ARP Explorer I

ARP Explorer I Image

The Explorer is a programmable preset analog synthesizer. It was very similar to ARP's Pro-Soloist and Pro-DGX preset synths, but offered more flexibility when it came to modifying or creating entirely new sounds. The preset sounds of the Explorer are your basic flute, trumpet, clarinet, strings, pulsar, lunar lander, etc. But unlike other preset synths of the time, in "Manual" mode you could synthesize all kinds of new sounds ranging from wind effects to electronic synth sounds.

The simple design and controls offer three main sections. The waveform section lets you mix and match its various waveforms at different pitch ranges to create unique sounds and timbres. There's a VCF/VCA section with basic ADSR and filter controls for shaping and contouring sounds. The filter is a decent low-pass 4-pole filter. And an effects section offers controls for repeat, vibrato, pitch bend, portamento, etc. All in all the Explorer is a unique and somewhat rare piece of equipment which signalled, at least for ARP, the transition of compact vintage synths from preset to programmable sounds. It has been used by Philip Glass and Herbie Hancock.

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11 Visitor comments
September 3, 2010 @ 9:21 am
There must be someone other than me who has one of these! I've had mine over 10years. I've had a lot of fun using this synth, mainly for experimental space rock/berlin school style music. When I took it out live, people were intrigued about it, because no one had heard of it. It's a basic 1 oscillator mono synth, 5 waveforms, saw, sine, narrow pulsewidth, ''fuzz'', and pink noise. What makes the explorer interesting, is that you can select any or all waveforms as well as any or all 4 pitch range from 16' to 2',so you can get quite a big modular-ish sound from this. It's very portable, great through flanger, delay and reverb. OK, it has no sequencer or arpergiator, but neither has a minimoog. This is a great lead and bass synth, and good for sci-fi cosmic FX. Sadly no after touch, like the prosoloist, but hardly any syntyhs had that function in 74, when this was released. I've never known anyone else own one of these, or heard one on record. Meaning I will never ever sell mine.
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  • Check Price
  • 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 - 1 VCO (w/ sawtooth, square, narrow pulse and modulated-width pulse waveforms and Pink Noise generator)
  • LFO - 1 LFO with adjustable speed, depth and delay controls
  • Filter - 4-pole (24dB/oct) low pass filter with cutoff and resonance controls
  • VCA - 1 ADSR envelope
  • Keyboard - 37 keys
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Control - None
  • Memory - None
  • Effects - repeat, delayed vibrato, bender, portamento, and pitchbend
  • Date Produced - 1974 -1978
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