Korg ARP 2600 FS A Faithful, Full-Size Recreation Of A Classic Synth

Ahead of the 2020 NAMM Show, Korg has announced an updated version of the classic ARP 2600 synthesizer.

The ARP 2600, originally introduced in 1971, is a semi-modular analog subtractive audio synthesizer, designed by Dennis Colin and manufactured by his company, ARP Instruments, Inc.

The new Korg ARP 2600 is described as ‘a loving reproduction of the 2600’, a full-size recreation, created with the supervision of ARP co-founder David Friend.

Korg says that, under the supervision of Friend, parts were carefully selected and every detail was adjusted to replicate the original.

Additions in the new version include USB and DIN-style MIDI connections, XLR audio outputs, plus the improved ARP 3620 Duophonic Keyboard with an added arpeggiator / sequencer.

The Korg ARP 2600 includes a custom hard shell case with casters.

The ARP 2600 Synthesizer

The ARP 2600 was introduced at a time when synthesizers were expensive, rare and new – so it was designed to be easy to learn and use and powerful enough to be the core of an electronic music studio. It was popular as an academic instrument and with professional musicians and sound designers.

The 2600 is designed to be immediately playable, without patching, but to also give you the ability to create custom patches.

Nearly every slider and switch on the ARP 2600 front panels is hard-wired to specific control source. For example, the front panel controls allow the pitch of Oscillator 1 to be controlled by the keyboard (On/Off switch), the output of the Sample & Hold module (slider), the shape of the ADSR envelope generator (slider), and/or by the sine wave output of Oscillator 2 (slider), and each in varying amounts.

These hardwired pathways provide immediate control, allowing the ARP 2600 to be played without patching. But inserting a patch cord into the jack associated with any hardwired control overrides that internal connection, letting you create a new signal path of your choosing. As a programming aid, the detailed panel graphics clearly show the available signal routings.

Unlike earlier modular synthesizers that relied on 6.3mm (1/4″) jacks and patch cords, the ARP 2600 uses 3.5mm (1/8”) jacks that allows for more patch points to occupy the same amount of panel space. Most of the patch points are arranged in a single row, below the controls of the individual sound modules. This arrangement keeps the main panel clear and unobstructed for tweaking the controls during performance.

These patchable connections and the onboard processors can be also be used to interact with other modular or Eurorack synthesizer system.

3620 Keyboard

While faithful to the original design, the functionality of the 3620 Keyboard has been enhanced for this limited ARP 2600 release.

The 3620 Keyboard contains 49 full-size keys, aftertouch, portamento, and is also duophonic, allowing two keys to be played at once – Single or Multiple Triggering is available. In addition, the duophonic keyboard can use an optional foot switch to lock the interval between any two notes, without retuning the oscillators during performance.

Vibrato can be added via a dedicated circuit controlled by aftertouch, or by the onboard LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator), using any of three available waveforms.

Most noticeable is the addition of a flexible Arpeggiator that allows a user-defined pattern to be manually sequenced and played back. Still present are the original Pitch Bend knob and the Two Octave Up / Two Octave Down Transpose switch. Connecting the keyboard to the main unit now uses a secure eight-pin din cable.

Here’s an audio demo, via Kraft Music:

Here’s a look at the history of the ARP 2600, via Reverb.com. It features interviews with ARP’s David Friend & Alan R. Pearlman, Edgar Winter, Brian Kehew, Marc Doty and others.

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.

69 thoughts on “Korg ARP 2600 FS A Faithful, Full-Size Recreation Of A Classic Synth

  1. I guess “expensive, rare” was the only viable option given the likely market this year. Still, good on them for getting it done.

    1. The price is right in line with the TTSH v4, assembled and tested, at $3600. So at $3900 with a case, that’s not unexpected. (Sure, I imagine that Behringer will sell theirs at under $2000.)

      1. I think the price is ok, given that this is a full-scale recreation of the original done with bells and whistles like the full cases and even the custom travel case.

        Much of the cost of this, though, is because it’s full-size and has the big cases. This is necessary to duplicate the experience of the original, but not the sound or functionality. I’d expect Behringer’s take on this to compromise on the size, making this smaller and not as deep, get rid of the lids and the travel case, and to be much cheaper.

        I’d like to see Korg offer the full size 2600 without the travel case and without the lids.

