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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89 Visitor comments
Keith N
August 30, 2011 @ 4:31 pm
Had one of these for a while, next to my Polysix and DW-8000 and i'm afraid to say that in almost every way the Poly61 was definitely the poor relation!. Against the glorious polysix you can understand, but to find the DW-8000 was far more powerful AND more 'analog sounding' was a surprise. Anyone looking at P61 should imo skip it and just grab a DW-8000 which is an infinitely better synth.
August 4, 2011 @ 2:11 am
very PHAT synth for the price. If you can find one fully functional you will be happy with its big dirty analog sounds. Great for bass and searing leads. Awesome synth.
July 25, 2011 @ 4:52 pm
i love the way this synth sounds!!!!! i hate when people say , o its not the best synth sound…
June 8, 2011 @ 5:41 pm
Not the smoothest sounding synth that's for sure!
Also prone to battery leakage "varta" and key contact issues. It took me two goes at finally getting all the keys to strike properly... Still the same,
despite it being really cheaply made I've been able to dial up some solid polysynth sounds on it. Its nice too that it can sound like a Prophet + a Juno + does a fair job at nailing that early 80s Oberheim brass. Not nearly in the same class but for $200 what do you expect? Be careful while writing patchs that yours doesn't double trigger, same goes for my DW-8000 and Poly 800. Poor design!
April 12, 2011 @ 11:22 am
Ok people, just because someone re-caped and pimped out a 61M with wood sides and then some idiot bought it for $500 doesn't mean they're all worth $500. I've had this synth for years and it's not [i]that[/i] good. It does sound fat and gritty and analog and has a nice variety of sounds, but it is very limited compared to other synths you can get for the same price. If it's more than $300 just wait for another.
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  • The link above will take you to a 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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