The founder of the pioneering synth company was 93.
Alongside the likes of Don Buchla and Bob Moog, Pearlman helped shape the face of analogue synthesis during the '70s. Although they were produced in relatively small numbers, the ARP 2500 and 2600 remain high points of modular synth design and continue to be influential to this day.
Unlike his contemporaries, Pearlman was able to build oscillators that stayed in tune and developed a cordless patching technique using a matrix of switches. His 2600 also pioneered the semi-modular products that have become ubiquitous in the present day. ARP's more affordable Odyssey competed against the Minimoog in the emerging portable synthesiser market and was the company's biggest seller. (The Odyssey has since been licensed and remade by Korg, while the 2600 has received numerous software emulations.) As the synthesiser market became more competitive and globalised over the decade, research and development costs rose and sales dropped, forcing the company to fold in 1981.
Pearlman was born in New York City in 1925. Before founding ARP in 1969, he built amplifiers for NASA, founded and sold a successful audio module business and served in the military. After selling ARP, he built a computer graphics software firm called Selva Systems Inc. He was 93 years old.
Watch French composer Éliane Radigue working on the ARP 2500.