Just when I’m sure I have the synthesizer collection I want and need, someone releases something that “I’ve been wanting all my life!” For several years, there have been rumors Korg would re-issue the ARP 2600, but I never heard or saw anything solid until last January. Remember the leak? I immediately emailed my contact at Sweetwater and got on the waiting list.
A little back story. In 2018, I bought a vintage ARP 2600 because it seemed no one was going to do a real re-issue. The TTSH was around and I built one. There were clones of the filter and VCO. But never a 1:1 clone of the original. So, I watched ebay and an amazing 2600 came up. I won the auction and never looked back. I also bought a vintage 3620 keyboard ( and a spare one) and restored it. New sliders, new case, cleaned the contacts, new bushings, and adjusted the keybed.
The 2600 was and still is in excellent condition. The tolex, panel, electronics, everything was and is in great shape. That said, there had been some sketchy work done that needed to be addressed. First, the power supply had come loose during shipment. Fortunately, the wires connecting it prevented it doing any damage inside. Second, there was one clearly wrong jack installed and several others with very poor soldering suggesting they were either replaced or the wires had broken. There were some wires to the power supply which were also very poorly soldered.
RANT… Just use the right parts and take the time to do the repair right if you’re going to do it at all. RANT over…
I replaced the incorrect jack and the ones with bad soldering with the correct Switchcraft 41A type, re-soldered the power supply, replaced the polarized capacitors on the power supply, adjusted the output voltages, and tested all the sliders and normalled connections. Some sliders were a little “rough” sliding, and a couple were a little noisy. Given the overall excellent condition though, I opted to use just a little DeOxit rather than risk causing more harm by disassembly and cleaning or replacing the sliders. The DeOxit fixed it at least for now. There were also several jacks in the voltage processing section which I replaced. All of the closed frame Switchcraft jacks seem to work fine, but I have a stash of those which I used in my Synthasystem re-issue so if one fails, I’m good to go. The open and closed frame jacks and tini-jax plugs are still being made so it isn’t difficult to get more.
Back to my new synthesizer. If I already had an excellent example of an ARP 2600, why by a “new” one? I don’t have a good answer. I suppose in part it’s because I love vintage gear but I love the reliability and support that new gear offers. Right now, my studio is mostly “new” old gear. My Synthasystem, my Model D re-issue, my Model 15 re-issue with the additional Synth-Werk modules, my Odyssey re-issue, and now my 2600 re-issue. I have yet to put the old and new side by side, but just on its own, this new Korg ARP 2600 is amazing. I’ll put up some photos and hopefully some video soon. I don’t think one can really fairly compare the re-issue with the original be it the Model D, Model 15, Odyssey, or now the 2600. Assuming the actual circuits are the same, using the same or substantially similar components, they should be very similar. All these systems evolved during their production, though. The Model D VCOs were improved, the 2600 VCF and VCOs were changed. Tolerances in components make a difference even between two systems built right next to each other. The experience of music is very subjective and can be colored by many different psychological and physical circumstances. For me, the bottom line is this new Korg ARP 2600 FS sounds wonderful.