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
il
September 5, 2009 @ 4:48 pm
Beautiful analog synth. Warm, dark, funky and looks great. Also makes a change from the usual suspects (Juno!). It has a different sound to the Juno so they are both good buys. Juno seems cleaner, smoother, hi end sheen... Polysix is darker, edgier, warmer - the VCO/SSM chips really add some welly to this (considering it's only a 1 OSC synth like the Junos). Most of all it's the overall 'tone' and character that I love, I can sit and listen to it's arp all day. Unison mode is a joy, the arp is fun.

Aside from the battery leak problem and key contacts needing cleaning it's very well built and reliable. Stick it's mono output into some mild reverb/delay and it sounds gorgeous. Some similarities to but obviously not as powerful as the glorious Prophet 5, Korg's benchmark for this synth - a chepaer/less capable prophet 5 but with it's own sonic character.
mgl
August 20, 2009 @ 3:36 pm
also my first analog synth. mine died after 10 years of dedicated service when the internal battery melted all over the boards--a common problem i've been told. if you've got one, please replace the batteries for the internal memory. the thought of someone else loosing such a valuable friend breaks my heart.
Cabeza de Vaca
August 15, 2009 @ 1:18 am
Analog Renaissance1:

There is not way to do it, I have also a p6 with midi, so i decided to put it back as it was before taking out the midi, and now I use the arpeggiator without any other sound.
il
July 23, 2009 @ 11:02 pm
Very nice synth, one of the few korgs I actually rate (ms20, mono/poly being 2 others)
Analog Renaissance1
July 8, 2009 @ 5:45 pm
I have a Polysix with the 1986 'Korg PS6-MRK MIDI Retrofit Kit'. I have a issue where i don't how to get the Appeggiator to work without recieving midi clock in. I know there's a way that i can restore it to it's initial setting via holding down some combination of buttons when powering on but i don't have the midi manual. Any Help Greatly Appreciated!
 
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Rated 4.63 (1508 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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