        For many of us, the travel case and the lids will never be used, because we would set this up in our studio and never ever gig with it. So the cost of the case and the lids, and the cost to ship the huge case and the lids around, is waste for me. And then I’d have to find a place to store the stuff.

        So I’m hoping that Korg will follow this up with a version that’s just the synth and keyboard, or even just the synth, and that they can get get this into the $2-3k range. At that price, it would change the 2600 from something I’d lust after to something that I’d seriously consider. At $2-3k, the 2600 would be a pretty affordable alternative to building a Eurorack synth with similar capabilities.

        1. Don’t forget the large, feature-laden paraphonic keyboard with aftertouch included with the Karp. There’s nothing like that with a TTSH. Easily makes it a good deal in comparison, but if you build your own TTSH it’s under $2k.

  2. I can not stress enough how badly I want this. I hope the ‘FS’ moniker means they have a smaller/less expensive version coming.

  3. Well, many synth-enthusiasts had been asking for this. What I don’t understand, though, is why the Odyssey FS costs 1500$ while you’ll need almost 4000$ for the 2600: I expected 2000, 2500 at most, the current difference seems a little excessive. It’s almost as if Korg didn’t believe in the marketability of the 2600. But, personally speaking, it’s probably the only analogue synth I’d ever want to buy: it’s fun to play with and intuitive, unlike the frustrating MS-20; all the other great synths already got excellent VSTs and have been exploited in every conceivable way (Minimoog, Odyssey, Prophets etc). No wonder people’ll buy the Behringer clone when it’ll come out (or, better, when it’s going).

    1. I think the 4000$ price tag is set precisely to make it even more desirable; it’s a kind of exclusive instrument. Behringer recreations don’t have this aura, they’re just tools.
      Personally, I’ll buy the ARP (as I came close to purchase a TTSH last year).
      By the way, I have the MS20 Kit (released in 2015), and I think this is the most perfect recreation of the MS20, better than the original (I had 2 of them): more robust casing, better keyboard, and MIDI (input only). I think what Korg has done with the ARP2600 is in the same way: the came as close as possible to the original, but with few subtile plus added (MIDI, 2 filters, arp/seq).

    2. You’re not take into account how damn huge this thing is. If you turn it on its side, the travel case would be the bigger than a large coffee table.

      This is one of the biggest synths ever made. At this point, there is no need electronically for it to be so big. This is designed to re-create the user experience and usability of the original.

      There will be smaller, more affordable options. This is the deluxe Uber overkill option.

    3. I’d hazard a guess that the difference between an original Odyssey and an original 2600 was much the same. I think it is simple supply and demand. They know they can sell x amount of units of the lower cost synth so they sell it for ~$1.5k. They know that they will sell far fewer of the higher end synth, so they sell it for $4K. R&D and manufacturing for both synths costs much less imo. And Behringer R&D is much much lower because they just reverse engineer.

  4. Right in time!!!! So much better than VA Roland Jupiter X. I hope it’ll help to bring reissue of Jupiter 8 and CS80. Hope Roland and Yamaha want money, more money for reissues and will stop talking us bullshit that 15 years old VA are modern. Modern analogs are in trend now, not VA since you can have any famous Roland in RolandCloud for 19,99 per months. We want more MODERN ANALOGS REISSUES!

  5. Does anyone really think this 2600 is 2 1/2 times the synth that the Odyssey is? Or 4.7 times, if you count the smaller Odyssey. No, it isn’t. Behringer is going to eat their lunch. If this had been at the right price, I would have not been able to resist it. At almost $4000, I’d rather buy a Kronos 2.

  6. When I bought My Arp 2600 it cost $1995 . . .

    At this price it makes more sense to buy one more odyssey clone and a Korg MS 20 for its patch bay and end up with six oscillators, three filters and three LFOs – then buy a Hydra synth or OSOME with the money left over.

    still, I want it, but . . .

  7. I’m def buying this.This is what I’ve been waiting for. I’m not waiting for or gving my money to beringer. I’m really excited about this.

  8. Nice instrument. Out of my budget, but I’d love to see a VST version. Timewarp2600 & the Arturia plugins both suffer from a number of issues. Probably not an extremely diffiult porposition for Korg, given the work they’ve already completed on the Odyssey VST.

    1. Arturia’s VST is great, in my opinion, while Korgs’ not at all. The Legacy Collection is terrible, with the MS-20 being not even remotely close to how an actual MS-20 sounds like, or even just an MS-20 mini. I can’t judge the Polysix because I’ve never played one, but I wouldn’t trust at all a new Korg VA software synth.

