ARP ODYSSEI IPAD APP
Review: Brad Watts
When is an ARP Odyssey not an ARP Odyssey? It’s a reasonable question, as there’s now a number of ways to measure this conundrum. Before 2015 there was only one ARP Odyssey; the one originally built during the early 1970s — early days for a production run synth.
As of 2015, Korg revived the ARP Odyssey as one of its exemplary mini-key recreations. It was, and remains the only way to own an ARP Odyssey without spending two months’ wages and a raft of repair costs. In fact, at the time of writing there are only a handful of ‘real’ ARP Odysseys available planet-wide, ranging from $3000 through to almost $8k. The revamped Korg version is the sensible choice, both fiscally and maintenance-wise. You can pick one up for less than a grand.
However, there’s now a cheaper way to attain Odyssey goodness. Korg has shoehorned the ARP Odyssey into iOS form for a mere AU$30.99 — the ARP ODYSSEi. It’s the final Revision 3 (1978-’81) of the ARP Odyssey, with the earlier Rev 1 (1972-’75) and Rev 2 (1975-’78) available as in-app purchases for $7.99 a piece. Not bad for a total of $47 — lunch money compared with both Korg’s hardware version and an original.
The technology behind the ODYSSEi is Korg’s well travelled CMT (Circuit Modelling Technology). The same smarts that drives Korg’s brilliant Legacy collection — a set of plug-in instruments everyone should own. In short, the ODYSSEi sounds authentic, with stark differences when flipping between the three revisions.
This is where we see the benefit of an iOS version. Patches can be saved, unlike Korg’s hardware model. The initial Rev 3 purchase ships with 100 presets, while both in-app purchased revisions come with 50 presets of their own. Edits can be stored as User patches. The ODYSSEi also includes polyphony past the original’s duophonic status, a set of effects encompassing chorus, flange, phase, delay, EQ and distortion, along with a sequencer that can sequence both notes and a vast array of synth modulation destinations. All tricks neither the original ARP or Korg hardware model could pull off.
You’ll need a relatively recent iPad or iPhone for ODYSSEi. iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 5S and up, iPad Pro, etc… basically any iThing with 64-bit architecture. But think about this; a second-hand ODYSSEi will set you back less than half the price of Korg’s hardware ARP Odyssey, with way more versatility. If you can work within the iOS ecosystem, this is a brilliantly inexpensive and capable ARP Odyssey.