While new hardware 2600s are now a reality Cherry Audio presents us with a fabulous looking software option in the CA2600 self-contained duophonic synthesizer for 25 bucks.
Cherry Audio has gone to town on this ARP 2600 emulation. They say they’ve modelled every quirk, fart, circuit, waveform and noise in the original machine to bring us an authentic 2600 experience in software. Nothing is hidden away, it’s all on the front panel in a choice of colours to fit your favourite model or just for a change of mood.
The ARP 2600 is regarded as one of the finest analogue synthesizers ever made. It’s monophonic with duophonic potential, semi-modular and so is wired up internally to be a subtractive synthesizer and will make sound without patching, and features 3 oscillators, a 24 dB/Oct filter, an ADSR envelope, VCA and mixer. It also has an LFO with Sample & Hold, Spring Reverb, Ring Modulator, Noise Generator and a pre-amplifier for external inputs.
Cherry Audio has decided to add a few things to this perfect synthesizer as software people like to do. The CA2600 has a multi-mode filter with both 12 and 24dB slope, they’ve dropped in some distortion and delay alongside the reverb with a plate option. They’ve added another LFO with 6 waveforms and tempo sync, squeezed in a second VCA and 1/2-step quantizer. It is fully MIDI controllable and has a front panel CV patching engine where you can have unlimited cables patched into the same socket for automatic multing. These things change the game rather but in a good way.
The 2600 workflow can be a bit boggling to a new user with all the sliders, text and labelling and so the included 300 presets are a really useful way to start exploring. The only that’s missing perhaps is an arpeggiator or sequencer that would have come with the 3620 keyboard.
Like the DCO-106 they released a few weeks back the CA2600 is available at the remarkable price of $25. I’d recommend picking both up before the price reverts to the retail of $39. Although it’s still a steal at that price.
CA2600 looks great and sounds pretty fantastic and can run standalone or as a plug on MacOS or Windows.