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
October 13, 2010 @ 3:18 am
@BenRecordin the effects section on both my P6s are fairly quiet. It's a known issue in SOME Polysix where you should fit some screening between the effects board and the control panel (tinfoil laminated in plastic with an earth lead - google it) this eradicates the noise.

As for it being a simple synth, true - it's the simplest of all my synths in architecture and yet it has that amazing sound when you need it, especially good if you upgrade/retrofit a BETTER QUALITY keybed to it (Juno 2 is a decent fit and quality keys, you'll need to swap diodes and fix brakets etc then it feels as good as it sounds) :)

The cheap keys on the Polysix really do it a disservice, both for flaky contacts and their thin plastic feel - it feels twice as expensive with J2 keys on

Also you can hook that keybed's aftertouch sensor up to something inside the p6 (custom) to control say the filter or MG. magic! ;0
October 7, 2010 @ 3:44 pm
Absolutely LOVELY tone. Korg did good on this one with discrete VCOs and SSM filters. Such a beautiful and much more musical resonance compaired to anything curtis that I've encountered. I found a good condition one and luckily, I was able to replace the battery with the coin cell type before any damage. I also had to re-paint the key contacts with conductive paint called caikote 44. I also installed the midi retrofit kit from that czech company selling them. Get yours now before they aren't longer available. The kit works brilliantly.
September 28, 2010 @ 4:43 pm
I had one...like a few sounds. Did seem limited be it for some nice analog string sounds and that PHAT lead and bass sound when in 'unison'. However...i think the Korg legacy version Nailed the recreation of this synth as with also the M1 and wavestation. I think it actually sounds better...especially without all the dang noise coming from the efx section of the synth. Was glad when I sold it. Can you believe i traded a Moog Rogue and a Yamaga TG33 for this thing? (and on top of that...I had a Kenton CV to Midi converter I that went with the Rogue...DUHH...Such Dum move on my part)
September 12, 2010 @ 6:19 pm
Stunning! Such a powerful sound from a relatively unassuming 'simple' synth. The bottom end in unison is fierce. Unison on this is immense, it's where VCOs really pay off over DCOs, Unison and drift bring this puppy alive. Can't believe how cheap some of them go for, they are way better than Juno 60 and are bound to go up in price once people realise what they've been missing out on.
Rob Ocelot
August 18, 2010 @ 10:56 pm

No way to change the amount of unison detuning unless you do a mod like the one shown here: http://tubbutec.de/wordpress/?tag=polysix
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Rated 4.62 (1500 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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