Korg PolySix

Korg PolySix Image

The PolySix was a milestone because, along with the Roland Juno 6 which appeared almost simultaneously, in 1981 the PolySix was the first opportunity ordinary mortals had to get their hands on a proper programmable polysynth. Up until then, you had to be loaded to afford a Prophet 5, Oberheim OB-Xa, or Roland Jupiter 8.

At first glance it looks like a scaled-down Mono/Poly, but really it's not! In fact it had a lot of great new features such as 32 memory patches, 6 voices of polyphony, cassette backup of memory, even programmable modulation effects and Chorus, Phase, Ensemble!

The Polysix has warm-sounding real analog oscillators, softer and brassy-er sounding than the Juno. Engage the built-in Chorus on a simple single-oscillator sawtooth patch and you were pretty darned close to that expensive Prophet sound. But the big ace in the Polysix's hand was the Ensemble effect. Instant Mellotron-like strings.

Like the Mono/Poly the voices can be played in Unison for a 6-oscillator lead sound that was so big, it was often too big! The advanced arpeggiator can memorize and sequence chords across the keyboard. The PolySix has now been recreated in software as part of the Korg Legacy software bundle! The PolySix has been used by Eat Static, Geoff Downes, Astral Projection, Jimi Tenor, Global Communications, Kitaro, Robert Rich, Keith Emerson and Tears for Fears.

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89 Visitor comments
July 26, 2011 @ 4:02 pm
@guru - different sounding machines (Juno v Polysix) - if you want juno then yeah go juno. It's not just about 'single osc'. For a start this has SSM filters which no Juno can touch. Secondly it's VCO and discrete VCO at that! No comparison. Juno is very samey and limited, polysix IS limited in comparison to bigger synths (Prophet 5 etc) but it's got tones more personality than a clinical (but sweet sounding) Juno. I've owned nearly all the Junos in my time and sold them all and never want another. Polysix is a magical sounding board. Unison mode = watch out!
July 10, 2011 @ 1:31 pm
Check the Korg Trident, a superb synth with many more functions. For a single osc/env I'd go with a Juno 60.
May 30, 2011 @ 6:36 pm
@nitro @david I took a sampled tr606 in my DAW (reason redrum) I sent the bassdrum sound toa mono audio output of my audio interface (knowing that the arpeggio trigger input reacts to a 5v pulse wave) I muted the audio output in my monitor mixer (of course)messed a bit with the volume(up) and... now my p6 arpeggiator is synced with my midiprojects. It could work with a tom sound as well. There is no risk at all involved.
It gets very interesting when you start composing rhytmic patterns on the arpeggiator.
You have to look for the right level (when it's too loud it doesnt work anymore)
May 4, 2011 @ 9:04 pm
Ok, so i had a similar problem. It started acting strange, like being unable to play keys and all lights went on after 10 min. I also replaced the transformator with an toroid one and after messuring all kinds of voltages i recognized that all lights went on again and no keys worked. I checked the sound output and it gave a weird sound just like in test-mode. After hours of searching & testing i found a broken VR on the top of the sound board. So if you calibrated it and it doesn't work anymore you should check all those VRs! VRs should also be replaced just like caps after 10-20 years.
April 22, 2011 @ 9:08 pm
sold 4/5 years ago and bought again the same unit. i like its raw sounds, effects aboard are really coll too. great synthesizer
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.62 (1511 Votes)

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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 Voices
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO per voice (saw, PW, PWM) + 1 sub-oscillator per voice
  • LFO - 1 LFO assignable to VCA,VCF or VCO
  • Filter - Low-pass only, self-oscillates at high resonance. ADSR envelope for VCF (filter).
  • VCA - VCA uses filter's ADSR envelope or simple gate on-off
  • Effects - Chorus, phaser, ensemble
  • Memory - 32 patches
  • Keyboard - 61 keys
  • Arpeg/Seq - Arpeggiator (Up, Down, Up/Down, Latch; Full, 2-oct, 1-oct; rate 0.2 to 20 Hz)
  • Control - Chord memory, Arpeggiator sync in, CV input for filter cutoff.
  • Date Produced - 1981

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