Korg Unveils ARP Odyssey Analog Synthesizer


2015 NAMM Show: In conjunction with ARP Instruments, Korg  has revived the legendary analog synthesizer, the ARP Odyssey.

Originally produced in 1972, the ARP Odyssey was updated with several improvements throughout its history and was manufactured until 1981, due to economic hardships and the rise of cheap polyphonic digital keyboards.

The new Korg Odyssey has a compact body, highly operable sliders, and a 37 note slim keyboard. In addition, a new ‘DRIVE’ switch is provided and connectors include MIDI and headphone output as well as Patch cables have been added.

According to the company, “Korg has brought back the ARP Odyssey for today, while preserving the basic design of the original”.

The New ARP Odyssey

“Together the engineers at Korg and Arp were able to nail the sound and feel of the original. Under the advisory assistance of David Friend, the co-founder of ARP Instruments, every detail was adjusted to replicate the original unit’s distinctive synthesis,” says James Sajeva, Brand Manager for Korg products. “Every aspect has been carefully considered to stay true to the quality of the original, down to the sophisticated semi-hard case.”

Korg has completely reproduced the original circuitry for artists looking to recreate classic sounds and explore new ones. The ARP Odyssey has been downsized to 86% of the original. Carefully selected parts are used in the familiar slider section, providing an operating feel that’s even smoother than the original.


In addition to the orange and black color scheme, inspired by the Rev 3 Odyssey, the white-paneled Rev 1 and the black panel with gold-printed Rev 2 designs have also been revived as limited-edition models:arp-odyssey-rev-1-rev-2

Product Specifications:

  • Keyboard: 37-note (Slimkey, No velocity sensitivity, No aftertouch)
  • Maximum Polyphony: 2 voices for duophonic; normally monophonic
  • Controllers: Transpose Positions: 2 octaves down, normal, 2 octave up
  • Proportional Pitch Control: b (Pitch down) Pad: about -2 / 3 octave – (Modulation) Pad
    # (Pitch-up) Pad: about +2 / 3 octave
  • Noise Generator: Noise Spectrum Types (white and pink)
  • Portamento: Maximum Speed: about 0.01 msec./oct
    Minimum Speed: about 1.5 sec./oct
  • VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator): Waveforms: Sawtooth, Square, Pluse (Dynamic Pluse)
    Frequency Range: VCO-1 in low freq. mode, 0.2 Hz – 20 Hz: VCO-1 and VCO-2 (audio range) about 20 Hz – 20 kHz
    Warm Up Drift: 1/30 semitone from turn on max
    Pulse Width: 50 % – 5 %
    Pulse Width Modulation: ADSR, +45 %; LFO, +15 %
    Voltage Controlled Response: 1 V/oct
    Maximum Frequency Shifts: LFO sin wave, +1/2 oct.; LFO square wave, +1.5 oct.; ADSR, +9 oct.; S/H, +2 oct.
    * VCO-1 is low note priority, VCO-2 is high note priority.
  • VCF (Voltage Controlled Filter): Types: Low pass (I: 12 dB/oct., II III: 24 dB/oct.)
    Frequency Range: 16 Hz – 16 kHz
    Maximum Usable Q: 30
    Resonance: 1/2 – self oscillate
    Voltage Controlled Response: C3 key (left edge): 0 V, C6 key (right edge) 3 V
  • VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier): Dynamic Range: 80 dB
  • Ring Modulator:
    Type: Digital
    Input Signal: VCO-1, VCO-2 (square wave)
  • Sample & Hold:
    Command Sources: Keyboard or LFO trigger
    Sampled Signals: VCO-1 sawtooth wave and square wave, VCO-2 square wave and pink noise
  • ADSR Envelope Generator:
    Attack Time: 5 msec. – 5 sec.
    Decay Time: 10 msec. – 8 sec.
    Sustain Level: 0 – 100 % or Peak
    Release Time: 15 msec. – 10 sec.
  • AR Envelope Generator:
    Attack Time: 5 msec. – 5 sec.
    Release Time: 10 msec. – 8 sec.
  • Control Input Jacks:
    Pedal: ?6.3 mm monaural phone jack
    Portamento Foot Switch: ?6.3 mm monaural phone jack
  • Audio Output Jacks:
    • LOW:
      Connector: ?6.3 mm monaural phone jack
      Maximum Output Level: -20 dBu@ 10 k? load
      Output Impedance: 10 k?
    • HIGH:
      Connector: XLR connector
      Maximum Output Level: +4 dBu@ 1 k? load
      Output Impedance: 330 ?
  • Headphones Jack:
    Connector: ?6.3 mm stereo phone jack
    Maximum Output Level: 50 mW + 50 mW@ 33 ? load
    Output Impedance: 10 ?
    * Controllable by volume knob.
  • External Audio Input (Ext Audio Input) Jack:
    Connector: ?6.3 mm monaural phone jack
    Maximum Input Level: -10 dBu
    Input Impedance: 22 k?
  • MIDI Connector:
  • USB Connector:
    Type B
  • CV IN/OUT Jacks:
    Keyboard CV (IN/OUT): 1 V/oct.
    Connector: ?3.5 mm monaural phone jack
  • GATE IN/OUT Jacks:
    GATE IN: +3 V (minimum)
    GATE OUT: +10 V, key down; 0 V all keys up
    Connector: ?3.5 mm monaural phone jack
  • TRIG IN/OUT Jacks:
    TRIG IN: +3 V pulse min., 10 ?sec. Duration minimum
    TRIG OUT: +10 V pulse on key depression, 10 ?sec. Duration
    Connector: ?3.5 mm monaural phone jack
  • Power Supply: AC adapter jack (DC 9 V)
  • Power Consumption: 6.5 W
  • Dimensions (W x D x H):  502 x 380 x 120 mm / 19.76″ x 14.96″ x 4.72″
  • Weight: 5 kg / 11.02 lbs
  • Accessories:
    AC adapter, phone cable, mini-phone cable, owner’s manual, dedicated semi-hard case
  • Options:
    VP-10 Volume Pedal, PS-1/PS-3 Pedal Switch

