ARP Avatar

ARP Avatar Image

In 1977 ARP pushed into designing a synth that could respond to in-coming guitar signals using pitch-to-voltage technology. This gave rise to the Avatar, which in turn, was such a dud it practically sank the whole company before ARP finally sold off it's last and would-be greatest project - the Chroma - to CBS Musical Instruments. The Avatar was too expesnive for its own good ($3,000). It did seem to work, however; you use a hex pickup for your guitar which allows the guitar to play the synth sounds. Today the Avatar is used more like an expander module with other ARP and CV/Gate type synthesizers.

It has two oscillators and is very much like the ARP Odyssey in terms of its sounds, programming and interface. Many of the features that make the Odyssey great (oscillator sync, ring modulator, sample and hold, portamento, envelope follower and more) can be found on the Avatar. The Avatar makes a great and more affordable way to get Odyssey sounds. Use it to fatten up you're current Odyssey or incorporate it into you're synth studio as an analog synth module via CV/Gate.

The Odysseys have been used by Cirrus, ABBA, Bomb The Bass, Gary Numan, Tangerine Dream, 808 State, Chick Corea, George Duke, Josef Zawinul, Genesis, Herbie Hancock, and film-maker John Carpenter. The Avatar makes a great alternative buy to the Odyssey since it is capable of all the same sounds that the Odyssey has provided for these artists and countless others. But you will need CV/Gate or MIDI-to-CV/Gate ability to use the Avatar. And since only about 300 were ever made, they can be rare and hard to come by.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a ARP Avatar? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

15 Visitor comments
Marq Lativ
July 17, 2012 @ 4:51 am
Lucky me I traded a bunch of syns against the Avatar, why the Avatar because I was looking for this original old, noisy, crunchy sound of the early 80ties. What i got is an outstanding sounding piece of gear, yes noisy, but that is no problem in todays daws, great bottom-end, chunky faders and in combination with a modern cv to midi converter, very usefull - -if you find one, in any condition, try to get it, you can restore and pimp it like no other Arp.
Colin
December 6, 2011 @ 7:05 pm
Reading Ace Frehley's Biography "No Regrets". in it he talks about using one of these on his 1st solo album (the one from the kiss era). Used it in the song "Ozone".
chuckk gerwig
November 29, 2011 @ 6:44 pm
I have an old arp avatar pickup ! cool stuff!
Cat
January 25, 2011 @ 11:20 pm
They work great...

I'd like to get more pickups so I can dedicate other guitars.

Too bad, huh?
vintagesynth
September 15, 2010 @ 3:28 pm
@ Trey Yancy

I am very close friends with Heart's producer/engineer from their first albums. The synth used in the middle of "Magic Man" was a Minimoog.

ARP was actually not "key" to their early sound either. In fact the only ARP they really used in their early days was the Solina. They also used the Prophet 5 quite a bit as well as the Mellotron.
 
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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 2 VCOs: Sawtooth, Square, Pulse
  • LFO - Sine, Square
  • Filter - Model 4075 4-pole, 24dB Low Pass Filter
  • VCA - Env 1: ADSR, Env 2: AR
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - None
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1977 - 78
  • Resources & Credits
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