File date: 11/26/2004
Why the white Arp Odyssey is not always “the better Odyssey”
1. White Odys have more trimmer adjustments and are more difficult to calibrate.
2. White Odys used a three buss keyboard using silver plated spring contacts.
Later units used a two buss action with gold plated J-wires.
Therefore, black Odys have less contacts necessary, better conductivity, less or no tarnish, self-wiping contacts and are easier to adjust and repair.
3. It’s painted thinly. The board standoffs cause front panel paint cracking.
Black Odys are painted more thickly.
4. White Odys are older and thus their sliders and switches are more worn and have had more time to accumulate dust.
Capacitors, resistors, trimmers, rubber keyboard standoffs and bushings are older too.
Older synths on average have also seen more service, more wear and vibration.
5. It’s white. This was changed to black later because it was too annoying on brightly lit stages.
6. White Odys have their power switch mounted to a PCB.
Removal of that PCB is more difficult than in a black Ody.
7. White Odys have fewer interface jacks.
8. White Odys actually sound *less* Moogy than black ones because their filters are -12db, instead of -24db like Moogs.
It should also be noted that Moog never sued Arp over the filter design.
9. White Odys have a transistor noise source, while later black Odys used a zener diode.
Zeners make a more consistent noise with less spikes that can damage speakers.
10. White Odys have slide switches which have a bracket in front of the contacts, making them harder to clean than black Odys.
11. The keyboard connector on Black Odys is one piece.
White Odys have the same connector, plus an extra wire attached to the extra buss of their three buss keyboard.
12. Later black Odys have a removable power cord and a hinged front panel making service easier. Instead of 14 screws to remove, there’s 4.
13. Later black Odys have PPC and can thus inject the LFO equally into both oscillators simultaneously while playing. Impossible on a white Ody.
14. White Odys use two additional digital CMOS chips in their oscillators, making them more unreliable and less analog than black ones.
15. White Odys used smaller rubber feet, which can shear off more easily than black Odys.
16. White Ody panels used no welds. Black Odys welded their keyboard mount pieces and corner seams.
All in all, black Odysseys are more reliable, more stable and cheaper to buy and maintain.
It’s only logical that Arp strived to *improve* the design over the years.