Korg ARP2600FS Semi-Modular Synthesizer

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Once, and for All

The ARP 2600 is brought back to life in a single, one-time-only production run. Now is your opportunity to own one of the most sought after and coveted instruments from the vintage synthesizer era. This limited-edition release is a loving reproduction of the 2600, handcrafted in Japan and includes USB and DIN-style MIDI connections, XLR audio outputs, plus the improved ARP 3620 Duophonic Keyboard with an added arpeggiator / sequencer. Your new ARP 2600 will arrive in a custom-branded hard shell case, complete with casters.

The Total Package

More than a synthesizer, the ARP 2600 is a complete sound design studio. Even today, the ARP 2600 stands as a bridge between the individual elements of modular synthesis and the immediacy of a production / performance instrument. Included are an ample supply of oscillators, envelopes, a filter and amplifier – all of the building blocks of analog synthesis. But the ARP 2600 goes even further, with a spring reverb tank and even a pair of built in monitor speakers. Also present is much of the versatility of a vintage modular system, including a ring modulation, lag and voltage processors, an envelope follower, audio preamp, a clock-able switch, noise source, a sample & hold module, signal inverters, an auxiliary mixer, and even a set of parallel-wired/multi jacks.

Normalled Pathways

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 massive amounts of immediate control that make excellent use of all the ARP 2600 has to offer, allowing the ARP 2600 to be played as is – no patching needed. In true modular fashion, 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.

Patch Bay Precision

Unlike earlier modular synthesizers that relied on bulky 6.3mm (1/4″) jacks and patch cords, the ARP 2600 uses a more streamlined 3.5mm (1/8”) jack that allows for more patch points to occupy the same amount of panel space, delivering more options and more versatility. 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. Needless to say, these patchable connections and the onboard processors can be used to interact with nearly any modular or Eurorack synthesizer system.

3620 Keyboard

While faithful to the original design, the functionality of the 3620 Keyboard has been greatly 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.

Processing Powerhouse

The ARP 2600 reveals its modular nature by the unique assortment of valuable, esoteric, and individually patch-able modules it contains. To begin, there are a set of parallel-wired Multiple jacks that enhance the patching possibilities – allowing the same control signal to be sent to multiple locations, for example. Three independent Voltage Processors provide scalable control voltages, or can act to attenuate any control signal. Use the Lag Generator to delay the start of any control signal. The Noise Generator is tunable to deliver White, Pink, and Low-Frequency noise, plus everything in between. A series of three Inverters can reverse the polarity of any signal. The Electronic Switch can be sync’d to either the internal clock or any external clock signal, as can the Sample & Hold rate. Most importantly, the ARP 2600 includes a dedicated Preamp and Envelope Follower for processing an external audio signal.

Over and Out

Following the VCA, the audio signal of the ARP 2600 passes through the Stereo Mixer section, the internal Spring Reverb tank, and on to the main outputs, the headphone jack, and the internal Left and Right speakers.

Plug and Play

The ARP 2600 is equipped with two low-impedance XLR outputs (Left and Right) for direct connection to a recording console or sound system – no direct boxes or line-matching transformers are required. A headphone output is also provided. MIDI is transmitted and received via old-school din-style IN, OUT, and THRU jacks, and also via USB. Three foot switch jacks (footswitches sold separately) on the 3620 Keyboard provide hands-free performance control over Portamento (On/Off or Momentary) and the Interval Latch. The front panel offers a Preamp input for processing another audio source.

Ground Zero of the Synthesizer Age

It would be impossible to overemphasize the importance of the original ARP 2600 analog synthesizer. The ARP 2600 stood alone, retaining all of the versatility of a massive modular system in a modern, portable, and eminently playable synthesizer. Over the next decade, sales of the 2600 continued to amass as ARP became the largest synthesizer company in America – and possibly the world.

The ARP 2600 drew support from all manner of sources. Alan R. Pearlman and David Friend’s unified design made it the ideal choice for academic use, and indeed, for many an early wave of synth enthusiasts, the ARP 2600 was the instrument they learned on. Professional musicians of all genres gravitated to the ARP 2600 for its incredible sounds and the satisfying hands-on panel scheme. Sound artist Ben Burtt used the ARP 2600 to voice the adorable droid R2-D2. Over the ensuing decades, the ARP 2600 has remained one of the most sought after and coveted instruments from the vintage synthesizer era, and has attained the most revered status among players, producers and sound designers.

Modular synthesizers of the day closely resembled today’s Eurorack systems, consisting of a powered cabinet housing a selection of synthesizer modules, which were in turn connected using patch cords. While other manufacturers were busy shedding some of the esoteric versatility of the modular synthesizer to create a simpler instrument for the novice performer, the ARP 2600 offered all of the elements needed to create a self-sufficient sound design studio.

 

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