Arturia ARP 2600 V Review
The ARP 2600, if I’m not mistaken, is one of the first synths Arturia has emulated, and boy, they’ve done a fantastic job! 2600 is one of the most sought-after vintage synths, and if you are lucky enough to find one in good shape, chances are you’ll need to sell your kidney to buy it! They go on eBay for around 10K USD, the reason is pretty simple: is one of the finest analog synths ever made, and in the 70s it was the only serious competitor to Moog modular systems. For a fraction of the price, you can have this great emulation from Arturia. So, let’s check it out!
The 2600 V is, like the original, a three VCOs monophonic “patchable” analog synth beast. From the top left we’ve got first an external input module with preamp, envelope follower, and ring mod, then three full range VCOs (from LFO, to 4’) with +/- 24 semitones coarse slider and fine-tune slider.
VCO 1 can be hard synced to VCO 2, and it outputs sawtooth and square waves, while VCO 2 and 3 have a PW slider from 10% to 90% and can output triangle, saw, sine, and pulse waves. All three oscillators have FM for keyboard CV, S&H, ADSR, or VCO.
These are also patch points, so you can virtually patch anything in here and manage the modulation amount with the sliders.VCO 2 and 3, also have a PWM slider which is internally wired to noise gen (VCO2) and triangle from VCO 2 (VCO3), this internal wiring can be broken by patching cables from anywhere else. One nice trick I like to do is to patch the sine output from VCO 2 or 3 to the same VCO’s PWM input, this produces a very unique sound, especially in the higher octaves.
After the VCO section, we’ve got a multimode VCF (unlike the original which was a 24dB LPF) that can be set to 24dB LPF, 12dB LPF, 12dB HPF, 12dB BPF or Notch. It has sliders for Cutoff (INT.FILTER FREQUENCY), fine-tune, resonance (yes, it will self oscillate), and it has a notch frequency slider that works as a Q controller when the filter is set to notch. VCF has five inputs which are internally wired to Ring mod, VCO 1 square, VCO 2 pulse, VCO 3 saw, and noise generator.
As with everything, you can in fact patch anything you want to these inputs. Then we’ve got three sliders for filter modulation which are internally wired to Keyboard CV, ADSR, and VCO 2 sine, but again, you can patch anything you want here.
Next, we have the typical set of EGs from ARP, an ADSR, and an AR, then there’s the VCA with two audio inputs internally wired to VCF and Ring Mod and two control signal inputs, one for the AR and one for the ADSR, finally, before the outputs, there’s a mixer with two inputs internally wired to VCF and VCA and a spring reverb module which feeds separately left and right outputs.
Below all these modules we have some utility modules like the noise generator, which can generate white or pink noise, or a mix of both, four voltage processors with inv. out, and the sample and hold module, which can be set to an internal or external clock (MIDI sync).
Below we’ve got another panel which includes the 3 channel 16 step sequencer, that can work with internal clock or synced to MIDI, has a total of four outputs as well as clock output, and can work either as one bar sixteens or as two bars eights, and can play in sequence order or random.
Then, there’s a quantizer module with 2 outputs and CV input; a dedicated LFO which is wired to vibrato but, actually has triangle, square, saw, and sine individual outputs, it can be synced to midi and has a mod input to connect, let’s say, the mod wheel. Finally, there are also some interesting extras like a global tune knob, voice detunes knob, mono/poly switch, legato or retrigger modes, and hold switch very nice for drones.
Finally, the last module section is for the keyboard itself. It’s a four-octave keyboard with various CV out options: regular CV out, CV x4 out, pitch bend wheel out, mod wheel out, velocity out, aftertouch out, and footswitch out. There’s a portamento slider and is internally wired to the footswitch, but, there’s a patch point for this too.
Ok, as I’ve mentioned before, the 2600 V has a mono/poly switch, and when set to poly, it can play up to 32 voices, which is to say, a lot! But that’s not all… with the same switch, set to the middle position, it can play in unison mode, and that’s why the voice detune knob is there. So, imagine a 3 oscillator lead patch from 2600, ok, big enough, right? now, imagine that same patch 32 times… that’s something like 96 oscillators.
On the top panel, you’ll see the two built-in speakers and tiny eject icons below them. If you press those icons, the panels will open up, and you’ll find chorus and delay on the one at the left; this can be synced to MIDI, the chorus has controls for depth, rate, and dry/wet, and delay has independent left/right times and feedback controllers as well as a dry/wet slider.
On the right speaker, we have a digital processor with four in and four out, where you can edit with a pencil tool the shape of the incoming wave, or you can draw a new wave from scratch and patch that to anywhere you want.
Of course, it has 3 different skins, being skin 1 the representation of the classic 2600 from 1971, skin 2 represents the more common grey face 2600C and 2600P from the mid-70s, and skin 3, which represents the late 70s 2601 with the orange/black face (which were the last ones ever made).
Of course, MIDI implementation is awesome and everything can be set to MIDI learn (you’re gonna need lots of knobs on your controller…).
Well, this is a no-brainer. For a tiny fraction of the original’s price, you can have a very faithful recreation that sounds great, has lots of extras and it’s MIDI driven.
You can buy Arturia ARP 2600 V directly from PluginBoutique, ProducerSpot’s official partner!
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