Thursday, April 1, 2010

Arp Odyssey Reference Sheet, 1972

ARP Odyssey reference sheet from 1972.

How quickly ARP learns!

Last post, I blogged about an ARP 2600 reference sheet that... well, shall we say... was an understandably ugly first step in ARP's evolution of reference sheets. But, the company quickly grew appendages and flopped onto the sandy beaches of the synthesizer world with this one.

Gone is the cramped, verbal diarrhea of the not-so-reference-y sales material that in my opinion just doesn't belong on a one-pager reference sheet. In its place, we see an overall improvement in design and white space.

Starting at the top is the big fat ARP logo we all know and love, followed by the word 'Odyssey' in a font similar enough to the logo-type usually found on early Odysseys that I can live with it. Sure, its not as 'square' as the real logo-type, but the y's are especially close enough.

Directly beneath is a nice large photo of the instrument. ARP realized that there just isn't room for a wire-frame outline, and so they provided a photo of the front panel big enough that the reader can see the general layout, and tagged all the juicy bits with reference numbers leading to descriptive text below the image.

Oh, how I do love reference material.

The only thing that really bugged me about this sheet is that ARP still hadn't learned to add in print dates. And I need that date for my titles... :o)

I easily narrowed down the date to pre-1975 - the white-faced model used in the photos was the first of three general models produced by ARP. The first between 1972-1974.

I could narrow the date down further with the tag line "THE ULTIMATE MUSICAL TRIP". This same tag line is used in the description of the Odyssey on the second page of the ARP family dealer ad sheet that I pegged as being printed in either in 1972 or 1973.

Even the smaller image used in this reference sheet is the *exact* same image used in that dealer ad sheet (size too!).

But what is this?

Looking at the larger Odyssey image I couldn't help think that there was something out of wack. Something just seems odd. Did you notice it yet? Take a close look at the logo on the right-hand side of the image, just above the keyboard. That logo-type is made up of all capital letters!

All the older Odysseys that I've seen have a logo that just has a capital 'O', with the rest of the letters in lower case. A quick Google Images search seems to confirm this. Also, vintagesynth.com's Odyssey page has photos of all three models, and the first two models definitely show the lower-case lettering that I'm familiar with.

So, chances are this is a prototype or a *very* early production Odyssey.

And pretty much the reason that I dated this reference sheet early in the Model 1's lifespan - 1972.

End note: Okay, I lied. One other thing bothers me.

The big 'POLYPHONIC!' stamp that appears in the middle of the page. The 'two-voice keyboard' is mentioned in the reference text (#18), so I'm thinking 'polyphonic' was stamped in later since it was a great buzz word at the time.

I have seen a few of these on eBay and elsewhere, and they all contain this stamp. If you know of one without the stamp, please let me know.

1 comment:

Micke said...

I'm pretty sure the synth pictured in this reference sheet is a prototype or pre-production unit. Besides the logo there are other minor differences as well:

A) there are about 12 screws (or bolts) on the front panel that aren't there on the production version.
B) the graphics appear to be slightly different in places (especially in the S/H section)
C) the VCA gain slider is in a different position
D) the side panels appear to be somewhat smaller

regards,
Micke

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