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
more magic
May 27, 2010 @ 5:46 am
Have you tried changing position of the Write-Enable switch?
Summer Camp
May 17, 2010 @ 10:25 am
We love our korg polysix! But it's broken. The battery's fine, the keyboard's fine. The problem is the programmer. The "write" button won't work. So we can't save our patches once we've made them. Anyone have any advice? Old Crow's polysix maintenance page doesn't have any suggestions on this particular problem.
P6
May 2, 2010 @ 7:29 am
Glorious analog synth. Knocks the Junos out of the park. (I had a Juno 6 before so I know what I'm talking about, and as a ROLAND fan you can hardly call me biased either). Hook this up to some effects and drool at it's sound and smooth controls. Knobs are also nicer than sliders to use, can do very smooth/slow changes with knobs and just feels overall more fun to interact with than my Juno ever did (I got bored of the Juno's samey tone after a while)

Unison on this is thick! The modulation options are great and can sound ms-20-esque at times with live manipulation. Arpegiator is great fun, I use it often when programming and coming up with riffs. Aside from key contacts and the 'famous' battery problem these appear to be very well built and reliable. Mine has the battery mod/repair done and works like magic. Midi would have been nice but adds to the purity of the instrument, can always retrofit.
5/5 best of the 'cheaper' (sub £1000) poly analogs and with real VCOs.
JulianWB
February 27, 2010 @ 2:55 am
This was my first polysynth and it'll be there to the end. When I first saw it in the shop I KNEW what it would sound like and how to work it before I'd even touched it. Korg did a very clever thing with this: they made a simple thing that sounded really good. Yes it can be really cheesy and old-fashioned, that 1970s bad movie soundtrack sound - but it's also got that 'what you can get from it is far bigger than what it is' vibe going on that makes it a classic. It's totally intuitive and has its own unique character, and that does it for me.
Ben
February 23, 2010 @ 2:45 am
If your KLM-367A board is irreparably damaged due to severe battery leakage you may be interested in the clone created by Jed.

Check this site for more info : http://sites.google.com/site/jedjorgensen/
 
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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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