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
August 16, 2010 @ 5:25 pm
I had a Poly 6 in the mid-90's for a while. I don't know how it ever left the studio, but I must admit this is one of my all time favs. Hands on features were deadly.
August 10, 2010 @ 11:15 am
Anyone know if it's possible to change the amount of detune on the unison note? is there a pot somewhere in the innards you can twist, like the detune control on the jupiter 6?
July 24, 2010 @ 10:16 am
It's probably one of the finest machines in the world
regarding ease of use and versatility.
In monophonic mode (one note chord memory),
with reversed filter envelope you can do the minimoog legato thing, because the release control affects the attack.
Soundwise it's a winner, because they use ssm filter ic chips
as found in the early prophet 5's (much sought after !).
As it is never really in tune you can program a fat detuned
voice into the chord memory by playing the same note twice.
The arpeggiator has a trigger input, which makes it possible
to synchronize your sequence with your MIDI projects.
To me it does everything I need in a non modular
synth. I can go from super corny to heavy electronic and
sometimes even radiophonic.
July 22, 2010 @ 12:54 pm
I have one from 1985. Really great warm vintage tone.
Answer to Summer Camp: I was replace all buttons on Korg. It's not custom and you can find it at shops with electronic components. I'm from Serbia, but you can try at RadioShack or Burklin.... Battery must replace immediately, if is original, because it can leak and destroy PCB.
May 29, 2010 @ 10:24 am
Also used by Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) in his studio '13' - since late 90s.


@sc/mm - and also check the switch is actually wired up right inside - could be a loose joint/wire.

Also could be a fried ram chip (close to battery and sometimes a casualty of the battery leak).
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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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