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
May 30, 2012 @ 6:15 am
@vince - Polsix anyday! even non midi! Juno 106 sounds like a toy next to a polysix 8-)
May 19, 2012 @ 1:02 pm
The Polysix was one of the most popular synths in the Neo-Prog movement in the 1980s. The album 'Fact and Fiction' (1982) by Twelfth Night has Polysix (and only Polysix) all over it.
April 23, 2012 @ 3:27 pm
What do you think is the best : Polysix MIDIfied or JUNO-106 ???
peter ehrlich
March 20, 2012 @ 10:12 pm
I've had some success getting PolySix like sounds on the cheap by using my Korg SAS-20 with accompaniment off for chord memory and using the Microkorg for the effects section and filters. It has an analog drum section too! Sample mayhem especially for classic Korg brass swells and strings...don't try and pull off a mono bass with my technique! Just wanted to throw that out there since even the PolySix is pricey these days.
March 19, 2012 @ 12:14 pm
@Waylen Roche The arpeggiator starts to react when the level of the
drumsound is 5db over line level (5dB in the "red") I believe,(but I'm not shure)
that's where the cable starts to sent 5 volts to the trigger input.
try messing with the volume put it as loud as you can.
Try a tom sound and mess around with the pitch (low).
Hope that helps
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Rated 4.62 (1509 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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