Posts Tagged With: ARP 2600

Novation Ultranova

Although Sylvia and I have owned a Novation “Ultranova” synthesizer for several months, I was having a difficult time wrapping my head around its various sections and how they interconnect with each other. My synthesizer background has been with the:

  • Mini Moog (purchased “new” back in the 70s and later sold),
  • the Vako Polyphonic Orchestron (purchased “new” back in the 70s and later sold. Not really a “synthesizer” but a “reproducer” of recorded sound),
  • the ARP 2600 (purchased “used” back in the 70s and later sold. In the mid-80s, Sylvia and I purchased a “new” one when we heard ARP had just announced they were going out of business)

Thinking I needed to create a type of “overflow chart”, showing “what” connects to “what”, I printed out several pages of the Owner’s Manual and brought it to work. For the last few weeks, I looked through it during lunch.
After reading through it more closely, I discovered that one aspect of my confusion was from the cryptic titles printed on the screen, indicating the different functions. For example: “01WTInt” stands for “Oscillator 1, Wave Table Interpolation”. Then, reading its details helped me understand that this feature adjusts the movement between certain Wave Tables from “Stepped” to “Smooth” when activated.
I also more-clearly understood that certain functions are not as complicated as I thought they were. They’re simply “routed” or “accessed” in a way that’s different from what I’m used to with other synths. For example: the Ultranova does offer “Ring Modulation” but there is no dedicated “button” or “knob” for this. Instead, it’s selected in the “Mixer” — because it’s a mixture between Oscillators 1 and 3 or Oscillators 2 and 3. Your choice.
At first glance, the Ultranova seems to have a lot of “menu diving” but after my recent working with it, I now see that most sections only have one or two “screens” worth of adjustments.
At a retail price of just $600, this synthesizer is well-worth the money.

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The “ARP 2500”

Ever since Korg introduced their version of the 1970s “ARP Odyssey” synthesizer, many Musicians (Sylvia and I included) have been wondering when Korg would reveal their version of the “ARP 2600” synthesizer. They had former ARP Engineer, David Friend, give a Talk during the Odyssey’s unveiling and, I guess, Korg obtained special permission to manufacturer this new instrument. So I assumed they would move to the next plateau in the ARP lineup and build the “2600”.

Now that it’s been at least 24-months since the Odyssey’s release, we still have no “ARP 2600”.

The other day, I was thinking about this and then I thought:

  • Maybe Korg hasn’t released the “2600” because they don’t have any plans to release it. Instead, what if they knew from the beginning that they would re-introduce the world to one of ARP’s “popular” synths (the “Odyssey”) and then re-make the ARP “2500”? Because more and more Musicians and more and more manufacturers are embracing the world of “Modular” synths, it makes more sense for Korg to skip the 2600 and go right for the pot-of-gold… and the reason the “2500” hasn’t been released yet (if any of this is true) is because the ARP 2500 is a large, Modular synth, powerhouse and would probably take much longer to not only recreate all of its components but to also have each facet of that synthesizer faithfully reproduce the sonic textures of the original “2500”.

Just some thoughts.

Here’s the link to the “Korg ARP Odyssey”:

Here’s the link to an “ARP 2600”:

Here’s the link to an “ARP 2500” page:

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Music Technology

Sylvia and I did finally spend a few hours today working on the 1st song on our album. This should have been a very simple process of creating a very chaotic sound for this 1st, very stressful, “why have you and I been separated” song. For some reason we still don’t entirely understand though, the 2 main pieces of music gear that we want to use on this song would not talk to each other properly.
Although I connected the “Gate Out” (start the sound) of the ARP 2600 to the “Gate In” on the Roland System-1m, that more recent piece of gear would NOT start sending its sound out. This was partly “my” fault. Because the ARP’s keyboard had developed some erratic keys, I removed it several months ago. Because it’s been a LONG time since I entered that room of my mind which keeps the “analog synthesizer” experiences in place, I had forgotten that the “Gate Out” on the ARP only works if its keyboard is connected.
Even with that, I did my best to create a “Gate Signal” (a strong “start your engines” voltage) on the ARP, using an amplified Square Wave, but the Roland unit would NOT fire (start).
So we turned back to using the ARP by itself and created a Patch (overall sound) which is chaotic and quickly produces “stress”, which is what this song calls for.
The other unit we want to use is currently in Washington state. We shipped our “BeatStep Pro” (by Arturia) off to be fixed or replaced because 1 of its Sequencers was not sending out a “Gate” signal.
In the “analog synthesizer” world, a “Gate” signal tells a synthesizer to “start”, or “send your sound out” and keep it going out until the “Gate” signal stops.

Think of a synthesizer’s “Gate” as a long or short table being rolled-through a swinging door. The door opens when the table 1st hits it and remains open until the entire table has gone through it. Then the door swings closed as it normally would.

Think of the table being made out of cardboard and when I amplified it, this strengthened the table and now it’s made out of solid wood… and can more-easily open that door.
Here’s some information on the ARP 2600:
Here’s the link to the Roland System-1m:
The “BeatStep Pro”:
Categories: analog synthesizer, ARP 2600, Arturia BeatStep Pro, Gate signal, musical equipment, Roland System-1m | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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