I’ve collected a number of vintage synthesizers here at The Electronic Garden and the ARP instruments are among my favorites. ARP existed to give Moog a run for his money with affordable, stable and powerful synthesizers, string machines and even a stand alone sequencer. Even now, these instruments perform surprisingly well, and have become sought-after on the secondhand market, fetching ridiculously high prices. I’ve seen ARP 2600s going for six grand in recent months. Wow!
You don’t have to stump up that kind of moolah to get your hands on that oh-so-desirable retro sound, however. I have sampled my entire ARP Collection and rolled the results into patches for Native Instruments’ Kontakt and Reason 4’s NN-XT samplers. Over 700 samples have been meticulously looped and patched into 128 patches for your sampler. There are basses, leads, special effects, pads, and percussion, all bursting with that classic analog sound. I’ve even mapped edited and looped raw waveforms so that you can infuse a bit of that legendary ARP sound into your own patch creations.
For this collection, I drew upon four ARP instruments:
A black and gray model with the legally suspect copy of the Moog filter design. This patchable semi-modular instrument is the classic ARP synthesizer. Used by Tony banks, David Bowie (on Low), and Vince Clarke (who swore by it for kick drums), the ARP 2600 is a three-oscillator beastie that combined the best of modular and portable instrument designs into one tolex-encased package. I patched dozens of sounds together and multi-sampled them up the keyboard to provide an authentic playing experience.
The Odyssey was ARP’s answer to the Minimoog, offering features missing on Moog’s popular synthesizer (and even some, like oscillator sync and a high pass filter, that were missing from the 2600). Favored by IQ, Gary Numan and Ultravox, the Odyssey saw a resurgence of popularity in the 1980s. Mine is a black and gold MkII model, coming in after the filter settlement, but before the entire line was switched over to the black and orange finish.
ARP Omni II
The Omni is a hybrid instrument. Featuring pseudo “full polyphony” courtesy of the same divide-down technology found on electronic organs (and Moog’s Polymoog), the Omni II combined a string section with a basic synthesizer. It was ARP’s biggest selling instrument and found favor with Tangerine Dream, The Cars, Kraftwerk and Joy Division (it’s all over Closer, my favorite Joy Division album). I love this thing for pads, and I’ve sampled a number of my favorite string/synth combos for the set. Mine is, by the way, the garish black and orange version.
ARP Model 1601 Sequencer
I love sequencers. I have a large collection of analog and early digital sequencers here in the studio. The ARP 1601 gets a lot of use, thanks to the fact that it offers quantized voltage outputs for those times when you want to change the notes on the fly. Steve Roach featured the ARP Sequencer prominently on his early albums and live shows, and it’s easy to see why. The 1601 only figures in a few of the sounds in the collection, but they are typical of how I myself use the thing to provide a bit of motion to my pads.
What’s in the collection?
How about 400+ MB of multi-sampled sounds, patched into 128 patches each for Kontakt 2 & 3, and the Reason 4 NN-XT and Combinator? Though they share the same sample content, each patch collection is different, since each sampler offers its own unique parameters to tweak. Does that mean that the sounds are warped beyond recognition? Indeed not. I have included each multi-sampled patch in an “almost raw” state. Why “almost raw”? Simply because I employed a bit of velocity, glide, pitch and mod wheel control to provide some performance enhancements. Additionally, there are a number of patches that are built on the same samples but take advantage of each sampler’s unique filtering and effects to provide alternatives to some of the “almost raw” patches. These patches retain the spirit and raw analog sound of the original instruments, while offering the performance control and convenience of modern samplers.
Kontakt patch count:
43 Leads and comps
15 Special effects
4 Drum and percussion kits (two raw, two fx versions)