I just got back from Ohio where I was visiting my friend Jon, hanging out in his studio, hunting for Wurlitzer pianos at the thrift stores and trying to bargain at the antique store for a bag full of old Maxell high-bias XLII tapes. Good times all around.
I had also brought my Arp Quadra project down to show Jon. I bought this synth about a year ago from a friend of a friend in Chicago. It needed some TLC. Instead, I opened it up, tore it apart, and then neglected it for about nine months. Note: that’s an extremely effective way to lose lots of little synth parts. Anyway, I managed to replace a couple faulty parts and successfully put it all back together for the trip. I’d been telling Jon about it for a while and was excited to show the work-in-progress.
Unfortunately, my repair job fixed one thing but appears to have messed up the CV control on the keyboard. So we didn’t really get to try it out very much. While we were carrying it back upstairs, we paused next to Jon’s Jupiter 8 and I realized how many physical similarities these two synths share. Ok, I guess it’s just color and size.
Aside from that, they couldn’t be more unlike one another. The Quadra is an American synth made shortly before Arp’s downfall. The Jupiter is, of course, from Japan. And although Roland had been around for a few years, the era of the Jupiter 8 is when Roland was really beginning to hit their stride. Arp was going down, and Roland was shooting up. The Quadra was a massive flop, the Jupiter 8 became a legend used by every respectable band.