ARP 2600 Korg

Korg ARP 2600 FS Review – The Revival

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The ARP 2600 is one of the most iconic synths of all time. It has some of the most legendary arpeggiators that I’ve heard and played to this day. The Korg ARP 2600 FS is a semi-modular analog synthesizer that is a powerhouse of an instrument that I believe will do extremely well.

Korg has been making some pretty big waves at NAMM 2020 and this is another great example.

My overall opinion on the Korg ARP 2600 FS is that it is for serious musicians who are looking to invest some serious time into an instrument that has pretty limitless capabilities.

You can check out the price and more thoughts from Sweetwater below.

One of the important things to note with this remake is that Korg consulted with the co-founder and president of ARP Instruments, David Friend. Under his supervision, they were able to create something that they were all ecstatic about.

Korg ARP 2600 FS Overview

above view of arp 2600 fs

As you can see, the Korg ARP 2600 comes with a built-in hard case to protect its interior. I’m personally a big fan of this as lugging around huge cases can be somewhat annoying, so I think this is a great concept.

The original ARP 2600 actually came with a case built around it as well, so this isn’t an addition.

A couple of things come to mind immediately when thinking about this synthesizer. One of them is that this is not for beginners. This is a rather difficult synth to navigate, especially to get it to sound how you want it.

With this being said, once you have some experience with it, it definitely becomes a very rewarding and fun synthesizer to create with.

For the most part, this bad boy is meant for the studio. Yes, you could gig or tour with it, but I wouldn’t really recommend that. If you’re really wanting to tour with this, you could use the VST version by Arturia and use a MIDI controller setup. This thing is far too expensive to lug on the road.

For those of you who aren’t very familiar with the ARP 2600, it is a monophonic synthesizer that has 2 voices. In other words, duophonic.

The Design

As far as the design, this is pretty much the same layout overall is the original ARP 2600. The only difference is that Korg has added some of the more modern controls features including a new keyboard,  2 low-impedance XLR outputs, USB, MIDI I/O & Thru, as well as a headphone jack.

The Korg ARP 2600 is a little top-heavy, just like its predecessor. In the old days, musicians had to hold the top of the synth to protect it from falling over at times.

It appears this version is more stable, as you would think Korg would address this.

King Of Arpeggiators

In my opinion, this synthesizer is the king of arpeggiators. While you can make some great arguments about other synths, I think the Korg ARP 2600 will be used on a ton of different records in the coming years.

The original had such a rich analog sound that was very hard to compete with and everything I’ve seen so far with this remake is very similar, with the needed tweaks.

Reverb

Korg included an internal spring reverb tank that sounds incredible. This allows you to dive in and give certain sounds that haunting reverb that will remind many people today of the show, “Stranger Things.”

I personally am a huge fan of having onboard reverb. While you can always tweak this with plugins or pedals, there’s something nice about having it immediately at your disposal.

Specs

  • Analog synthesizer
  • Aftertouch? Channel aftertouch
  • Controllers: Pitchbend Knob, Octave Transpose Lever
  • Polyphony: Duophonic
  • Filter: 4-pole 24dB octave
  • ARP: Auto, Up, Down, Up & Down, Random, Seq Play
  • Speakers: Yes, onboard speakers
  • MIDI: MIDI I/O/Thru
  • USB: Yes
  • Weight: 42.5 pounds
  • Effects: Spring reverb
  • Headphones: Yes
  • Portamento: Yes
  • Footswitch: 3 footswitches
  • Noise generator: White, Pink, and Low-Frequency options

3620 Keyboard

The keyboard has been upgraded by Korg and it has some great features. It comes with channel aftertouch, portamento, and it is duophonic.

One way you can take advantage of the aftertouch is to add some vibrato by using a circuit that’s controlled by aftertouch.

Recording

The recording has been made simple with the Korg ARP 2600. They added the two low-impedance XLR outputs (left & right) so that you can directly connect with a soundboard or sound system.

The Filter

As far as the filter goes, the Korg ARP 2600 comes with a 4-pole VCF that gives you a roll-off curve of -24dB per octave. Included, is the original fine-tuning slider from the 2600. This is meant to allow for precision control of pitches.

Included Music Software

Korg has bundled some great music software that includes Izotope “Ozone Elements,” Reason Lite, as well as some additional VST synths from Korg and others.

Reason is a great DAW that has been become more popular in recent years.

You can also use this DAW with your Korg 2600 in order to record with it or simply use it to control some other VSTs as well.

I am personally surprised by some of the software that Korg has included. One of my personal favorites is Lizard Lounge, this is one of the best electric piano VSTs on the market.

Here’s a full list of the included software of the ARP 2600 below.

  • Skoove (3 months free)
  • Korg Collection
  • UVI Digital Synsations
  • AAS Ultra Analog System
  • AAS Strum Session
  • AAS Lizard Lounge
  • Reason Lite
  • Izotope
  • Korg Gadget 2

Overall Thoughts

The Korg ARP 2600 is an impressive remake of one of the most classic synthesizers of all time. It’s a great option for those who are seasoned vets when it comes to synthesizers.

If you’re someone who is new to synthesizers and you’re looking for a user-friendly synthesizer to learn & create with, I would suggest starting with something a little easier out of the gates.

There’s a lot of talk in the keyboard community about the 2600 remake that Behringer is remaking. I am also curious, however, I feel like this Korg remake is extremely exciting.

The price tag is a hefty one, but it’s to be expected as the original is actually worth more.

What are your thoughts on the Korg ARP 2600, is it your favorite release at the NAMM 2020 convention? Let me know below!

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