The Korg ARP 2600 FS Is A Brand New Classic

At the 2020 NAMM Show, we talked with product specialist Nick Kwas about the new Korg ARP 2600 FS.

The Korg ARP 2600 FS is a very close recreation of the original, with full-size synth & keyboard, lids and road case. So, if you like vintage synths, the Korg ARP 2600 FS like having the opportunity to get a brand new ‘vintage synth’.

It’s arguably a better synth than the original, though, because it recreates the original’s design, but with some thoughtfully integrated updates, like MIDI, filter versions, aftertouch and a step sequencer.

Everything is immediately available on the front panel for you to grab and tweak – so it’s massive and it sounds massive, too.

Pricing and Availability

The Korg ARP 2600 will ship in February for $3,899.99 USD and is available for pre-order now. See the Korg site for details.

Check it out and let us know what you think of it!

56 thoughts on “The Korg ARP 2600 FS Is A Brand New Classic

  1. The Elephant in the room is it was sold out before fans even knew it was on sale . Korg should have took a page out of Moog book and tell fans from the start this was a super limited release of 400 or so pieces .
    Now they have left life long fans broken-hearted all over the world . This was an absolute terrible way to release a classic remake . All Korg have done here was give the upper hand to greedy resellers, bragging adult children who managed to get one and that ridiculous company who’s copying everybody’s stuff who’s name I won’t mention . And by the way the sequencer in the keyboard can’t be sync or clocked by anything which makes no since what so ever , what where they thinking .

    1. The Elephant in the room is that your comment sounds like you opened up a giant case of butthurt today.

      Korg said from the start that the FS is a limited, one-time only rerelease. They make that clear in the video, too. And the fact that people are snapping them up at close to $4,000 shows that there are a lot of people that think it’s a great synth at that price.

      As Atomic Shadow noted, if you shop around there are still some available. Probably not for long. I’m very tempted to get one, but I can’t really justify getting the top-of-the-line version, because I don’t need the road case and all that. I’d be happy with just the full-size synth.

      But I can totally understand why people would want to jump on this. It’s literally a once in a lifetime chance to get one of these brand new. When the originals were introduced, I was in kindergarten.

      If they can sell out of these, though, you know that they will make new variations available. They’ll make a Blue Marvin variation, an Orange/Black variation, a mini version, etc.

      So, if you really want one, shop around and get one. If you wait and miss out, though, why would you blame Korg?

      1. He’s totally right. Remake a classic synth that for decades has only belonged to an elite lucky few, only for to remain that way. And then also charge an arm and a leg for it. They might have mitigated that with a mini version like all the rumours seemed to say.

      2. I’ve shopped around and I haven’t been able to find them still available for sale. Where are you seeing them available for sale in the US?

    2. Anyone “broken-hearted” over not being able to chuck thousands of dollars at a synthesizer needs a reality check and a re-evaluation of their priorities.

    3. There is the TTSH assembled for about the same price, and I haven’t run across any complaints about the sound. Behringer is coming out with theirs later this year. It’s not as if the Korg edition is the be-all, end-all for 2600 synths. No synthesizer is “magic” and it is the musician who produces the music, not the machine.

      Seriously, nobody on the planet is blocked from producing music due to a lack of a 2600. From my point of view, the Korg 2600 FS is a vanity purchase, and I decided to be vain and purchase one. Otherwise if I had spent my money wisely, I would have purchased $4,000 of Eurorack modules.

  2. Korg were very upfront that this was a limited release. Granted, they didn’t specify “super” limited release. So I don’t even know what the difference is between a limited release and a super one. maybe the 400 units or so can fly, or shoot photon beams or something.

    Greedy resellers? Yeah, maybe. Somebody might want to try and turn around and scalp theirs. That’s their choice however.

    Bragging adult children? Have more manners please. I had a hard time finding a seller that still had one to order. But I got it done. Just saying, not bragging. Adult child? No. Just immature for my age.

    Antonus makes a very nice, smaller, high quality clone. I’m sure they would be happy to take your order. And I’m not meaning that to be the least bit sarcastic. I was seriously thinking of saving up and getting one before the Korg version came along.

  3. Yes that release made no sense att all. It’ only pissed people off and left a whole lot of disappointed people. Whats the point of making a legendary reproduction if you make so few of them that they sell out before they are released. Korg should havet made ten times as many and sold them to a realistic price. Now everyone will have to settle with that “other” brand, or an eventual smurf sized version from Korg.

