in the face of this development is completely rethink the System 1 in their Aira line. Let the TR-8, TB-3 and VT-3 remain as the Aira, but bring the System 1 out of that line and have it as a stand-alone product. Then, instead of having it rely only on ‘plug-out’ as it’s main selling point, issue an updated version which has CV-Gate out in. Scrap the VSTs completely, or have them as being of lesser importance. Replace them with hardware expanders – so in the tradition of the Roland System 100, have a ‘model 102 expander’ unit’ and a ‘model 103 sequencer’ etc, etc. Or have the System 1 keyboard connect via CV/Gate into a hardware Modular option similar to the System 100 M.

    That way the System 1 would be more interesting. Roland would not do this of course. It would make them look like they had brought a substandard product to the market which they misread completely – which is the case – and now were trying to rescue the product with what would amount to a ‘hail mary’ move. So my guess is Roland’s vision of the future is cheap analogue modelling which appeals to a certain section of the EDM market (they have a ‘super square’ waveform on it – that should tell you enough), and everyone else will ignore them and support Korg. Korg will continue to lead the way in this stunning and innovative strategy of releasing the instruments everyone really wants! I just hope Korg do not over-price the Odyssey.

      1. Well hypothetical it might be – but I’m sure at some point Korg engineers and managers said “hypothetically speaking, what would be the benefit of re-introducing an ARP Odyssey”, Thinking hypothetically and thinking boldly is never a bad thing.

          1. Yep – you are probably right. Roland will have to come up with another idea. Like maybe actually re-releasing a real System 100 perhaps?

  27. This is awesome news! Since Korg is doing the Arp thing, I would love to see the Arp Quadra reproduced! What would really be funny though is if Korg produced the Jupiter 8… lol lol

    1. I love the whole idea of bringing back some of the analog synths. The only thing that I would like to see change is that they have at least 61 keys, have both monophonic and polyphonic capability, have a memory bank for presets, an advanced arpeggiator and at least a delay and chorus section. For me, it would be a bummer without the ability to store presets as I am more about playing and less about tweaking knobs….

      I would love to see Korg Team up with Tom Oberheim to reproduce the OBX or OBXa!!!! And the 4 or 8 voice….

    1. I’m super excited about this, I can’t wait to buy it when it comes out. But I actually think the AIRA synths sound pretty great. That’s just to my ears though, I know it is subjective.

    1. I really think that may be the big market for this stuff- people like me who grew up too young/poor to buy this first time round but now in our (ehem) later years can treat ourselves to this type of toy…instruments, gadgets and nostalgia – irresistible to a man of a certain age!

      1. Totally agree! Furthermore it will be a brand new KORG/ARP ODYSSEY, and hopefully an improved version with today technology, more features and affordable.

  28. The Quadra was a hugely compromised design.
    Only button presses were programmable, none of the sliders or switches were.
    The phasor was noisy and the panel itself suffered from design problems.

    All it was was an Omni and a stripped down Ody in a box with a few bits of extra goodies.
    Looked great… but not a very great instrument by itself or easy to change sounds quickly on.

  29. Jesus Christ Synthtopia! You announce the arrival of probably what is and what was the coolest ever monosynth ever released leftfield of the Minimoog and then just like a turd in the punchbowl you throw in the lamest, most mind numbingly boring demo of what this fabulous monster is capable of!! I, and I’m sure many others don’t want to shown that the Arp Odyssey is capable of nothing more than sounding like the lamest of 303 imitations, the billions that are already out there already, I want to be shown that Arp Odyssey can SING!

    >>THIS is the video you should have posted!!!!!<<

  30. I am very dissapointed that the discussion on this forum as moved onto synthesizers and away from I pads . What on earth is going on? My arp app is better than any of these hardware machines.

  31. I don’t think Korg were going to reveal this until the fall. The whip is the Roland hype about the Aira. Korg knows that there are analog fans out there and Korg wants them to spend our money on this instead of the Aira line. And they are right!

  32. Why the heck do Korg bring on David Friend who
    was the man behind making ARP go belly up!

    He’s not an asset he’s aliability to the ARP brand!

    But heeeeey since Kurtzweil have brought Ray
    back in to wreck Kurtzweil one more time!

    Boycot any company who dont make NEW things!

  33. You’re mixing great engineers and scientists with great businesspeople. Korg have got Friend on board for technical input, not business decisions. Likewise Kurzweil has been a great innovator.

