# ARP Quadra

ARP, Quadra @ 27 January 2010

arpquadra “This auction is for one vintage Arp Quadra synthesizer in very good cosmetic condition but it is in need of repair and is only partially functional. Auction includes synthesizer, power cord, flightcase, one original Arp footswitch, a few spare parts and .PDF copies of the owners and service manuals. With the service manual, any competent analog synth tech should be able to give it the repairs it needs. Unit is currently set to 117V US power so people in non-117V power countries will either need to adjust it (internal switch, possible fuse change) internally or use a power transformer. There is a piece of painter’s tape on the keyboard in the picture, it has been removed and there is no residue… I just forgot to remove it for the picture and didn’t want to retake it.

Since it needs a decent amount of work, I’m starting the auction at 99 cents with no reserve and will let the market sort it out. I’ve been watching Quadras on Ebay for the last year or 2 and have seen them sell for $1300-$2000 in completely non-working condition (no sound at all) and $2500-$3000-plus in functional condition. They’re pretty rare to come by these days in any condition, and usually they seem to be completely dead. One thing’s for sure, and that this is one of the most fun and best sounding synths ever made, definitely more than the sum of its parts. I always used to think that the old Power Corruption & Lies era New Order sound that I love so much was the sound of the Voyetra but it’s the Quadra they were relying on then, check old concert footage to see some great use in Temptation. There’s a nice review of it here: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Apr02/articles/retrozone0402.asp

Cosmetically it looks very nice with a few minor exceptions… three of the slider tips (Bass Decay, Lead Decay, Lead Release) are snapped off but the slider itself is fine and they can be changed with a fingertip, they function fine. One of the 1/8″ jacks on the back (lead synth CV in) was broken and I replaced it and it works, but the neck of the jack is shorter than the originals and does not lock onto the panel with a washer (too short) so care must be exercised when plugging/unplugging it as it’s only being held to the synth by the PC-mount legs of the jack. There are some minor scratches here and there but overall it looks nice.

Functionally it has a multitude of problems that I will describe in length but they say a picture is worth a thousand words so I’ve uploaded a demo video on Youtube (under username Siebenjager) that shows the problems… it would probably do you well to start by watching that. Here’s the verbal rundown:
—Phase shifter doesn’t work. It was working and died over the course of the last 2 years. I swapped it with the board in my working Quadra and discovered that it’s the board itself, not the routing to/from the board. It was being intermittent for a while before dying, so there’s probably an opamp or something on the board that needs replaced
—Bass and String Bass sections work fine, no issues
—Poly and String sections both have some issues, there are keys that don’t play at all and there are quite a few that have sour tuning. Most of them are in the middle 2 octaves
—There are 6 keys in the second octave (g flat, g, a flat, a, b flat, b) and 2 keys in the 3rd/4th octave that don’t seem to trigger any of the sounds
—The lead synth works well and scales well but the keys that don’t trigger anything don’t trigger this either
—The Touch Sensitivity feature is very, very weak, to the point of being barely noticeable
—all the membrane switches work fine but the metal case on the Quadra is prone to flexing when moved or with significant front panel pressure (all 3 Quadras I’ve owned have been like this) and when flexed the wrong way, the membrane switches can do funny things. They all work fine, but it’s not really a synth you would want to gig with or move around a lot and it usually requires a little bit of playing with to get them stable. Basically, it works better when the 4 front panel screws are removed and when it has problems the way to fix it is to hinge the lid up a bit and then set it back down, so I just leave the screws off. It’s difficult to describe, doesn’t act up much once set up in a stable environment (big flat surface), and easy to fix when acting up (I can walk you through it) but due to the case design and cables running everywhere internally, sometimes you will need to lift the lid and adjust it back down to get some of the membrane switches working. Again, all 3 Quadras I’ve owned have been like this but it took me a while to figure out what was happening and I’ll be happy to walk the buyer through what I’m talking about over the phone (or via email).” Auction ended. Click here to browse on eBay.

Comments are closed.