    1. Totally. As cool as it was to rebuild the faithful version of the 2600, nobody bar a few people with enough money and space actually wanted that. They could have made a sleek, new modern version with modern design, could have stayed faithful to the sound and packaged it in a compact design. Something anyone and everyone could hope to own. This is not that

      1. One reason why these old synths are so appealing is the sheer size of the things. There’s plenty of space to have big controls which are easy to adjust to fine increments, plenty of space for big, legible labels, room to tweak controls whilst playing without accidentally bumping some other setting. The built-in road case is heaven….and cases are normally a big additional cost. I’d say the sheer joy of the 2600 is that it is a faithful reproduction and not a minified version. The main reasons why modern synths are so tiny are nothing to do with ergonomics or playability, they’re for space efficiency (good) and reducing costs (not so good).

        1. I completely disagree. Reducing cost is a bad thing? How so? There are plenty of synths out there with compact ergonomic design and they are perfectly playable. The 2600, although beautiful, is overkill. It is the size it is because that is the kind of space that was required for such hardware in 1971. It’s not 1971 anymore. Unless you have hands like shovels and limitless cash flow, then you shouldn’t have any trouble with a smaller, more affordable version of a 2600. Korg have wilfully kept this dream synth out of the hands of the average musician. A poor decision if you ask me

          1. If you want a small cheap 2600, the Odyssey has been around for years and that’s essentially what it was designed for.

            It’s pretty obvious though, that the Behringer 2600 is Is not going to offer the 2600 experience or work like a 2600. It’s going to be like their Eurorack Minimoog-looking or Pro-1 looking synths.

            The reason the 2600 is a classic is because the immediacy of the panel, the sound obviously, and the fact that the controls are large, which makes it easy to dial in very accurately the sound you want. When you shrink the sliders, you don’t have as good of control over the sound at all.

            The Behringer take is probably close enough for a lot of people, which is what they’re aiming for. This Korg version though, is not designed to be “close enough”.

      2. It was a lost opportunity as far as I was concerned. Korg should’ve had a much longer release, and also they should do a mini version which is much cheaper. If they don’t, Behringer will get the sales. Disappointed!

  4. Pete Townsend made this synth famous on Whos Next, and I understand the thrill of this re-release. I used to build custom synths in the 70’s, and this synth has many of those parts, like the venerable 2N3904 transistor, and many others from that era. It’s a low tech synth, but a fantastic design for it’s time.

  5. The funny thing is that 99.999% of music listeners can’t tell and don’t care if a $4,000 synth is used in a song or a $150 software version of that synth. And the software versions have patch memory and are polyphonic.

    1. Isn’t it pretty self-evident that the reason musicians buy great instruments is because they’re inspiring, they’re fun to play and they’re a reward to yourself for all the practice and hard work it takes to be a musician?

      If you’re inspired and have fun and feel rewarded using a software emulation or a knockoff clone, they why would it be hard for you to understand that some people feel the same way about a beautiful instrument?

      It’s always strange to me that so many synthesists are so willing to settle for something cheap and ‘good enough’, and even question the value of great instruments. You don’t see that with any other type of musicians.

      1. Yeah, but isn’t it also self-evident that, unless others are hearing your music, how much good is an expensive, inspiring instrument if you’re only using it to make sounds and / or songs that no one will hear but you. If someone can afford to blow $4,000 on a synth just to play around with it but don’t actually use it for anything other than making sounds / R2D2 noises, that’s fine for them. However, if your income / budget precludes you from spending 4 grand on a synth (which is the case with most people), and a $150 soft-synth does a decent enough job of emulating that synth in the ears of 99.999% of music listeners who are actually hearing your music / art, I would argue that the $150 instrument is a better investment. Not only is the $150 instrument obviously far less money, but it also does more. Good luck setting up a complex patch / sound on a Korg 2600 and then getting that exact same sound months later.

        1. There’s a reason we call what musicians do ‘playing’. It’s supposed to be fun.

          If you think people want to watch you fap around on a computer – or if that’s your idea of fun – then go for it!

          Most musicians like to play music, though, and it’s a lot more enjoyable with real instruments. And, realistically, most of us are making music because we love it, not as an business. A great instrument is an investment in enjoying your time more. It’s valuing your time playing music.