Pricing and Availability.

The new Korg ARP Odyssey has an MSRP $1400. Availability is TBA. See the Korg site for more info.

120 thoughts on “Korg Unveils ARP Odyssey Analog Synthesizer

    1. To leave the Mono/Poly name behind and the Polysix name behind and remake an also-ran second tier synth not originally made by Korg is a mystery. I am excited about their new sequencer though.

      1. There are plenty of people who were there, including Chick Corea, who would likely disagree with your “second tier” evaluation.

      2. The CEM chips used in the Mono/Poly and Polysix haven’t been made for decades and were an integral part of the sound. Without them, the audio circuits become too complicated to make with discrete components.

      3. No debate.
        Apples & Oranges
        70’s mono vs. 80’s poly

        I agree that it would be cool if Korg (or anyone) would remake some true VCO polys,
        but The Ody is a close to a synth icon as you can get.
        Kraftwerk, Eno/Bowie, Numan, John Foxx/Ultravox, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream all made classic albums with the ARP Odyssey.

        No need to criticize this synth, it’s already a legend.
        The whiners need to back to dad’s record collection and educate themselves.

      4. The Odyssey WAS the only serious alternative to the Minimoog. Also ran?? In your dreams.

        MInimoog, Odyssey and VCS3 where the synths that defined the early ’70s. Nothing else came close. People only bough Korg, Yamaha and Roland if they coulndn’t afford an ARP, Moog or EMS….

      5. i think it’s a generation thing. If you “grew up” with the Mimimoog and ARP Odyssey you instantly get it. Would I buy a Model D if Moog where to introduce it instead of a sub37?

        Yep. ‘Cos as a 15 year old I wanted to be Rick Wakeman or Chick Corea …. I may never “make it” but at least now I can afford an instrument like them. So it’s not about the features … i have tons of great apps and softsynth for that. It’s about connecting to the very beginning of synthesis.

        I guess you had to be there to get it!!

    1. Did the odyssey really only cost $560? Something tells me that it was probably a little more (minimoog was $1500). Even if it was, I wonder what that is with inflation?

  1. I’m not sure how new circuitry will compare in sound to the originals own 70’s discrete components. The original Odyssey is one of the most distinctively raw analogue synths I’ve had the privilege of tinkering with.