    1. Lame argument dude, you could bring on the real ARP “Alan” for technical advisory.
      Besides KORG has all the competent engineers allready they dont need Friend
      nor Alan just a sleek bussines plan to fool people into buy shitty old ARP
      products instead of doing what they should do, redoing the PS3300 on a chip!

  34. Bloody hell,i remember back in 1990 when you couldn’t even give an Odyssey away & they were on the second hand market for about a £100 quid.We all wanted a Wavestation or a Roland D-50 or an M1. Oh how blinded we all were just because of midi & we could sync them all together so easily.Looking forward to the release of this & a definate purchase just to get that screaming siren sound used by Mr Numan,,,,I’m 1 excited little chappy who aint gonna tell his girlfriend whats on his shopping list 😉

  35. I wish Korg lot’s of luck with this… but as a person who likes to look forward as well as appreciate the past, I hope Korg takes all their learning with these analog synth reissues as well as the trons and Volcas, and comes up with something new and more forward thinking. I’ve got a bunch of decent analog monos but what I really would like is something that pushes the envelope (no pun intended) a bit.

      1. There is plenty of interesting new boundary pushing devices coming out all the time. Their is room for remakes as well, no need to be distressed. Some sounds/instruments are timeless. It’s all good.

      2. dont be so melodramatic.
        there is so many choices for sound making, digital or analogue, sw or hw it is completely unprecedented. music making is going through a literal revolution and if anything its getting overwhelming.
        browse through sythtopia history if you need any reminder.
        saying the industry is regressing has really no base in fact and just shows your deliberately biased view.
        besides isnt it exciting what modern music makers will make out of old and iconic instruments?

    1. If you really want to push the analog envelope you need to build your own modular. You can push as many envelopes, lfos, oscillators, waveshapers, amps, bit-mashers, etc… as you want.

  36. This is a nice sounding unit, but it would be nice to be polyphonic, 12 voices, arpegiator and effects engine that can have 2000 preset, and have at least 60 keys. Am I asking too much

  37. What an awesome move, Korg!
    Korg is the only true creative mass production synth company left.
    Big Win. Roland should ask Korg to reproduce it’s classic machines.

  38. Blah blah blah, midlife crisis synth, sacrilege, Mark Vail Vintage Keyboards book, The Rise and Fall of ARP, why do they even make keyboards or food or cars or anything anymore, now that we have the iPad. Also, the iPad.

  39. I know someone who sold his Minimoog in the 90’s to buy a DX7, are we just a bunch a sheep who follow the latest trends? Will digital become relevant again? Maybe I should start investing in old Romplers!

    1. Boy your not kidding. I had two Mini Moog model D’s, and was only able to get 150.00 usd each for them. When they were gone I felt good, no more having to open them up every week to swab the contacts with alchohol to keep them from squeeling, no more having to put the headphones on in the middle of gigs to tune and change patches, and no more cramped stages and hurt backs trying to get them to fit onstage along with my B3 and Rhodes. My Jupiter 8 and DX7 were now the bees knees, and I was like good ridance old analog chaps.

      Now that I see these old analog synths on the bay going for exhorberant prices, if Im really honest with myself the only thing I really miss is the fact that I dont have a big cash cow sitting here in my home studio that I could sell to fund newer stuff I really want. For the younger generation I guess I could see the allure of some of this older analog gear, and the Korg Arp recreation will be able to put the technology in their hands at a reasonable price I assume. Its all good, old technology and new, after all we are really playing our souls out through these tools no matter what the tool, but as a working piano/organ/keyboard player of the 70’s and 80’s I just burnt myself out on old monophonic analog synths, and am less than excited about this Korg endevour, but will be glad to see it come to fruition for those that are into the retro synth scene. Its all good.

      Now my pre-cbs strat, THAT I want back, and I’m just a very mediocre guitar player 🙂

  40. Bad news (for some). This will only be released in Japan and the USA due to name rights issues in Europe. So it’ll have to be an import for many of us.

  41. as long as the sliders hold up better than the original ones.

    I’ve honestly wanted one of these all my life. To me the controls are laid out in exactly the way I instantly was able to pull off patches in the gforce plug.. way more intuitive, to me, than the Moog synth.

    I’m freaking excited!!!

    Korg are quickly becoming my favorite gear company. monotribe successfully reignited my analog gear lust.

  42. Would love to get one, hope it’s exactly like the third edition of the original…would be great to see a new Delta, Trident, Polysix, MonoPoly, Poly61 and ARP Omni, ProDGX and String Ensemble.

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