Octave The Cat

Octave The Cat Image

Octave released this analog classic - the Cat - during the era of the Minimoog and ARP Odyssey synthesizers. The Cat is actually very much like the ARP Odyssey, so much so that ARP had sued them in the late 1970's for cloning their designs. The Cat is a monophonic/duophonic analog synthesizer with 2 oscillators capable of square and sawtooth waveforms. VCO 1 also has a triangle waveform. Each of the waveforms can be played simultaneously and mixed together and there are additional sub-octave oscillators on each oscillator to blend new and interesting sounds.

Octave The Cat Image

The original Cats were purely monophonic, but then came the SRM update which added the duophonic (2-voice) capability. The Cat (SRM) has a 2-note sample-and-hold feature for each voice too! The Keyboard can be switched between 2-voice (poly) and 1-voice (mono) modes. In mono mode the 2 oscillators can be stacked for a rich mono-bass or mono-lead synth sound. Poly mode limits the richness of the sound because each VCO becomes a separate dedicated voice. In this mode you can create slightly more complex melodies with overlapping notes or very basic pads. The sub-osc plays at an octave below the actual note played which nicely adds some warmth or bottom to your sounds. It has been used by The Dust Brothers, Chemical Brothers, Devo, Rod Argent, David Bedford, Lyn Berger, Dave Greenslade, OMD, Loaded and Mixmaster Morris.

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39 Visitor comments
January 1, 2013 @ 3:47 pm
I owned two Cats and a Kitten during the late 1970s and early 1980s until the polysynth and FM synthesizer explosion. Back in the day, I slaved the two Cats together to get a massive four oscillator sound that to this day is not comparable to anything else! I miss my kitties!
December 22, 2012 @ 10:24 am
Does anyone have the schematic for an SRM II ? Or know where I could find one? Thanks!
December 12, 2012 @ 12:10 pm
For those experiencing the note jitter problem - this has to do with the keyboard, likely nothing else. Mine jittered like crazy - I cleaned the bus bars and J-wires with one of those non-rusting metal scrubbing pads for the kitchen - that worked perfectly to remove the oxidation. I still had some jitter but found the problem was the J-wires - it appears the order in which the two wires touch the two bus bars for a given key matters (because of the duo S&H) - if you pull the wires towards or away from the bus carefully while repeatedly hitting the key you can solve the problem fairly easily!
December 12, 2012 @ 12:02 pm
I own both a whiteface Odyssey and an SRM SSM2040 model. The comparisons are valid in regards to features (especially duophonic and oscillator sampling S&H, but they are extremely different synthesizers. Whiteface Odyssey isn't as good of a comparison to an SRM as a 24db/oct Odyssey, but regardless, they sound completely different. SRM has a lot of character and significantly more heavy and punchy bass capabilities.
Lex Wily
November 19, 2012 @ 8:06 pm
Thanks for the advice Marty. After 1 hour, this beast is ready to kill.
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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 - Mono/Duo-phonic
  • Oscillators - 2 VCO's (2 sawtooth, 2 square wave, and 1 triangle) plus 2 sub-oscillators
  • LFO - 1 with sample-and-hold
  • Filter - 1
  • VCA - 1 VCA, 2 EGs- AR and ASDR
  • Keyboard - 37 keys
  • Memory - None
  • Control - CV/Gate
  • Date Produced - 1976-81

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