MATRIXSYNTH: ARP 2600 Rev .2/4 SN 14616

Monday, August 15, 2016

ARP 2600 Rev .2/4 SN 14616

via this auction

Note this one was listed back in September, 2015 here.

"This is an ARP 2600 synthesizer. However, the configuration shown here is not exactly typical, and those who know this synthesizer will recognize the importance of these features. The synthesizer itself is a Rev.2, while the keyboard is a Rev.4 3620 two-voice model. Definitely NOT an 'off-the-floor' setup, but here's why this is significant:

When the Rev.2 versions were built after a redesign of the original (and craptastic) Rev.1 'blue meanie' 2600s, they still utilized ARP's original 4012 VCF design, which was a copy, more or less, of Bob Moog's transistor ladder lowpass VCF. Eventually, Moog and ARP came to blows in court over this, and the Rev.3 and 4 2600s used the not-so-awesome 4072 VCF, which sounds very different and much thinner at the low end, less bright at the top. But at the time of the Rev.2, there was no such animal as the two-voice 3620 keyboard; you had the simpler 3604 and the REALLY simple 3601...and that was it. It was not until some years on that ARP came up with the 3620, which also provides an extra LFO, some pedal controls and a few other interesting features, and the one here is from the final 2600 revision, Rev.4, as noted by the orange graphics and the 'no-logo' ARP logo. The synth here, also, has its distinctive rectangular Tonus logo, as opposed to the Rev.3 'G-clef'. The S/N tag on the side also says 'Manufactured by Tonus', as you can see in its pic.

As would be expected on a 45+ year old piece of gear, the cosmetics are a bit out of sorts. There's some typical tolex snags and scratches, a bit of an issue with the wooden housing (shown in one pic), and a little oxidation on the case metal. Electronically, however, the unit is perfect, with VCO3 having been replaced with a breadboarded copy in 2007, and VCO1 having had that done prior to my taking possession of the unit in 1994. Slider caps are missing here and there, but only one not-too-essential speaker slider has taken a hit. Caps are easily available, though. The synth, sadly, has a couple of major bits missing; the handle is gone (see pic) and there was no front case lid when I acquired it. If one isn't going to 'road' the unit, though, none of that is a serious issue.

The 3620 keyboard is a later vintage by perhaps 7-8 years, and accordingly, is in better shape. It's complete, works excellently, has a nice, smooth action. Both it and the synthesizer unit were fully realigned and calibrated when the VCO was replaced in 2007, and they're working magnificently. Not a 'collector piece', certainly, but if you want a 2600 that offers everything that that synth could have in store, this is the one you need."

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