    1. It was disappointing in the sense that they had a anaphobic person playing the Arp, who cranked the resonance to high and only played the Kronos mostly. For 3 hours it was Kronos all the way and only seconds on the Arp.

  2. Rich Formidoni said it was closer to $999 than to $1400, so they weren’t totally clear on price. Not nearly enough time spent showing us the Arp.

  3. Korg makes quality products and are not always cheap in price. Too bad there are those who can only cast criticisms and angst when it does not meet their expectations. I personally feel this is a fair price, albeit 86% of the actual size. Chew me up critics, and be all you can be. I don’t care….:-)!!!!

    1. Oops, link seems to be removed. There was a new analog drum machine for $199 too. Well, it’ll all be revealed tomorrow I guess..

    2. The rythem wolf was bloody awful…they have a lot of work to do to build on the ‘wolf’ brand -.just because its analog doesn’t mean it sounds good!

  4. Nice to finally see, and i’m glad it has midi/usb. Interested in hearing the new version & also glad that the sliders have been upgraded from the sticky ones on the original. Looks very nice on the out-look & the price is what i expected.

  5. if it sounds like the original, feels good, and costs around a grand I’ll buy it.

    the first criteria is the most important though, one of the most distinctive synths ever made.

  6. Aaaargh!!!

    It’s got that awful (terrible) pressure sensitive pitch control, PPC I think they called it, from memory.
    That wasn’t on the original, the original had a pitch knob… which was far worse than terrible…

    But I love the idea of this reissue, great price point. Why not get one?

    No MIDI OUT?!? Was is it? An island? LOL!

  7. I can understand the love for classic cars. The good old days and fancy Victoriana. Coke for real. But, I’m too addicted to expression through a velocitysensitive keyboard. What to do…

  8. Wow this looks like a product which gets hugely hyped before coming out and then after its out nobody wants it, I mean even 1000 bucks for a monosynth without midi for the knobs (if i am guessing right) is a bit of a slpash in todays world, and a poor keyboard too without any velocity or aftertouch is like completely a waste of space and resources, still would love to have it though for its unique sounds… but still its competing with lot of new age stuff which can do a lot like dsi stuff and euro modulars

  9. Sure didn’t see this being in the same bracket as Pro 2 & Sub 37, but I guess we should save final judgement for our ears, per usual.????????

  10. If the sound delivers, that is what matters to me. If I can get a $999 Odyssey that sounds just like the original I am not going to complain. Time will tell.

    My only option right now is to risk it on an eBay purchase for easily twice that amount with little guarantee and likely servicing needs. Already got burned on an Odyssey purchase…

  11. $1000 US is about AU$ 1200 at the moment – so that’s fine. I’m very pleased with how it looks – slim keys don’t bother me (they are not mini keys), and the feature set is all that I expected. So ARP Odyssey, and clearly a Korg SQ-1 is on the list now. I hope I can get the SQ-1 without having to buy an MS-20M though!

    1. Don’t know why you’re being down-voted. The Karp Odyssey will find its buyers and followers for sure, but there’s no way this is the biggest news of this NAMM.

      Roland JD-XA is a 4-voice polyphonic analogue synth with digital parts as well. FROM ROLAND!

      And Akai just threw down their gauntlet with the 4-part polyphonic analogue Timbre Wolf.

      It’s happening!

      1. Yes, maybe Roland will have to work harder to gain back support in the face of the analog onslaught from other brands, but if the JD-XA is what it appears to be, its a very good start. My immediate thought was – this is a worthy successor to the V Synth, which was a great synth in my view. The JD-XA has to be good news providing Roland don’t overprice it. I’d say $2,000 max. (Aussie dollars). Hope it sounds as good as it looks.

  12. ARP Odyssey Type 1/2/3 VC Filter “Switchable” – sounds like a great feature and can’t wait to hear that. But the limited midi implementation really sucks, particularly not to have out and through. At least it has cv in/out to support the Volca line. But the midi is a bummer.

  13. To be clear, this recreation is like the MS-20 mini in size and format? It’s not really clear, but it looks like a “micro” rendition of the old Odyssey.

  14. At the very least, they eliminated the original Odyssey’s overbite. No bucktooth breakage here. But also no sound samples. I suppose we can listen to original ARP Odyssey tracks and simply assume that’s what will be delivered.

