With Korg bringing back the Arp Odyssey this year under its banner, and having worked closely with the original Arp Odyssey designer, you’d hope the two machines sound pretty much the same.
The folks over at RetroSound decided to do a real-world comparison, which they filmed of course, pitting the original Arp Odyssey Mk.III from 1978 against the new breed from Korg (2015).
Here follows the video and below are some quotes from RetroSound about the test conditions.
RetroSound explain that:
My old ARP Odyssey Mk.III from 1978. The synth is 100% technically ok, calibrated and in practically in mint condition.
On the new KORG ARP Odyssey are three different filter types (Rev.1 to Rev.3) available and only filter type III is used here in the test. The owner manual for this filter is to comply with the 24 dB/oct low-pass filter (filter 4075) of the Odyssey Mk.III. Furthermore, the Drive function of the new ARP Odyssey is deactivated because it is not this the original. In order to maintain absolute equality, the audio samples were recorded directly via the same audio input without any external effects, compressors or equalizers and then recorded on HD.
In the audio examples, it was not aware of keyboard acrobatics, the focus was more on the key features of sound production as basic sound of the oscillators including pulse width modulation, the filter, ringmodulator, the VCO sync function and especially the speed of the envelopes to make a meaningful comparison to get.
If the old ARP some sounds louder sounds than the KORG, then is that the result of all the parameters.
For example, the sound filter in position III thinned at a high response from KORG out much more and loses its foundation as the old Odyssey MK.III. On both synths is the VCA fader on top position. The sound of the new KORG ARP is more clean, especially in the bass spectrum. The old ARP is a bit noisy and sounds a bit more organic.
Some sounds are sequenced over cv/gate with the Doepfer Dark Time step sequencer.