Korg Poly-61

Korg Poly-61M Image

The Korg Poly-61 was released in 1982 as the successor to the Polysix. It was somewhat of a step up from the Polysix, as it has 2 DCOs for better reliability. It also retained the arpeggiator of the Polysix. It has a very dirty sharp sound much like the Yamaha DX7. This is good if you are into the lo-fi sound of electronica. The Poly-61 can provide cool gritty basses or trippy analog sounds and fx.

Korg Poly-61M Image

Also added is the familiar Korg joystick, which can be used to modulate the VCO or the VCF. However, its filter only has 7 steps of resonance and is not as fat as the Polysix's filter. It also uses the same method of programming the Poly-800 and Yamaha DX-7 use, so it's not a very useful synth for real-time-tweaking junkies. The first Poly-61s didn't have MIDI, but the Poly-61M released in 1984 corrects this. Overall, the Poly-61 is still a decent synth, and it can be acquired for practically nothing! It has been used by FM Static and The Faint.

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88 Visitor comments
July 16, 2010 @ 7:13 pm
Just got one of these off ebay for £50 not working too well.
The keyboard rubber contacts and the pcb were beyond repair so I made a new one out of the switches from a pc keyboard and a lot of wiring. All works fine Replaced the battery and loaded the factory sounds. Still got a fault in that it is unplayable for 10 mins until it tunes up. I bought this to repair and modify with the pots mods see you tube this thing sounds great. I've had juno6 and jx3 this is different better bass but not as smooth sounding as the rolands but consider what it cost you can buy one of these fully working for less than a broken juno or JX wouln't even bother pay the asking price for juno or jx plenty of cheap digi synths that can do the job cheaper
July 16, 2010 @ 5:28 pm
@donut, hmm well I currently own polysix, jx-3p - I tried a p800 and found it lacking (in sound it was 'ugly' but mainly the synth itself was just all round crap, toy like). Poly61 yes I have played (and I parted it out on ebay as it made more money for parts than selling alone).. I did say the p61 is a decent synth, the comparison is my opinion and relevent to people comparing synths and looking at buying. Nothing 'wrong' with a p61 but I found it underwhelming as a 'whole' and was glad to get rid of (already owning a polysix and jx-3p which I felt were both better in important ways).
July 13, 2010 @ 1:47 pm
I love how people compare these lesser-known synths to their legendary counterparts/predecessors/namesakes as if they've played any of them ("... well, i touched a ARP2600 in Guitar Center once, and it were so fat and kicks this synths butt d00dz!!!")

This is not a Polysix, and not a Poly 800... It is a Poly-61. Programming is a little on the limited side, but - as Machineman has said - the sound quality is awesome, and the arpeggiator makes it shine extra nice. It's more hollow and cutting tones are hard to match, and it's worth the dirt-cheap prices I've seen these go for...
May 18, 2010 @ 5:29 pm
I really love this synth! The programming and the resolution of the parameters is limited, sure. But the sound quality is very, very good. Much more hi-fi, crisp, full and fat sounding than the JX-3P, which i also own. The 3P has vastly superior programming options (with the PG-200). But i like the sound from the Poly-61 a lot (yes, a lot) more. The arpeggiator is great - instant Tangerine Dream.
April 25, 2010 @ 5:54 am
Poly 800 is garbage.

Poly 61 is not bad, sometimes useful, actually quite nice but I fully believe the JX-3P has it beat as an equivelant DCO synth.

Polysix beats them all however, a true beauty. I'm just saying to anyone thinking of buying this as a 'cheap' polysix substitute (proxysix? ;) ) that it's not really comparable. Compare p61 to JX-3P not to Polysix. Of course the Dual DCO nature of P6/JX can allow you to do stuff the Polysix can't, that's why I love JX-3P too. Polysix however is in a different class and can make awesome sounds all day long.
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  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 Voices
  • Oscillators - DCO1:sawtooth, pulse, and square; DCO-2: sawtooth, square
  • LFO - 1 LFO can modulate the DCOs or the Filter
  • Filter - 1 lowpass filter w/ ADSR
  • Memory - 64 patches
  • VCA - ADSR
  • Keyboard - 61 keys
  • Arpeg/Seq - Arpeggiator with external sync
  • Effects - Chorus
  • Control - MIDI (on later Poly-61M models)
  • Date Produced - 1982 - 1986

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