The Synhouse MIDIJACK Option
for the ARP Odyssey

Step 1:  Read info on the MIDIJACK and buy it here.

Step 2:  Follow the Synhouse installation instructions below:

Do It Yourself Special:

FREE plans to add MIDI capability to the

ARP Odyssey

with the Synhouse MIDIJACK!

The following plans describe a method of adding MIDI capability to the ARP Odyssey analog synthesizer with the Synhouse MIDIJACK.  The ARP Odyssey has extremely stabile oscillators and makes for an excellent MIDI analog synthesizer with the MIDIJACK.  Some drilling is required. There is plenty of space on the Odyssey to mount the MIDIJACK with the provided hardware.  The micro size and black color of the MIDI button are such a perfect match for the Odyssey that it makes it look as if it came from the factory with the MIDI interface.  The installation of the MIDIJACK in an Odyssey is one of the easiest modifications of all.  In fact, with the MIDIJACK, it is possible to convert the Odyssey to MIDI without even removing a single circuit board from the instrument!  The correct analog I/O signals are easy to find and connect to the MIDIJACK.  Like many older American synthesizers, the ARP Odyssey has panel-mounted CV/gate jacks with solder lug terminals and the MIDIJACK wires can simply be soldered right inside the panel and the whole MIDI conversion job can be done in 30 minutes.  The 1/8" jacks do not even need to be unscrewed from the back panel.  They may be left in place and soldered right on the spot.  This modification reroutes the local keyboard signals through the computer-controlled analog switching matrix of the MIDIJACK by extracting the signal and inserting the users' choice of local keyboard control or MIDI. You can do this yourself if you have a little experience with electronic repair and the soldering of wires and circuit boards.  If not, these plans may assist a professional repair shop installing the MIDIJACK for you.  This document is based on ARP Odyssey serial #2823 1695, the most-common later version which is black with orange graphics.  This installation may be exactly the same or very similar for the older model serial #2813 xxxx, which was black with gold faced graphics, because it had CV and GATE connections on the back also, but has not been tested by Synhouse.  It is best to download these notes and photos and print them out on paper to look at while working on the instrument and make notes and check off the steps as you go.  As with any project, you should completely read and understand each step of the instructions before starting.  All repairs and modifications made to your instruments will be done at your own risk and Synhouse Multimedia Corporation assumes no liability for personal injury caused or damage to equipment or loss of use caused directly or indirectly by the use of these plans.  If in doubt, don't do it!


1) Be sure to have the correct tools and supplies for for the job.  If you do not have them, get them.  You will need a regular size Phillips screwdriver, a smaller size Phillips screwdriver, needlenose pliers, wire cutters or other flush cut nippers, a hobby knife such as an X-Acto, scissors, a soldering iron, solder, electrical insulating tape, and a black Sharpie permanent ink marking pen.  If you intend to mount the DIN jack on the back panel with the rest of the jacks (highly recommended), you will need to use a chassis punch (a small hand tool that safely cuts a clean hole in a metal panel) to make the hole for the DIN jack, and an electric drill with a 1/8" or similar size drill bit to drill holes for the 4-40 hardware used to mount the DIN jack, and also a 1/4" or 5/16" drill bit to make a pilot hole to start the chassis punch.  The correct size for mounting a MIDI DIN jack is 14.5 mm metric or 5/8" SAE (.62"/15.9 mm) in American sizes.  A chassis punch may be purchased from any good tool or hardware store.  If it is more convenient, a punch may be mail ordered via internet or telephone from Mouser Electronics at or (800) 346-6873.  The Mouser part number is 586-3803 for the name-brand Greenlee 730-5/8 (about $30). The cheaper house brand part number is 380-0145 (less than $20).  The service from Mouser is unpredictable and the house brand ordered by Synhouse for the test installation took three months to be delivered, while the Greenlee part was delivered in one week.  Mouser refused to give even a small discount to customers of Synhouse, so no recommendation is deserved or being made here, and any other source you know of to buy this type of tool is highly recommended and certainly a better place to buy from for all of your needs now and in the future.  You will also need an 11 mm wrench (for Greenlee) or 1/2" wrench (for the Mouser house brand punch) or adjustable wrench to turn the chassis punch while cutting the hole.  An automatic center punch would also be useful.  This is an inexpensive spring-loaded pointed punch that can mark your drilling spot without the use of a hammer.  Marking the holes with this small indentation will allow you to drill cleanly without slipping and scratching the synthesizer or drilling through your knee.

