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
April 4, 2011 @ 5:45 pm
I bought one of these when they first came out, and loved it. I never had a problem with it. I could get it to do just about anything that was being done with performance synths in the day. Quite nice.
March 4, 2011 @ 2:43 pm
I've owned a Cat SRM since new and never had any issues other than those that come with age with all these analog monsters. The key is to use them...you let them sit and they break (like a classic Car). The cat blows away the odyssey in sound and quality and in almost comparable to the minimoog, other than the third oscillator, the modulation abilities are like a little modular synth. Buy then, use them, love them!
Peter Project
March 30, 2010 @ 1:39 pm
This is a seriously under appreciated synth. Sonically, it's huge. I've A/B d it with my Minimoog, and found that it sounds just as big except the sign wave is way buzzier, and the filter is ear shredding. The routing and sync/modulation options are really enormous. This is also the downside. It's easy to get lost, and can be a bit hard to zero if you're not familiar with it. I've had mine for a few years, and still find new sounds. The keyboard is actually quite bad. It's prone to warbly notes and the duophonic mode on mine is pretty finicky. I don't feel the build quality is particular great, but the sound is extremely aggressive, and it's a great studio synth. Between this and my Mini, I've got all my monophonic basses covered.
March 22, 2010 @ 9:00 pm
I got a Cat SRMII second hand back in 1982...It worked for a few months and sounded great...then spent the next 6 months (along with my early model Memorymoog) at the shop.
When I got it back, I still had to open it up from time to time to clean the keyboard ribbon cable connectors. Needless to say, I flogged the pair of them as quickly as possible!

Truly analogue machines did indeed have their own sound(era), but as a working musician I had no time for their unreliability and delicate nature...................Let this be a warning to you kiddies wanting to fork out a fortune for thses synths dacades later! Stick to the machines that are being manufactured TODAY!....No, I aint sentimental (can´t afford to be!).
February 15, 2010 @ 3:48 am
Much better and fatter than everything in this category...
I never sold this pet...
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Rated 4.02 (274 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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