ARP Omni

ARP Omni 1 Image

Omni Mk 1 (1975-77)

The Omni is an analog synth with preset Orchestral String sounds. It has polyphonic Violin and Viola waveforms as well as monophonic Bass and Cello waveforms. It is split into 3 sections: Strings, Synthesizer, and Bass synth - all simultaneously available. It has traditional and simple VCA, VCF, and LFO controls for contouring your sounds as well as a nice chorus that really thickens up the string sound. It has no program memory.

ARP Omni 2 Image

Omni Mk 2 (1978-81)

ARP later released the Omni Mk 2 (pictured above). It was basically the same machine as its predecessor, except for a few minor enhancements and a cosmetic Orange & Black color-scheme upgrade. And it did have a much more advanced triggering system for the VCF and VCA for more expressive results. The Omni has been used by Tangerine Dream, The Cars, Joy Division, Kraftwerk, Trouble Funk and New Order.

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25 Visitor comments
Big Chris
November 4, 2009 @ 5:12 am
The Omni II provided the strings on Joy Division's legendary single "Love Will Tear Us Apart". Being a complete JD nut, I bought an ARP Omni, albeit a Mk I rather than a Mk II, and I have to reiterate what others have said here - these machines are full of discrete components, quite fragile, and expensive to maintain.
May 1, 2009 @ 8:25 pm
I Played a Mk 2 in a progressive rock band borrowed from another keyboardist (thanks Android). Lush strings but if it has not been serviced, it will need to be. If you have time for a project these are definitely worth the effort (and there are many of them out there in need of work). If you don't have the time and still want one, be prepared to spend some dollars. I personally like the SS-30 better however these are hard to come by.
Corey Hall
November 19, 2008 @ 11:38 am
Oh Yes, replacing tantalum caps! I've repaired a number of these and it's normally suffering from bleeding notes, other notes seeping in when you go to play single notes or chords. There are others that came on but had no sound at all. This can be caused by Operational amplifiers like LM311 or 1469 op amps. It could be any of them and you must check each one. This is very tedious work but, these synhesizers are great machines. It would benefit anyone who bought one of these to know their way around a soldering iron and to know a little bit about circuitry whether it works or not as it's not a matter of "if" but, "when" it does break down. It can be expensive to repair for labor. I charge $20.00 an hour plus parts and that's really beyond reasonable as I don't really have any compition.
Dan Wilson
October 29, 2008 @ 4:51 pm
I have just restored one of these beasties and I must stress to anyone who purchases a non runner - these things suffer terribly from shoft circuit tantalum caps - and I mean loads of them!! I had to replace 78 caps in mine before it sprung into life. If you are not happy using a soldering iron then it will cost you a mint in labour (though not parts) to get one of these units going again which is a real shame as it's a lovely piece of vintage kit. Capable of huge poly chords due to divide down architecture permitting all notes to be played simultaneously. Only one envelope so fits certain playing styles better that others. Lovely chorus and with care capable of surprisingly usable string sounds - basic but cool synth section too. Can be MIDI retrofitted with a Doepfer MTC64 bus bar controller (note on/off only).

Dan, Hideaway Studio.
October 26, 2008 @ 1:30 pm
The production dates for the mk I and mk II on this site are wrong

The correct dates are as follows:
(Mark I) - late 1976 - spring/summer 1978
(Mark II) - spring/summer 1978 - 1981
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User Rating

Rated 3.51 (256 Votes)

  • 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 - Divide-down architecture
  • Waveforms - 4 preset sounds: Violin (polyphonic), Viola (polyphonic), Cello (monophonic), Bass (monophonic)
  • LFO - One variable speed LFO for string section with Sine wave shape
  • Filter - Model 4075 4-pole, 24db lowpass with its own ADSR & Omni 2 added LFO control to VCF
  • VCA - Omni 1: AR only; Omni 2: ADSR
  • Keyboard - 49 keys
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Control - CV/Gate
  • Date Produced -
    (Mark 1) - 1975 - 1977
    (Mark 2) - 1978 - 1981

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