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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88 Visitor comments
Max Vondel
October 16, 2009 @ 6:26 am
My all time favorite analog synth. Better than Juno 60, JX-3P. Emminently tweekable with pots rather than sliders. Good models are getting hard to find. I Love it....5/5*
ichor75
October 15, 2009 @ 6:27 pm
my polysix is a completely revitalised and modded version (analogia.pl), it has kenton midi and modular inputs, not to mention minty look and housing made of solid wood.

it's not too flexible, but still able to make great things that other synths can not. i was going to sell it after getting andromeda, but naaah, i won't.
il
September 28, 2009 @ 11:33 am
@Rory, you do know you'll get infinitely more answers and help by posting that in the FORUM of this site instead of as a comment?

Anyway - go there and write in detail what the problem is (I mean what fixes you did - traces, IC replacement etc) and where in the world you are - it helps a lot. If in the UK I may be able to look at your klm367 board - having repaird quite a few polysix. Sometimes it's easy other times it's quite extensive and needs IC replacements, trace repair etc.. again the forum is easier to discuss this. rgds
Rory O'Ryan
September 22, 2009 @ 1:28 pm
Hi. I have a battery-leak damaged polysix myself. I followed an online guide to try to repair the circuit board, but to no avail. Who repairs these things these days. Thanks.
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.
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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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