Beside the Minimoog, it's "the other" big mono synth of the 70's. Huge possibilities (far more than a Minimoog). Not limited to bass sounds because the leads and effects are simply awesome! Although it has one oscillator less, the Odyssey isn't left far away from the 2600 in regard to philosophy and sound. That's why its code name is "Arp 2800". Unlike the MK1s, all MK2s have CV/gate inputs and can be modified.
The drawbars are way more practical than buttons and allow you to read the parameters instantly. Unfortunately their durability is not so good (test them before you buy it). Once the unit is OK, creating a sound with an ARP is a real pleasure, given that the user panel is very clear.
The ARP sound is not the Moog sound. It's less round and brassy but still very warm. The legendary analog character is very present. It can also sound very metallic depending on the programmer's skills. Contrary to the Mini, the ARP does deliver in ALL analog styles: Bass sound (from Ashra to Alphaville's "Sound like a melody"), sequenced sounds (Vangelis' Spiral), lead sound (Schulze in the Timewind period), FX sounds (Autobahn)... In short, the Odyssey makes a good job on all fronts but the Mini still outdoes it! Many users will say both synths complement each another wonderfully. One thing is for sure: it has the fastest envelopes I've ever heard, faster than a Moog or a Pro-one (which is actually famous for this), and very sharp high frequencies (look out for your tweeters).
The Odyssey is a safe bet in analog synths and it costs half the price of a Mini. And is is still as exciting as the Mini (maybe even more...). Moog and ARP are the yin and yang of analog synthesis: with one each you'd have THE setup to recreate the authentic 70's sound (without considering modular synths!). Add a string machine (ARP Solina), analog phasing delay effects and take off... Nowadays it's hip to worship the Minimoog and to disregard the Odyssey. That's so not fair (except for the round lows and the brassy character of the filter). As a summary, the Odyssey surpasses its rival in terms of efficiency and possibilities. The Mini should stop being considered the analog king!