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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92 Visitor comments
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.
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.
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
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  • Check Price
  • 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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