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
January 31, 2011 @ 4:28 am
Just picked up a poly 61 at auction in Sydney for $15 Australian. Most keys weren't working but after pulling the keyboard apart and cleaning up the rubber pads most keys are now working. I see some comments about a kit for rejuvinating the rubber pads, how effective is this and any ideas where to pick a kit up in Australia?
Simon Davidson
January 21, 2011 @ 11:41 am
the first synth I ever bought back in 1990, loved it
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.
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
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.)
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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
  • Resources & Credits
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