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
Eple
January 17, 2011 @ 7:04 am
I've been on the hunt for an affordable, preferably broken Polysix for a solid month, however a Poly-61 dropped into my lap for the grand ol' price of free. Not knowing what to make of it, I was legitimately surprised by its character once I plugged it in and started playing it; It's dirty, un-refined grittiness is simply awesome. It's a fantastic, and very underrated synth - that and I guarantee you'll love the arpeggiator.
LT
December 16, 2010 @ 9:55 am
Definitely a bit of a forgotten classic, I recently purchased a Poly 61 and despite the obligatory - old Korg , one key not working, I have been stunned by the quality of the sounds! While the poly 61 delivers good punchy bass and fat leads, I think it is at its best when producing Pads, strings and ambient sounds, some of which would not sound at all out of place in the works of David Sylvian, especially around the Brilliant Trees era!

If you see one in a junk shop or yard sale, buy it!
LT. :-D
eric
November 28, 2010 @ 2:37 pm
The poly 61 is a 6 voice analog polyphonic synthesizer with two oscillators, 88 program places, a 24 db/lpf, 2 lfo's, programmable unison (from 1 up to 6 voices), pwm and
chord memory.

It uses six 2056 ssm chips for the enveloppe generator.
The tempo of the arpeggiator is controllable by another
device with a cv-out.

It was the first synthesizer that can read out the programmed sounds in every detail. A system that was copying in many ways ever since on digital synthesizers.
The front panel was very futuristic for its time: only 5 pots for volume,pitch,joystick and arpeggiator.

The panel is of solid metal laying in a unit of pressed wood.
Power adaptor is build in. Two hooks on the back panel to store the power cable so the synth is ready for transport.

(There's already a little amount of resonance in the sound.
To match any sound of the poly-61 with lets say a prophet 08, resonance must be set on '17' to begin with.)
jensomatic
November 20, 2010 @ 8:27 am
RAAAAAHHHH, can't stop jammin the 61, I love it, it's so nasty n grimey and dirtcheap to buy.
Some people just don't get it, the Poly 61 seriously kicks [beep] in it's own right. I bought it not because it was cheap, but because i liked exactely that sound. It's an intermediate synth and the mixture of 1 Analog and 1 digital OSC gives you a very edgy sound that goes perfectly well for bass&lead anywhere in the more menacing range of electronic music, you'll nver get a lush pad out of this, it's a badboy. Most analog synths that are often labeled fat just can't get that edgy. Of course, there could be so many more options on editing the 61 like mixing oscs, noise and crossmodulation wich would make it huge, still, quick n easy sound dialup and the joystick and arp are huge fun.
misswade
September 28, 2010 @ 10:25 am
I love this synth to pieces. It is worth every penny for some of the tones you can get out of it. At first it doesn't seem that amazing, but once you get a feel for it and start experimenting with some of the parameters, the machine proves its worth.
I use it primarily for analog spacey jams, and it does everything I need it to and then some.

One way I like to use the arpeggiator is to set it to repeat one note and you can make some really excellent basslines that way.

When I play live shows with it, people always remark on my synth tone. It's dirty in a good way while still keeping a warm analog feel. It also sounds great run through distortion pedals when you need something a little more rock and roll out of it.

I had a small problem with a groundwire that went out when I replaced my keybed but it was easily repaired and now it works better than ever.
 
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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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