ARP Centaur

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
gallant steve
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Post by gallant steve » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:40 pm

re ARP , I always reckon it's sad that alan perlman hasn't got some of the credit he deserves. Lots of uncanny paralells with moog .. both of them started innovating with electronic sounds at exactly the same point way back in the early 50s, both from the same New York-jewish background, etc...

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Post by spookyman » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:37 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...blah, blah, blah.
It's allways easy to judge a company, or a person.

Bring something better on the actual synthesizer market by yourself...and you will see how people will judge your work.
It is much easier to be a good equipment purchaser than to be a great musician.

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Post by Bitexion » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:06 pm

Part of ARP's problem was that they were constantly competing with Moog about everything, only they went as far as possibly to do the same things differently. Where Moog used knobs, ARP used sliders. Where Moogs used pitch and modwheels, ARP used some weird rubber PPC pad. It's like they spent all their research on duplicating Moogs synths only doing it differently so they wouldn't get any more lawsuits.

If they'd spent more time on inventing new concepts rather than just implement already invented concepts in a different suit, I think they might have survived into the 80's.

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Post by cornutt » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:42 pm

gallant steve wrote:re ARP , I always reckon it's sad that alan perlman hasn't got some of the credit he deserves. Lots of uncanny paralells with moog .. both of them started innovating with electronic sounds at exactly the same point way back in the early 50s, both from the same New York-jewish background, etc...
Yep. The difference was, I think, that Moog was able to get his head wrapped around the way that musicians think, and so he knew up front if a design was going to be something that a musician would want to use or not. Perlman never quite got there, and so he didn't have a good feel for when guys like Dave Friend were BS'ing him.

The really sad thing was that the Chroma could have beaten the P5 to market if ARP hadn't had all of their resources sunk into the Avatar.

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Post by gfriden » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:53 pm

cornutt wrote:
gallant steve wrote:re ARP , I always reckon it's sad that alan perlman hasn't got some of the credit he deserves. Lots of uncanny paralells with moog .. both of them started innovating with electronic sounds at exactly the same point way back in the early 50s, both from the same New York-jewish background, etc...
Yep. The difference was, I think, that Moog was able to get his head wrapped around the way that musicians think, and so he knew up front if a design was going to be something that a musician would want to use or not. Perlman never quite got there, and so he didn't have a good feel for when guys like Dave Friend were BS'ing him.

The really sad thing was that the Chroma could have beaten the P5 to market if ARP hadn't had all of their resources sunk into the Avatar.
Really? How do you figure that one out? R&D for the Chroma commenced in the Autumn of 79, a full year after the P5 first appeared on the market.
Art is not a copy of the real world. One of the damn things is enough.

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Post by cornutt » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:01 pm

gfriden wrote:Really? How do you figure that one out? R&D for the Chroma commenced in the Autumn of 79, a full year after the P5 first appeared on the market.
Yeah, but they had most of the pieces they needed by 1977, according to Phillip Dodds, and they could have built the Chroma earlier had not all of the engineering been tied up on the Avatar. Dodds wanted to do Chroma instead of the Quadra, but he couldn't get the people. Also, I remember hearing rumors of the Chroma in 1978, and I'm pretty sure I saw a mockup photo in a magazine at that time too.

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Post by stalla » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:21 pm

MrFrodo wrote:Damn, those people sure were idiots. All those PC boards just to make six notes of polyphony?
I'm very happy that people at Yamaha were such idiots at this time. My cs60 is infested with cards and kilometers of wires, but it sounds so goooood to me ! just teasing :lol:
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Post by Automatic Gainsay » Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:10 pm

stalla wrote:
MrFrodo wrote:Damn, those people sure were idiots. All those PC boards just to make six notes of polyphony?
I'm very happy that people at Yamaha were such idiots at this time. My cs60 is infested with cards and kilometers of wires, but it sounds so goooood to me ! just teasing :lol:
Yes, and those morons over at Korg who so STUPIDLY made that ridiculously complex PS line. I could kiss every one of them for being so idiotic. :lol:

Regarding ARP and Moog:
In both cases, you have very creative guys who designed very useful musical instruments. Then you had a fad that enthralled the masses. Then it was perceived that money could be made. Then it was perceived, as it always is, that MORE money could be made on giving the paying public what they screamed for instead of making the quality musical devices envisioned by the creative guys. It's a slippery slope. I'm sure both Moog and Pearlman were like "okay, we'll give the public what they want, and it'll fund the continued production of the wonderful musical instruments I've designed." But, of course, in the end... it drives every company away from quality musical instruments and towards consumer items. Both companies failed, in my opinion, because they sold out to consumer demand instead of sticking with what they did well and had vision for.

Much like if suddenly it was VERY INSANELY LUCRATIVE to make ragtime knockoffs with grooveboxes, everyone would jump on it and say to themselves "this will fund what I REALLY want to do," but chances are, it would just eventually drive you away from what you wanted to do.

As for the Centaur: ARP was trying to demolish that polyphonic market and chose an ineffective way to do it. When it wasn't going to work out, Friend was trying to jump on what he perceived to be a vast untapped market (guitarists whom he perceived wanted to sound like synth players)... which seems reasonable... except that most guitarists just weren't dying to sound like synthesizers... and those who did found that the Avatar was an ineffective way to do so.
It wasn't stupid, it was just VERY VERY risky. Theoretically, it could have paid off massively... it just didn't. Happens in business all the time.

Especially when you're trying to meet your perceived demand of consumers instead of pursuing your personal vision.
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Post by RawBC » Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:27 pm

An interesting point of order, the gentleman pictured in the first photograph may very well be John Adam. As a matter of fact I know it is. He used to have a synth repair shop (where that picture used to hang) in Kenmore Square, Boston, MA called Syntronics. He was and engineer over at Arp. He is a really cool guy to talk shop with. He's out and about in MA somewhere (I wish I knew where exactly,)...and he's a great resource.

...you know, with all of these comments regarding technological breakthroughs, etc. Remember, hindsight is always 20/20. It is like the fans of the Space Shuttle picking on the Gemini program scientists. You couldn't pick on their designs without them designing them in the first place 20-30 years ago.

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Post by clubbedtodeath » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:35 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:Frodo, you really should think before you post. Actually, just don't post at all.
The thread has broken down.

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Post by redchapterjubilee » Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:29 pm

MrFrodo wrote:Damn, those people sure were idiots. All those PC boards just to make six notes of polyphony?
Hindsight is 20/20...
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Post by Vxster » Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:30 pm

And I think that is where this ends.

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