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. 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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90 Visitor comments
July 19, 2010 @ 5:00 pm
Should add, apparently Nick Rhodes used a Poly61 on 'Seven and the ragged tiger' and 'So Red The Rose' - which should give it some credit. So.. yeah not a bad synth at all shame they nerfed it and didn't have a programmer option (or good resolution on the controls).
July 19, 2010 @ 8:47 am
@Iamster > good work on the DIY keyboard repair, I've done similar in the past (thought used the metal contacts from a 'quality' yamaha keybed) on and old synth.

RE: JX price, the 3P is vastly under-rated and in my experience goes for around the same price (fully working) as a Poly61. At the same price (and cheap-ish) the buyer should try both and keep which they like, but JX has lovely chorus AND the filter chip same as Jupiter 8/Juno60 which gives it an edge.

Juno > I'll grant you, they are way over-rated and over expensive, I prefer my JX to the juno I had, I prefer the polysix to the Juno also. Not sure the P61 would be preferable to Juno 60 though, unless price based decision.
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...
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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 - 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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