          But if you do want to look at your music tools as an investment, your soft synths are worthless in a year. Top of the line analog synths have kept their value pretty well, though, and they’re actually a lot of fun to use.

          My latest synth is a Prologue and it cost about $100/month for a year. Just about anyone can make something like that work, if you apply yourself.

          It comes across as petty to criticize musicians for valuing their time and wanting to invest in good instruments.

        2. You can make good music with anything, so it’s up to you. This is a lovely machine and as others have mentioned it’s the kind of thing that inspires you to play and experiment. Not being able to “exactly reproduce a patch” might be regarded as a positive attribute, but as a long-time analog synth nerd I can imagine a sound in my head and can dial up the patch, hit a note and I’m pretty close to correct.

          Think of these machines as somewhat akin to buying a Ferrari or other super-sports car – it’s not for everyone, it’s not a practical choice, you’ll likely never exploit all of it’s capabilities, but it feels good, looks good, makes you want to get up early in the morning and take it for a spin. So if you can afford it then why not?

        3. Good luck having your software still able to play that patch 40 years later.

          There are a lot of angles and to each individual their version can be right. If you love classic synths and can now get your hands on a good facsimile – go for it. If no one but yourself hears it, that’s ok. If millions hear you play it on a recording for a naff song you only did for money rather than love, does that make it more valid?

          I think we all accept the $150 software emulation will do for most and can still be used in conjunction with the hardware. I am happy to be in this golden age of synths. I am annoyed it didn’t happen when I couldn’t afford much. Soon enough there will also be the option of a scale version from Korg and the the other B-lot. And the kit version. And the software version/s. Happy days.

    2. @TimS Speak for yourself that you can’t tell or don’t care. In the box music can be good but usually has a different feel and sound to it. Synth soundtracks are popular again like Stranger Things because they are using a lot of hardware again in the process. Pretty much all the music I’m attracted uses hardware synths. I am a fan of plugins but even my own music sounds better when at least blending in some hardware synths.

  6. Pete Townshend began experimenting with synthesizers by feeding a Lowery organ through a EMS VCS3 on “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” The Lowery (and many Yamaha home-organs) had a weird little strip that would do strumming effects. He was an ARP player, just not in that instance.

    I’m sure Korg built a solid instrument in the FS. That’ll probably be true of the inevitable trickle-down version(s). I’m just a bit puzzled at the fanaticism. When it was new and only semi-understood, it looked dazzling, but its functionality has been far surpassed for years. Unless you’re going to put in the forefront of a modular setup simply because its a 2600 and you love the voice, too much of it feels like having mere bragging rights.

    Then there’s the mad craze for clones and reissues. I think everyone is making an ARP knock-off but Nord! Fact is, Korg releasing this will (at least temporarily) be one of the best sales boosts Uli’s BARP 2600 could ask for.

  7. I tried to get one and I couldn’t even get through at my store. By the time I did, the weekend was over and all ordered units were spoken for. Here’s hoping they’ll make some more at some point.

  8. Not sure if anybody else noticed, but that thing sounds ******* amazing.

    Great work by Korg, & looking forward to seeing what else they’ve got up their sleeve for 2600 options.

  9. You nay sayers are a bunch of ingrates. Give thanks for what we have been given and don’t complain about we have not. You can probably build your own 2600 if you took a little initiative. Korg and Behringer are providing us with really great product. If you disagree I won’t be judgmental rather sad for you. We are living in a wonderful time of innovation and recreation. Enjoy man and stop bitching!

    1. You’re totally missing the point. Korg haven’t given us anything. The 2600 remains as rare as it ever was. Nothing to be thankful for

  10. Way too much cash . I stick with software version and midi controller . It’s the same thing . Hearing this in a song , 90 percent of listeners will not know the difference .

  11. Dont forget Korg is making the smaller version of the 2600, its only slightly different length keyboard with minor other adjustments for (i assume) mass market and its coming shortly after this one. So its not like youre gonna miss out

    1. I expect over production of a synth that size and price is probably too much of a risk for Korg. They could have considered a Kickstarter campaign instead, so they had a good measure of the potential market but in the end it’s up to them.

    2. Korg actually said that they have no plans to do a mini version and that the Guitar Center leak was a concept design prior to the decision to do a full on recreation.

      I would bet that with the announced Behringer version, a mini is even less likely to happen.

