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The ARP 2500 Synthesizer Is Still Magical

Submitted by on March 10, 2014 – 11:52 am No Comment

Developed in 1970, the ARP 2500 was the first synthesizer to come to the market from Alan R. Pearlman. He was inspired by the work that Moog was doing with synthesizer development and wanted to get his fingers in on the action, so to speak. That led to the formation of ARP instruments and, quite frankly, one of the best synthesizers ever developed in the last 40 years.

It might be huge, but considering the time of its development the modular format the sheer completeness of this synthesizer is outstanding. There are 15 modules that literally cover all the bases that you’d expect to see in today’s synthesizer:

• VCOs,
• filters,
• envelope generators,
• modulators,
• sample and hold circuits, and
• even a sequencer!

Best of all, there are two smaller 8-space Wing cabinets that come with the ARP 2500 for expansion if you want, all without the need for patch cables.

How Does the ARP 2500 Work?

The ARP 2500 utilizes a very unique 10×10 matrix switching system to route sound signals through the unit. Located within the central cabinet, this matrix of switches helps to route signals quickly and efficiently without needing to unplug and re-plug cables to get the specific sounds you want. The only downfall of this system, however, is that it requires a lot of learning to understand what it can do.

The problem, however, is that you’ll have a lot of competition on your hands to get an ARP 2500. Only about 100 were ever sold because of the high learning curve that this unit required. The 2600 model was ARP’s best-selling model of synthesizer because they learned about the user difficulties that the engineering of the 2500 caused. Despite these difficulties, however, this synth is loved because its oscillators are superior to Moog’s, the tuning is extremely reliable and stable, and there’s very little frequency drift.

Custom Configurations Make This Instrument Truly Unique

Because ARP offered custom configurations for their 2500 thanks to a price tag that could reach nearly $20,000, you’ll find that most synths of this model are truly unique. If you’ve heard Pete Townsend’s song We Won’t Get Fooled Again, then you’ve heard the ARP 2500 in all its glory. You can also find several great videos on YouTube that show off the versatility of this hardware and why it is so coveted by synth enthusiasts, even today.

Few might be able to play one today, but jump at the chance if you do. It is definitely an experience that will be a lifetime highlight!

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