    I take that back. There is a one minute video that features one patch being played mainly in the background while the featured artists wax on about the wonder of it.

  15. I would take a Dave Smith Pro 2 or moog sub 37 over this every time, I yhink they have realy got the price point wrong. unless you are collecting retro looting kit I vant see the point of copying stuff warts and all- build on the past, improve on the past…don’t just copy it – no velocity, no after touch , no real pitch and mod –

  16. In some pictures, the keyboard seems standard, in other pictures it seems made of mini keys. Then who wrote the article said “slim keys”: how is the keyboard so?
    Anyways, it’s a great reproduction, but way too expensive, event at its street price (maybe 900 euros…?), if you consider that MS-20’s price is similar.

  17. WHOAAAA–that is way more expensive than I would have thought it was going to be. They did not add enough features to justify that price.

  18. Wow, I’m more than excited. I’m pretty sure the price tag will be a little lower than 950 euros, so I can afford it and certainly this baby will be mine. Cheers

  19. Cant believe it has no patch memories.Not a smart selling point?
    I am not impressed and it seems many others are shocked price wise.
    The kudos of this synth is lost on me.

  20. It really looks and will sound very cool but the size is not my style. I’ll better wait to see the Behringer proposal for the ARP synths replicas.

  21. Sorry but I’d prefer a sub phatty with full sized keys (albeit not enough of them) memory, arpeggiator, duo phonic, I’d bet a higher build quality and the moog sound. I thought this would be closer to the ms20 mini in price. I’m instantly not interested.
    And I’m a big korg supporter.

    1. Self correction on the duophonic bit, I was thinking sub 37 with the $1400 price tag mentioned for the Odyssey. If that is the price I’d definitely prefer the sub37, and if it is $999 I’d prefer the sub phatty.
      I was expecting a price closer to the ms 20 mini.

  22. The original ARP is one of the finest pieces of analog ever made.
    IMO it’s the ultimate lead synth
    I owned a Rev 2 a few years ago- back then it was a steal at $1700 and it was cosmetically trashed,
    Rev 1s were $2200-3000
    Now you get all three filters, stable OSCs, new components/keys & MIDI
    For me, this is a dream come true.
    I’ll happily pay the street 1000-1200$- worth every penny

    I hope Korg considers a 2600 mini!

  23. The keys are described elsewhere as being 75% normal size. That is enough smaller to throw off any feel that I have slowly developed for the full sized keys. Anything other than full sized keys put it right out of consideration for me. Yes, I can hook a full sized keyboard to it, but that misses the point. Why not just make it module then and lower the price point?

    But the sound is the thing. I will have to hear one for sure. This still does nothing to derail my ultimate Pro2 plan.

    1. Thats your decision made so. Don’t buy one.

      I can see a Odyssey’M’ coming out in a couple of years, with patch points. They’ll milk this, they’re milking the MS20, and rightly so.

  24. My impression is that korg had in mind people who would like to cosmetically enhance their studio. Myself I am on the performing side and even though I would like a modern arp I don’t think this is for me

  25. At 1400 it needs propper keys. Not building it with full sized keys exlude it as a performers synth for most of us. As it turned out I would prefer a desktop version.

        1. yeah how are you going to nail all those augmented and diminished chords on the tiny keys?
          Oh, riiiight.
          Complaining about the size of the keys on a synth that can only play two notes at a time is silly.

          1. Calaverasgrande: May all your synths be MC202’s. Some musicians actually play with real fingers regardless of polyphony, and have muscle memory about where that octave lands.

            1. And some of us are evolved humans that can actually adapt to different sized keys! Anyone complaining about “mini” keys is just making an excuse for their lack of talent. Good thing you guys aren’t looking at the $4000 Buchla Music Easel or the $5000 Macbeth Elements, you’d HATE those “keys”. Doesn’t stop a real musician though…

  26. Seems the times of steal deals from Korg are over? Or is it so expensive just because of license fees demanded by Arp? For the same price you can get a Sub37 with big/better keys, memory, display etc. and I’m sure the build quality is far superiour.

