Friday, September 4, 2020

ARP 2500 modular "The ARP electronic music synthesizer" brochure and mail-in insert, 1970/71

ARP 2500 "The ARP electronic music synthesizer" 8 page colour brochure and mail-in insert from approximately 1970/71.

Oooooh boy! Here's a doozy. Such a doozy that this post got rather long-winded. My apologies in advance. 

"What? What's so 'doozy' about this?!?!", I hear you say... "I've seen this brochure on tons of sites! BORING!!!!!" 

Well, yes. But no. 

Take a closer look at that front page. That's not ARP's treble clef logo!  And the company name and address is listed as... "Tonus Inc. 45 Kenneth Street, Newton Highlands, Massachusetts. 02162"


Now go take a look at all those other ARP 2500 8-page brochures with a similar front page image. They all have "ARP Instruments, Inc. 320 Needham Street" as the company and street name. 

So, for example, the front page of this September 1972 "The ARP 2500 Electronic Music Synthesizer" brochure on the Internet Archive has the same image, but the title is slightly different, it includes the new more familiar treble clef ARP logo instead of the older Tonus/ARP logo, and it has the later Needham street address at the bottom (see image at right). 

Interestingly, it seems that this same set of September 1972 scans pops up on a few sites, including the ARP 2500 page on, but can be traced back to Tim Stinchcombe's awesome set of old synth brochure scans, including this 2500 brochure that was originally scanned by Ben Ward and sent to Tim for posting. Good work!

An even later version of this 2500 brochure dated September 1974 recently went up for auction last August on eBay and some photos can be found on the fabulous MATRIXSYNTH website. Although only six of the eight pages were photographed in the auction, I've managed to find a few differences between the 72 and 74 version. 

For one, in the 1972 brochure, there were five different keyboard models available for the 2500 - 3604, 3001, 3002 3212 and 3222, but in 1974, that list seems to have shrunk down to three models - 2604, 3002 and 3222. And this has lead to some small price differences on four of the six sample systems featured a few pages later. 

Another difference is on the back page where ARP does a little cross advertising of their other synths. In the 1972 brochure, the Odyssey, Pro Soloist, Soloist Mk II and 2600 are featured. But in the 1974 brochure, we see the 2600, Odyssey, Pro Soloist and Explorer. 

But I'm getting off topic... let's get back to *my* brochure.  Not only is the front page different, but so are guts. For example, there is no other instruments being promoted in this earlier brochure. And we definitely don't have as much pricing info scattered throughout. 

All in all, the biggest takeaway from this brochure has gotta be the design. Those lovely colours. That lovely fat font used for much of the titles. And of course those lovely graphics and close-ups of the modules.  I've never taken a closer look at that angel - did you ever notice the different wave forms coming out of the trumpet?!?! GAH!!!

Take my word for it - its worth going down the rabbit hole of the different iterations of this 2500 brochure  - ALL OF THEM!

I gotta say I was pretty proud of myself thinking I had *the earliest* version of this 8-page brochure. So proud I've been strutting down the street like the dude from Saturday Night Fever. But after doing the research, someone out there, of course, happens to have an EVEN EARLIER VERSION!!!!

This earlier version is dated 1969/1970 and I found it as a featured eBay auction from 2017 on MATRIXSYNTH! Unlike my 1970/71 brochure, the front page doesn't include any ARP logo on the front page. Even more cool, is that some of the modules on pages 4 and 5 don't even have photos yet! They are just white spaces with the name of the modules. 

Seriously, just how cool is that. 

And the last page is totally different as well. My version of the brochure has a lot more information about the modules available, and that cool map that we see in future iterations of the brochure as well.

As angry as I am that MAXTRIXSYNTH has outdone me AGAIN *shaking my fists at you!!!!*, I thought I'd return the favour by include two other scans in my post! I haven't seen the mail-in insert that was included in my brochure ANYWHERE else online (although I'm now afraid to look). Either way, its another two pages of cool ARP history. 

Well, that's the end of another blog pos... wait a second!!!

One last point I'd like to make has to do with that map on the back. The one of the left from my brochure (1970ish) has the Kenneth Street location. The one on the right (from the 1972 brochure) is the Needham Street location. 


The new location is literally just down the street - a ten minute walk! And in that 1972 map, they include the location of the "old ARP location" as a reference point. Sweet. 

Maybe more interestingly is looking these locations up on Google Maps. 

The Kenneth Street location looks to be still there, but there's a few differences from the map in the brochure. The house to the Northeast of Tonus Inc. has been replaced by Salon Fabio. And the Power'd Equp building is now the Loyal Companion pet store. But the Liquor store seems to have managed to stand the test of time!

The 1972 Needham Street location is definitely still there. There is even that notch in the south corner that is drawn into the building in the map from the brochure. Looks like its now Inflexxion - a business consulting business, among other things. 

Now, I'm not asking anyone to stalk these location, but the first people to send me a photo of themselves (preferably with an ARP synth) in front of the doors of either location - or inside getting your hair done at Salon Fabio - will get added to the blog post.  :)

This is exactly why I love historical documents such a these. Not just the location info, but having a date on the later document allows me to more accurately estimate print dates of other undated ARP brochures that came after it. 

Okay. I think I'm done now. Phew.