The Mark II Axxe, with the peculiar single PPC pad. Courtesy of

A simple, low-cost monophonic performance synth produced by ARP Instruments from 1975 until the company closed its doors in 1981. In the usual ARP fashion, the synth was constructed from some of the same subassemblies used in the Odyssey. To keep costs down, the Odyssey architecture was reduced to one VCO, one VCF, one VCA, one LFO, and one ADSR envelope generator. Routing options were also reduced compared to the Odyssey. The VCO and LFO both had a Pulse wave and Triangle wave waveforms available. The synth was equipped with a 37-key, non-aftertouch, non-velocity sensitive keyboard.

Three versions of the Axxe were produced. The original used the black-and-gold paint scheme used by some other mid-1970s ARP products. Like the early version of the Odyssey, pitch bend was accomplished via a non-sprung knob at the lower left of the panel. The second version used the same panel but replaced the knob with a single PPC pad, which had a switch to select which of three functions it would perform -- bend up, bend down, or vibrato. This chicanery was necessary because the panel was not wide enough for a proper set of three PPC pads, as used on other ARP products.

The last version of the Axxe switched to a wider case, similar to the final version of the Odyssey. The wider case allowed for a full set of three PPC pads. The panel paint scheme was changed to ARP's iconic late-'70s orange-and-black design. Like the late Odyssey and the Quadra, this version had its keyboard keys overhanging the front edge of the case, leaving them subject to damage when roughed up by roadies.

The Axxe continued to be ARP's lowest-cost synth through the end of production, intended to be attractive to semi-pro and amateur players. The Solus was introduced in 1979 to fill the price gap between the Axxe and the Odyssey.

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