      1. I don’t know about the MS-20. I used to own a Mono/Poly & a Polysix, and I think the Legacy Collection versions are pretty good approximations of those instruments (especially for 2004). The DSP could use increased oversampling, and the GUI’s need to be rebuilt with scaling. I’ve heard good things about the Legacy Odyssey, but haven’t tried it myself.

  9. Got to play with a 2600 a million years ago in college, it’s the only synth i’ve really lusted over. What a fun and lovely beast. The sequencer is a nice touch, used to put fishing weights on the keys and patch away. I guess i’ll skip a few vacations, but i know what i’ll be doing 🙂

  10. I can’t understand Korg’s insistence on re-releasing valuable synths from another company, since in the past had many equally valuable synthesizers. It would be interesting if he re-released the Trident mkII, Mono/Poly, PS-3300 which at that time had 48 notes polyphony!!! Unlike the remarkable, but unfortunately, monophonic ARP 2600. In the year 2020 and at this price I would expect an ARP 2600 with at least 8 notes polyphony. And because I no longer have the syndrome of over-consumption. Arturia’s polyphonic model is good enough for my taste.

    1. You missed the point here. Could be nice, I agree, but a polyphonic 2600 is another instrument. Inspiration comes with the limits of the tool you use.
      The last 2 months, I’ve created few tracks with my first synth, the very limited Yamaha CS01 which I purchased circa 1983. I have other much more powerful synths, but having to I had to overcome the limitations brings interesting new ideas.

    2. If I’m not misstaken the PS-3X00 Series was paraphonic synths, using divide down technology. I’m not sure how many voices with individual articulation they had.
      Still they were cool, so I would love to see one of them re-issued. But given the price of this, they would probably very expensive.

      A polyphonic analog version of the 2600, would be very very expensive. A digital polyphonic version, with a replika interface, with sensors to enable the use of patch cords, would be really cool.

      1. While they did use divide-down technology for octaves, I am pretty sure the 3100 and 3300 had vcf and vca for each oscillator (12 for the 3100, 36 for the 3300!)

  11. looks and sounds absolutely beautiful and i think price is fair, unfortunately cant afford it.
    hopefully the mini version will cost at least half of that, i dont need case or speakers or keyboard, so just the module in smaller format is something i would deff purchase.

  12. I just hope the keyboard is higher quality than the Odyssey FS. For the $1400 FS Oddy price tag I expected a much better keybed. Thing feels beyond cheap.

  13. The 2600 was $3300 when it was released in 1971. Almost 50 years later with all the advancements in electronic components and manufacturing there’s absolutely no logical reason this should cost $500 more than the original 50 year old price tag. This is Moog levels of price inflation.

    1. Speaking of inflation, $3300 in 1971 would also buy you a new car in 1971. $3300 in 1971 is almost $21000 in 2020 dollars. Something to think about.

      1. If you think that price inflation goes hand in hand with manufacturing and parts costs then I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. Korg already disproved this themselves with their own MS 20 and Odyssey reissue.

    2. strangerhythm is correct. Inflation adjusted, the 2600 is $21,000 in 2019 dollars. This reproduction is not a miniaturized simulation using VLSI chips or the like, it’s a clone of the original using chips and circuits as close to the original as possible. Tech prices go down using more advanced tecrhnology. This doesn’t use more advanced technology because for this instrument, buyers must have the original circuits. High quality simulations are already available for mere pennies. Many don’t want simulations they want the original hence the $10,000+ used price for a fully restored original. This is 5.4 times cheaper than the original, is higher quality, has a MIDI interface and some other bells and whistles, and comes with an extremely nice flight case. It’s an incredible value. Full restoration of my own ARP 2600 is going to run me around $3000. Getting one of these makes more sense given I’ll be getting new parts.

      1. “This doesn’t use more advanced technology because for this instrument, buyers must have the original circuits.”

        This goes against your argument for Price inflation. Those components cost literal pennies for them to buy. There’s 0 reason for the price inflation when you take into account the parts cost and how much easier it is to manufacture something like this nowadays than it was 50 years ago. Korg have already proven this themselves with their other reissues. Demand doesn’t mean price gouging is okay. Also how many people who want this 1 to 1 recreation actually need that flight case, built in speakers or even the external keyboard? When you consider most people buying this are going to put it in their home or studio and will never move it. They could’ve cut those out entirely and still made an excellent recreation with those bells and whistles like midi and an extra lfo for a much more affordable price.

