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 25, 2010 @ 1:51 am
The Fattest Synth I've ever heard. This thing is so loud that it peaks my levels at low volume. I get better basses with this thing than my MS-20 and SE-1 moog. Enough said.
December 9, 2009 @ 8:57 pm
The Cat is one of my favorite synths in my arsenal. Not very versatile, however the pure craziness of the thing more then make up. The Cat is one mean synth capable of making sounds that no other synth can really do and sounds one would never think of on their own.

The synth has been rather stable. I purchased it about 2 years ago. First thing I did was run it over to my synth guy for a nice tune up. He told me that besides for cleaning a few contacts, tuning the OSCs and replacing a few things here and there, that there was little else for him to do (I.E. I could have totally done it myself. He was also extremely surprised by the synths capabilities.

As a bonus I also got the manual/schematics/etc. in the original envelope sent by Octave post marked 24, Aug. 1983!
Joey Swails
December 4, 2009 @ 11:55 pm
I owed one of these in the late 1970s, it was a great little synth. The S/H could do some great tricks with the duophonic mode, and the hard sync sound was nasty-cool. The sub-oct gave it a fatter bass sound than an Oddessy, even though it was basically the same layout.
September 12, 2009 @ 5:55 am
I have both an srm cat and an SCI pro one, and although the pro one is a good sounding synth with good modulation possiblities, I have to say that the cat is the better synth, both in build quality, features and overall sound.....
August 15, 2009 @ 10:25 am
I bought one of these in 1978 for $750 at a major Garland TX retailer. I never had any problems with tuning, my SRM was quite stable after only a couple minutes of warmup.

I would also like to refute the "Odyssey clone" meme which is prevalent but quite wrong. This thing's sound put the Arp in the dust.
VSE Rating

It’s Good

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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