Korg ARP Odyssey FS Kit review

The Odyssey finally gets the full-size treatment from Korg and comes as a kit. We reach for the toolbox

  • £1699
  • €1899
  • $1699
Korg ARP Odyssey FS Kit
(Image: © Future)

MusicRadar Verdict

This is the quintessential remake and will be the one on most collectors’ shopping lists especially if you love a self-build kit.


  • +

    Full-size keys are better than the slim-key version.

  • +

    The unique metal serial number plate is a nice touch.

  • +

    It might be 50 years old, but it's still endless fun to play.


  • -

    Not for those short on space.

  • -

    As kits go, there’s not a great deal to build with.

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Korg ARP Odyssey FS Kit: What is it?

Back when Korg first announced its plans to reignite the ARP synthesizer brand with the launch of the Odyssey it would be fair to say that overall, the vibe was that this was a positive move. 

Which was only slightly tempered by the realisation that this new version was roughly 3/4 the size of the original and featured slim keys. While not a huge travesty in itself, anything other than a full-size key is often met with sneering disdain amongst many players.

Having seen both small and full-size versions of the 2600 released since, a full-size Odyssey with keys has been a long time coming for some (2016’s FS desktop module versions notwithstanding). 

We’ll only speculate that it’s timed for the 50th anniversary of the Odyssey Rev1. But Korg has another USP up its sleeve in terms of re-releasing classics and that’s to offer them in kit form, with the MS-20 getting the DIY treatment twice already. 

Korg ARP Odyssey FS Kit

(Image credit: Future)

Korg ARP Odyssey FS Kit: Performance and verdict

So here we are, salivating at the prospect of assembling a piece of synth history and all we need is a screwdriver, with everything else in the box required to complete the build, including a couple of Ikea-esque bespoke tools. 

As builds go, it’s pretty straightforward, with no technical knowledge necessary. If you can follow instructions, you’ll be grand. 

Frustratingly, there is an element of disassembly required at the start as you’ll need to take apart the lower part of the chassis before you can start mounting the keyboard and parts. 

Once the keyboard is in place and you’ve attached the various I/O circuit boards to the backplate and secured the chassis, it’s all about finding the right fader caps without dropping any on the floor – a fiddly job and not for the impatient.

This full-sized kit version only comes in the original Rev 3’s orange-on-black but does feature all three filter and portamento revisions. Despite the Rev 3 colourway, the chassis follows the Revs 1 and 2 design and ditches those ill-fated overhanging keys. 

Another slight change to the original includes the addition of 5-pin and USB MIDI ports with the rest of the original I/O retained. Like most self-build synth kits, this is more of an assembly-line grind than a bespoke build. 

Yes, it’s a bit of fun, but halfway through we were wishing we could just unbox and get playing straightaway. That says more about us than the build though. Once finished, you are, however, rewarded with one of the all-time legendary synths.

If you’ve never had the chance to play an Odyssey, then building one will give you a good crash course on the layout and sound architecture. The full-size keys feel a little less cramped than the slim keys, but for us, the Odyssey is all about tweaking. Those faders are just crying out to be played and innocent exploration will always bring rich rewards. 

Having all three filter revisions is great, but you may find you’ll just pick a favourite and stick with that. Hint: Rev 3 is the best one and we won’t be convinced otherwise. Open the VCA up all the way and the Odyssey will spew forth rich drones that can be filthily carved up by the drive and filter. We could spend hours in the panel’s top right quarter alone.

If you’re a bit low on space then we’d say go for the slim-key or desktop module versions as this model is on the large side by comparison, but you’ll have to look on the secondhand market as they no longer seem to be listed on the Korg website. 

The FS Kit is for the players, a 1:1 copy of the original size with the updated I/O you’d come to expect from latter-day synths, plus the character of all three revisions.

MusicRadar verdict: This is the quintessential remake and will be the one on most collectors’ shopping lists especially if you love a self-build kit.

Korg ARP Odyssey FS Kit: The web says

"It sounds amazing, strong, profound and like you expect it to, while the plethora of synthesis options ensures that it will continue to inspire and surprise for years to come. It’s also a rare chance to get a guided tour of the inside of a synthesizer."
Attack Magazine

Korg ARP Odyssey FS Kit: Hands-on demos



Korg ARP Odyssey FS Kit: Specifications

  • KEY FEATURES 2-voice duophonic; 37-note (Standard key or Full size key, No velocity sensitivity, No aftertouch); Proportional Pitch Control. 
  • I/O: 5-pin MIDI; USB-MIDI; CV in/out; Gate in/out; Trig in/out; XLR out (high); 1/4” Jack out (low); Ext Audio Input; 1/4” Headphone out; Pedal and Portamento foot switch inputs. 
  • DIMENSIONS: 585 x 466 x 163mm. 
  • WEIGHT: 7.3kg/16.09lbs.
  • CONTACT: Korg 
Simon Arblaster
Video Producer & Reviews Editor

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.