  12. I’m sad about it too, but I’m 90% sure that Korg Arp 2600 FS will be back! Korg never mention that he used rare and hard available parts. Also, I don’t know for sure, but it doesn’t make any sense to make production 400 items with not thinking about make more. Also – Korg MS-20 is back after couple years, so it can be Arp 2600 FS back sometimes. In this world really rare things are rare. If its demand (here for analog reissues), big companies think how to make it happen, maybe excluded Roland and Yamaha. Their VA and Romplers will be producing until the end of the world or just until this day when Behringer will buy them…

  13. It’s interesting to read all the comments on synthopia, some actually are very helpful and others sound like musicians venting. I wanted to come in on the Korg 2600. For a keyboard and syn lover these vintage synths are what vintage guitars are to a guitar player. Each one has its own unique style only a musician could appreciate.
    I work in the field of television production. The viewer could care less if we shot on the high end Arri or a consumer based Canon, matter of fact they could not even tell the difference. What they do want is a great story.

    Sure you could reproduce the 2600 with software and ,cost would not even know BUT for a synth player, composer or musician it’s turn the knobs, routing the signal, touching the keyboard that makes this a unique experience. I missed out on the TVS Pro and when T. Oberheim announced it was out of production I was lucky enough to find one on the secondary market for the same price new. Let me tell you playing that synth vs a software version, no comparison.

    Some people love plugin and some love the real thing. Lets respect each other. And yes I was lucky to get mine from Guitar Center almost two weeks after it was announced. And yes it 4k with tax and shipping and that’s what I decided to spend my hard in cash on.

    1. I just can’t make myself use a softsynth except a Synclavier or a Fairlight app – they were always software. The interfaces are unsatisfying.

  14. All sold out as far as I can tell, including from two sources that originally accepted, then cancelled my order with no explaination other than it’s not available. Aggravating. I was trying to secure one from day one. What I’ve heard is 1000 total, 500 for US.

  15. maybe Korg will see the demand and do another ‘limited’ run, or maybe their business model isn’t concerned with supplying what’s in demand. i saw some spec images of a smaller version which i would be very interested in.

  16. [Edited for one class D swear word and one class C one]

    What’s really sad is people who use someone’s hurt, anger, wistfulness or longing as an excuse to superciliously lecture them or tell them how they should feel or behave – see earlier posts. Anyone who has ingrained memories of this or anything else as a child is going to have feelings conjured up by it. If people want to shout to the world that they feel hard-done to, let them do it and give them some sympathy for goodness’ sake. It’s like Stack Exchange or similar, in which you see snotty-nosed nerds who would rather berate someone for ‘posting inappropriately’ or ‘not phrasing questions properly’ than write 20 words to quickly answer them when it is clear as day what they are asking.

    To anyone who feels this one-off ship already sailed: I am with you. I have, however, reconciled myself that if it doesn’t work out for me, and it very probably won’t, then I can have 95% ARP analogue sound by stacking 6 x Odyssey modules for the same money (which I clearly won’t, I’ll buy 3 Odysseys and a Prophet-6!) and they will look ARP, and, to be honest, once you have patched a few resonance / non-resonance sweeps (which the Odyssey can do just as well – they certainly aren’t going to redevelop circuitry they already have, so it will be Odyssey boards interspersed with patch points) then there is only R2D2 left; and, once you have done that (with a Doepfer), you have done all of Oxygene anyway.

    So, if we don’t get the 2600 FS, it is not the end of the world. We can have the sound of the 2600 exactly, and other synths will follow. Rant ON: Though what the heck Moog are trying to do taking the **** out of people for the price of the System 10 leaves me with disgust. Rant OFF

    1. Yes Moog are completely taking the piss with that one. It’s not 1971 anymore. They deserve to be ripped off by Behringer with prices like that

  17. In fact, what an idea. 6 x Odyssey modules is a 12-oscillator ARP MONSTER with 6 ring mods, 6 lowpass, 6 highpass, 12 envelopes, bring all the CVs and Audio ins / outs to a Neutrik jackfield (normalled of course)… No spring reverb though. Boo hoo. I’m devastated at the loss 🙂

  18. I’ll shut up now, but if I can turn off my desparate keening for a minute and get a bit real, this ‘strictly limited’ model sounds fishy at best… The Odyssey FS was a ‘one time run lovingly crafted in the USA…’ etc etc. I missed it. Then the Mini came out, which I bought immediately. Then, lo and behold, Japan started making the FS again, which I managed to order very easily and could have done from multiple sources. It’s *still* being offered now. I had an orange one when I was 18 when they were still cheap and the FS is a wonderful replacement, I still look at it when I put Albedo 0.39 or Time and Tide on the turntable.

