ARP Centaur

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Jexus
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ARP Centaur

Post by Jexus » Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:14 pm

Has anybody ever seen any photos ? Only 2 were made. I mean two ARPs. I'm afraid that not even a single photo exists...

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Post by Psy_Free » Tue Dec 04, 2007 4:58 pm

That's because they melted before any photos could be taken. :)

Apart from this one :

Image
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Post by Micke » Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:14 pm

Additional pics...

Image

There's a better photo of the Centaur IV in Mark Vail's book "Vintage Synthesizers".


Image
This one looks considerably different and I'm not even sure it really is a Centaur.
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Post by gfriden » Tue Dec 04, 2007 5:36 pm

Wow! :shock: If only it would have become reality. But that's the problem, isn't it? Ideas can seem so beautiful before we try to realise them:

'[T]he ARP Centaur, a polyphonic synthesizer that was originally intended to have both guitar and keyboard incarnations. According to Philip Dodds, "The Centaur was the biggest boondoggle you've ever seen. There were 115 PC [printed circuit] boards in that unit. It was to be the polyphonic guitar synthesizer that would do it all. I agreed to get involved in the project provided that it would parallel the keyboard version, since that was our forte. But Dave Friend killed the keyboard version and put all his money on the Centaur. During all the dissention, Al Pearlman did a failure analysis on the unit and determined that the average time between breakdowns was about two hours. It was a brute force approach to polyphonic synthesis, with everything implemented using available technology, and as a result it would probably have retailed for between $15,000 and $20,000 -- if you could keep it running.'
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Post by Bitexion » Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:26 pm

Haha, the average time between breakdown to be 2 hours. I bet people would've loved that :P

"Dudes, we can't have more than a 2 hour set cuz this Centaur thing I bought gets broken every 2 hours."

ARP's foray into guitar synths was one of their downfalls.

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Post by gfriden » Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:08 pm

Micke wrote:This one looks considerably different and I'm not even sure it really is a Centaur.
Do you think the top one might be the keyboard version and the bottom one the guitar version? :?
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Post by Micke » Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:26 pm

Could be, yes
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Post by MrFrodo » Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:42 pm

Damn, those people sure were idiots. All those PC boards just to make six notes of polyphony? If those ARP shmucks had paid attention to changing technologies, they'd have noticed that Oberheim had just concocted one of the best ways to create polyphony - as Sequential Circuits was in the process of revolutionizing.

David Friend should've taken his cue from the Four-Voice when it came to that silly Centaur. If they were so into recycling old designs, it would only have taken six condensed versions of the Odyssey (as seen on the Avatar) under digital conrol to generate that travesty of a synth.
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Post by hfinn » Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:50 pm

wow, yeah, those idiots at ARP sure were stupid. Where were you back then? You sure coulda talked some sense into them. ;) you do realize that both of those companies went out as well right?

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Post by gfriden » Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:04 pm

MrFrodo wrote:If they were so into recycling old designs, it would only have taken six condensed versions of the Odyssey (as seen on the Avatar) under digital conrol to generate that travesty of a synth.
Isn't that in a sense what the Chroma turned out to be? I mean, like the mini to the Memorymoog?
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Post by hfinn » Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:29 pm

the chroma is considered to be a polyphonic 2600. The patchpoints done in a different way

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Post by Micke » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:17 pm

MrFrodo wrote:Damn, those people sure were idiots. All those PC boards just to make six notes of polyphony? If those ARP shmucks had paid attention to changing technologies, they'd have noticed that Oberheim had just concocted one of the best ways to create polyphony - as Sequential Circuits was in the process of revolutionizing.

David Friend should've taken his cue from the Four-Voice when it came to that silly Centaur. If they were so into recycling old designs, it would only have taken six condensed versions of the Odyssey (as seen on the Avatar) under digital conrol to generate that travesty of a synth.

Don't forget that the basic design for Oberheim's and Sequential's digitally scanned polyphonic keyboards originated with E-mu. The original E-mu polyphonic keyboard (capable of up to 10-voice polyphony) was available by 1974 and used with their largest modular systems.

A year later Tom Oberheim licensed the design from E-mu for use in their X-voice polyphonics and in 1977 Sequential followed suit.
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Post by MrFrodo » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:30 pm

hfinn wrote:wow, yeah, those idiots at ARP sure were stupid. Where were you back then? You sure coulda talked some sense into them. ;) you do realize that both of those companies went out as well right?
Oh, where was I? I wasn't even a spirm cell.

And, if the Avatar was such an infamous factor in ARP's downfall, a more practical means to the development of that synth might have resulted in giving that company a slightly longer timespan.

From what I read in Vintage Synths, the Chroma may be based on the 2600, but it was built partially in response to Sequential's commercial success with the Prophet series. (Phillip Dodds remarked on Sequential's rise to power in his interview.)
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Post by tallowwaters » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:34 pm

MrFrodo wrote:Damn, those people sure were idiots. All those PC boards just to make six notes of polyphony? If those ARP shmucks had paid attention to changing technologies, they'd have noticed that Oberheim had just concocted one of the best ways to create polyphony - as Sequential Circuits was in the process of revolutionizing.

David Friend should've taken his cue from the Four-Voice when it came to that silly Centaur. If they were so into recycling old designs, it would only have taken six condensed versions of the Odyssey (as seen on the Avatar) under digital conrol to generate that travesty of a synth.
i know, just like all those morons that died in the 50s and 60s for driving sports cars with no air bags in them. f**k idiots.

truthfully, i have no idea what i expected from someone with his head so far up his a*s as to quote himself in his own sig. youre like the vse equivalent to Peggy Hill. :lol:
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Post by WDW » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:06 pm

MrFrodo wrote:Damn, those people sure were idiots. All those PC boards just to make six notes of polyphony? If those ARP shmucks had paid attention to changing technologies, they'd have noticed that Oberheim had just concocted one of the best ways to create polyphony - as Sequential Circuits was in the process of revolutionizing.

David Friend should've taken his cue from the Four-Voice when it came to that silly Centaur. If they were so into recycling old designs, it would only have taken six condensed versions of the Odyssey (as seen on the Avatar) under digital conrol to generate that travesty of a synth.
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