I've been having a ball noodling with Arturia's ARP 2600 v plugin. With an inviting interface, reasonable processor load, and close approximation of the original ARP sound, Arturia has done a stellar job of simulating of the old synth. Plus it's not DONGLEWARE like much of Arturia's other products...
A good measure of my fascination with this plugin stems from nostalgia. You see, my first exposure to a synthesizers was on an actual APR 2600 at an electronic music class at Old Dominion University. It was taught by a woman named June Cooper (now June Olsson) who was enthusiastic about teaching students the basics of tape manipulation (yes, actually creating audio effects by mucking with reel-to-reel tapes), digital sampling, and subtractive analog synthesis.
I immediately took the the ARP and obtained a pass to get into the studio at night from Ms. Cooper and spent a great deal of time experimenting with it. It was a fantastic machine capable of generating complex, amazing sounds. It's interface invited users to shift from one tone color to the next -- shimmering to burbling, harsh to haunting, and to "play" the sliders and patch cables as much as the keyboard. Indeed, the keyboard was really just another control source -- no more or less important than an LFO or envelope generator. While modern synths can be used in a similar manner they really don't encourage it. For purely electronic music it was the best synth I've ever laid hands on.
Eventually Ms. Cooper was let go to be replaced by John Toomy who shifted the class more to midi sequencing. The ARP was mothballed and try as I might, I couldn't convince university officials to sell it to me. They were determined to have it locked away in storage where, for all I know, it sits to this day.
Someday I'll own the real thing. It's one of those "to-dos" in my life, but the wallet is a bit thin these days and a vintage ARP in good condition starts at about $3000! So Arturia's $200 recreation will have to serve as a proxy till I scrounge enough for the real tolex-covered mccoy.
Now. If I could find my old hand-written patch sheets from college I'd be set. I know they're around here somewhere...
By Fitz - 2/13/2007 | Permalink