    This is a market tester for risk on Korg’s part. Why would they tool up (costing millions of Yen in tooling, R&D, cheques to consultants and engineer salaries) for only 1000 units if they vanish at $4000 / #3500 faster than Kate Bush tickets?

    1. I don’t get the kvetching over this and every other high end synth.

      The market says that the $4000 price is clearly reasonable for what you’re getting, even knowing that there will be cheaper alternatives coming. And it makes sense for Korg to do this, because that’s $4 million worth of synths.

      The hate some have for high end synths – like Korg/Moog/Yamaha/boutique guys are evil for making nice synths – seems bizarre and unhealthy to me. There are still more affordable synths being made at any time in history. And Korg’s been a leader on this with stuff like the volcas and minilogue.

      And the anger some have at the people buying these synths is kind of bizarre, too.

      Haters seem to think these are all getting bought by rich collectors, when I see comment after comment saying that people have been saving up for a new 2600.

      It all seems so whiny. I’m sitting here thinking I’ve never had such great synth options, and I need to limit my purchases!

      1. Only those with the cash on hand at the time will get one. There’s no time to save up for such a limited number of synths available. So yeah you do kind of have to be rich to get your hands on one. Rich and lucky actually seeing even most of those with cash available probably won’t get one anyways. People are rightly pissed off because this is Korg more or less rubbing a 2600 remake in your face and then not giving it to you. Thank god for Behringer

  19. (secular) Amen to that. Not sure what kvetching means, but great sentiment from an obviously people-oriented guy. Respect to you.

    Exploitation however is very subtle – not everyone is equipped to detect it – as are most business-oriented practices, and there are contemptible deception streaks through every good-looking offering. Moog business guys (and I specifically target them here, not the regular employees) have carefully weighted the *emotional* – the word is very definite – impact of their offering – and the appeal it has, using the ‘revered ‘name of Bob Moog, which they are to an undeniable large degree riding on – and pitched the price cynically accordingly. After the Emerson nonsense, they seriously have to charge $1000 per module for designs they already own? And the smooth b******t they push on their website (typical American (yes, sorry – but the phraseology is from there – I worked there for 2 years)) business blue-sky c**p about ‘family’ and all that. If you thought us synthies were your ‘family’, you would be a nonprof that paid your employees, took a cut for new products and fed the rest back to us as discount. It’s so sickeningly transparent.

    For the rest of us, we buy what we can, enthuse about it, and listen to great synth music. I’m not denying these companies have done great things. But they are doing them for money, and nobody can deny that. The only people who were not doing it (exclusively) for money are the dead guys who started the companies.

  20. To the folks saying “You can still get one if you want one,” let me know where? I’ve been trying to get one since it was announced and I’ve had no luck. I’ve got two stores still saying they will try but no guarantees. Nobody has been willing to say they would get me one for sure.

    I’ve got cash in hand. If you’re so sure it’s so instantly available, please, let me know where. I’d like to order one. Thanks!

  21. Relax everyone, the “limited edition” was just a marketing stunt to drive demand. It’ll probably be back without the silly and unnecessary flight case, for $500 less, by the time summer rolls around. And then I’ll order one!

  22. You can spend a little on a car, or a lot. If it gets you there, then that’s all that really matters – the frills and extras you get with a more expensive car can surely enhance the experience, and may be worth it to the customer, but at the end of the day, it’s just a piece of machinery that gets you from one place to the other.

    400 units at $3,899.99 per unit is a little over $1.5M. Add in marketing and distribution costs to the manufacturing, that brings the number down a bit. I don’t know what the profit margin is for these KArp 2600 units but I can’t imagine it’s huge – but like any good company that wants to stay in business, they had to have worked it out that at the end of the day they’d make enough to make it worth the effort to see this product through. I say good on them for bringing the synth to market in this form, if it’s the success they were hoping for then they may make more if they want to and it’s worth it to them. (NB: now that they have the manufacturing ins and outs in place, it’s likely they could crank out 400 more for less money and walk away with more profit. You can bet they’re discussing this internally right now.)

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