        1. The reality is that the cost of sound generation circuitry is a pretty insignificant part of the cost of an analog synth.

          Anybody that’s DIY’d a synth module knows that standard analog parts are dirt cheap. The big costs are the switches/buttons/pots, the case, shipping and your time. There are some rare components in some vintage synths, but basic components are dirt cheap now.

          Look at the size of this thing, though, and all the material and craftsmanship that must go into it. That’s the expensive part.

        2. Like I said it’s 5.4 times cheaper than the original and is a better quality product overall and comes with more things.

          You don’t want those things, that’s fantastic. It’s not a product for you. The TTSH or a virtual may be your ticket.

          My career has been designing building and selling things like this. I know what it costs to build something in quantity, particularly small quantity. This instrument is an absolutely fantastic deal for what you get. Those who don’t agree should not buy it. Problem solved.

          I paid a lot less for my own ARP 2600 because no one wanted them and analog was considered stupid and old when I bought mine. What I paid had nothing to do with what it originally costed to build, which was significantly more. And despite the original ARP running on tiny margins, they still didn’t make enough money to stay afloat and went bankrupt. This instrument here is obviously being subsidized by Korg as a vanity project and they are not going to make back even a fraction of what it costs them to bring it to market. You don’t have to agree but that you don’t means you don’t have the tech, marketing and economic background to voice a credible opinion here. Which is fine. This is the internet.

          1. “going to make back even a fraction of what it costs them to bring it to market.” – it safe to say the R&D on this was peanuts compared to the original. So, not really big bucks. I’m sure they’ll make out even across product lines easily. After all, these reproductions do have a demand.

            Personally, I had enough of it when it was new.

      2. I built a TTSH for about 1,6k. Korg if buying parts in bulk can bring this cost down multiple times. So either tehy spent to much on design or their margin is way to high.

        1. The Human Comparator sold you a full kit with the case for $1500 to build a 70% sized replica without the custom gig case or the keyboard. You then added $1900 of your own labor to it to create a instrument with a commercial value of $3400. Excellent. Good job. Why don’t you start a business building and selling the $1500 kits and selling them for $1600, your claimed cost, with your own labor and shipping valued at $100? You say it only costs $1600 so that should be easy for you. I have plenty of customers I will send your way to buy your fully working ARP 2600 replicas for $1600.

      1. LOL for sure. Its more like “groovy man”. Or “wicked” is you’re from here.

        TBH, “OK boomer” is spot on as well. We old folks don’t all suffer from nostalgia. Although, I would jump at a Synclavier reissue at these prices.

        I did enjoy the little weather report bird land lick in the video.

  14. I have to allow other players their own fetishes, but I don’t see this as a near-$4K synth. Its just the start of a larger system, especially one surely featuring some Eurorack pieces. ARPs have a certain round sound that I like, but with all of the advances since the original company folded, it’ll be a semi-rare person who will see it as a solo instrument. After all, you can feed things in and out of it, much like the deal with an MS-20.

    Let’s say this is out of reach, but you end up with a Behringer version and it works. You’ll start adding to it ASAP. Modulars are even more like a coke habit than synths in general. My view: If I had $3899 to blow, I’d buy a Wavestate and be $3K ahead. Apples & oranges.

  15. Hello fellow musicians. On a sad note, it is just coming out that Rush drummer Neil Peart has passed away at the age of 67. Please check online and on YouTube for more information.

  16. Have only played with the VA clones, but I always left them for something else when working with my music. It’s good in very many ways, but I find the second envelope appalling. When doing a new version they should have added one more full ADSR… Imho.

  17. Does this have the three types of VCFs that the Odyssey reissue has? No. Does it still have only one ADSR, while having an AR for the second envelope generator? Yes. Does it still rip off the Moog VCF design? Yes. Where are all the Behringer haters complaining about that?

  18. So much negativity after people were basically begging for this the last 5 years. Just because you can’t afford it doesn’t mean it’s a bad product. It’s a faithful recreation, not an ARP2600 2. I can’t afford it but I praise Korg for the work and all the while they’re releasing new synths as well. Korg is a big company I know but they’re still pushing the boundaries and Trying to cover all bases, respect.