2) Fully test the ARP Odyssey to be converted to MIDI.  Be sure that all functions such as the envelope generators work and that the instrument plays in tune while playing along with a known well-tuned instrument such as a newer digital synthesizer or sampler keyboard.  If it doesn't work properly without MIDI, it certainly won't work with it.

3) Extreme caution should be taken while working on the ARP Odyssey.  The unit should be unplugged while open and even then, the power supply may pose some electric shock hazard due to residual voltage in the power supply.

4) Remove the four Phillips screws that hold the top panel in place.  Two are on the front right side, two are on the front left side.  Lift the lid to the open position, it will swing up on the hinges.

5) Turn the synthesizer upside down and shake out any dust and debris that may have accumulated inside the instrument over the years.

6) Determine the place where the MIDIJACK circuit board will be mounted and test fit the board into its' correct place inside the case.  Be careful to avoid putting the board or wires near the high voltage connections in the right rear of the instrument.  Mark the correct mounting holes on the panel with a pencil, marker, or needle using the paper drilling template provided with the MIDIJACK hardware packet.  A photo called ARP-pic1 shows the paper drilling template in place.  The perfect size drill bit for the switch stem and two screw holes is 9/64", and the perfect size for the scale adjust trimpot is 3/16".  Drill the holes.  A photo called ARP-pic2 shows the location of the newly cut mounting holes.

7) Mount the MIDIJACK board in place.  When mounting the MIDIJACK board, the switch should be fitted so well in the panel that the switch stem will not wiggle at all once in place.  It should not have any free play but also should not be so tight that it binds.  When the switch is pressed, it should have a definitive "click" and bounce back like the button on a new VCR.  You will never regret spending too much time on this and good attention to detail will make the perfect MIDIJACK installation.  The hole in the panel that is over the MIDIJACK scale adjust trimpot should be large enough so a Synhouse Pocket Screwdriver can fit through the panel for periodic adjustment.  The perfect MIDI control panel installation is shown in ARP-pic3. Such an installation will be nearly invisible, yet put the MIDI function button at the players' fingertips.  For the serious Analog User and synthesizer collector, an ultra-clean installation pays off.

8) Determine the place that the MIDI input DIN jack will be mounted.  A good place to mount it is on the back panel to the left of the CV IN jack, as photographed in this example.  There is a lot of room on the rear panel of the Odyssey, so you may mount the DIN jack wherever it suits you best.  The way to make this look like original ARP factory equipment is to mount the DIN jack inside the metal panel after marking the bare metal edges of the hole with a black Sharpie permanent ink marking pen to match the black finish of the original metal chassis.  Use the paper template to mark the correct spots to drill and cut as shown in ARP-pic4.  It is advisable to use a chassis punch to make the hole for the DIN jack.  Remember that the DIN jack is to be mounted with the smaller 4-40 hardware size rather than the larger 6-32 size that secures the main board.  Drill two holes for the screws then drill a slightly larger hole in the center to act as a pilot hole for the chassis punch.  Use the chassis punch to cut the hole and be sure that the wrench is turning the tool from inside the Odyssey, not outside, so the cutting edge is coming from the outside.  This will ensure that the outer edge is perfectly smooth.  The properly cut mounting holes may be seen in ARP-pic5. The MIDIJACK hardware packet contains both long and short 4-40 screws for the DIN jack.  Use the two long ones for installation on a thick aluminum panel such as the Odyssey.  When all three holes are perfect, put the DIN jack in place inside the chassis and secure with the two screws from the outside, and the four split washers and two 4-40 nuts on the inside against the back of the DIN jack and tighten with a small Phillips screwdriver from the outside and needlenose pliers from the inside.  These nuts should be very tight as they are going onto the metal surface of the DIN jack.  By using the Synhouse paper drilling template, a center punch to start the drill, and a chassis punch, your DIN jack mounting can look perfect like the one shown in ARP-pic6.  If done cleanly and correctly, the Odyssey will look like it had MIDI when it came from the factory, as in ARP-pic7.

