Last year, Korg set out to recreate the Arp Odyssey, a legendary synth that went out of production back in 1981. How does the result sound? Pretty darn good!
The side-by-side video comparing old and new Arps is just what we needed to get a taste for how the new much slimmer Arp measures up. The Korg 2015 model sounds pretty gnarly, and depending on the parameters used, it's basically identical to the original to my ears. There are some slight differences here and there, but you can tell Korg took pains to make the reproduction a faithful one. The company enlisted Arp co-founder David Friend throughout the design process.
Of course, the video above only compares what these two Arps have in common—Korg added a bunch of new features to enhance and modernize the instrument.
The vintage model in the synth is actually an Arp Odyssey Mark III. Each of the three versions of the Odyssey had a slightly different filter. The new Arp actually has all three filters. Nice! Additionally, the new model has MIDI support as well as a transpose function that gives you seven octaves of range. (For a detailed rundown of differences, read up here.)
Whenever an old classic instrument is resurrected by some well meaning (or optimistic) manufacturer, you should always be very skeptical. But I've really been impressed with Korg's work these last few years. Besides this lovely little Arp, the company also made a great mini reboot of its own classic MS-20 synth.
Analog synthesizers are seeing something of renaissance these days. It's nice that Korg is seizing the opportunity to enhance what came before, rather than just cashing in with empty, bogus reproductions.