ARP Quadra

ARP Quadra Image

The Quadra is pretty much a hybrid version of ARP's Omni II and Solus synths. It's a four-section synthesizer consisting of a Bass synth, Poly synth, Lead synth, and String synth. It is quite good at emulating each of these sounds and can function in any of its four modes at a time with the ability of layering the different sections! Sounds you create in any of the four sections are instantly recalled from memory by the push of a button! There are 16 program patches for storing your sounds. Other major features are the incredible phase shifter, tons of balanced audio outputs for each section, dual portamento controls and a superior arpeggiator...that's pretty good for 1978! On the downside, it has a fragile mylar front panel, very limited programability and a weird feature that autotunes the keys to play weird intervals.

The Bass synth section is monophonic and can be programmed to occupy the lower two octaves of the Quadra's 5-octave 61-note keyboard. The bass sounds pretty good and has 16' and 8' presets each for Electric and String Bass sections.

ARP Quadra Image

The string section is based on the Omni II String synth. It sounds excellent and implements a phase-shift effect that is sort-of like a chorusing effect that thickens its already great string sound. In Polyphonic synth mode there are more effects available such as sample-n-hold and the phase-shifter. String and Poly Synth sections have 8' and 4' Polyphonic Waveform Generators each along with a preset called Hollow Waveform.

In Lead synth mode the Quadra becomes a two voice screamer with aftertouch sensitivity in the upper octaves of the keyboard! It's duophonic (like the Odyssey). Get a bass sequence going, switch over to another section and play along! The Quadra is a synthesizer well suited to live performance use and has been used by 808 State, ELO, Genesis, The Human League, Pink Floyd, New Order, Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran), Joe Zawinul, and film-maker John Carpenter. The 16 patches of memory aren't true memories, they simply recall which parameter sliders are active (and thus need adjusting!) and which are standards settings.

Lookup ARP Quadra Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a ARP Quadra? 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.

19 Visitor comments
August 17, 2014 @ 5:39 am
The ARP Quadra is a fantastic synthesizer with stunning sound. The strings are very Solina like, lush and full of stardust. Deep bass sounds. The lead synthesizer sounds very unique, not comparable with other analog synths. The Quadra is very rare these days and a lot more rare in good condition. One of big synths of the late 70s.
more info, pics and sound demo here:
June 29, 2014 @ 2:22 am
the so called Quadra Sequencer is in fact an ARPeggiator

check pdf page 36
March 3, 2013 @ 11:08 pm
I recently acquired a very nice Quadra. Love it. Very unique synth; very different from pretty much anything else on the market at the time. As compared to it's nemesis (Prophet 5) I would say for modular folks it's way better; plenty of CV stuff in and out. And for Tony Banks material from Wind and Wuthering through ABACAB, it's quite capable, if not THE choice. It won't do what the Pro Soloist did, for that you need a completely different approach. But the Quadra is a hell raiser for sure. The Poly and Lead sections especially. Bass and strings are only so-so. (IMO)
January 23, 2013 @ 2:12 pm
I have owned a real Quadra for about 15 years and have used it in a Genesis tribute band for most of that time. Tony Banks used one and I have created Tonys Lead sounds with it.
Recently my Quadra broke down and off to the repair shop it went. Whilst searching the net I stumbled across a virtual Quadra for Kontakt made by a guy called synth magic and damn it sounds good.
I'm thinking of using this instead of lugging my Quadra to gigs, but a laptop just will not have the looks of a real Quadra on stage which looks mighty fine under the lights.
klaus -Dieter Radke
December 20, 2012 @ 8:51 am
iam germann,and my arp-quadra is in restoration,it it is going on Lamps, but no signal in out cannel?? what the mistage??
very good sound i belive .so massive and no wrong image sounds!!!!!
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User Rating

Rated 3.76 (278 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 - Mono(Bass) / Duo(Lead) / Polyphonic(String)
  • Sections - Bass synth, Poly synth, Lead synth, and String synth
  • Filter - Model 4075 4-pole, 24dB/oct VCF (different parameters for each mode)
  • VCA - One ADSR VCA
  • Arpeg/Seq - Sequencer (with no external sync)
  • Keyboard - 61 keys
  • Memory - 16 patches
  • Control - CV/GATE inputs and ARP system interface
  • Date Produced - 1978 - 1981
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from

    Additional info submitted by William Blakeney.

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