9) The wonderful thing about installing the MIDIJACK in an ARP Odyssey is that all six necessary wiring connections can be made to the back of the existing analog interface jacks and a single circuit board in the Odyssey (on the top side that is easily accessable) and the entire modification can be performed without removing any boards from the instrument.  The Odyssey has panel-mounted 1/8" jacks.

10) The MIDIJACK #1 black and #2 red wires must be soldered in place to get the ground and power for the MIDIJACK.  There is a ground terminal on each of the 1/8'' jacks which connects to the sleeve of the jack, and none of them have factory wires soldered to them because they are grounded directly to the chassis.  Solder the MIDIJACK #1 black wire to any one of the ground terminals, such as the one shown in ARP-pic8, where the MIDIJACK #1 black wire can be barely seen in the dark lower left corner.  The correct regulated +15v power is available on either of the two red wires coming from the power supply board at the rear of the instrument.  It may be most convenient to find a resistor lead which connects directly to the red wires and solder the MIDIJACK #2 red wire to such a point, as shown in this example photographed in ARP-pic9.  Solder the MIDIJACK #2 red wire to this point.

11) Locate the factory ARP red wire which is soldered to the back of the CV IN jack.  Remove the wire from the solder terminal by desoldering it.  Solder the MIDIJACK #3 blue wire to the now-empty isolated CV terminal.

12) Solder the MIDIJACK #4 white wire to the now-disconnected factory ARP red wire.  Carefully wrap the solder joint with electrical insulating tape.

13) Locate the factory ARP green wire which is soldered to the back of the GATE IN jack.  Remove the wire from the solder terminal by desoldering it.  Solder the MIDIJACK #5 yellow wire to the now-empty isolated gate terminal.

14) Solder the MIDIJACK #6 green wire to the now-disconnected factory ARP green wire.  Carefully wrap the solder joint with electrical insulating tape.

15) Photo ARP-pic8 shows the inside of the rear of the jackpanel with the DIN jack mounted and the MIDIJACK wires already connected to the proper points.  A look at this will give some idea of what it will look like when done correctly.

16) The MIDIJACK #7 brown wire and #8 violet wire (unless it is used for a special function as described in the Advanced Installation Manual) are not required for for adding MIDI to the ARP Odyssey, but it is a good idea not to permanently cut these wires off, as an alternate installation method may become useful later.  It is best to wrap the ends of these unused wires with electrical insulating tape and bundle them with the other wires when finishing the installation.

17) The MIDIJACK hardware packet contains nylon cable ties which should be used to tie the MIDIJACK wires into little bundles and to attach them to the factory wires inside the Odyssey now that all connections have been made.  This will secure the MIDIJACK wires to the inside of the chassis so they will not rattle and break loose inside the case once the instrument is returned to service.

18) Carefully examine all soldered connections for possible short circuits before closing the instrument.

19) Close the instrument and secure it with the four Phillips screws.

20) Test and calibrate using the procedures described in the MIDIJACK Quick Installation Manual.

21) This installation can be completed in 30 minutes.

22) The ARP Odyssey has a trigger circuit separate from the gate circuit to provide multiple note envelope triggering.  This is not required for MIDI operation because the MIDIJACK has special software to do multiple note triggering like an ARP or single note triggering like a Moog.  The user can select either mode at any time.  For this reason, the local keyboard will still trigger the envelope generator even with the MIDI activated.  It is impossible to bypass the keyboard triggering completely so it is probably a good idea not to play the local Odyssey keyboard while MIDI is in use or vice versa.

Copyright © 2000 Synhouse Multimedia Corporation