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
Ben C
June 13, 2009 @ 1:03 pm
this synth has also been used by squarepusher. check the small picture on the cover of his 'hello everything' album. there is a pic of it in the bottom left corner. not a very big picture though, but still identifiable...
April 1, 2009 @ 12:17 pm
Yes, the Cat is very much its own synth - doesnt sound like an oddyssey or pro-one. I never found the tuning any more problematic than any other synth of that era - and even MS 20's take an hour to stabilize! Very good at dense monophic lines (basses and leads), great for 2 note playing in poly mode and for FX when cross modding the VCO's. Filter chips varied somewhat but my filter is fatter than the wet ARP ones. SH prices are hiking up.
March 27, 2009 @ 7:53 pm
It's very strange that many people are referring the Cat as something
very much like a ARP Odyssey!! Infact its anything like the ARP,
internally its a completely different design then the ARP, they
have as much in common as a MiniMoog and PRO1 would have!
J Mooney
January 28, 2009 @ 2:15 pm
I used to sell those Octave Cat synths back in the late 70's. EVERYONE brought them back with the same complaint:
They wouldn't stay in tune. This was a HUGE headache because we'd send them back for some sort of factory "mod" to address this problem, and they never seemed to be fixed.
I sold one to Billy Powell of Lynyrd Skynyrd, he was a real cheapskate.
He ended up throwing the thing off the stage one night when it wouldn't tune....
G.L. Moody
January 17, 2009 @ 2:42 pm
FYI: Bernie Worrell from Parliament /Funkadelic also played the CAT...
VSE Rating

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User Rating

Rated 4.01 (275 Votes)

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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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