    1. “because of license fees demanded by Arp”

      Yeah, ARP is really the bad guys here. Wait no, ARP went bankrupt decades ago and although some assets were purchased, the trademarks were not and were subsequently abandoned. They were then free for anyone to use in interstate commerce. Which Korg is now doing. Having used the ARP non-trademark in interstate commerce, Korg is actually now within its legal rights to trademark it itself if it chooses. Not clear if they will, but it is their legal right. As far as license fees demanded by ARP, which is the point of this comment, there are none because ARP doesn’t exist, the trademark was abandoned, and the patents all expired decades ago.

  27. I don’t know about you, but to me, mini-keys remove the aura of it being a professional instrument. A high quality professional instrument should not have mini keys.

    I don’t get the mini key thing. Does it really cost that much more for Korg to add a 14% larger case and full size keys?

  28. Don’t panic, mini-key haters. Yes, this version has mini-keys, but if they got the sound right, it will be easy for them to come out with a full-size version for the purists if the market demands (and feel free to demand it.) The fact is a growing number of synth buyers actually prefer minikeys, especially for lead sounds. Most synthesizer owners actually use them for making “sounds”, not music. As an original ARP Odyssey owner, I can tell you that the original’s keys are just okay. My Odyssey is one of the originals with a pitch knob and no PPC controls. You have to have beyond average talent to make the pitch knob useful in a musical context. At least the new one has PPC. The new Odyssey has MIDI, so you can take what you save over what the full-sized key version would have cost, and get a very nice midi controller, with more keys, velocity and aftertouch.

  29. Complaints and more complaints!!

    Maybe korg should’nt do it, so purists and other “nostalgics” could still live in the past and kept asking for what it’s been done right now. So curious to hear the music they’re making…

    “To some, only the sight of death gives them a reason to live”

    CONGRATULATIONS Korg, Dave smith, Moog…etc

  30. Compared to the moog Sub37 it’s impressive what such a small company like moog can achieve for the same price! To me, slim keys totally kill the feeling of a real instrument.

    What happened to the art of great keybed design? It’s so simple to build a clacky solid keybed like in the old days! Just don’t use foam and bubble contacts. Use cheap springs, wire and felt!

    1. Indeed, it IS amazing what Moog brought to market in the 37! with real keys no less. I’m less bothered by the slim keys than the keyboard does NOT transmit velocity or aftertouch. In 2015, for $1400 list, not having velocity is inexcusable. love that the Odyssey is back, I wish I still had mine… but this is about 86% of what is needed, and I’m not talking size!!! Still, if it has THAT sound, I’d just MIDI it up to my master keyboards… the internal sound engine in the Odyssey better respond to Velocity and Aftertouch !!! if now, 100% swing and miss.

    2. The Sub37 is $1500 The Korg Arp is $999.
      Not the same price.
      Personally I’m happy to have a synth that does not have a firmware which can be botched by adding too many features and not vetting properly (like the MP201, Taurus III etc).

  31. Mini-keys, those crap pitch-benders and no effects? For a thousand bucks? Meh. If you want the SOUND of it more than the limited aroma of the hardware, this is the best way to go.


    Next: a mini-2600 with banana plugs and a graphite-impregnated sponge under the keys for pressure sensing. A recreation should improve on the original. This one really doesn’t.

  32. $1000? Wow, count me out. I would pay $599 tops, along with most people who were going to buy this. If I were to spend $1000, it would be for a Sub Phatty, which sounds just as great, but has many, many more features, made with care in the USA. You can’t say $1000 is cheap compared to the original Ody, because this is a miniature version with minikeys and uses SMT technology, which is NOT serviceable in general. If a component in the unit dies, you usually need a whole new motherboard – good luck finding one in a few years once Korg no longer produces it. And really, who would actually want the dreadful PPC bender? Pitch/mod wheels would have been an obvious improvement.

  33. $1000 is cheap compared to the original Ody, which in 1977 it had an MSRP of over $6600 in today’s dollars. It was close to the price of a Minimoog and nearly 3x the price of an MS-20. Now the new one is 1/3 the price of a Minimoog, less than double the MS-20 mini, and less than the MS-20 kit. It’s like they took the old price, cut it in half for making it 86%-sized, cut it in half again for using SMT, and then took another 40% off. Not a bad deal. Plus SMT parts are indeed serviceable.

  34. My Odyssey model 2813 from the 1970’s has a digital ring mod. Nobody seemed to care. Btw, it still sounds amazing. Analog purists put the anal in analog.

