Back in 1979, when I bought my first couple of synthesizers, there were only really two practical, relatively affordable, choices - the MiniMoog and the ARP Odyssey - so I got both. The crucial difference was in the different filter circuitry used by Moog - which generally sounded fatter than ARP's.
The Odyssey was used by composer Jerry Goldsmith and others on countless films and TV themes in the 1970s, such as Enter The Dragon, Planet of the Apes, Columbo and Kojak. It was also featured on Herbie Hancock's Headhunters and other popular jazz-funk albums from Stevie Wonder, George Duke and Joe Zawinul.
There are lots of software MiniMoog re-creations available, but the ARP Odyssey had been overlooked -- until the Oddity arrived. Now you can choose between the two arch-rivals once more.
Gmedia and plug-in developer OhmForce have faithfully recreated the original MK II model, which featured a black front panel with gold lettering and a proper knob for pitchbend (later models featured quirky rubber pressure pads to control pitchbend and modulation).
If you know how to use the Odyssey, then you know 99.9 per cent of how to use the Oddity - the main difference being that you can save and load presets. It also has an A=440Hz switch that produces the standard tuning tone that was missing from the original. And the Oddity can morph between two presets. Just set the time in seconds for the morph using a rotary control and then choose the new Preset you want to morph to, using the associated popup selector.
Possibly the best thing about the Oddity is the incredibly good selection of presets provided - including some of the best analogue sounds I have heard anywhere. You can also program sounds from scratch - using the relatively easy subtractive synthesis method.
GMedia call their re-creation The Oddity to reflect its unique character and in oblique reference to the original Odyssey. A true labour of love, the guys at GMedia have based the Oddity on an actual MK II Odyssey that they acquired some years ago.
The sounds are actually better in many ways than my late-70s Odyssey - and it's great to be able to use presets at last. If you always wanted a programmable Odyssey, then you'll love the Oddity. If it's new to you - check it out anyway. If you like analogue sounds, you won't be disappointed.