  19. When Korg introduces the “mini” version I can’t wait to hear the moaning and groaning if it cost near or above the $1000.00 mark. Nothing great really come cheap without a lot of compromises.

  20. Thrilled this is coming back – devastated that I can’t afford it. Its listed as retailing for $5499 in Australia. I pinning my hopes on two things – some reporting that there is a Korg ARP 2600 Mini also in development that will be much more affordable and have a longer production run, or failing that, whatever Behringer come up with in regards to their 2600. I’d buy either a 2600 Mini or a Behringer Mini – I simply can’t afford the high cost of a Korg ARP 2600 FS sadly.

  21. Yikes, it’s amazing how non-green retro synths are!!! Generally, price is indicative of ecological footprint. You can literally HEAR the trees singing their beautiful song of the death of the Amazon in the oscillators. Thankfully, a new 13th Earth-like planet was recently discovered, so we don’t have to take care of this one.

  22. I don’t like it when companies have a relase plan for several of versions, within a short time-span, but don’t announce their full strategy at once, thus not giving the customers the ability to chose their preferred version.
    I can’t say for sure that is what is going in here. The Mini version, is only rumoured.
    This FS version is quite expensive. But there are people out there with hard earned cash, that still take their chance of buying expensive products. Some of them, might have been fine with a mini version, costing much less (if a mini version is released, and if the cost is much lower).
    But the same goes for Keyboard and Module versions. Or different number of voices. And sometimes, it is about people getting the lesser version, because that is the only one announced. It is fine for those that can buy both versions, or take their losses by selling 2nd hand.
    I think it is fair to tell potential customers what there options will be, down the line, and leave it up to them to decide what version they really want.

    In this case though, chances are that Behringer will be able to undercut the price of a mini version (be it in full size or mini form factor).
    But still, if Korg is planning to release a mini version, they should have announced it, and it’s price.

    There are of course situations where the other versions are not initially planned, but because of the sales figures of the initial product, they are put in to production (I’m not saying this has happened in the synth market, but sometimes, it isn’t becuase the sales figures are great, but rather a strategy to make use of compontents bought in large bulks).

    1. It’s marketing. Create desire via the unobtainable. Then sell shit loads of the cheaper version by making people feel they’re getting their hearts desire, at a lower cost.

      As for people who’ve bought this FS version. They know what they’re buying. They know a cheaper version will come out. And they won’t loose money because this will go up in value eventually.

      Basically, everyone’s happy, eventually.

  23. The Odyssey was / is a more portable version of the 2600. Why not buy two Behringer Odysseys and connect them? Then you’d have four oscillators instead of three. You can save a bundle by bundling two synths (or three or four).

  24. I bought one of the earlier ones back in 1974. It was paraphonic with a Jim Cooper mod, I believe. Played Zeppelin’s “Dancing Days” (among others) 6 nights a week gigging all over the Midwest. I learned synthesis A to Z from having this cool instrument. I really was never in love with the sound though. Sold it in the 80’s and never looked back.

  25. I was able to get my heart’s desire at the higher cost and I am super happy about it. This is the most expensive thing that I have ever bought in my life, that wasn’t a car or a house. It will be a good while before I have it paid off. I think I was lucky to be able to find a dealer that still had one available.

    When you look at what vintage units sell for, this thing is a bargain. It’s not any more expensive than a pre-built TTSH. Plus it comes with a keyboard and a road case. Unlike a vintage model, I won’t be worried that I might turn it on and see a curl of smoke drift out of my $12,000 synthesizer.

    I had a chance to buy a near mint 2600 for $500 back in 1983. The seller was unloading “obsolete” monophonic gear to get some cool new poly synth. But 500 bucks might as well have been 50,000 for me at the time. Even if I had been able to raise the money, I’m almost certain I would have lost it, along with one of those houses I bought. If you know what I mean.

    At any rate, I’ve dreamed of owning a 2600 since I was youngster. The chance to be able to buy a brand new one of high quality was never coming around again. Probably.

  26. Anyone debating if its good or not. Korg Arp 2600 was sold out in one day since it was limited edition. Bye bye reissue. It will be back to second market for 5000-6000 usd or more. So crappy builded Behringer 2600 will be only option anyway.

    1. “…crappy builded Behringer…?” Have you used any of the recent Behringer synths? They do not have crappy build quality. The build quality on my Behringer synths is much better than that of my Korg MS-20 mini.

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