  35. I have written out so many patch sheets since having this new Korg Odyssey that I am finding it hard to type this message with all the sheets everywhere. Back to pen & Synth. Good night and make some decent music!

  36. I now own a K-ARP. I’ve worked with a lot of analog stuff since the 1980’s, and owned a lot of it- which halfway worked most of the time.
    I have a few points:

    1. A polite reminder to those who have not yet noticed the points repeated in the above comments: *They only retail for $999*. They also come with some patch cables (FWIW) and a nice zippered form-fitting semi-hardshell case. You don’t have a choice about the option, but it at least eases the value a bit.
    2. You can use external MIDI controllers if you don’t like the key size. If you dislike MIDI (and there are many reasons to), go study it more than superficially.
    3. MIDI in on the MS-20’s goes straight to CV out. This may work on the ARP as well.
    (If I think about it later, I’ll post a test of this to see if it works on the ARP. The machine I’m using is dual boot, and I’m using Xubuntu ATM, so I’d have to reboot into Windows to test it).
    4. The Sub 37 actually *does* cost $1499 at the major dealer i checked with, where I also obtained both of my MS-20’s (A M and a Mini).
    5. Nice modern features would be cool, but somehwhere along the line Korg probably had to make a decision: “Do we please the analog folks that wanted the original, or please the people that want new features?”
    Most people that would be chasing an ARP are not chasing modern features. If anything, it’s more like that most of them would want more old-school primitive CV-type stuff.
    6. Slagging off the preferences of other people is really pretty weak. It’s typically not well-intentioned or of any value, and degrades the merit and experience of most forums.
    7. I also wonder if it could have been cheaper, and certainly wish it was. However, I have no doubts whatsoever that I got my money’s worth. It’s one of the best synths I’ve ever used, and I have used many, most of them analog.
    8. *Patch memory would have to involve the digital control of analog devices*. This is not a problem because of the desires of “anal/og purists”, Go use a Juno-106, or a Prophet 600, or even a Sub-37. Digital control and recall involves discrete and incremental steps as opposed to a pure curve. Nearly anyone can hear the steps if you move through a control carefully.
    9. Patch memory (to my mind) could maybe be done if you had a scanning system of some sort to report what the values of the controls were to a computer, and an extra control system to bring them back up. They could maybe have a switch that disables manual control to do this or something. Who knows. I sure don’t. Nice and smooth control curves and modulation are one of the primary reasons you’d use an analog synth, not anal nerd stuff.
    10. I seriously looked into getting a Sub-37 instead of my MS-20m (I have this *and* a mini) and the ARP. It is an awesome synth that I would love to own some day.
    I spent a few days watching every video and demo I could find, and even sending emails to Moog to find out the information I couldn’t in demos. The Sub-37 is incremental, and still a sort of hybrid synth. It’s still totally awesome.
    11. Go ahead and play a Sub-37 next to a K-ARP. They are not the same beast any more than a fish is a reptile. Direct comparisons between them are realy a matter of preference, not quality.
    12. The Korg ARP is worth every penny of the $1400 you won’t pay for one. It is far and away one of the finest and most versatile synthesizers I’ve ever used. I was blown away. My wife was blown away. After hours and hours and hours, I had still not managed to run out of new sounds to find. I still haven’t even hooked it up to a delay (a big deal for me)!


    13. Surface mount components are *not* impossible to work on at all. If neither you or your tech have decent enough soldering skills or the time to watch a few tutorials, You maybe shouldn’t be working on the guts of synthesizers (yet). Go ahead and try working on the inside of any other modern synthesizer, and you’re likely going to find the same thing (I don’t know for sure).
    14. If you aren’t a boss solderer, you should also maybe not be poking around old synthesizers (especially without a good temperature controlled workstation). A good SM station, btw, is still cheaper than paying for new-tech screw-ups, and a replacement motherboard from China is probably close to that.

    I ordinarily don’t comment on stuff like this, but it seemed like the above points would actually aid this discussion.

    Thank you.

    Another reminder: Many of these

    if you don’tlike

  37. Yet another point: I should edit more before I post.

    And I forgot to say that the reason I brought up possible patch memory features was to illustrate that it would have likely increased the cost *greatly*.

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