|ARP Instruments, Inc. was an early electronic music company founded by Alan Robert Pearlman, best known for its line of synthesizers that emerged in the early 1970s. ARP closed its doors in 1981 for financial reasons.|
Alan Pearlman was an engineering student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1948 when he foresaw the coming age of electronic music and synthesizers. He wrote:
"The electronic instrument's value is chiefly as a novelty. With greater attention on the part of the engineer to the needs of the musician, the day may not be too remote when the electronic instrument may take its place ... as a versatile, powerful, and expressive instrument."
Following 21 years of experience in electronic engineering and entrepreneurship, Pearlman founded ARP Instruments in 1969 with US$100,000 of personal investment and a matching amount from investors.
Throughout the 1970s, ARP was the main competitor to Moog Music in the field of musically useful synthesizers. There were two main camps - the Minimoog players and the ARP Odyssey / ARP 2600 players - with most proponents dedicated to their choice, although some players chose to pick and chose between the two for specific effect, as well as many who dabbled with products produced by other manufacturers (in a similar manner to the ongoing PC versus Mac debate). The ARP 2500 was featured in the famous movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The ARP technician sent to install the unit, Phil Dodds, was cast as the musician who plays the alien tones on the synthesizer.
Although many musicians preferred the luscious sound and easy patching of the Minimoog, ARP synthesizers were far more flexible in terms of patching and capable of many more extremes of sound than the Minimoog.