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ARP Chroma Announcement

ARP announced the Chroma with the following ad in their ARPeggio magazine of June 1980 (a transcription of the text follows the image). Thanks to Mark Vail for providing the scan.

The age of the computer is upon us. For some time, the dream of the early electronic music composers was to control an entire computer from the keyboard of a musical instrument. That dream will become a reality in early 1981 when ARP delivers the new ARP Chroma.

As its name suggests, the Chroma is capable of producing a rich variety of polyphonic orchestral and electronic sounds, and includes a unique data bank which allows the musician to change, alter, or replace completely the 50 programs which will be included with the instrument when it arrives in music stores throughout the world.

Much of the richness of sound created with the Chroma is due to the fact that it is the first electronic music synthesizer incorporating a microcomputer which can respond to the physical expression of a musician. In other words, it is the first electronic music synthesizer with polyphonic touch response.

Basically, the Chroma can perform all the functions of a fully programmable polyphonic synthesizer plus offer musicians their first experience with physically controlled electronic sound production.

That alone is a major step forward in bringing electronic sound processing into a new realm of human expression. The Chroma is designed for user-programmability, offers an extensive number of program positions from which to select, and offers and added dimension of touch control and touch response. To say that no musician has ever experienced full control over performance dynamics of a synthesizer has been a true statement until now. With the advent of the ARP Chroma, the musical world will be turned again toward the synthesizer as the most advanced--and potentially most rewarding--tool for musical expression.

The design of the Chroma enables the user to produce an incredible range of sounds even though its operation and physical appearance are quite simple.

On the panel, the musician has 50 VOICE SELECT SWITCHES which double as programming controls (when the instrument is in the programming mode). These switches allow the performer to instantly change from one program to the next. Programs can be created or revoiced by the musician by switching into the programming mode, and following a simple set of procedures.

Also included is a special program-link feature which permits the user to split the keyboard anywhere, and then play two different voice selections (linked by the computer) at one time. It's like having two independent polyphonic keyboards in one product.

At the heart of the system is a microcomputer working directly with the keyboard. It translates the force of the keyboard movement into volume, tone, texture, and colorations which add another level of involvement to the relationship of a musician and his instrument.