16 Ocak 2010 Cumartesi

ARP 2600

The ARP 2600 is without a doubt one of the finest analog synthesizers ever. It is very popular and has been used by artists for over 20 years in all forms of music, especially today's electronic music. The 2600 is a professional, semi-modular, monophonic, patch-cable synthesizer that competed directly against the first professional Modular Moog synths during the early 1970's. Unlike other modular systems of the time which required you to pick and choose modules that you (or the manufacturer) then had to mount inside a case and wire together, the 2600 is semi-modular with a fixed selection of basic synth modules internally pre-wired and ready to go! Most of these connections can be "re-wired" with patch-cords and clearly labeled patch-points. This made the 2600 more user-friendly, portable and easier to create sounds with!

The 2600 is a 3-VCO analog beast capable of creating some amazing sounds thanks to exclusive ARP technologies. Truly a model of analog synthesis, the 2600 has plenty of switches & sliders to satisfy all your tweak-able needs. You have the freedom to route the sounds that originate from its oscillators anywhere you want. If you have a keen understanding of signal-flow and understand how the different synth modules operate, you can create some of the most musically expressive analog sounds ever! It even has a built-in spring reverb, amp and stereo speakers.

There's a lot of history here, and we think we've finally sifted through all the myths & rumors & disinformation to finally have a good breakdown of all the different versions of the 2600 that have existed over its decade-long production run. They are all a little bit different, some with changes due to instability issues, some due to legal issues, and some for cosmetic reasons. It's accepted that while the 2600's became more reliable and serviceable as their production progressed, they also became worse sounding, especially among models made after 1972. The best sounding models are the oldest and rarest. Much of the following info can also be found at CMS Discrete Synthesizers.

Model 2600:

The very first model 2600 was produced in early 1971 and is known as The Blue Marvin. It has mistakenly been called the "Blue Meanie" but according to Alan R. Pearlman, the Blue Marvin is so named after Marvin Cohen, head of engineering at ARP at the time. It came in a bright blue aluminum case with a funky and fragile wooden enclosure. It used an entirely micro-chip based voice path but the chips they used wound up being highly unreliable, although they sounded great! Only a few of these were made (approx. 25) and they were mostly built in a garage
Model 2600C:

Next, the factory produced 2600C Gray Meanie (pictured above) appeared in 1971 and can be identified by the rectangular 'ARP' logo on its right speaker grille. About 35 of these were made.

Model 2600P:

Later in 1971 came the 2600P V1.0 which featured the same metal case (housing the same electronics as the original models) now enclosed in a much more roadworthy suitcase-style enclosure (similar to the pic below). In 1972, ARP switched out the unreliable (Teledyne) VCO chips for the model 4027 and 4027-1 (National Semiconductor) VCO chips in the 2600P V2.0 and 2600P V3.0, respectively. These new VCO chips sounded weak and nowhere near as good as the originals. A new duo-phonic keyboard (3620) with LFO was introduced with the 2600P V4.0 in 1974. The 2600P V3.0 and V4.0 models are denoted by the "G-clef" ARP logo and are the most common models out there with roughly 1700 2600P's produced during 1971-1974. Unfortunately, further changes to inferior parts were just around the corner. The Model 4012 filter used in the all the 2600's through 1976 used a design that was a copy of Moog's patented ladder-filter design. This led to a law-suit between Moog and ARP which forced ARP to design their own filter for their next version
Model 2601:

The Model 4072 filter, a four-pole low-pass designed to replace the original 4012 was widely considered to be faulty. The frequency response of this filter only goes to about 12kHz, giving this model a duller sound than models with the Moog style 4012 filter. The early 2601 V1.0 models were still using the disputed 4012 filters during 1975-76. In 1977 ARP started using their new 4072 filter in the model 2601 V2.0 with the modern orange-on-black design (pictured below). Around 1978 ARP unleashed a whole new line-up of their synthesizers using this new orange-on-black look. These were produced from 1977 through 1980. Very late 1980 versions of this model featured un-potted submodules, making them easier to maintain (but they are more rare).
There were also three versions of the remote keyboard: The Model 3601, which is a very rudimentary version with just Portamento and Tuning controls. The Model 3604 is similar but adds adjustable scaling and was used until 1974. The duo-phonic Model 3620 (pictured at top and bottom) which adds a dedicated LFO, latching and some other very useful features was introduced with the 2600P V4.0, and used with all subsequent models from 1974 to 1980.

ARP 2601 with matching 3620 keyboard

Famous 2600 users include Orbital, Underworld, 808 State, Meat Beat Manifesto, Hardfloor, Jean Michel Jarre, BT, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Weather Report, Rebirth, Xpando, Add N To (X), Chemical Brothers, Front Line Assembly, David Holmes, Tony Banks, Rick Wakeman, Pete Townshend, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Patrick Moraz, Matthew Sweet, the Crystal Method, Stevie Wonder, Vince Clarke, Freddy Fresh, Nine Inch Nails, and Edgar Winter. It was even used at Skywalker Sound to create the vocalizations for R2D2! A little less than 3,000 were made, so if you own one...please take care of it!

The 2600 has been reborn as software synth emulations. For a realistic sounding reproduction check out Timewarp 2600. Also be sure and look at Arturia's ARP 2600V.
Polyphony - Monophonic
Oscillators - 3 VCOs: VCO 1 saw / sqr; VCO 2 saw / sqr / tri / pulse / sine; VCO 3 saw / sqr / pulse (Model 4011 VCO on early 2600s, replaced by Model 4017 VCO, replaced by Model 4027 & 4027-1); White Noise Gen: Continually variable from LF to pink to white (Model 4016 Noise Gen replaced by Model 4022).
LFO - Patchable with tons of modulation sources and shapes; Model 4015 Sample and Hold.
Filter - 24db lowpass, self-oscillating; Digital Ring Modulator: AC or DC coupled. Model 4012 VCF (1970-76). Model 4072 VCF (1976-81).
VCA - Env 1: ADSR
Env 2: AR; Linear or Exponential control; Envelope Follower
Model 4010 VCA on early 2600s, replaced by Model 4019 VCA.
Effects - Spring Reverb
Keyboard - Remote Keyboard with 49 keys (Models: 3601, 3604, 3620)
Arpeg/Seq - YES via ARP Model 1601 Sequencer
Control - CV/GATE
Date Produced - 1970 - 1981
Est. Value - $1,000 - $2,500

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