ARP 2600

ARP 2600 circuit board work
We forgot to take a picture of it when it was done, so here’s a picture of it when it was dirty!

The owner of this ARP 2600 got it in an insane trade in the late 80s… in exchange for a Peavey keyboard amp and a TR-505! A lot of it had never worked in the entire 30 years he had had it.

When we do restoration of an ARP that’s in bad shape, we’ve learned that there’s really only one good way to approach it. We basically strip it down to its bones and do everything we possibly can in one fell swoop before even trying to test different systems. It ends up being so much more efficient that it actually costs less than taking a more step-by-step approach.

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Rebuilding ARP PPCs

Using FSRs (force sensing resistors) to repair PPC "proportional pitch control" pads for an ARP Odyssey Mark III

Because I am now one of those people who thinks they are very busy, I am just going to share a “quick tip” today.

In one of several Odysseys that we rebuilt recently, the “Proportional Pitch Control” pads (otherwise known as PPC, those three spongy white pads that Mark III Odysseys have) were so bad that no amount of cleaning could revive them. I finally was forced to look for another solution, and tried using some FSRs (force sensing resistors) and the results were great.

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ARP Avatar – Retroaktiv patch bay kit installation and the vintage synth modding controversy

ARP Avatar with Retroaktiv “Modular Patch Bay Kit”

This was a pretty big mod project that Darian finished a few weeks ago on an ARP Avatar, the ARP guitar synth which is mostly just a keyboardless Odyssey with a bunch of guitar-processing junk that no one cares about. That’s just a fact. Anyway, several years ago New England Analog developed this kit to break out a lot of the CV input points and modulation sources of the synth’s architecture to 1/8″ jacks mounted on a single long PCB, and now that New England Analog has closed, a new version of the kit is available from Retroaktiv. Continue reading “ARP Avatar – Retroaktiv patch bay kit installation and the vintage synth modding controversy”

ARP Odyssey Mark III (and it’s our birthday!)

ARP Odyssey Mark III

I just finished up an inside-out full restoration of this ARP Odyssey (Mark III). I’m replacing the slider caps, which were all missing, with bat style toggle switch caps which I soften with a heat gun until I can slide them over the shaft of the slider, and haven’t gotten the green and blue ones yet, but wanted to take this photo and do a post because today is our birthday! Continue reading “ARP Odyssey Mark III (and it’s our birthday!)”

ARP Axxe (#2) – repair tips for all ARPs

ARP Axxe
ARP Axxe

It’s been almost a year since I began working on the first ARP Axxe I restored, and I was amazed by how much more smoothly this second one went, though it’s not really surprising as I have worked on over 70 synths including a half dozen other ARPs in the year since then. Continue reading “ARP Axxe (#2) – repair tips for all ARPs”

ARP Axxe

ARP Axxe synthesizer
The ARP Axxe

I worked on two ARPs most of the day for the last few days, this one and an Omni 2.  The filter, ADSR and VCA on the Axxe are very close to identical to those in the Omni’s “synth section.” While I was initially skeptical of the Axxe (as I am of any synth with only one oscillator), I really appreciate the fact that it lets you route the envelope generator to control PWM, which you don’t often see.   Continue reading “ARP Axxe”

ARP Omni 2

Tantalum Capacitors in the Arp Omni 2
Tantalum Capacitors in the Arp Omni 2

This one belongs to Jeff Zeigler, a great musician who also runs the studio Uniform Recording. The ARP Omni 2 is a synth where a lot can go wrong, but it has a very, very repetitive internal architecture so it’s often the same problems over and over– bad logic ICs and bad tantalum capacitors (blue circles in photo above).  That doesn’t mean it’s easy to fix though!

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